With the midterm elections a mere week away every politician is out there marking their territory, but there are some fire hydrants that remain scent free. No one wants to own them. These subjects are toxic and plentiful.

I asked Psychologist Dr. Gary Penn to contribute his thoughts.

For the GOP the toxic list is long. Lets start with Healthcare. Two years ago the GOP mantra was ‘vote for me, and the first thing I am going to do is work on a bill to dump Obamacare’. As I recall the House voted 50 times to repeal Obamacare, they were like rabid dogs on the subject. Not a day would go by without some Obamacare rant from a ‘luminary’ of the Republican Party preaching doom and gloom.

On this cycle of elections I have not heard a peep on the subject. The Republicans hate Obamacare, but despite the rocky rollout seems to have become a moot point.


Groupthink is dangerous. The challenge is to become a thinker. What happened since the Affordable Care Act was implemented? Did any of the predictions that the Republicans made come true? You don’t have to be affiliated with a particular political party to know done of the dire consequences (death panels, increased payments, decreased care, etc) came true. In fact, the opposite happened. In fact, Kentuckian’s are thrilled with the Affordable Care Act! This is why Senator Mitch Mcconnel has gone radio silent on the issue.

We get the government we deserve. When we ignore the truth, we pay. Think about relationships you may have had. How many times have you been hurt when someone your trusted turned out to be a liar and a cheat. Weren’t there numerous signs from the beginning that the person wasn’t he or she presented themselves to be.? Pay attention!

If there aren’t any consequences for the lies that politicians make then they will simply keep on making them. The Republican stance on the Affordable Care Act has been an avalanche of lies. If the voters don’t meet out any consequences and Mcconnel is voted back into office then the citizens of Kentucky deserve whatever they get.

Another subject   verboten to talk about is Climate Change, they dodge it faster than “I am not a scientist,” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has said numerous times

When pinned down on a recent radio program he elaborated his answer to add “Some scientists believe it, and some don’t”.

As I am led to understand only 3% of scientists do not think that man is to blame. Maybe 30 years as a senator has addled the mans brain?

Senate hopeful Joni Ernst of Iowa recently said, “I don’t know the science behind climate change. … I can’t say one way or another what is the direct impact from whether it’s man-made or not.”

I have not been able to dig up a climate change comment from Sen Ted Cruz, but I am sure it would be….. “Well Simon I know the answer is to strengthen our borders and don’t let Climate Change in, if Climate Change makes it across the border it should be deported immediately”.


The Republican Party has taken on a cult-like flavor. Nothing is questioned. Everyone agrees. This is complete groupthink. Why in the world is Climate Change a political issue? What mental process do Republicans have to go through in order to decide that 97% of Climatologist are wrong? Based on what? Because Rush Limbaugh or Glen Beck says so?! Don’t these people have children and grandchildren? Don’t they care about the planet? Since when are facts and science irrelevant? Once again, a great deal of psychology is in play. It takes a big Jedi Mind Trick to convince yourself not to know what you know. Once again, I implore you to become a free thinker. As you might imagine, I am not a Republican but I’m also not a liberal. I once identified myself as a Republican by the Republican party as veered so far right that it has lost whatever identify that I once found attractive. The Republicans have lost their way. Look back over the last 15 years…Iraq, the financial crisis, the Affordable Care Act, and Climate Change…the Republicans are and have been factually wrong on all of these issues. For those of you who identify yourself as a Republican, wake up and take your party back. It has been high-jacked by religious and ideological hucksters who are making millions of dollars scaring the hell out of you and the more fearful you are the more stubborn you become, the more guns you want and the more countries you want to bomb.

Lets talk about the Democrats taboo list. It really is quite short. Obama, Obama, Obama.

Few candidates seem to want his help. Has he become a pariah with his own party?


Obama is not a terrific salesman. He connects to the head, not the heart. He is a big thinker. The facts of his presidency aren’t so bad. The economy is much better. We are out of two wars. Our country is far better off today than it was 6 years. Ago. The Democrats are playing not to lose. They are showing weakness and this is exceptionally unattractive to the American public. Unfortunately this is not new for the Democrats. Obama needs to man up and find his voice. He’s like the abused spouse who repeatedly says; “Please, may I have another.”


There also are subjects that cross party lines. The most bipartisan and yet patisan ones being:

Tax Reform – no incumbent will touch that subject with a long pole.

Immigration – This is a thorny issue

Election Reform – the mere idea off curtailing Campaign Contributions has every politician reaching for a big bottle of Tums.


The issue, as always is $. Our democracy is in danger because money is taking over. Our country needs a Gandhi to lead. We need a citizen who has the right message and is able to deliver it in a powerful and compelling way. I’m waiting…time is ticking…when???

Dr. Gary Penn is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and author with offices in Brentwood and Encino California. His website is drgarypenn.com

Simon Barrett


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