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First, let me say this is long, and you will probably only want to look through it if you have a conservative cousin and want a few responses for yourself.

Second, although I have about 70 cousins and usually don't bother with the conservatives ones, this cousin was close to me in the past I really did wonder if she could explain her Romney support to me (she "liked" him on Facebook). In the past, she had been a Democrat but announced sometime into her second marriage that she and her husband had decided they were conservatives. I am almost positive that what she sent me was not in her words, but I have no idea whether they are his or simply something from the Internet. In any case, below the lovely squiggle is our exchange with their comments in the blockquotes and my responses in between.

Dear [Cuz],

I appreciated your answer to my question and now I understand your position much better. I suspect there was more than one person working on your response since you answered '€œwe'€ but I hope you will take some time to read what I have said too. Since whoever wrote this went into such detail but didn'€™t cite any sources for what was being said, I'€™ve also responded in detail and, whenever it seemed helpful, cited the places where I found my information. I really have been trying to figure out why people support Romney other than that they don'€™t like Obama for one reason or another and your reply has been especially enlightening since you said not one positive thing about Romney but focused your firepower (incorrectly in many places) on Obama. So are you voting for Romney simply because you don't like Obama and have a serious amount of misinformation about him?

In any case, here are my responses to what you wrote.

Why are we supporting Romney?
1)    The economy has not improved in 4 years. In fact, it's gotten worse. We discount the current price of gasoline at the pumps because it only went down in the last 2 weeks and there's only 1 week left before the election. Gas at the pumps also has a tendency to go down this time of year anyway.
That is not accurate. The economy has improved in many ways. The housing bust finally seems to be over. Health care costs have slowed. The unemployment rate has fallen below 8 percent, much sooner than forecasters were predicting a few months ago. Consumer confidence has reached a post-recession high. The gross domestic product has improved. The Dow Jones Industrial average has increased almost 70%. President Obama inherited an economic disaster, and his economic policies have put the country on the road to recovery. It's taking longer than anyone wants, but movement is in the right direction.

You may not realize how serious the recession was when Obama took office. The policies of President Bush caused the worst recession since the great Depression in the 30s. That recession officially ended in June, 2009, because of President Obama'€™s policies. It is taking a longer time to fully recover because the recession was so terrible. Here is an article with a brief summary of why we are better off than we were four years ago: US News

2)    There are more people actually unemployed now than there were 4 years ago, if you include all the people who have gave up looking for work and dropped off the official unemployment rolls.
The number of discouraged had, in September, declined by 235,000 from a year ago. Those unemployed for more than 27 weeks had also declined. The unemployment rate when Obama took office was 7.8, the same as it is today, but it dropped precipitously as the recession deepened in those first months.  Obama had to bring it back up to today's level from the worst it had been in decades. A lot of unemployment has been caused by government laying off public employees. So a question for you might be which do you want most? Lower unemployment or smaller government?

If you want to look at things from an employment perspective, here's a chart that might help you. Employment Bush and Obama

3) There are almost twice as many people on food stamps now as 4 years ago. This goes back to #2 above.
It'€™s true that too many people are on food stamps, €”a sign of coming out a horrible recession, but not twice as many. The number in January 2009, when Obama took office was about 32 m. It is now about 46.6 m. Some of that is because states because of their high unemployment asked for waivers on the 3 month limit for stamps for people who are able to work. What else could be expected from the job loss shown above except more hungry and poor people?
4) There are more families below the poverty level now than 4 years ago. This also goes back to #2 above.
That'€™s true and needs to improve. It will improve if the Obama jobs bill passes, more stimulus programs are put into effect, and the Bush tax benefits for the wealthy are allowed to expire. The fact that more people are falling into poverty is not the result of Obama's policies. In addition to the impact of the recession, wages for the middle class have been stagnant since the 1970s even though we are working as hard as ever. That'€™s the result of corporate policy, not government policy. You might want to read this:
5) The national debt rose from over $9 Trillion to over $16 trillion in less than 4 years.
The national debt is rising because the Republican House will not work with the Senate or the president on a rational plan to stop the budget deficit from increasing. The simple step of letting the Bush tax cuts on high earners expire would have put us well on the way to getting back to the Clinton economy.  There are other factors at work as well. If you would like a summary of who is responsible for what regarding the debt, read this: CBS News

Do we have to worry about debt? Yes. Who has the best plan for doing something? Obama. Here is an explanation (you only need to read the first part before it becomes very nerdy): EPI.

