Friendly Atheist Blog Questions Why Atheists Would Vote For Republicans Who Hate Them

A two party system will often leave voters with no choice but to support a party which they fundamentally disagree with in some areas. Gay Republicans have been a common topic of discussion. Hopefully this election year will lead to more questions as to how a middle class person could vote Republican. Today Friendly Atheist looked at atheists who vote Republican, supporting a party which hates them. While the post is generally right in questioning how any atheist could vote Republican, the post began with a false premise:

Mind you, I’m not saying there’s anything strange about being an atheist conservative, or at least an atheist fiscal conservative. Belief in limited government, low taxes, strong defense, a hard line on immigration, and any number of other conservative beliefs are 100% compatible with atheism. It’s normal that such atheists wouldn’t dream of voting Democratic.

Lower taxes–only for the ultra-wealthy. Most people will pay  lower taxes under the Democrats than Republicans.

Limited government–a party which supports increased government intrusion in the lives of individuals is hardly the supporter of limited government. Besides, the biggest growth in government in recent years has occurred under the Republicans.

Strong defense–compare Obama’s successes against al Qaeda versus Bush’s failure. Going to war against the wrong country does not provide a strong defense.

Hard line on immigration–ok that one goes to the Republicans. Nobody surpasses them in promoting fear and hatred of others.

There are many strong reasons why atheists would not vote for Republicans. These same arguments also would apply to secular religious individuals who respect separation of church and state. While not all Republicans hold all these views, they are common in the party. These include opposition to abortion rights, support for teaching evolution in the schools, opposition to contraception, opposition to gay rights, support for school prayer, support tax breaks for religious institutions, and the belief held by many Republicans that atheists should not hold public office.

There are essentially two things which Republicans really do support in office (as opposed to their rhetoric): 1) Reducing taxes on the ultra-wealthy (while being perfectly willing to increase taxes on the middle class and increase the deficit), and 2) Allowing the religious right to impose their views on the country as a means of buying their votes. This hardly leaves any good reason for an atheist to vote Republican, but a tremendous number of people (most not being atheists)  do vote Republican based upon their rhetoric as opposed to what they actually do in office.

News Stories Expose Romney As Pioneer of Outsourcing & Vulture Capitalist

The primary point in looking back at Mitt Romney’s career at Bain Capital is that his experience at Bain gave him no expertise regarding creating jobs or improving the economy as president. As Romney is avoiding talk of his brief career in government, it is inevitable that he will face further scrutiny regarding his years at Bain. Yesterday, The Washington Post (contradicting an earlier Post story critical of an Obama campaign ad) reported on how Bain Capital invested in companies exporting jobs overseas:

Mitt Romney’s financial company, Bain Capital, invested in a series of firms that specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to new facilities in low-wage countries like China and India.

During the nearly 15 years that Romney was actively involved in running Bain, a private equity firm that he founded, it owned companies that were pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories making computer components, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

It didn’t take long after this for Obama to call Romney an “outsourcing pioneer.”

Further in The Washington Post’s report:

For years, Romney’s political opponents have tried to tie him to the practice of outsourcing American jobs. These political attacks have often focused on Bain’s involvement in specific business deals that resulted in job losses.

But a Washington Post examination of securities filings shows the extent of Bain’s investment in firms that specialized in helping other companies move or expand operations overseas. While Bain was not the largest player in the outsourcing field, the private equity firm was involved early on, at a time when the departure of jobs from the United States was beginning to accelerate and new companies were emerging as handmaidens to this outflow of employment.

Bain played several roles in helping these outsourcing companies, such as investing venture capital so they could grow and providing management and strategic business advice as they navigated this rapidly developing field.

The New York Times has a report today which will add to the view of Romney as a vulture capitalist, not a creator of wealth:

The private equity firm, co-founded and run by Mitt Romney, held a majority stake in more than 40 United States-based companies from its inception in 1984 to early 1999, when Mr. Romney left Bain to lead the Salt Lake City Olympics. Of those companies, at least seven eventually filed for bankruptcy while Bain remained involved, or shortly afterward, according to a review by The New York Times. In some instances, hundreds of employees lost their jobs. In most of those cases, however, records and interviews suggest that Bain and its executives still found a way to make money.

Mr. Romney’s experience at Bain is at the heart of his case for the presidency. He has repeatedly promoted his years working in the “real economy,” arguing that his success turning around troubled companies and helping to start new ones, producing jobs in the process, has prepared him to revive the country’s economy. He has fended off attacks about job losses at companies Bain owned, saying, “Sometimes investments don’t work and you’re not successful.” But an examination of what happened when companies Bain controlled wound up in bankruptcy highlights just how different Bain and other private equity firms are from typical denizens of the real economy, from mom-and-pop stores to bootstrapping entrepreneurial ventures.

Bain structured deals so that it was difficult for the firm and its executives to ever really lose, even if practically everyone else involved with the company that Bain owned did, including its employees, creditors and even, at times, investors in Bain’s funds.

The Romney campaign’s prospects come down to convincing middle class individuals to vote for Romney despite the fact that Romney’s economic plans will increase their taxes and increase the deficit, returning to the policies of George Bush which caused the current recession. This comes down to voters developing a warm, fuzzy feeling about Mittens and closing their minds to the facts. Romney’s history at Bain, however, leaves him open to criticism which might erode his support among middle class voters who currently are contemplating voting for Romney, counter to their interests and the interests of the nation. The latest example can be seen in this new ad from PrioritiesUSA: