Archive for February, 2013

Out, damned Newt!

Author: Barrett Rainey

I was raised in a Central Oregon, Republican culture when kids were taught certain rules about respectable behavior. I don’t mean just not saying bad things – although I did learn the taste of Ivory Soap at a young age. No, I mean saying or doing things that embarrassed the grownups. Say or do something that reflected badly on the family? Just not acceptable. And swiftly punished.

Whether at home or in school, deviation from rules of respectability often resulted in someone being exiled. Separated from the rest. The teacher wouldn’t call on you for the rest of the day or week. At home, immediate justice often meant sent to a lonely room – often the laundry room in my case. With the door shut. You “ceased to be” for awhile. Silence.

Sadly, rejection and punishment – and silence – are no longer the fates imposed for those who’ve become national embarrassments or politically and socially disgraced voices. How else can you explain the ever-present face of Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Dick Morris, Sanford, Robertson, Orley Taitz, Santorum, Bachmann, McCain, Paul (2), DeMint, LaPierre, Perkins, Dobson, Trump, Gohmert, et al? All have engaged in speech or conduct – or both – deserving rejection. Yet they are ever-present. Even sought out.

In a nation faced with deeply troubling national struggles for all of us, why do these discredited people remain in our living rooms, day after day, spewing the same specious nonsense into our atmosphere? When respectable leaders are so embroiled in terribly important work affecting our lives, why do these same voices of craziness and rejected thought still occupy so much of our national attention?

Gingrich is undoubtably the most excellent example. Disgraced and forced to resign from the highest office in the U.S. House of Representatives and his Georgia seat in the body, he should have been expected to “go quietly into that good night.” A proven adulterer – at least twice – a consummate liar – repeatedly – a man who has failed every try at elective office since his well-deserved dismissal – a con artist who uses presidential campaigns to hawk his books and videos and to drive up his personal appearance fees. Why is this bastion of all things rejected and despicable in a public persona still being so prominently forced into our consciousness?

What is the national media’s fascination with this guy? He’s on the Sunday talk circuit nearly every weekend. He and his twisted – often warped – thinking are pursued by Blitzer, Cooper, Gregory, Stephanopoulos, Van Susteren, Crowley, Morgan and the rest. Why? He’s become a politically obscene “whack-a-mole” creature.

What you see in this Gingrich over-exposure is our national obsession with celebrity. From statesmen and visionaries with deserved recognition to demented serial killers – and everywhere in between – you’re assured of repeated national media exposure, millions of dollars for the book rights to your story and millions more for the movie or television series.

Think not? Check the speaking fees for ol’ Newt. Nearly double what they were two years ago. Prices up on all his videos and books, too. Way up.

How about disgraced former South Carolina Gov. Sanford? Admitted liar and repeated adulterer. Now he’s running for Congress. So you’ll see even more of him. Ah, love those “family values” types? Shame? Nah!

Has Lindsey Lohan with her immensely troubled life dropped off your kids radar? No? Has any Kardashian done ANYTHING meriting someone’s notice? Ever? Why do we keep getting extended exposure of Ted Nugent on Fox? Notice you’re still hearing the deep “thinking” of that Palin woman on all things national? And Gohmert who believes a teacher with a semi-automatic is the answer to school massacres? And Beck who’s making another media fortune spouting end-of-the-world apocalypse? Ever wonder where he would have spent all that new money if he was right and the rest of us were wrong?

Looking to their elders, our kids see us holding out the ignorant – the violent – the sociopath – as people to be admired and rewarded. Teens know who these people are. They’re exposed to them in school and in their media. Social or otherwise. Since these misfits are granted continual presences in our lives, they’re in the lives of the young, too. For what purpose?

In the extreme over-coverage of the Newtown massacre, several “talking heads” proudly said they would not use the killer’s name in their reporting. Say what? To what end? “Being responsible,” boasted Anderson Cooper. “Being an idiot,” sez I. We don’t know the shooter’s name? Our kids don’t know not only the name but everything they can find on Facebook and Twitter? You think celebrity has not already attached to the murderer’s name and face? Look for a made-for-TV movie in the next 12 months.