6) There has been no official budget since Obama took office. Now it is true that Congress is responsible for passing a budget and we hold both parties at fault here. But it is the responsibility of the President to propose a budget, and the only one he proposed was rejected by 100% of the Senate - both Republicans AND Democrats.
The last time that we had a full-on, real-life federal budget that was signed into law, it was 1997. So I'€™m not sure what point you are trying to make here about Obama vs Romney. The problem didn'€™t start with Obama and it would not end with Romney. It appears that there was never an 'official'€ budget under Bush either.

 I have no idea what you mean when you say Obama's budget was rejected 100%. Do you have a link to explain that?

7) The COLA for Social Security will be 1.7%. Last year it was 0%. The price of gasoline and utilities are not included in the COLA calculations even though the cost of each has gone up almost 100% in the past 2 years. This is not the work of the President, but fully the work of the Congress (both House and Senate). The pending irrational "sequestration" budget cuts. Now this, too, was the work of Congress. But it was signed into law by the President. Budget cuts need to be made, but this isn't the way to do it.
Obama would agree with you. He was backed into the sequestration compromise by the threat of Republicans to refuse to raise the debt ceiling, which could have caused another serious economic collapse. Remember that Republicans control the House and they also come very close to controlling the Senate by their extreme use of the filibuster. So in that way, Republican positions dominate the Congress. So when Democrats need to get something passed, they have to make extreme compromises, more extreme than under any recent president because no  president in generations has had to face such a hostile opposition party in Congress. Both parties and the president agreed to play Russian roulette until the elections were over. We'€™ll see what the American people decide to do to get us out of this mess.
9) Benghazi-gate keeps getting worse and worse. First it was because of a stupid video, even though there were reports within 2 hours that it wasn't. Then the US Ambassador doubles down on the the video 2 days later. Then the Secretary of State doubles down again on the video a week later. Then the POTUS doubles down on the video in his address to the UN 2 weeks later. Then we find out that the US Ambassador to Libya had several meetings while in DC saying he needed additional security, but it was denied. Then Secretary of State Clinton accepts responsibility for the failures in Benghazi, and is sent to South America. Then two days after that, the POTUS finally says "the buck stops here". Then we find out that there were several memoranda requesting a flight ready C-130 for possible emergency evacuation, and it was denied. Then we find out that members of the CIA requested to go assist in the defense and evacuation, and the request was denied. Then we find out that the entire attack was viewed live in the White House Situation Room. Then we find out today that the CIA Chief says the request to assist was not denied by anyone in the CIA, but instead lays it at the White House.
It is too soon to come to any conclusions about who deserves what kind of blame for what happened at Benghazi, and people who aren'€™t willing to wait until after reasonable investigations are done, which usually take months, are simply looking for another way to tar the president. I don'€™t believe that President Bush's lack of attention to warnings caused 9-11 so why are you so willing to lay the blame for Benghazi at President Obama's door other than that you don'€™t like him?
10) Almost 4 years after taking office, we still hear "It's Bush's fault". Yes, he inherited a disaster. But the policies of the last 4 years have not even made a dent and in some cases have actually made it worse.
It'€™s simply not true that Obama's policies have not made a dent, and there are few economic indicators that are worse as I discussed in #1. It is absolutely true that the recession is a result of Bush'€™s policies. No one denies that. Bush also started two wars, one completely unnecessary, that led to high deficits even before the recession. Those are facts. You can'€™t make them go away. One president inherits what the other leaves. No president since FDR has inherited a worse economy than Obama did. Why is that fact so hard for conservatives to accept?

As I remember, Bush supporters blamed Clinton for a lot of problems for a long time on things such as not killing bin Laden, for North Korea, and he even blamed Clinton for the 2001 recession  though Clinton had left him a vibrant and healthy economy and the recession was somewhat caused by the disruptions of 9-11. As late as 2008, Bush was blaming Clinton for the deficit.

11) When elected, Obama said he would work with both parties to get the problems of the country addressed. But he held multiple meetings without including the Republicans at all. He had a commission of both Democrats and Republicans to come up with recommendations to address the economic problems. The commission came up with bi-partisan recommendations. Then he threw all of the recommendations out the window.
If you think Obama didn'€™t try to work with Republicans then you sure weren'€™t reading liberal blogs. Liberals complained bitterly that Obama was doing TOO much work with the Republicans. But if you want a fairly unbiased look at Obama'€™s bipartisanship, read this articleNew York Magazine. Furthermore, you don'€™t seem to be aware of the fact that Republicans planned ahead not to work with Obama on common goals and have increasingly used the filibuster to stop his agenda from moving forward. It is on record that Republicans held meetings to plan to obstruct Obama even before he took office. There was a book written about it but if you want just a little detail, read this: Michael Grunwald

And if you don'€™t want to believe this, please tell me why Republicans are so bitterly opposed to Obamacare when it was a policy first proposed by Republicans in the 80s: Len Nichols of the New America Foundation affirms that the individual mandate was originally a Republican idea. "It was invented by Mark Pauly to give to George Bush Sr. back in the day, as a competition to the employer mandate focus of the Democrats at the time."

