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Dear Republican Friend

November 6, 2006

Dear Republican friend:

It’s a hard time for you now and the last thing you need is partisan needling from me. So I’ll try to be gentle about this. But the truth is, I want you to consider voting for your local Democratic congressional candidate. Here’s why.

If you value conservative principles of lower government spending and fiscal responsibility, your party has let you down. Our national deficit has reached historic highs, spending has gone crazy, and congress cranks out more pork than an Iowa barbecue cook-off. The president has done nothing to stop it.

If your thing is traditional values, I want you to ask what your party has done for you lately. Roe is still on the books; the Republican house leadership protected creepy Mark Foley, allowing him to do who-knows-what to kids in the capitol; and now former second-in-command of Bush’s faith based initiative office, David Kuo, is alleging openly that the White House is playing you all for fools and calling your leaders “the nuts.”

If national security and terrorism is what floats your electoral boat, let’s consider some salient facts. First, Bush has lost the war. That’s right, he lost it. Iraq is edging ever closer to full-on civil war and there is no end in sight. “Stay the course” is nice when you have a plan that works, but after three-plus years of things getting progressively worse, I it’s obviously time for a change. Generals are calling openly for a Democratic takeover of congress so we can “get this straightened out” and “have some oversight.” The Army, Navy and Air Force Times newspapers have all published editorials calling for Bush’s secretary of defense to resign. The National Intelligence Estimate says invading Iraq in the first place has increased – not decreased – our risk of terrorist attack here at home, in direct contradiction to what the president says. And speaking of terrorism, where is bin Laden?

I’m not even going to address key issues like health care, education and the environment. If those are your issues, you’re already voting Democrat.

Here’s my main point, Friend. You don’t have to join the Democratic party to vote for a Democrat. We don’t ask for any long-term commitment. Your party has clearly lost its way. Maybe you recognize my party has a better way, or maybe you just want to send the GOP to wander in the wilderness for a time, hoping it will return with a renewed sense of its real purpose. Whatever the case, we Democrats welcome your vote. And when your party has come to its senses, we understand that you’ll be on the other side once again. No hard feelings.

Think carefully, friend. Whatever you choose to do, I trust that you, like us, will vote with concern for our country uppermost in your mind.

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  1. I don’t like to post long responses on other blogs when I have my own. So here’s mine.


  2. I read TC’s blog response and echo the same sentiment. Scott, you forgot to mention:

    1) The economy is great, the jobless rate is the lowest in five years, GNP is growing faster than predicted, real wages have risen. You wouldn’t know it from the media. Seems like those GOP tax cuts really do stimulate business and personal spending despite the deficit.

    2) Here’s a few things I see if you vote Democratic:

    -Higher taxes, both corporate and income. The Democratic record over last 35 years speaks for itself on this topic, especially under Clinton.

    -No real plan to fight terror outside the US – let’s just wait for them to come and get us by beefing up borders, ports and homeland security.

    -A quick pull out of Iraq providing a great victory to the enemy and fueling more jihadist’s movements as well renewed determinism and membership to continue the terrorist movement against the US. Iraq under Islamic fascists would also provide an oil funded base of operation to train and coordinate these terror attacks. The Middle East terrorist have openly endorsed the Democrat plan:

    “The terrorists told WorldNetDaily an electoral win for the Democrats would prove to them Americans are “tired.” They rejected statements from some prominent Democrats in the U.S. that a withdrawal from Iraq would end the insurgency, explaining an evacuation would prove resistance works and would compel jihadists to continue fighting until America is destroyed.”

    I can go on, but I won’t – Although execution of the Iraq war was poor (the goal was noble), I really don’t see anything the Democratic party offers in exchange. They point out problems with especially sharp 20/20 hindsight, but offer little real, viable substance in solving the problems. Voting Democratic is not a message to the Republicans, it’s just exchanging one set problems for a bigger set of problems.