If Cooper and his media cohorts sincerely want to “be responsible,” here’s some advice. Dispatch Gingrich and others of his ilk to the garbage heap. Seek out wiser heads – with much wiser voices – to create the important conversations we badly need right now. Give us honest discussions and educated thought. Help us understand issues and the variety of responses to them.

And for Newt – a lifetime supply of Ivory Soap. On Elba.

The numbers ain’t good

Author: Barrett Rainey

From time to time, I’m sternly criticized by a reader or three – and an occasional friend – that the musings usually found within these digital pages are too anti-Republican. I’m accused, not necessarily of being a Democrat in journalist’s clothing, but of just not giving support to things GOP. Not finding the good, as it were.

Well, there’s some truth to that last criticism. Trouble is, my critical GOP friends, there’s not much Republican “good” tidings where most of us Americans are these days. We’re just not supporting things Republican. By large numbers.

A new Pew Research poll out this week is the best scientific evidence to date that the “Grand Old Party” is in disfavor on every single issue of national importance. All of ‘em! The statistics are overwhelming.

Taxes and the deficit. The Democrat proposal of a combination of spending cuts and tax increases is supported by 76% across the board. Republicans want only cuts and that gets the support of just 19%.

Raising the minimum wage to $9.00 an hour? Support is 71% by all but only 50% by Republicans. Climate change. More than 54% say the most important step to take is developing alternative energy sources (what Democrats want) versus 34% expanding production and drilling more (what Republicans want.)

Gun control. Americans favor new gun legislation 67%-29%. Specifically, expanded background checks 83%-15% – assault weapons ban 56%-41%. Those numbers find Republican and NRA oriented Democrat members of Congress on the losing end on all counts.

Pew sampled immigration. Border security and a path to citizenship – Democrat positions – favored by 47%. The GOP’s stand of prioritizing only enforcement got 25% and on citizenship opportunities 25%. And today’s Republican official position on eventual citizenship consists only of some sort of ill-defined second-class status.

But we’re not done yet. If you re-read these numbers, you’ll find one very startling fact: majorities favor federal government/legislative action on every issue. Every one! That concept – borne out by the numbers – is completely contrary to Republican positions. On all issues, most of us want federal government action. Now!

But, if I were a Republican campaign pro, here’s a result that would really send me straight to the bar. A new Bloomberg sampling this week gives the President a 55% job approval rating – highest in three years! Also, Bloomberg found 49% believe the President’s ideas to increase government spending in key areas are more likely to create jobs.

Finally, more bad GOP numbers news. Just 35% responding in the Bloomberg poll, said they have a favorable view of the Republican Party. Or, conversely, 65% don’t.

So, to the few who think I’m being anti-Republican – read ‘em and weep. What you see in the statistical samplings by both Bloomberg and Pew is a national profile of Americans wanting action on a host of issues – including federal government action – by overwhelming majorities. While Republicans filibuster, quash Democrat attempts to introduce legislation, make 35 failed attempts to repeal Obamacare, hold up cabinet nominations and judgeships, try to outlaw legalized abortion and close the federal government, Americans aren’t buying it. In big numbers!

There was a time – not long ago – when politicians began and ended the day with their noses in polling spreadsheets. While many could be legitimately criticized for shifting positions to keep up with the polled majority, at least they were responsive to where the rest of the country wanted to go. And what Americans were thinking. For Republicans, it seems, not anymore.

Now, a few dozen loudmouths – with no idea how government works – are putting sand in the federal gears while shredding decorum and our patience. They apparently don’t give a damn about the overwhelming evidence that exists about what we want done. In Congress – and far too many state legislatures – we’ve got obstructionists trying to run the ship(s) of state into the nearest dock. We’ve had far more debate on abortion and vaginal probes than legitimate action to create employment and nourish an economy struggling to improve despite government inaction.

