SAN FRANCISCO – The most disturbing development in the 2012 US presidential elections is not the National Asian American Survey (NAAS) poll showing that more FilAms are registering as Republicans (27%) than as Democrats (24%) but that a large number of these FilAm Republicans have embraced the extremist views of the far right Tea Party.
Prime evidence of this trend is Ohio FilAm pediatrician Dr. Marisha Agana, the Tea Party member who is the Republican congressional candidate in the 8th district of Ohio pitted against long-time Democratic incumbent Rep. Tim Ryan.
Dr. Agana made news when she tweeted “History has a way of repeating itself: Stalin, Hitler, Mao Tse Tung and now Obama!!!” Her tweet drew this heated response from an irate reader: “You need to immediately apologize for comparing the President of the United States to Hitler. This is not how a person running for office behaves in this country. When you make these types of comments, you diminish the suffering of the Jewish people.”
But the tweet accomplished its intended purpose as it drew national attention to her campaign earning her media coverage on the Huffington Post and on Balitang America which has 250,000 cable subscribers in the US.
Dr. Agana explained in an email to the Huffington Post that because of “the position Mr. Barrack (sic) Hussain (sic) Obama has taken on abortion directly as well as the use of Obamacare to provide contraception and abortifacient drugs I feel it is proper and important to have included him on the list I tweeted about.”
The tweet propelled her to the main story on Balitang America’s October 25 telecast where she told reporter Nadia Trinidad that she was making “a comparative analogy of President Obama’s stand for pro-abortion legislation and for me abortion is the murder of babies.”
The fact is that President Obama has never backed “pro abortion legislation” although he does support Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 US Supreme Court ruling on the issue of abortion that was decided when Obama was only 12 years old. Under Roe v. Wade, a woman has the right to decide what is best for her body and health until the fetus is viable. Republican Tea Party senate candidates like Richard Mourdock from Indiana and Todd Akin from Missouri oppose Roe v. Wade and hold the view that the government should outlaw all abortions even in cases of “legitimate rape” or incest as they are “gifts from God.”
In her Balitang America live interview, Dr. Agana cited Obama’s support for the inclusion of free contraceptives as part of Obamacare as a basis for the comparison to Hitler. When I was asked by Balitang America to comment on Dr. Agana’s assertion, I said that it was obscenely extreme to compare the “killing” of millions of sperm trapped in a condom – preventing them from penetrating the ovum of a woman – as similar to the extermination of six million Jews by Hitler.
I also commented that the Republican Party cleverly picks ethnic minorities like Dr. Agana to run against unbeatable entrenched Democratic incumbents in order to draw coverage from the ethnic media to show that the Republican Party is inclusive even though there were hardly any minority delegates at the Republican National Convention last August.
In her Huffington Post interview, Dr. Agana described herself as being “compassionate” and as one who looks up to “Mother Teresa of Calcutta” as her role model. This response may come as a shock to those who watched the September 12, 2011 Republican presidential primary debate when Tea Party favorite Ron Paul said that a sick person should be responsible for himself. “That’s what freedom is all about, taking your own risk,” he said.
CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer followed up and asked Rep. Paul: “Are you saying that society should just let him die?” to which the largely Tea Party audience shouted “Yeah!” Mother Theresa would be horrified.
The Tea Party will likely indoctrinate Dr. Agana to forget about Mother Theresa who dedicated her life to caring about others and instead to look up to the Fountainhead author Ayn Rand as the more appropriate role model as she believes that all people should pursue their own rational self-interest, and not look after the good of others. Rand is the role model of Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan who regularly gives out her book Atlas Shrugged as Christmas presents and who makes his interns read the book.
Ayn Rand’s self-interest world view is rejected by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops which calls for the government to create a “circle of protection” around poor and vulnerable people and to create programs that meet their basic needs and protect their lives and dignity. The Catholic bishops have asked Congress to put the poor first in budget priorities and to oppose measures that reduce resources for essential safety net programs, a request the House ignored when it passed the Ryan Budget Plan last April.
Aside from Dr. Agana, another prominent FilAm supporter of the Tea Party is Nimfa Yamsuan Gamez who was the spokesperson for Gov. Mitt Romney in the Balitang America presidential debate held on October 18 (aired Nov. 1 & 2).
In her October 7 post on Facebook, Gamez repeated the Tea Party charge that Obama is “a devout Muslim” warning people “do not be fooled. Look at his czars… anti-business…anti-American.” Obama is so “anti business” that he brought the Dow Jones up from 6,000 in 2009 to over 13,000 now, dramatically increasing the wealth of American investors in Wall Street stock?
Gamez also criticized Obama’s support for comprehensive immigration reform. “Just giving these 12 million potential new citizens free healthcare alone could overwhelm the system and bankrupt America,” she wrote.
After his Dream Act legislation failed to obtain the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster in 2010, Pres. Obama issued an executive order allowing alien children who entered the US illegally to obtain legal status, a move which benefited millions of alien children – including hundreds of thousands of Filipino children in the US – whom Romney plans to deport if he gets elected.
When Gamez emailed me claiming that Gov. Romney showed his “executive ability” by his management of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah, I pointed out that Romney sought and obtained a $2.7 billion bailout from the US Congress to complete his winter games. Fellow Republican Senator John McCain deplored this taxpayer bailout of Romney’s Olympics by pointing out that the amount was exorbitant compared to the $75 million that Congress spent on the L.A. Summer Olympics.
Gamez responded that regardless of the cost of the $2.7 billion congressional bailout, “what was important with what happened in the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics was that Romney came in, took charge and succeeded in making the prestigious event.”
Gamez then reiterated the Tea Party charge against Obama that “10.5 billions of Federal dollars (were) given to his green company friends” repeating the claim that Romney made during the presidential debate that Pres. Obama invested $90 billion in green energy businesses of which “about half” have failed.
As the Washington Post noted, this claim comes “nowhere near” the truth. The $90 billion was a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act aimed at reducing US dependence on foreign oil and rebuilding the US economy in the short- and long-term. Most of the money went to the states with only $10 billion allocated to fund green energy projects.
As CNN pointed out, not even half of the Recovery Act funding for clean energy went directly to green businesses. “Most of the large projects that benefited from the Department of Energy loan program remain in operation—contrary to Romney’s assertion.” In fact, companies that filed for bankruptcy received just 4% (not “half” as Romney claimed) of the funding awarded to clean energy companies through the Energy Department’s loan program.
Regardless of whatever the facts may be, Tea Party Republicans like Dr. Agana and Gamez will maintain their steadfast belief that Obama is the worst president in US history and they will not allow any facts to change their view. To them, Romney can do no wrong, Obama can do no right.
While FilAm Republicans will not likely wear “Put the white back in the White House” t-shirts popular in Tea Party rallies, the fact that so many of them are now willing to wholeheartedly embrace the extremist views of the Tea Party is the most deplorable development of the 2012 US presidential elections.
(Send comments to [email protected] or mail them to the Law Offices of Rodel Rodis at 2429 Ocean Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94127 or call 4156.334.7800).