Editors' Note: Guest blogger Bob Deitrick is co-owner of Polaris Financial Partners in Westerville, Ohio, with Steven Morgan. He is also co-author of Bulls Bears and the Ballot Box with Lew Goldfarb.
Log Cabin Republicans have always been an enigma in that they define the word counter-intuitive. Why would anyone vote in lock-step with a political party that consistently does not have your best interest at heart? However, a lot goes into voting and voting is not always about social issues; indeed it is often about economics and ones' wallet. That is the core argument Log Cabinites make for voting as they do. In theory Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) vote for their economic interest - or do they?
Let's take a look at what Log Cabin Republicans stand for.
They believe in the principals of conservatism and unbridled liberty, yet that same liberty is not proffered to them by the party with which they so deeply exalt. They prefer balanced budgets and fiscal discipline. However, neither George W. Bush nor vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan adhered to those codes of conduct during their respective tenure in office - prior to 2009. Log Cabinites say they want comprehensive tax reform, yet the last time tax reform was attempted by a Republican named Ronald Reagan in 1986, the Tax Simplification Act was a novel amassing 1300 pages and was anything but simple and it reformed very little.
Mitt Romney has promised tax reform. We know Romney wants to abolish the alternative minimum tax and federal estate taxes for the affluent, but what else will he do? He has called for cutting marginal rates by 20% across the board and he will somehow balance the budget by cutting loopholes, but which ones?
Romney is unwilling to divulge one exiguous detail of how he intends to do this without blowing a massive hole in the budget which Reagan did with ERTA in 1981. Will he efface the cherished deductions of home and condo mortgage interest, charitable contributions and state and local taxes? If that is the case, and it may indeed be, it will have a highly negative impact on many gay and lesbian homeowners - Republicans and Democrats alike.
Log Cabinites want to reform and revitalize social security by allowing individuals to invest in the stock market. This sounds like a delightful Sunday afternoon tea dance as long as there is not another crash in the stock market. Apparently most Cabinites don't realize we have had five market collapses in the past 80 years, and each time they've occurred, not by coincidence, a Republican has been in the oval office.
Let's review the five crashes:
- The Great Depression was the mother of all crashes - a collapse of 89.2% from peak to trough under Herbert Hoover starting in 1929 through the summer of 1932. 29 years of gains were wiped out in less than three years and it took a return of 945% to dig out from the ashes of this debacle to get back to even.
- A crash of 46% occurred with Richard Nixon during the Yom Kippur War and the Watergate scandal of 1974.
- Black Monday in October of 1987 under Ronald Reagan was a crash of 36% from peak to trough. It took 34 months to recover from this collapse.
- Finally, we experienced the unprecedented event of two market crashes with one president under George W. Bush - one of 47% in 2002 followed by an unprecedented liquidity crisis and crash of 58% in 2007 to early 2009 where the market continued to fall as Bush departed back to Texas in January. The recovery required is 138% to get back to the apex of October 9th, 2007. Under President Obama, we have made up most of this loss in less than four years.
Over the 40 years of Republican economic stewardship in the Oval Office since 1929, the average annual compound return on a Log Cabin Republican's IRA has been .58% - less than one percent over 40 years! If one started with $100K at the start of Herbert Hoover's administration, one would have a paltry $126K at the end of George W's tenure and 40 years of Republican economic magic.
The same $100K invested when FDR took office in March of '33 would be worth just shy of $4.0 million when Bill Clinton left office in January of 2001 (over their corresponding 40 year window). If Log Cabinites are voting for their wallets, they should consider these facts.
National Defense and Immigration Law
Log Cabin Republicans desire a strong national defense. We all want to feel secure at home and when we travel abroad. However, what is the cost to accomplish this?
Cabinites need to recall it was a Republican General, Dwight Eisenhower, who warned of the military industrial complex having too much power. Under President Obama's leadership, our brave troops have decimated most of Al Qaeda in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past three years and we took out Osama Bin Laden last August. Has that not made all of us safer?
The LCR say that they want to make immigration more humane and they favor streamlined legal pathways for students with higher education, and want guest worker programs for industries unable to hire Americans. However, Mr. Romney favors returning all undocumented workers, even those born in America, back to their home country and orders them to the end of a line. This is juxtaposed to President Obama's position who affirms the more humane Dream Act.
At days end aren't we all descendants of immigrants from one country or another who immigrated to the America for a better way of life? Perhaps we should reflect on how we treat those who perform the demeaning work which many Americans will not even consider.
Log Cabin Republicans desire marriage equality for all gay Americans, and they want a broader definition of family as well. Yet if one reviews the Republican Party platform from August, it proclaims: "we condemn the hate campaigns, threats of violence, and vandalism by proponents of same-sex marriage against advocates of traditional marriage and call for a federal investigation into attempts to deny religious believers their civil rights."
This is an attempt by the right wing of the party to paint gay marriage advocates, including the LCR, as "haters," as opposed to those who would deny them the right to wed. It is clear the GOP is miles away from the issue of marriage equality that the Cabinites say they want.
Not long ago it was a Republican and a now-reformed gay hypocrite, Ken Mehlman, Bush's campaign chair, who repudiated the gay community by having his boss support the Federal Marriage Amendment and then he disavowed all LGBT Americans by establishing anti-gay marriage bills in 21 swing states to swing the election for his boss.
Finally, Cabinites desire a market driven solution to health care. They support market-driven reform that will incentivize private insurers to lower rates and broaden coverage, yet that has never happened, and will not happen as long as our health care dynasty is an oligopoly.
The Affordable Care Act is a reform that requires young and healthy Americans to pay into the system so that more people can be covered. It permits the working poor to have access to coverage and it doesn't discriminate for pre-existing conditions like HIV and AIDS as insurers could do prior to the ACA. The mandate in Obama's plan was Republican dogma back in the 1990's which most Republicans have forgotten.
If money and wealth creation are so vital to Cabinites, then why do they vote for a party that has created less wealth and added more volatility to our markets, not to mention 3.5 times more months of recession and more protracted recessions to boot over 80 years. And if the national debt is their concern, Cabinites need to understand that since 1929 the national debt has grown 250% more under Republican presidents than with Democrats.
An Enigma Wrapped in a Mystery Wrapped in Self Delusion
So, the question remains, why does the Log Cabin Republican brand exist?
Supposedly they vote for their wallet. All Americans should do that. But Republican Presidents have been flawed stewards of our economy at best, so the question remains, why?
The answer might mysteriously be found in the notion that Cabinites want to belong to the 'club'. Many of them vote for the GOP brand because they strive to reach for that brass ring which they don't have - yet. To a degree, and only a small degree, this makes sense, until one realizes that gay and lesbian folk will never get into the foyer of the 'club' let alone to the dance floor as long as Tony Perkins and Pat Robertson are working as bouncers at the front door.
Log Cabin Republicans remain an enigma to this day. If your primary motivation for becoming a part of the Republican 'club' is that you want better investment results for your IRA, fewer months of recession, greater corporate profits, higher GDP growth, more jobs, less national debt, a higher disposable income per capita, and so on, then Cabinites may want to reconsider their vote because they ain't getting any of the above from the modern Republican Party.
Log Cabin Republicans should consider the notion of evaluating all of the facts that affect them and should consider taking a long look in the mirror as well before entering the voting booth and casting their ballot in November because they are not voting in their self-interest - economic or otherwise.