The two polls cited here are more important than just a couple of new samplings. They are only the most recent. Over the last several years, others had very similar results. There’s a very big stack of ‘em. And – we’ve soundly re-elected a President who seems to be aligned with these distinct majorities wanting action. The messages “we the people” are sending to Congress and the statehouses are not hard to read.

No, it’s not that the musings here week-to-week are anti-Republican or pro Democrat. Taken in sum – and compared to what polling pros are finding – they seem to be pretty mainstream. None of these survey results on the key issues of the day are “within the margin of error.” Or even close.

What also seems pretty “mainstream” is that the national Republican Party is on a collision course with the rest of America.

A Pope’s retirement or confinement?

Author: Barrett Rainey

Like most of us, I was surprised when Benedict XVI decided to give up the big chair at the head of the Catholic table for – when compared to most others who’ve held the job – “early” retirement. Over the centuries, many Popes held on long past their abilities to fulfill the demanding duties.

Benedict said factors of deteriorating physical and mental health helped make his decision at this time. I believe that was part of it – especially since I’m a fellow senior – a few years younger – who’s already noted slower reaction times, aching joints and bouts of forgetfulness.

Beneath the cloak of secrecy that surrounds top officialdom of the Catholic Church, much of what goes on there is hidden from the rest of us mortals. When elected, Benedict said he wanted more transparency in Vatican affairs. Based on how little public access to Vatican affairs has changed in eight years, my guess is he found that goal more difficult to achieve than he’d imagined. Though a long-time participant in top-level matters of the Church – certainly experienced in its operation – he likely had a similar reaction American politicians have after being elected President. To really know the job, you have to be one.

But now it seems there may be more to the retirement of Cardinal Ratzinger than the infirmities of old age. Serving in many offices of Catholic leadership, he achieved some things. But he’ll fade into retirement and into the history of Catholicism a flawed personality. For him, the afterglow will be tainted because of something he didn’t do. When he should have.

The job he held when elected Pope was head of the Office of Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith. Since the Inquisition centuries ago, that office has existed solely to be the doctrinal watchdog of the Catholic Church. As the name implies, all matters of doctrinal enforcement reside there. And the word “enforcement” is not too strong when referring to centuries of presiding over – and enforcing – the laws of Catholicism.

When Cardinal Ratzinger had the job, he faced many difficult situations – most of which were handled with authority. Most. Not all. During his tenure, the Church faced the outbreak of hundreds and hundreds of cases of sexual abuse within the priesthood. It had been rumored for years. Many, many years. But Ratzinger was appointed to the post at a time when the desk was stacked high with evidence. Proof abounded from America, Ireland, England, France, Germany and elsewhere. Even his own home diocese in Bavaria. Sexual abuse was no longer just “talk” – it was widespread, proven, horrible – and fact.

Also well-documented fact: Ratzinger not only personally knew of such cases, he actually participated in moving guilty priests from one church – or one diocese – or even one county – to another. And he signed off on transfers made by other Cardinals dealing with pedophile priests. He had the files. He had testimony. He had court findings. He knew. He could’ve undertaken major investigations to root out perpetrators and punish. But acting on sexual abuse issues to any extent? There’s no evidence he did. In fact, evidence exists that he knew and did not act forcefully.

Belying the news the Pope just suddenly “decided it was time to retire” as his announcement said, is the fact that a new residence – just for him in his retirement years – was begun at Castel Gandolfo nearly a year ago. It’s on the grounds of the Pope’s summer vacation residence and is considered, under Italian law, to be part of the Vatican. Its own country. Fully private.

Now, this week, Reuters News Agency in Italy is reporting why that’s important. Quoting what it calls a “high Vatican official,” Reuters says spending the rest of his life on Vatican property “will guarantee security and privacy” for Benedict. The importance, according to the unnamed official, is he’ll be legally untouchable in the many sexual abuse investigations and court cases now being conducted all over the world. The rest of his life will be spent under the legal protection of the Vatican.

