March 6, 2010
To the Honorable Dennis Kucinich
Dear Congressman Kucinich,
It was Winston Churchill who observed, "You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else." I think that it is apt to quote Churchill because Sir Winston spent over a decade warning his countrymen about the dangers of fascism. For his efforts Churchill was vilified in the press, and when he pushed for increased appropriations to build more radar stations and more Spitfire and Hurricane fighter aircraft he was called a warmonger. The press argued that Churchill was a politician in search of an issue and that Chamberlain was the true statesman, intelligent and wise, a man who kept a cool hand on the throttle.
You, sir, have spent the last decade in the House of Representatives and in that time you have championed human rights, workers' rights and constitutional rights. You have been an outspoken critic against globalism and Free Trade pacts and you have warned what would come from them. Then, even in the face of defeat, you have picked up your lance to begin again to champion the right of American workers to earn a decent living.
During this year of healthcare upheaval and rhetoric you have chosen the most simple and logical of positions, Medicare for All, except this wasn't a position that you took this year. This was a position that you took in 2001 when you proposed this program as part of the briefing for the Physicians for a National Health Program where you presented this proposal for a national, single-payer health plan.
You have championed the cause of peace; you voted against appropriations for war. You have steadfastly voted against wasteful military spending such as missile defense shields and space-based lasers, pointing out, I believe correctly, that we have much that needs to be done at home instead. You refused to be buffaloed by the past administration's scare-mongering tactics by voting against the Patriot Act and voting for bringing articles of impeachment.
To a great degree the media ignored your efforts or claimed them to be the partisan efforts of a politician looking for an issue. I think that they were wrong and you were right. An error doesn't become a mistake until you refuse to correct it. I have come to depend on you as one of a very few members of Congress with whom I still hold trust.
While the President was explaining that Wall Street bonuses were like athletes' bonuses you said the following, "Wall Street bankers have been lucky. They have been able to preside over, not create, record profits for their banks during these times because they have gotten record assistance from the government. Taxpayers are justifiably upset to see the financial elites pocket millions, while the rest of America worries about losing their homes, losing their jobs, and providing economic security for their families.
"It is noteworthy that with an estimated $145 billion in bonuses in the offing, Wall Street is not interested in using the money to create jobs, put it back in the economy, or to give to shareholders as dividends. The financial titans are taking the money for themselves. It is time for the Congress to temper the greed of Wall Street, and my bill, HR 4114, the Responsible Banking Act, would do just that. HR 4114 would impose a 75% bonus tax on the bonus pools of Wall Street institutions, creating an incentive to spend their profits to help Americans. This is not just an issue with banks that took TARP funds; this is an industry-wide problem that requires an industry-wide solution.
"Many on Wall Street and in the government would have us believe that the near economic collapse was a minor miscalculation; that Americans need to simply accept their losses and let Wall Street continue its business as usual. Congress now wants to discuss fiscal discipline. A good place to start is Wall Street. Let's show Wall Street that we will not stand by and let it reward itself with billions of dollars in bonuses for dragging our economy to the brink."
In 2008 the Democratic Party nominated for President a candidate with great charisma, a great orator who promised the American public hope and change. The American public was enthralled by the prospect after eight years of needless war, wasteful tax cuts and deregulation that created the greatest economic catastrophe since the Great Depression. Watching the inaugural ceremonies, who wasn't moved by the sea of Americans cheering on the National Mall? That is now the same number of Americans who have lost their homes to foreclosure in the last three months.
Our "hope and change" included a Defense Secretary holdover from the Bush administration and a Treasury Secretary from Wall Street. We were given a mortgage assistance program for troubled homeowners that is completely run by the same banking interests that created the debacle in the first place. The President's first defense budget increases military spending on par with Bush budgets. It calls for a spending freeze in other departments while the nation is in the depths of a new depression. In the same breath the President appoints a committee to look for ways to bring down the budget deficit while specifically including Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block.
The President's stimulus program was 35 percent tax cuts, and the Senate's new jobs bill that the President hailed as a great step forward is 95 percent tax cuts. Cut from the House jobs bill by the Senate was an extension of unemployment benefits, infrastructure programs, and state aid to keep teachers, police and fire departments staffed. Yet this is what our President calls hope and change and a great step forward. On every issue this President has capitulated to corporations and special interests until it begins to resemble a McCain administration.
I was raised in my father's house as a Democrat; my grandfather was a union organizer in the 1930s and my father worked in the Democratic Party for over twenty years. Because of this background I understand that Democrats do not always have to agree on issues. There is nothing wrong or disloyal in disagreeing with a sitting President of my own party. On the contrary it is proof of a vital democracy and right now it is our only choice other than capitulation. I am not ready to accept another Republican Congress but by the same token I am not ready to accept a President that runs left and votes right. If I had wanted a Republican I would have voted for one.
At a time when the issues and crises of the day toss our ship of state, the American public cries out for progressive solutions. The administration proposed healthcare reform and then pulled the old switcheroo and deleted the public option favored by 70 percent of the population. Left in is the first-ever mandate for the public to buy a product from a private company or face a tax penalty. This centerpiece of the administration is going to bring us a bloody nose at the ballot box in November.
Or, as Sir Winston said, "It is no use saying, 'We are doing our best.' You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary."
Our American nation is in great peril; the populace is rapidly losing faith in the institutions of government. They are losing faith in both major political parties. They are losing faith in the Republicans because in the face of policy disasters they propose more of the same disastrous policies. Yet, more to the point, they are losing faith in the Democratic Party because it has become too much like the Republican Party.
What is needed and what is required is a true Democrat to lead the party with Democratic ideas and ideals. A scourge for Wall Street and the special interests, one who understands, as Hubert Humphrey once said, "The President is the lobbyist for the American people." Most of the time we choose what we do in life and then sometimes life chooses us. I ask that you come in from the wilderness and make the efforts necessary to begin a primary challenge for the office of the President of the United States.
"Kites rise highest against the wind - not with it." (Winston Churchill)
Thank you for your time and efforts,
David Glenn Cox