12) When elected, he said he would usher in a new era of civility. But he has instead doubled down on partisan politics and openly attacked anyone who came up with ideas. He has doubled down on class warfare, pitting everything on hatred of anyone making over $250k per year.
That is extremely unfair. Obama is a civil man and tried hard to build better relationships. The heated rhetoric of today didn'€™t start with the Obama administration and the example of class warfare is silly at best. Incivility is built in politics, but today's partisan nastiness started when Rush Limbaugh took to the airwaves in 1988. As his attitudes took hold in the Republican Party, the hostility increased. Overdramatic Republican attacks on Clinton (including that he had people murdered) led to hearty Democratic attacks on Bush (although he got quite a lot of leeway right after 9-11). Conservative attacks on Obama have reached a fever pitch, even questioning whether he was born in America and saying he is Muslim.

Saying that Obama 'hates'€ people earning over $250K is another example of a fevered attack on him. It'€™s outrageous. He wants to tax people making over that amount at the same rate they had before Bush made the cuts (and damaged the economy by doing so). Tax increases do not equal '€œhate.'€ Since Obama makes over that much, by this thinking, he would hate himself.

Please name one thing that Obama has said about well-off people that would justify saying he hates them.

13) His policies are openly anti-Christian. He was right when he said that the USA is no longer a Christian nation, but he was wrong to not explain it further. We are not a purely Christian nation. We are a melting pot for all religions, a nation that was founded upon freedom OF religion and not freedom FROM religion. We are not, nor ever will be, a theocracy. There are just too many different religions here for one to become so dominant as to rule. But there are still more Americans practicing a Christian faith than any other, including atheists and agnostics.
What policy of Obama'€™s is anti-Christian? Whoever wrote this didn'€™t name one. This is a prejudiced attack against a man who is a fellow Christian without any basis for it. The writer goes on to talk about how many Christians there are. Well, Obama and his wife and children are among them, so what is the point?
14) His policies are anti-business. Business is the engine of capitalism. Business cannot thrive under oppressive taxation. The only country in the world where taxation is higher than the USA is France. We are not France, and don't want to become Greece.
The writer does not name one Obama policy that is anti-business. Obama is trying to help business. He helped rebuild the auto industry, for example. He introduced a jobs bill (that Republicans won'€™t pass) that would be very supportive of business. So I have no idea what the complaint really is.

The US does not have oppressive taxation on business. Whoever wrote this is confusing the statutory corporate tax rate with the effective rate, which is low:  "U.S. corporations actually pay incredibly low taxes due to the ever-proliferating loopholes, credits, and deductions in the tax code and the use of overseas tax havens. U.S. corporate taxes that were actually paid (the effective rate) fell to a 40 year low of 12.1 percent in fiscal year 2011, despite corporate profits rebounding to their pre-Great Recession heights. The U.S. both taxes its corporations less and raises less in revenue from corporate taxes than its foreign competitors."€ In a comparison with 19 industrialized nations, the US is the 5th lowest. Think Progress

15) His energy policies, not his current rhetoric, are openly anti-coal and anti-oil and anti-natural gas. If he really wants the USA to become less dependent upon oil and coal then there needs to be an investment, not in specific companies but in research institutions tied to Universities. Historically, the USA has been the champion of innovation and ingenuity. China did not become an economic powerhouse because of the ingenuity of their people, but by copying and miniaturizing American innovations. American ingenuity thrives best under times of less, or no, taxation. American innovation cannot thrive without investment. Investment does not happen when taxation discourages investment. President Obama does not understand business economics or the economics of investment. With unfettered innovation, I am absolutely certain that some American research institution would invent a more environmentally friendly replacement for the automobile and for heating/cooling our homes, and an economic method to transition! Battery powered cars are not as environmentally friendly as we have been led to believe either. The environment in a 100 mile radius of the mines where they get the raw materials for these batteries is one of total devastation! Until such time as the economic and environmentally friendly innovations for energy become readily available, we need to continue utilization of coal, oil, and natural gas. Especially natural gas. Are you aware that total pollution caused by natural gas powered vehicles, including pollution attributed to getting natural gas out of the ground, is less than that which can be attributed to electric vehicles? But the policies of this administration have not differentiated between drilling for natural gas and drilling for oil.
Where did this one come from? Whoever wrote it simply did not know what he was talking about. The Obama administration, through the DOE, has invested millions in energy research. Here is just one example: Clean coal research awards. You can see other examples of research investment here:

As far as electric vehicles causing more pollution than the other sources you listed, you might want to read this: Do electric cars cause more pollution than fossil fuel alternatives?. And electric cars are not the only green alternative to oil-powered vehicles.

