I am sickened by polls indicating congressional Democrats will be further undercut in this year's elections. We need more, not fewer, Democrats to repair the damage done by 12 years of a Republican Congress and eight years of leadership by Bush and his co-ventriloquists Cheney and Rove. The injury to the body politic will take a generation or more to repair — two years is not enough time.
Studies in the '60s showed that, when ordered to do so by an authority figure, some test subjects were willing to fatally shock a person they did not know and could hear but not see. Republicans have been shown to respond dutifully to authority figures — that's how they maintain party discipline and stay on message. Faux News and ultra-right groups have long conditioned GOP voters (through cowardly bullies like O'Reilly, Limbaugh, Beck and Coulter) to pull the lever for Republican candidates, regardless of the pain and suffering it has caused unseen millions. This conditioning has hamstrung congressional Democrats the past two years with insufficient filibuster-proof numbers, and GOP tantrums have thwarted them at every step. But the facts are on the Democrats' side. To have an efficient, effective government, we need more, younger and less-wealthy Democrats with a real interest in public service, who won't abandon their constituents and principles when a book and lecture circuit deal are dangled in front of them.
If your doctor said, "Modern medicine is no good — bloodletting is in!", would you stay? When someone says, "Government IS the problem," should you let them run the government?
Take the lessons of history to heart and pull the lever for Democrats at all levels.
Mark W. Riley
John Brummett's column Sept. 16 regarding President Clinton and the angry amnesia of the Arkansas voters listed two types of voter apathy. However the article missed a very important category, Democratic Party members who saw a chance for change with Bill Halter.
For the last six years, a large number of loyal party Democrats have seen Sen. Blanche Lincoln betray what we consider core principles of the party and sell her vote to Washington lobbyists. After rubberstamping every action of G.W. Bush, she has continued to sell out the poor, the working class and core Democrats of Arkansas while appealing to the fringe far right and doing the back room deals of Wall Street. Our reward for seeking change within the party was to be labeled extremists; as if expecting the person who wants your vote to actually be consistent in their representation of your interests is "extreme."
I firmly believe that actions have consequences. Attempting to scare me into voting for Lincoln with a boogeyman Boozman will not work. The Democratic Party had an opportunity to field a viable and proven representative of the every-day Arkansan. Bill Halter would have stood up to the Wall Street, insurance and Big Oil billionaires so that Main Street business and middle class Arkansans had a voice in D.C. As a Democrat with a 38-year history of voting for Democrats in State and National elections, this time I will not be voting for a Democrat. Lincoln may win, she may not. Regardless, she will not get my vote.
And Bill Clinton, if you really wanted Blanche to be your senator you could have moved that fat, old bottom back to this state; Hillary doesn't need to live in New York anymore for her Senate seat. Otherwise, you're just an out-of-town carpetbagger with an opinion.
Mad about stimulus
I got mad when I saw signs promoting use of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in Independence County, specifically ones near Southside High and a new facility at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville. Such signs amount to taxpayer-subsidized propaganda. The Obama administration's obsession with using taxpayer money to get political credit for projects adds unnecessary expenses and bureaucracy to a spending package that's failing to spur promised job creation in the private sector.
I was shocked when I saw the stimulus package sign at Southside. There, the taxpayers' money was used to fund not only the new roof with blue paint, but also for free school supplies so low-income or middle class children can have them for free. But what about the jobs people need to get the economy going?
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