Why I Wouldn't Want To Be a GOP Voter Right Now

Incensed by Obama, frustrated with the cowboys in Congress: What's a conservative voter to do?

The Republican primary pool is starting to take shape, and GOP voters are none too impressed. A new poll shows that in the bellwether state of Ohio, only Mitt Romney and possibly Rick Perry have a shot at catching up with Barack Obama in 2012. A strange thing has happened: Independents are approving less of Obama's performance, but are more committed to voting for him. And it's because the selection of GOP candidates is just not doing it for people.

Put yourself in the typical Republican voter's shoes: he's been hearing for almost three years that Barack Obama is a radical leftist, socialist, unpatriotic, big-government, spendy Muslim president who needs to be stopped. Like the rest of the country, he's incredibly pissed that he sees friends and family losing their jobs. He's had to accept a pay cut and watch his daughter take on thousands of dollars in debt just to go to school. And Obama has presided over all of this. Nothing has gotten better—in fact, he keeps hearing it's gotten worse. He nodded vigorously when Mitch McConnell proclaimed that his number one goal was to make Obama a one-term president.

Yet he's disgusted with the stalemate in Congress, and he, like half of GOP voters, blames his own party. He remembers being energized by a Tea Party rally in his hometown of West Palm Beach, and he cast his vote for the defiant, tough-as-nails Allen West. But he's having buyer's remorse over some of the cowboys in the House—why did they have to put our country in jeopardy like that last month? Suddenly he agrees with some of his friends that the Tea Party isn't the answer.

He watched the Republican debates on television last week, and he and his wife cheered when Michele Bachmann defended her pristine conservative record against Tim Pawlenty's attacks. But secretly he was thinking, "That's the kind of thing that created the debt crisis." And the government shutdown business, too, come to think of it. He hates to admit it, but when Obama promises to "put politics aside," he wishes he heard more of that sentiment from his own party.

Can you blame GOP voters like this one for being discouraged so far? Voters want it both ways: a committed conservative who will also be able to beat Obama...and then govern effectively, not just stubbornly. But nobody wins primary elections by vowing to compromise, and Bachmann, Perry, and Ron Paul have extreme right-wing records that will make it tough to bridge the divide if they are elected president. Mitt Romney, meanwhile, just doesn't seem to be different enough from the status quo—he signed a universal health care law, for God's sake!

Bu what all voters know deep down is that compromise is a necessary evil to get anything done, no matter how angry they are at the current administration.

photo (cc) by Flickr user kristin_a


Looking back, the year 1995 seems like such an innocent time. America was in the midst of its longest streak of peace and prosperity. September 11, 2001 was six years away, and the internet didn't seem like much more than a passing fad.

Twenty-four years ago, 18 million U.S. homes had modem-equipped computers, 7 million more than the year before. Most logged in through America Online where they got their email or communicated with random strangers in chat rooms.

According to a Pew Research study that year, only 32% of those who go online say they would miss it "a lot" if no longer available.

Imagine what those poll numbers would look like if the question was asked today.

RELATED: Bill and Melinda Gates had a surprising answer when asked about a 70 percent tax on the wealthiest Americans

"Few see online activities as essential to them, and no single online feature, with the exception of E-Mail, is used with any regularity," the Pew article said. "Consumers have yet to begin purchasing goods and services online, and there is little indication that online news features are changing traditional news consumption patterns."

"Late Night" host David Letterman had Microsoft founder and, at that time the richest man in the world, on his show for an interview in '95 to discuss the "the big new thing."

During the interview Letterman chided Gates about the usefulness of the new technology, comparing it to radio and tape recorders.

Gates seems excited by the internet because it will soon allow people to listen to a baseball game on their computer. To which Letterman smugly replies, "Does radio ring a bell?" to laughter from the crowd.

But Gates presses Letterman saying that the new technology allows you to listen to the game "whenever you want," to which Letterman responds, "Do tape recorders ring a bell?"

Gates then tells Letterman he can keep up with the latest in his favorite hobbies such as cigar smoking or race cars through the internet. Letterman shuts him down saying that he reads about his interests in magazines.

RELATED: Bill Gates has five books he thinks you should read this summer.

The discussion ends with the two laughing over meeting like-minded people in "troubled loner chat room on the internet."

The clip brings to mind a 1994 segment on "The Today Show" where host Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric have a similar discussion.

"What is internet anyway?" an exasperated Gumball asks. "What do you write to it like mail?"

"It's a computer billboard but it's nationwide and it's several universities all joined together and it's getting bigger and bigger all the time," a producer explains from off-stage.

via The Howard Stern Show / YouTube

Former Secretary of State, first lady, and winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, sat own for an epic, two-and-a--half hour interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show Wednesday.

She was there to promote "The Book of Gutsy Women," a book about heroic women co-written with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

In the far-reaching conversation, Clinton and the self-proclaimed "King of All Media" and, without a doubt, the best interviewer in America discussed everything from Donald Trump's inauguration to her sexuality.

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The healthcare systems in the United States and the United Kingdom couldn't be more different.

The UK's National Health Service is the largest government-run healthcare system in the world and the US's is largest private sector system.

Almost all essential health services in the UK are free, whereas in America cost can vary wildly based on insurance, co pays and what the hospitals and physicians choose to charge.

A medical bill in the US

One of the largest differences is cost. The average person in the UK spends £2,989 ($3915) per year on healthcare (most of which is collected through taxes), whereas the average American spends around $10,739 a year.

So Americans should obviously be getting better care, right? Well, the average life expectancy in the UK is higher and infant mortality rate is lower than that in the US.

RELATED: The World Health Organization declares war on the out of control price of insulin

Plus, in the U.S., only 84% of people are covered by private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Sixteen percent of the population are forced to pay out of pocket.

In the UK, everyone is covered unless they are visiting the country or an undocumented resident.

Prescription drugs can cost Americans an arm and a leg, but in the UK, prescriptions or either free or capped at £8.60 ($11.27).

via Wikimedia Commons

The one drawback to the NHS system is responsiveness. In the UK people tend to wait longer for inessential surgeries, doctor's appointments, and in emergency rooms. Whereas, the US is ranked as the most responsive country in the world.

RELATED: Alarmingly high insulin prices are forcing Americans to flock to Canada to buy the drug

The New York Times printed a fair evaluation of the UK's system:

The service is known for its simplicity: It is free at the point of use to anyone who needs it. Paperwork is minimal, and most patients never see a bill. … No one needs to delay medical treatment until he or she can afford it, and virtually everyone is covered. …

According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States spent 17.2 percent of its economic output on health care in 2016, compared with 9.7 percent in Britain. Yet Britain has a higher life expectancy at birth and lower infant mortality.

Citizens in each country have an interesting perspective on each other's healthcare systems. UK citizens think it's inhumane for Americans have to pay through the nose when they're sick or injured. While Americans are skeptical of socialist medicine.

A reporter from Politics Joe hit the streets of London and asked everyday people what they think Americans pay for healthcare and they were completely shocked.