16) President Obama has issued more Executive Orders than any of two of his predecessors combined. He has said that if he can't work with Congress, he will go around it. Executive Orders are his method for getting around Congress. Every President has issued Executive Orders, but none have issued the kinds which have been issued by President Obama. There are Executive Orders which seize control of the Internet, seize control of all natural resources and utility companies, seize all weapons from US citizens, seize control of all banking institutions and bank accounts, and allow for detainment of US citizens within the borders of the USA, during times of economic or natural disasters as well as during times of civil unrest or war
Pardon my language, but that is pure crap. Please do not believe all the nonsense that is circulated through email. Read this instead: Snopes
These are just the prime reasons why we are not supporting President Obama's bid for re-election.
And my answers show why I am supporting him.

Be well.


Do I think this will change their minds? Of course not. But it made me feel good to be able to respond to almost every point.

When I was first writing this I was cutting and pasting from lots of sources but not linking because I thought it would be a private message. Once I decided to share I tried to catch the links but I'm sure I  missed some.

Update: Link fixed

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Comment Preferences

  •  The Biggest Single Thing to Point to Is That When (8+ / 0-)

    he swore in we lost 700,000 jobs that month, which continued for a few more months because of the Republican crash till he had time to begin getting stimulus passed and working.

    The bottom of the crash came around June of his first year, which is when his emergency policies began to work but still months before Obama's first federal budget began.

    When your friend measures from 4 years ago, with 3 months left for George Bush to screw up directly and another 6 months of Bush screwing us with policies that Obama needed time to correct, he's blaming the Democrats for some of the worst Republican results.

    We don't have to blame Bush in 2011 and 2012. All we need is to make Republicans rightfully accept the damage they were causing in the first few months before Obama policies had time to take effect.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Oct 28, 2012 at 07:35:54 PM PDT

  •  That is sad (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Belle Ame, mindara, jan4insight

    Opposing someone because of misinformation

    wall Street Casino is the root of the problem. Don't call them banks.

    by timber on Sun Oct 28, 2012 at 07:46:49 PM PDT

  •  The ol' "Senate Voted Down Obama Budget" (5+ / 0-)

    February 2011, Obama made a budget proposal.

    Then in April the President came up with a new proposal, one that had substantial deficit reduction measures, totalling $4 trillion over twelve years.

    Naturally, Republicans were against this, because it came from Obama. Mitch McConnell insisted they hold a vote to consider the original measure, Democrats said they would vote against bringing the measure to the floor because there was a new proposal on the table.

    Note that the vote wasn't even on the budget, but on a motion whether to bring it forth for debate. I know, too subtle a difference for many to grasp.

    You can read more here

    The take-away for your cousin is that politics is full of games, and this was just a cheap stunt to generate a talking point to fool people like her. That's a recurring theme, she clearly gets her info from Fox News and perhaps conservative talk radio, and you need to check these things out for yourself.  If it sounds outrageous, it might be a pile of bull.  

  •  Talking to a conservative is like...... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    talking to a drunk. Now matter what you say, backed up by facts is not heard.

  •  Actually the debt is rising because the only way (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RandomNonviolence, celdd, majcmb1

    to stop a speeding car instantly is to crash it into a tree.  If you look at the DEFICIT (the amount added to the debt each year) it has decreased every year under Obama.  Whereas Bush turned the biggest surplus in American history into the biggest deficit (thereby doubling the debt), Obama has been working steadily to reduce the deficit -- though, as you say, with no cooperation from Congress, this process is slowed down a lot relative to what it could be if we'd had (for example) a stimulus targeted toward jobs instead of over 50% tax cuts.

  •  I have cousins and relatives like that too (8+ / 0-)

    though after listening to some and chatting a bit, I'm convinced that it's not voting against Obama because of misinformation, it's voting against Obama because he is black and the misinformation cited is just their way of internally justifying it to themselves since most of them do not consider themselves to be racist and would of course take great umbrage if you accuse them of being racist.  

    •  Spot on. (0+ / 0-)

      Don't forget to register to vote here:

      by bepanda on Sun Oct 28, 2012 at 09:00:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You are probably right... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      There's a new survey that shows 51% of Americans have prejudicial attitudes towards blacks, and, drilling down the data, 75% of Republicans. When I posted this link on Facebook last evening, several of my Republican FB friends got very defensive, said they didn't believe the poll etc. So what you identified with your relatives I believe is pretty prevalent in the country -- unconscious racism in many cases.