Cardinal Ratzinger worked his way up to the College of Cardinals over a long and distinguished career. He then conducted the office of Pope with dignity, honest labor and collegiality. But his term was short and has not been marked with signature accomplishment as much as some of his recent predecessors. Maybe – after John Paul II who died in 2005 – the Papacy needed a period of calm.

But as Cardinal Ratzinger – as head of the doctrinal watchdog of all things Catholic – he had an opportunity to make church history in the performance of his duties. And he did not. For that, he now requires Church protection from the law for the rest of his earthly life. Castel Gandolfo will be a prison – a confinement. Comfortable, yes. But confinement nonetheless.

“After Hurricane Sandy, we saw the hellish world gun prohibitionists see as their utopia. Looters ran wild in South Brooklyn…if you wanted to walk several miles to get supplies, you better get back before dark or you might not get home at all…nobody knows if or when the fiscal collapse will come, but if the country is broke, there likely won’t be enough money to pay for police protection…hurricanes, tornadoes, riots, terrorist gangs, lone criminals. These are perils we are sure to face – not just maybe. It’s not paranoia to buy a gun. It’s survival…responsible behavior…and it’s time we encourage law abiding citizens to do just that.”

That is a portion of the latest alarmist, racist and baseless rant from the NRA’s LaPierre. Filled with lies and race baiting, the nation’s ranking gun nut made these fact-free charges – and more – meant to inflame. To incite. Add these bloody words to the previous pile of verbal excrement from this false prophet.

Yet, nearly nobody in the United States Congress has stepped into the light of publicity to call this bastard what he is. Few condemned the groundless garbage for what it is. Oh, we heard of some who – off the record – said the NRA was going too far. We heard of some who – off the record – wished he would shut up and disappear. But only a handful put it on the record. And there were even some who said they agreed. But not “on camera.”

LaPierre is close to becoming a domestic terrorist in my view. His continued portrayal of a nation unable to enforce its own laws unless every citizen carries a gun is alarmism of high order. Rather than position himself and the NRA as defenders of law and order, he constantly invokes conditions of disorder and violence – of the need of every American to be armed. He warns one race of possible future violence to be committed by other races. He promotes visions of breakdowns in government and law enforcement – their coming inability to enforce our laws. He forecasts vigilantism to maintain personal protection. Rather than support the professionals who assure our safety under the law, LaPierre undermines their effectiveness by continually warning of their coming failure.

So, in this space – and in future spaces – we will posit the view that any member of Congress who does not publically denounce LaPierre, his lies and racist garbage in the strongest of terms – on the record – will be considered to be his supporter. The lust for NRA PAC money and fear the NRA will end employment at the public trough can no longer be shelter for those we elect. None.

LaPierre has taken the issue of gun ownership to dangerous extremes. Extremes the NRA never claimed in its previously honorable existence. He’s become a villain obsessed with his own power. His conduct and his words are outside the bounds of reasonable discourse on issues of gun safety and citizen protection.

Member of Congress need to publically disown him. And the rest of us need to ignore him.

Got an email from a friend the other day – a friend who tries my patience on a regular basis with right wing B.S. from the Internet. He doesn’t originate it. He just “passes it on” like millions of other folk. Most of the time, I hit “delete” and go on about my business. But this one got through. And I can still feel anger clear to the bottom of my old feet.

This latest spurious screed was meant to instantly alarm all who received it that “Obama appoints two devout Muslims to Homeland Security posts.” One of the reactions this specious piece of crap was supposed to stir up was “My God, we’ve got Muslims in key government places.” The other – as so many of them have been the last several years – was to perpetuate “I-hate-Obama-no-matter-what-he-does-because-he’s-not-really-our-president-and-just-look-at-what-he’s-done-now!”

Funny, those are not the reactions such garbage creates in me. Or, most others I know. No, we feel revulsion. Disappointment. Shame. Anger. Emotions you feel when someone of otherwise obvious intelligence does something really stupid and really hateful without thinking.