  3. Yeah, nice try. And I mean that. There are certainly some things I disagree with. But here’s my over all answer:

    While the current crop hasn’t done a lot for me as a republican, the option of letting the dems in power is much worse. The democrats have let the fringe nuts be their spoke persons and have criticised those in the middle . . . where I think we could and should work towards.

    To some points: For every Foley there’s a Studds. You make it sound like Foley represents all conservative values. Does Bill Clinton represent all the Liberal’s values? I doubt it.

    I wish the debt were lower. Spending is up. But the deficit is down and getting smaller, and the economy is good.

    While the war isn’t going very well, Bush’s actions are what I want over the inactions of someone Clinton. The dems have certainly not positioned themselves well with regard to the military. Mistakes have been made in Iraq, no question. History will be the best judge.

    I’ll address healthcare . . . I’m against a government plan. Education, I’m for choice. Environment, I certainly don’t want the likes of Gore dictating policy.

    As my vote is never a single issue decision, the way things are, while not great in some areas, are much better than what they could be. Again, if moderates had risen in the democratic party, I might think differently.

    Good luck tomorrow!


  4. Higher taxes, both corporate and income.

    Well, you have to raise taxes after what your party has done for us. You already spent the money! I say we put taxes on the wealthiest 10% of Americans back where it was under Clinton. That should cover things nicely.

    No real plan to fight terror outside the US

    I’d say beefing up borders and ports, implementing all of the 9/11 commission’s recommendations, reestablishing good relations with our allies, and giving the moderate Islamic world less of a reason to hate us, plus nailing bin Laden qualifies as a plan. And whatever you think of it, it still has to beat the hell out of the GOPs plan of invading a country that had nothing to do with terrorism, radicalizing moderate Muslims against us, blundering the occupation badly, then insisting that nothing is wrong while thousands of soldiers die and billions of dollars slip through our fingers. That’s not a plan to fight terrorism. That’s a plan to lose!

    A quick pull out of Iraq providing a great victory to the enemy and fueling more jihadist’s movements as well renewed determinism and membership to continue the terrorist movement against the US.

    I’m all for winning in Iraq. Ideas? Bush has none and your party isn’t pushing him to get any. I say elect some Democrats and put some heat on him. Maybe he’ll start by firing Rumsfeld and getting someone competent.

    The Middle East terrorist have openly endorsed the Democrat plan

    I’d rather capture or kill terrorists than poll them on who they like in our election. Besides, if we’re going to ask foreigners which Americans they’d like to vote for, why stop with terrorists? Let’s ask our allies, too. Hell, let’s ask everyone. It’s not just terrorists. I’m betting they all overwhelimingly go for us Democrats. Should we listen to them?

    The democrats have let the fringe nuts be their spoke persons and have criticised those in the middle . . . where I think we could and should work towards.

    That’s a unique perspective. Apparently you believe your party has been characterized by “moderate” proposals and bipartisanship? Whatever you’re smoking, I’ll have some.

    You make it sound like Foley represents all conservative values.

    It’s not about Foley. It’s about the house leadership who was told repeatedly about him and who yet did nothing until the media blew the whistle.

    Mistakes have been made in Iraq, no question. History will be the best judge.

    Iraq was the mistake. And then more mistakes were piled on top of it. We can’t wait for history to be the judge. It’s time we acknowledge that the current plan isn’t working. The GOP seems stuck. They need someone to put heat on them if they’re going to change anything.

    if moderates had risen in the democratic party, I might think differently.

    Again with the moderates! For your party, controlling every branch of the federal government as it does, moderation is but a distant memory. They don’t need moderation when they can do whatever they want. The last few years have been the GOP wet dream and look where it’s gotten us. We don’t need moderate politicians; we need a more divided government.

    I reiterate: true-hearted Republicans everywhere should vote Democrat tomorrow.


