Vote

I had the pleasure of drafting Ella Ward’s final campaign email message (not counting a note about an election night party which we sent later). After a few changes, it went out as follows:

This has been a contentious campaign season for politicians at all levels, but President Barack Obama has endured the most outrageous accusations, dishonest attacks, and distorted rumors directed towards him than any other candidate that I can remember.

If the president is defeated next week, the United States will return to the economic policies that started the recession from which we’re recovering, social policies which would codify bigotry and discrimination into national law, environmental policies which would destroy our beautiful and bountiful natural resources, and national security policies which kept America engaged in seemingly endless wars while our number one enemy escaped retribution.

But even when we re-elect President Obama, he will need the support in Congress to prevent the kind of gridlock, distraction, and damage that his opposition has given us over the past four years. Randy Forbes has been one of the most obstructionist Republicans in Congress during his tenure. Randy Forbes is committed to defeating legislation that would allow the president to succeed, even if doing so brings discrimination and economic hardship to his constituency.

I will support the President as he works to keep America safe, beautiful, equitable, and moving forward. I will fairly represent the people of the 4th Congressional District in Virginia, not just the wealthiest and the most influential residents.

Opponents to the President and supporters such as Tim Kaine and me have been feverishly motivating their base to get to the polls this November. They have used fear-mongering about socialism, gun grabbing, terrorism, and economic collapse to scare their supporters to the polls.

We need you to counter the effects of the distortions and lies and vote for Barack Obama, Tim Kaine and me, Ella Ward, on November 6th – and get your friends and neighbors to do so as well. A win for Barack Obama, Tim Kaine, and me will be a win for truth, a win for fairness, a win for Virginia, and a win for America.

And, if you can help out at the polls handing out sample ballots, please call our office and volunteer.

Thank you, sincerely, for all you’ve done and will do to keep America moving forward.

Ella Ward

Mitt Romney, who once said

“The people of America recognize that the slowdown in jobs that occurred during the early years of the Bush administration were the result of a perfect storm. And an effort by one candidate to somehow say ‘Oh, this recession and the slowdown in jobs was the result of somehow this president magically being elected,’ people in America just dismiss that as being poppycock. And they recognize it as that.”

is now saying just that, despite Obama’s expert navigation through a perfect storm including the incredibly steep and sudden loss of jobs that he had to deal with when he took office, the financial disaster in Europe which continues today as the European Economic Union fails to solve its problems with right-wing austerity measures, and the most obstructionist Congress in recent history. This obstructionist Congress even blames the president for their own actions, including the sequestration which Paul Ryan encouraged and the downgrade of the U.S. bond rating which resulted from a Republican-led near government shutdown.

It’s time now to vote. There are more people in America who want Obama in office than who want Romney in office, but Republicans are considered to be more reliable voters. They are more likely than Democrats to be financially secure, to own homes and to have lived at the same address for decades. It’s easier for them to take a few hours off of work, to find a baby sitter, and to drive to the polls. They are more familiar with their polling locations and are more likely to know people who will be working at those locations. And they are fired up with mean, dishonest rhetoric about socialism, gun control, accusations that Obama is a Muslim (and it shouldn’t matter even if he was a Muslim because Constitution makes it clear that it shouldn’t matter, but it matters to the bigots who won’t vote for him because they think he is), lies about the economy, and about health care. And now they are fired up because of an eerily timed vicious attack on our embassy, one of very few during this administration compared to previous administrations, but one about which mean and crazy speculations are popping up faster than can be put down before Tuesday. They’re even blaming Obama for the results of Hurricane Sandy, a storm likely caused by climate change which Republicans want to ignore, which FEMA, an agency Romney wants to defund is handling as quickly as possible.

It might rain on Tuesday. You might be tired after a long day at work. You might have to drag the kids with you. You might have to walk. But if you do, you will be part of the most important election in decades. In this election we will see if slanderous attacks and crazy accusations are more important to voter turnout than the will of the majority of Americans. I’m betting on the majority but it’s no sure thing as the polls show a dead heat in the final days of this race. Don’t let this race pass you by. Be part of it. Vote.

Economic One-Liners

Imagine you have a great business idea. You run it by a few friends and they love it. You mention it to some very smart people and they agree that it will be a hit. But you have no money to start with, so you consider going to the bank. At this, your father snorts and says, “Borrow Money! Back in my day we didn’t borrow. We scrimped, and saved. When times are tough you don’t borrow and spend, you tighten your belt”.

No simplistic analogy can cover the scope of our economic situation. But I hope my little story casts some doubt on the one-liners that right wingers are trying to sell us as their economic policy, like “when times are tough you tighten your belt”, or “when you’re in a hole you stop digging.”

The truth is, sometimes when you’re in a hole you have to dig yourself out. Most economists seem to agree that we need to raise the debt ceiling. Even Republicans seem to understand how vital it is, which is why they feel emboldened to hold the debt ceiling hostage in order to force more of their draconian “Fuck the poor” policies. The wealthiest Americans remained wealthy through the Great Depression. Republican politicians have little to fear from the economic consequences that they’re willing to risk.

No matter what happens, Republicans will be able to keep their wealth and blame any problems on Obama. If they get their way and cripple the economy, they won’t say “Darn, our obstructionist tactics ruined the economy”, instead they’ll say “Imagine how bad it would have been if we weren’t there to keep it from getting worse.”

The economic policies that the president has enacted are working. In 2004, President Bush got reelected in part because we were in the middle of a crises and people said, “Don’t switch horses in the middle of a river”. Right now we’re in the midst of an economic crisis, but things are starting to get better. Let’s not take this moment to switch strategies and go back to the economic practices which got us into this crisis in the first place.

Most importantly, while simple analogies are important to help us understand complicated issues, remember that analogies usually leave out important details. Let’s not make important decisions on the bases of simplistic one-liners.