23 October 2010: True Confession: I Once Voted for a Republican
It happened in the last decade in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Instead of pulling the big "straight democratic" lever, I had to use the little individual units, because my friend's younger brother, a fine person who happened to be a Republican, was running for district judge. So one small vote helped elect an ethical, intelligent, and fair-minded gentleman into office.
As a child, I liked Eisenhower's paternal grin and pretty face lots more than the odd-looking, far less charismatic Stevenson. And Estes Kefauver, what a weird name. The motto "I like Ike" also appealed to my nascent poetic soul.
But that's all beside the point.
Something soft is pushing us off the cliff we're hanging on to, for dear life. It's called soft money, made legal despite the McCain-Feingold legislation. Some other judges, whom we call the Supremes, made it legal. A vote in Congress this year attempting to require at least some disclosure failed.
This is the year of the newly hatched ducklings chirping around on bully pulpits, say the columnists--candidates without experience but with soft money and the backing of the Tee Party (they mostly play golf, don't they?) are threatening the fabric of the New Deal and the Great Society by assembling a gag squad to stifle its latest incarnation, Obamacare.
Obamacare doesn't have the punch of its predecessors, but in the correct hands could acquire more clout. Part of a large phonebank today, I reminded Democrats on their answering machines how miserable it will be to watch Tea Partiers on C-Span savage the health care legislation. Cable television pays for C-Span, but we pay all these prime movers. Think about it. We pay John McCain's salary, and Hillary Clinton's. We pay.
But let's not get off the subject too entirely.
The phonebanks are swelling with volunteers. In a month, these stalwart souls have tipped the statistics in the right direction, so that many of the battles are edging closer. "You don't want to have to abide more disputes and recounts because results are too close," I also chided those Obama voters from 2008 in Ohio's spotlighted sixteenth district.
"If we keep on trucking for another solid nine days, we may acquire a few more precious, indispensable percentage points," and how profoundly that will impact the future of this country.
It's as if little David stumbled and Goliath is tromping toward him, with a glittering grin of rotten teeth.
Could we have imagined the Senate without Ted Kennedy? What chagrin he would feel to see Harry Reid, Barney Frank, Russ Feingold, and Barbara Boxer floundering. Chris Dodds is stepping down. Robert Byrd died. John Murtha died. Maxine Waters and Charlie Rangel are being pushed toward the guillotine. I picture some sort of political cartoon I'm incapable of drawing: the money launderers versus the launderers? A group of ugly rats eating away at the base of the Statue of Liberty, the Titanic just struck by the iceberg? A bunch of dudes in tuxedoes, their chauffeured limos parked waiting for them as they pickpocket homeless people huddled in doorways after hours? Carting off their filthy plastic tarpaulin, their supermarket carts?
I'm getting carried away.
How could anyone but a millionaire Republican want Jim Renacci to replace John Boccieri in Ohio's sixteenth district--a millionaire car dealer who wants to ship more Ohio jobs overseas and was sued by former employees whom he refused to pay?
Boccierri himself opposed Obamacare until a constituent phoned him to say they could no longer afford to pay for health insurance. Now, Boccieri's mother survived cancer because she was adequately insured. I wrote a blog entry saluting him for changing his position after that telephone call, even at the risk of losing office come November. (See Words, UnLtd., March 19, 2010--"Read This and Weep.")
Let's hope there's no more crying over this brave Congressman.