      Here's a link to the very interesting polling data about it,  printed in a Dallas newspaper in deep red Texas:

  •  Ask your cousin if she/he b*tched when (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    majcmb1, jan4insight, XenuLives

    food stamp usage increased during Bush's first term, and if she voted for him anyway in 2004.

    Ask her/him if they b*tched when Clinton's surplus was decimated by Bush during his first term, and if she voted for him anyway in 2004.

    And if they're a holy roley type, ask them if they b*tched when abortions rose during Bush's first term, and if they voted for him anyway in 2004.

    My'll get crickets.

    I have 50+ cousins on one side of my family and almost as many on the other.  Most of them are 'conservative'. The huge majority of them use 'misinformation' to affirm their bigoted, narrow-minded, hateful world-view.

    Frankly, I don't think a factual, point-by-point rebuttal is going to do it.  Anyone who can say (type) with a straight face that the economy is worse than it was four years ago when it was freaking bleeding hundreds of thousand of jobs is either 1) dumber than a box of yard cuttings or 2) being quite willfully obtuse.

    I feel for you.  As I said, I'd related to many, many, many, many, MANY of this breed.  I've decided to stop wasting my breath, because there is no reasoning with someone determined to not look at facts.  We just talk about the weather, football, and recipes and such when we have family gatherings.  And I don't go to many family gatherings.

  •  Great Stuff (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    majcmb1, bently

    Thanks. I saved your diary to my desktop for the links you provided. I have the same conversations with conservative friends and appreciate the debunking info.

  •  well done (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    And you are braver than I am.  More patient.  Kinder.  I just have to roll my eyes.  When I saw her last, in August, my mom was adamant that Paul Ryan was a great choice.  I said, yes, he will energise the tea partiers, so in that sense is a good choice, but his budget . . . is just plain mean.   She said, well, it isn't going to pass...

    Now, I could have pointed out the obvious -- the only reason it won't pass is because people other than you vote D!  So, if you don't want it to pass, then why not short-circuit the process and vote D yourself?

    But, no, familial harmony . . .

  •  Tell your cousin(s) to check this out: (0+ / 0-)

    The US Debt Clock

    Tell them to stare at the US Federal Budget Deficit and US Federal Spending.  They can daze out on the declining numbers.  Yes the deficit and spending are ticking downward.

    "Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves." - Abraham Lincoln

    by leftreborn on Mon Oct 29, 2012 at 01:32:52 AM PDT

  •  Put "WRONG" in all cap letters as the first word.. (0+ / 0-) each answer.

    I really believe that republicans don't think for themselves, they just swallow whatever drivel is spouted off by an authority figure.

    Thus, you need to make your replies sound authoritative. Maybe by starting each answer with "WRONG" or "FALSE" or something like that. Then adjusting the tone of the replies to be more authoritative, patriarchal, basically how a Strong Wise Father (tm) would speak to an errant offspring.

    Then maybe, just maybe, some of your information can slowly 'osmose' ^_^ into her.

  •  About that Commission... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc
    11) When elected, Obama said he would work with both parties to get the problems of the country addressed. But he held multiple meetings without including the Republicans at all. He had a commission of both Democrats and Republicans to come up with recommendations to address the economic problems. The commission came up with bi-partisan recommendations. Then he threw all of the recommendations out the window.
    Paul Ryan was on the Commission, but then voted against the recommendations when they came up for a House vote.
    ... Ryan blaming Obama for the commission’s failure is "disingenuous, misleading and the worst form of hypocritical politics. It’s the political equivalent of killing your parents and then begging the court for mercy because you’re an orphan."
  •  A different take (0+ / 0-)

    The problem you have communicating with your cousin lives in the fact that she lies in a different news-reality. Apparently her sole source of information is Fox News. I suggest that you urge her to broaden her sources of information. Obviously, you don't want to suggest Daily Kos or MSNBC, but perhaps you could suggest CNN. She actually seems to be paying attention to the issues, so if you want to really wow her, suggest The Economist, a publication with a sterling reputation. Yes, it's a tad conservative, but nothing like an American conservative. They support free trade, but they have done so for 150 years. They believe that we must do something serious about climate change. They supported the war in Iraq, but they also endorsed Mr. Obama for President in 2008, IIRC. And they just published a lengthy report on inequality around the world, decrying its increase and recommending some healthy reforms to address it.

    Sorry for the lengthy paean to The Economist, but some liberals lump it in with Fox News, which is grossly unfair.

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