Editor's Note: See David Swanson's article, In Defense of Robert Wexler, for another take on Rep. Wexler.
On December 12th of 2007, I made a mistake. This evening, for an hour I made the same mistake. I won’t make it again. I promise you that Mr. Wexler.
How long did you think you could get away with this little game of yours? Did Eric Johnson come to you one day after Kucinich put forward HR 333 to impeach Cheney, and say “hey, there’s some good numbers here from this impeachment thing. Now how can we ride on this for awhile?” Is that what he said, Robert? No wonder you pay him $120k a year + (and no wonder people say government is bloated. A Chief of staff for a congressman getting paid that kind of money while you guys up the minimum wage $2 per hour over three years.), or was it your idea to ride the courage and the coat-tails of a real representative back into office?
Today I got a phone call that professed to be a conference call on impeachment with Robert Wexler. So I listened in and took notes on what he said, like an idiot.
You see, on Dec. 12th 2007, I wrote a little article about Wexler’s strange “petition” that consisted of three sentences. Three. It was on a newly set-up website where you could “sign” the petition. But there were some strange things about it.
“His site for the petition is teamed with a contribute link where you can contribute to his upcoming re-election bid. In fact, signing the petition also signs you up to support his re-election. And you can’t see the actual petition, except for those three sentences; once you sign it takes you to a thank you page and offers you a chance to contribute.”
Right off the bat I noticed that his petition site had a “contribute” tab at the very top. Contribute to what you might ask? Contribute to his campaign fund, that’s what.
So I wrote the article based on the idea that no one should try to make money off of something that Kucinich started and millions of people desperately want to better our country; to protect the constitution; and to save the lives of countless of our soldiers and the innocent cilivilians in Iraq.
Once you signed the petition (as I did) it “…(a)ctually it takes you to the “Join” page of his campaign website where they ask you questions like whether or not you voted in 2006 and whether or not you would like to volunteer for his campaign staff.”
I rightly pointed out that at the time Wexler wasn’t even a co-sponsor of HR 333, Kucinich’s question of privilege to impeach Vice President Cheney. I just checked, and he got around to signing on as a co-sponsor on the 11th of this month. 12 days ago.
Anyway, 20 minutes after that article was published, Eric Johnson, Wexler’s Chief of Staff, put up a comment on the site. It’s all still there for everyone to see. He told me that yes, the petition was 3 sentences long, but was connected to an oped that Wexler had written and was linked to the site. The Oped piece was a call for impeachment, but it linked back to the petition site, and therefore the “contribute” tab as well.
Nearly a quarter of a million people signed that “petition” (you want to see what a petition looks like? Here’s one The Petition to Replace Pelosi as Speaker of the House (4 pages legal definitions, somewhat passionate language, and no DONATE link anywhere (in fact many people have felt so strongly about it they have asked to contribute, and I have respectfully declined their offers. Money is too hard to come by these days, and their signatures are MORE than enough.) I repeat: “No DONATE page anywhere”.
But, I have to admit, though I thought it strange that Johnson would happen across my little site so quickly, I listened to his argument, and posted his comments into the body of the article giving them full opportunity to make their case.
That was my mistake. It won’t happen again.
I have recently received several letters from Wexler about impeachment. He is not taking much of a hard-line with the House leadership though. He claims this is their obligation and their duty and that there is nothing more important than this bill. And at the bottom of every one of those letters is the same big DONATE link button.
However, I would like to point out that he is also a co-sponsor of House Resolution 362, otherwise known as the Naval Blockade of Iran Bill, which demands that the White House use all possible options to block refined gasoline from entering Iran. There is a very valid argument that this may give the Bush administration just the edge it needs to provoke an attack on Iran before the election. Either way, Iran is not building nuclear weapons, and to punish the people of Iran, who helped us in the attack on the Taliban and the search for Bin Laden, is not the democratic way to go.