  5. Well, we can hash this over and over and over. I stick by what I said. Clearly part of the problem is your own perspective. That’s OK. A basic question would be . . . would one want to abondon their core beliefs and vote against their party for any of the reasons you stated? Quite simply, no. That’s absurd. Mostly because we on the right completely disagree with your position. But, for no other reason than the one I started with . . . while I admit to some discontent, the option is MUCH worse. Most republicans feel that way. We’ll never agree on the finer points, which makes the broader point rather ridiculous.

    “I reiterate: true-hearted Republicans everywhere should vote Democrat tomorrow.”

    You obviously don’t understand true republicans. As evidence by your open letter. But, I admit, I don’t understand true democrats. Particularly those on the far left.

    Still, good luck.


  6. I appreciate your candor and your good humor, Jimi. My basic position is that many conservatives may feel betrayed by today’s Republican party. They may wish to send their party a message: return to your roots or suffer defeat. The best way to do that is to send them packing until 2008. By then, they may have shaped up.

    Of course, most will not feel this way. That’s fine. But I bet some do.


  7. Well, this is half the fun, isn’t it? The best both of us can do is make our voice heard and vote. After that, it’s about working with who ever we wind up with. I don’t see division as accomplishing anything, though. And I think a lot of people feel that way.

    Whatever the results, we can always bitch and argue about it here.

    Have a drink on me!


  8. “I say we put taxes on the wealthiest 10% of Americans back where it was under Clinton”

    Let’s debunk the Democratic tax myth about the “rich” and who really pays the tax burden in this country:
    (Info based on IRS statistics thru 2003)

    The top 1% pay 34.27% of all taxes, earn 16.77% of all income and have a family income starting at 295K/yr.

    The top 10% pay 65.84% of all taxes, earn 42.36% of all income and have family income starting at 94K/yr.

    The top 25% pay 83.88% of all taxes, earn 64.86% of all income and have a family income starting at 53.4K/yr

    The top 50% pay 96.54% of all taxes, earn 86.01% of all income and have a family income above 29K/yr.

    The bottom 50% pay 3.46% of all taxes, earn 13.9% of all income and have family incomes below 29K/yr.

    The top 1% pay ten times more in taxes then the botton 50%.

    It is clear from these statics that the top 10% includes a big chunk of the middle class especially dual income families earning 100K/yr. These people aren’t rich, but let’s tax them more because that’s Democratic myth about the rich. These statistics really show who pays their fair share of the tax burden in this country – the middle class and rich.


  9. First, what taxes are you talking about? Federal income tax? State taxes? Payroll taxes? Sales taxes? Fees? Somehow all those other taxes, which fall lightest upon the wealthy, never manage to make it into stats like yours.

    Second, it sounds really impressive when you say that the top 1% pay 35% of “all taxes” (whatever that means). But you also have to consider that this top 1% holds over 33% of all privately held wealth in America.

    Here’s how the tax burden really breaks down. These figures include all taxes and everything we have to pay to fund government at all levels.

    Bracket Income Tax
    lowest 20% $10,400 19.7%
    second 20% $21,200 23.3%
    middle 20% $34,500 27.0%
    fourth 20% $56,300 29.8%
    next 15% $96,700 31.6%
    next 4% $201,000 32.2%
    top 1% $978,000 32.8%

    Here’s some data on who has the money in America.

      Total Net Worth
    Top 1 percent Next 19 percent Bottom 80 percent
    1983 33.8% 47.5% 18.7%
    1989 37.4% 46.2% 16.4%
    1992 37.2% 46.6% 16.3%
    1995 38.5% 45.4% 16.1%
    1998 38.1% 45.3% 16.6%
    2001 33.4% 51.0% 15.5%

    Now look at that and then tell me again how horribly unfair I’m being.

    I have nothing against being wealthy. I’d like to be wealthy myself! But I believe in progressive taxation. And I think there is a problem in any society whose income disparity between rich and poor reaches our current levels with no sign of stopping.

    And I don’t recall the Clinton years as being an excessive burden on the wealthy. Or on anyone,for that matter. So it’s hard to get alarmed about going back to those kinds of taxation levels.


