KATIE ZERR: Words change the course of history


The constant bombardment of information about the Fiscal Cliff and what it will do to the economy has put a damper on the mood of the nation.

As the nation waits for Congress to put aside its differences and work out a deal to avoid the Fiscal Cliff, the uncertainty of what lies ahead for our country weighs heavily on Americans.

This is just one of many political moves and decisions that have shaped our country this year as decisions made in 2012 will leave a footprint in history.

One of the most notable is the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the healthcare law passed in the first year President Obama was in office. Not only was this a surprise, the about-face of Justice John Roberts caused more than a ripple in the conservative community.

What could have happened if the Supreme Court had ruled against the healthcare law? Would it have been such a blow to the Obama Administration that it would have changed the landscape of the presidential election?

There are those out there who say it was the first of many decisions that cost Republicans greatly in the November election. Political pundits say it could have given Mitt Romney the ammunition to defeat the president.

The June ruling by the Supreme Court upheld the health-care law by a narrow 5-4 majority, and was as a sort of turning point for the Obama campaign, which had been struggling in the summer.

Other decisions made this year will be viewed as turning points in the county’s political make up and changed the outcome of a tight race for control of Washington.

One that stands out is the decision of Mitt Romney to tell supporters 47 percent of the country that don’t pay income taxes, are dependent on government, and believe “they are victims.”  He went on to say that group would vote for President Obama no matter what. His remarks at a fundraiser were video-taped and released to the public. In the video he said. “My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Those remarks may not have lost the election for Romney but added to his reputation as a multi-millionaire who was out of touch with average Americans.

Other notable decisions that caused a shift in the election and thus changed history include Rep. Todd Akin’s remarks on “legitimate rape” in an interview on Aug. 19. His explanation on his opposition to abortion may have added to the Republican Party’s struggles to win female voters. Akin was the Republican nominee in Missouri’s Senate contest. He said that pregnancies by rape are rare. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Akin lost his race against incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, who had been behind in the polls before his remarks. Obama won female voters by 11 percentage points, 55 percent to 44 percent in November.

Other decisions made during and before the race also changed the history of the nation, but one, the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in the Citizens United case, could have had the biggest impact. The Supreme Court ruled the ban on corporate expenditure on elections was unconstitutional and that corporations could give unlimited amounts to other groups to spend, as long as the expenditures were made independently from the supported candidate.

In 2012 billions were spent on the election by super pacs and made a difference in some elections, but not as much as previously thought.

The election of 2012 did change the history of the nation but also proved a point: actions and words are louder than the mighty dollar.

Hopefully, Congress will see the light and listen to the voice of the people this coming year and not just those who have the most money.

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