The following is the letter which I am sending to the Democratic leadership. It was not enough for me to just send it out. I wanted to be certain that it has a place somewhere in the blogosphere. I chose to place this here on Red State, because I have been considerably active in our red states with ranching and farming interests. In addition, as a column of mine (under my real name) elicited about 800 pieces of hate mail from fellow liberals, I figured this might be the less incendiary bet. I also wanted to be sure that it is documented in a public space — it’s not just “unAmerican evil mongering racist right wingers” who are fed up. Here’s the letter, edited down!
August 13, 2009
Chairman Tim Kaine
Democratic National Committee
Re: The self-indulgence of the DNC “mob” ad and the Democratic leadership
I am a life-long Democrat. A graduate of Rahm Emanuel’s alma mater, Sarah Lawrence College, I also consider myself a liberal. I am now organizing against the re-election of Nita Lowey (a Democrat) in Rockland County, NY. See this web site for a description of her infuriating telephone town halls and the disenfranchised Democrats in her district that resulted (as well as a remarkably clear and concise view of the problems with health care reform).
The democratically-challenged and politically inept response to those town hall protestors on the part of the DNC and the leadership was exasperating. You apparently viewed the town halls as a venue to make a sales pitch. This was not “dialogue” because you were not prepared to change or incorporate concerns.
The first disastrous town hall meeting that came to my attention offered viewers the staggeringly condescending Kathleen Sebelius – talking down to the protestors, tilting her head in impatience, whispering to Arlen Specter, answering in non-sequitors (“I am not in Congress” – entirely beside the point of the complaint.) The last straw was when she whined, “I have never seen Congress working so hard” – at a time when the American people are on their knees with work and worry! How cloistered can you possibly be? You were treated disrespectfully because your entire project at these town halls was essentially disrespectful
Then, we get the embarrassing and insulting “mob” ad. It’s political ineptitude is staggering. Who let Woodhouse run amok like that? In every way possible you denied President Obama any post-partisan credibility, and you demonstrated that we are not on the side of concerned Americans in the center, especially the elderly. What besotted self-indulgence! Independents, blue dogs, and even liberals like myself – all sitting at home looking for the mute button.
The American people are facing a tenuous economic and cultural landscape with an essentially unknown President at the helm. The Party decides to push through not one, not two, but three thousand page bills that the members of Congress have obviously barely digested themselves, let alone allowed the American people to digest. The complaint that I heard voiced most often at these town halls: “read the bill!”
I can’t believe that you are all so self-deceived, so cavalier with the health of the Republic, that the potential unintended consequences of both the cap and trade bill and the health care reform bill (such as it is ) don’t give you pause as well. What If? The What Ifs should scare the bejesus out of you. They are certainly scaring everyone else. What if employers opt to pay a cheap penalty and drop insurance coverage for workers, therefore, forcing us onto a public option? What if the public option forces a transfer of costs onto private insurance? What if the over-hyped green jobs pitch (even Paul Krugman and Rob Stavins don’t buy into that one!) doesn’t materialize quickly enough to offset the jobs lost due to cap and trade? What if the drag on an economy in intensive care is larger than anticipated?
Your best defense against all of those unexpected negatives is the brake of bipartisanship. Right now, it seems to me that the Gang of Six is working legitimately toward good centrist solutions and they should be given the time, support, and props that they need. You should want to demonstrate that you are fair, just and measured; that you are willing to do your due diligence, listen, vet, and listen some more.
Stop talking down to Americans! Stop pushing them too far! Stop treating them like the enemy!
Flabbergasted and offended,
(my real name)
Cc: David Axelrod, Kathleen Sebelius, Chuck Schumer, Nita Lowey, Nancy Pelosi, John Dingell, Harry Reid, Susan Collins, Kent Conrad, Cynthia Lummis