The gist of this phony alarmist missive was that two men of Muslim heritage and faith had been appointed to key jobs in the Department of Homeland Security. Kareem Shora – born in Damascus, Syria, and Exec. Director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee – is now a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council. The other fella, Arif Alikhan, son of Pakistani immigrants and a seven year federal prosecutor in California – then Los Angeles Deputy Mayor of Homeland Security since 2006 – is now Asst. Secretary for Policy Development for Janet Napolitano.

At this point, I could take several paragraphs to describe educational and professional accomplishments of both men. Suffice to say, they’re two excellent examples of citizenship, educational and personal achievement who’ve made outstanding contributions to the old U.S. of A. in many ways.

The email from my friend charged – among other things – “Devout Muslims being appointed to critical Homeland Security positions? Was it not men of the “Devout Muslim Faith” that flew planes into U.S. buildings not too long ago? What the heck is this president thinking?”

Well, for openers, I’d guess the president was “thinking” nothing about these appointments made by a cabinet secretary with the power to do so. I honestly doubt the thousands of appointments made by cabinet secretaries cross his desk. And, if he did “think” about it, he probably told the Homeland Security Secretary “good job.”

No, the real purpose of this email was to inflame. It was meant to criticize a president – of mixed race – that the originator of this crap hates and can’t accept as a twice duly-elected head of this country. It was meant to ridicule, anger and divide. It’s been passed on millions of times. By people of little to no real intelligence.

Thousands of people – if not millions – are trying to create – then perpetuate – an anti-Muslim fever in our land. They want the rest of us to join them in their mental cesspool of racism, fear and ignorance. As we did in 1942. 1942? Yes, 1942. That was the year Idaho’s Senator Borah and others whipped the then-ignorant, racist, supremacist fury against Americans of Japanese ancestry. They pounded the drums of “true Americanism” and told us these innocents – most of whom were born in this country – were “seditionists who would attack us in our homes on orders from Japan.” They would “murder us in our beds.”

So, we rounded them all up – especially in the West – and herded them into “internment camps.” Prisons, actually, with barbed wire and armed guards to make sure they stayed there so Emperor Hirohito couldn’t order them to kill us. It brought the greatest shame to this country in the last 250 years. Racist. Ignorant. Crowd-lust appealing to our lowest instincts.

I lived through that Japanese-American tragedy. I had little friends literally carried kicking and screaming out of my grade school classroom by armed men. I can still see the sight and hear the screams. It was terrifying. It was racist to the core. It was national ignorance. It was a national disgrace. And it was WRONG!

Now, several generations later, the voices of hate are being heard again. We’re being told to fear all things Muslim – to not trust them – to disperse them – to separate them from the rest of us “Amuricuns.” Spelling deliberate.

That email this week from my friend was “exhibit A.” It was meant to undermine the president while attempting to create fear and loathing for an entire group of Americans. Other Americans. The intent was not hidden. Nor were the racial messages. Fear. Suspicion. Distrust. Anger. Hate.

We cannot – we MUST not – go back to that time of national disgrace because of a few idiots trying to stampede the rest of us. We need to hit the “delete” button more often. I know I will.

Oh, one more thing. Those two Muslim-Americans named in that “urgent” and hateful email? The ones now in positions of authority at Homeland Security? The official appointments that pose a great danger to us all? Mr. Shora was appointed June 5, 2009, and Mr. Alikhan’s was effective April, 2009. Four years ago! That’s how long that garbage has been on the I-net!

BREAKING NEWS: Karl Rove Outed

Author: Barrett Rainey

I’ve long believed Karl Rove is a secret agent, probably on the payroll of – and operating secretly for – the Democratic National Campaign Committee. I’ve been reluctant to blow his cover because he’s obviously been effective at electing Democrats and confusing the hell out of Republicans for so long. But now, he’s very close to being forced to “come out” as it were. So the game is up.

I’m beginning to actually feel sorry for my Republican friends. They belong to a fine old Party – the “Party of Lincoln,” you know – with a long history of laudable accomplishments. They’ve produced some excellent officeholders who’ve made significant contributions to the nation’s welfare for more than 150 years. The GOP provided leadership in hard times, cared for those who needed a hand up and was a stabilizing force when the country faced dangers. You remember that Republican Party, don’t you? The one we had before the one we have?

