Since the Native Americans first dined with the Pilgrims, Thanksgiving has been a time for awkward dinner conversation, while giving thanks for the good things in life—like Tofurky, Mitt Romney pumping his own gas, and pumpkin cheesecake.
This year, you have to have a little sympathy for your Republican family members. Not only did they lose, they lost after nominating a guy they never liked because they thought he could win. For this reason they’ll be extra agitated and prone to ranting.
The best advice is probably to avoid talking politics until at least dessert—if at all possible. Then if you get seriously annoyed, you can make a clean escape without upsetting grandma. But if your right-wing relatives want to treat you like Colmes to their Hannity and demand a debate, you should be armed with a few facts that will at least get them thinking.
1. In the past three years, the deficit has fallen faster than in any three-year stretch since World War II.
Republicans do a nice job of scaring people about the deficit. But they’re in denial of a few basic facts. The deficit President Obama inherited was over $1 trillion—entirely the result of President Bush’s policies combined with the cost of the wars and the bad economy. Yes, President Obama continued the Afghanistan War and temporarily extended the Bush tax cuts for the rich—two of the only Obama policies the Republicans endorsed. Still, the deficit is shrinking fast. “From fiscal 2009 to fiscal 2012, the deficit shrank 3.1 percentage points, from 10.1 percent to 7 percent of GDP,” according to Investors’ Business Daily.
2. The U.S. recovery has been one of the best in the world.
Since the financial crisis began on Wall Street and spread across the globe, America’s recovery has been frustrating but it is still the “sole bright spot of the world.” Meanwhile, Europe has fallen into recession after dramatic spending cuts made worse by the uncertainty of their weak monetary union. Individual states united by a common currency making their own decisions, along with huge spending cuts, sounds exactly like the Republican agenda. Aren’t you glad we didn’t go along with that?
3. The GOP is the food-stamp party.
Yes, most counties where food-stamp consumption is growing vote Republican. The states that contribute the most federal taxes almost all vote Democratic, while all of the lowest tax-contributing states vote Republican. Despite preaching personal responsibility, the GOP encourages food-stamp consumption by cutting education and cracking down on unions that ensure workers earn a living wage. Yes, about 40 percent of those on food stamps work, but don’t earn enough to get off assistance.
4. Ronald Reagan socialized medicine in the United States.
Democrats love to point out that after Ronald Reagan cut federal taxes drastically, he raised them over and over. He also compromised with Democrats before Republicans discovered that was explicitly forbidden in the Bible. But most Republicans don’t know that one of the reasons our health care system is the most expensive in the world (while 30-40 million Americans remain uninsured) is because Ronald Reagan signed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, which mandates that no emergency room may turn a patient away because he or she cannot pay. When that he or she cannot pay, guess who does? Romneycare was the first attempt to do away with this “free rider” system. And guess what Romneycare became?
5. America creates more jobs when a Democrat is in the White House.
And here’s some good news to cheer your crazy Republican uncle. He’s probably oblivious to the fact that the housing market is recovering dramatically. Housing starts are at a four-year high and home prices leapt last month, again. If that doesn’t still him, you may to defer to the favorite fact of the Secretary of Explaing Sh*t, Bill Clinton:
In the 51 years since President Kennedy took the oath of office, Republicans have had 28 years in the White House; Democrats have had 23. In the same half-century, the economy has produced 66 million private-sector jobs—42 million of them under the Democrats, 24 million under the Republicans.
You don’t need to be Nate Silver to know who you’d rather have in the White House.
And if all that doesn’t work, just remind them that there’s still hope for the GOP—and her name is Sarah Palin.