In many ways, Rove has been the most effective – and most destructive – mole any political party has ever had. He first went under cover for the Democrats in the 1990’s, gaining the confidence of G. Bush Junior in Texas. In no time at all, he was little George’s most trusted advisor. There’s even a book about that connection calling Rove “Bush’s Brain.” He became so successful in the role that his mentor soon gave up thinking – politically. “Whatever Karl says,” he’d tell his staff.

Karl rode his Bush “horse” in Texas, then eight years in the White House. Pretty plush duty for a guy with no significant political life before the Bush clan took him in. Or, he took them in. Whichever.

From his suite of power just down the hall from the Oval Office, he operated all things Republican. Like a balding, smiling spider at the center of a large web hosted by the President of the United States. Talk about access for a guy who never previously had any of his own! Eight years. And Republicans were thrilled with their new “brain.”

Then after the Bush “horse” was put out to pasture, Rove had to come up with something to keep that national “brain” working for the GOP. So, using the unlisted phone numbers of billionaires he’d collected during his White House years – and aided by a tragic “Citizen’s United” decision from the U.S. Supreme Court – he built a SuperPAC. A couple of them, actually. And he conned otherwise intelligent rich people into parting with hundreds of millions of dollars. All those dollars – less Rove’s generous “expenses” – were thrown into the bottomless pit of trying to buy a couple of national elections. With some state contests thrown in where available.

Democrats pretended to be furious. “That damned Rove” became a rallying cry. Republicans bought it. Rove was thoroughly “in.”

Then the elections. And none of Rove’s horses won. Not one. More than $300 million down the drain. The rich folks who’d made fortunes wound up getting “skunked” and Rove got rich. The Democratic Party’s dream come true! Rove was inside and it was all working as planned.

It was about then I began to suspect Rove was really a mole. Any REAL Republican operative at that level would have had at least one victory to brag about. Something for cover. And wouldn’t have personally cracked up “live” coast-to-coast on Fox.

But it had to end. Not because he’d been so successful at separating billionaires and millionaires from so much money. No. They still believed in Karl. But a good scam – in the hands of a good mole – has to keep building. Sort of like pyramid and Ponzi schemes. He needed a new scam.

So, Karl announced he’d no longer back the Teapublican crazies he’d been creating and paying for. The ones he went out and recruited. No, those days were over. Now – now he’d turn that herd of billionaires and millionaires to more centrist candidates, moving just to the left of the nut crowd. He cut off the money to the Palins, the Walshs, O’Donnells, Angles, Millers and all the other wannabees. Left ‘em cold.

And the response to his decree? Anger! Threats! “TRAITOR,” they cried. From the very people he’d given public life to. People who were nothing until Karl Rove built ‘em. Wow! And the effect on the world of politics? The already split Republican Party is now split again! Not two but three!!! We’ve got the run-of-the-mill Republicans who still foolishly think they can change things, nuts and nuts-light. Three! Count ‘em. Three GOPs!

Even though his cover should be blown by now to thinking people, some of the more loony millionaires – and a billionaire or two – will continue to play the Rove schemes. They want a nation to run so badly they’re willing to reach even deeper into their huge pockets.

So much for story time, friends and neighbors. What Rove has effectively done is split the Republican Party so badly the in-fighting will keep the crazies at each other for years. In less than a week since Karl made his move, more far-right clowns have announced for Senate and House races while condemning him. Some of the heavier Republicans – Mitch McConnell for one – are being “primaried.” Primaried from the RIGHT!!!

National poll upon national poll shows a sizeable majority of Americans picking the center path on issue after issue. Spending, reducing the debt, access to abortion, Obamacare, gun problems and more – get us out of the extremes and move back to the middle. But Rove – I’m sure with the solid backing of Democrats – has opened the floodgates and “Teapublicans” are running far, FAR to the right. And eating their own in the process.

If ever there was a time for a Democrat to seek national public office, it’s right now. Karl has filled Republican waters with internecine blood and the far right Piranhas are starting the feast. On each other!

But Karl’s time is about over. His undercover work for the Democrats has been very, very effective. He’s taken Republican money by the hundreds of millions. He’s cost the party seats in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House. He’s siphoned away all those dollars and most of the staff from the GOP national committee. He’s split nutcase from nutcase and has them pitted against each other. And he’s done this all by himself!

But – maybe I’m wrong. Maybe he’s just what he seems to be. Maybe he’s really a Republican after all. Maybe he’s just who he says he is. Maybe Democrats just got lucky.

Turd Blossom. The moderate working man’s best friend!

Bet you’ve never thought about how your personal politics might be related to the brand of car you drive – or if that brand might be a reflection of your politics? I hadn’t either until I came across some research the major car companies are paying a lot of attention to. And there’s nothing like combining a guy’s two favorite subjects – cars and politics – to get my attention. is a favorite web haunt dealing with all things automotive – vehicle values, road tests, consumer reviews, government safety testing and the like. If you’re into cars, it can keep you digging around on the subject for a long time. But I’d never thought of it as a place to go for political or economic news. Seems it is.

Our “Big Three” automakers are totaling the numbers to see how well they did in 2012. Two key factors used to measure success are sales and market share. These are reliable – though shifting – benchmarks and the news is expected to be good. As far as it goes. But Edmunds has begun pointing out a third measure for a successful year. And that factor is not good for domestics. In fact, it’s troubling.

Edmunds researchers have found brands of the Big Three are becoming “regionalized.” Each may have a strong following and a sales lead in one area of the country while losing share in another part. In fact, core markets can be rooted so deeply that sales for any one of the three can go way up. Or drop way off.

Let’s call it the “Red State-Blue State” phenomena. State-by-state sales data strongly indicates cars made by the Detroit Three are largely Red State cars, popular with people in the heartland that vote Republican. Yep, it’s true. And imports, by contrast, do better in Blue States where the majority of voters are Democrats. Usually on or near both coasts.

“So what,” you ask? “Who cares?”

Well, the Big Three care. A lot. Because the news doesn’t favor domestic brands. Red states tend to be more rural, less populated and slower-growing than the rest of the country. The top 10 in order: Michigan, North/South Dakota, Iowa, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Indiana. They have in common stable or declining populations (except for North Dakota which is temporary), are mostly ignored by national media and have little impact on broad national trends.

Now, Blue States. Mostly import brands. In order: Hawaii, District of Columbia, California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Florida, Maryland and Washington State. Coastal states with higher populations (potential buyers) and more traffic. Smaller import cars sell much better than the Big Three.

Look closer. Check metro areas. Domestics sell well in Buffalo, Cleveland and Indianapolis – Reds. But imports beat ‘em in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, San Diego, Portland and Seattle. Growing areas. Also New York City, Washington, DC and Los Angeles – the so-called “media and opinion centers.” Blues.

Bottom line: If Big Three sales leads are mostly in stable or declining states or markets, there’s no chance for larger numbers. Stagnation or even decline will eventually occur. But the Blues, if they’re more upbeat with growing markets (populations) with better economies, market share – and thus sales – will continue to expand.

Of course, these are broad statistical findings and there are many exceptions. In our Blue State, I drive a domestic pickup and Barb drives an import built in this country. And I’m a registered Independent. She’s not.

But the Edmunds findings are statistically comprehensive and quite meaningful. When you’re talking in the millions of vehicles, they’re worth some really deep studying. And attention.

The terms “Red State” and Blue State” were conceived decades ago by an NBC-TV director who wanted a more vivid visual appearance on election night graphics. But, like so many words and terms in our language, they’ve taken on other, more important meanings. To you and me, we use them mostly to describe Republican and Democrat politics.

But to our domestic automakers, their meaning is directly economic. And the more red they see, the worse the future will look. Keep this in mind as you watch the next couple of national elections. Maybe you’ll want to re-evaluate your auto stocks.