  10. “what taxes are you talking about”

    You implied in your statement “I say we put taxes on the wealthiest 10% of Americans back where it was under Clinton” that you were talking about Federal Income taxes. The numbers I provided are for individual (non-corporate) Federal Income Tax filings provided by the IRS.

    “State taxes? Payroll taxes? Sales taxes? Fees? Somehow all those other taxes, which fall lightest upon the wealthy”

    I really don’t know how that can be. Other than FICA which the wealthy also pay, the other payroll taxes are paid by corporations. Withholding goes towards Federal and State income tax which is included in the Income tax statistics. When the wealthy buy the $60K car and the $750K boat, they pay the same sales tax as everyone else including an additional luxury tax. As a percentage of income, yes it is less than the average wage earner.

    “society whose income disparity between rich and poor reaches our current levels with no sign of stopping. ”

    Do you have statistics that show this disparity is greater now than at other times in our history? There has always been a disparity in this country, the same was said in the late 1800’s about the industrialists. I will agree that CEO pay is getting out of line compared to the wages of the people working under the CEO, but that’s a stock holder issue. This is a capitalist society, not socialism, there is no sin in being wealthy. How one chooses to support those less fortunate is another issue. As a Democrat, I’m sure you support a progressive income tax, stick it the rich while sucking up private wealth to support bigger government and social programs.

    The net worth statistics are a little deceiving since consumer debt is increasing in this country at an alarming rate and pulling down the net worth numbers. The baby boomers are the greatest spending generation ever and the deepest in debt. I’m not talking about the necessities, but the luxuries and “gotta have” items; plasma tvs, the biggest house on the block with over extended mortgage payments, multiple new cars, etc. The credit card companies and quick loan lenders extend credit cards and card limits and then reap huge profits on higher balance interest rates and fees. These companies have made it easy to spend beyond your means on disposable income items that an individual can usually live without. If credit reform was made an issue and succeeded, the lower 80% number would increase dramatically. I am surprised the Democrats have not made this a major political issue, since it affects mainly the middle and lower incomes and directly impacts future retirement income and people’s expectation of social security.

    The numbers you provided which included all taxes paid to fund government really highlight the fact that we pay to much tax in the country and in this state at all income levels. Let’s pay less tax and put the money saved in retirement accounts, reducing the dependence on social security. Smaller government is better. I hope you voted for Mark Green if you don’t like the state taxes and fees you are paying. Thanks for making my point.


  11. I really don’t know how that can be.

    It’s easy. When you’re wealthy, you don’t spend all of your money. Therefore, you don’t pay sales tax on everything you make. When you’re not so fortunate, you spend everything you have. That’s why sales tax is not as progressive as it might be. It falls lightest on the wealthiest. Likewise with fees, of course. Poor folks pay a higher percentage of their income in fees than wealthy people do. I think that would be obvious.

    Do you have statistics that show this disparity is greater now than at other times in our history?

    Yes I do. See this graph at Wikipedia, made from US Census Bureau data. Note how the lines get further apart over the course of the last 30 years.

    numbers you provided which included all taxes paid to fund government really highlight the fact that we pay to much tax in the country and in this state at all income levels.

    Do we? Compared to whom? Please name the nations of the world which pay a smaller percentage of GDP to fund government than we do. I would like to scrutinize that list to see how many of them have a standard of living we should aspire to – or if they are places we’re all glad we don’t live.

    I’m not so concerned with the amount of taxes we collectively pay. What concerns me is the fact that our taxation policies can and should be more progressive. Not so redistributive that it stifles incentive to produce, but not so flat as to let income disparity continue to increase while the nation “can’t afford” the kind of safety nets that the rest of the civilization has come to regard as a basic part of living in the modern world. That appears to be the situation we are in now.

    Smaller government is better.

    This only seems to apply when couched in a “don’t tax me” argument, never in a “stay out of my personal life” argument. In the latter cases, you’d be avoiding Mr. Green and all socially conservative candidates.


  12. I did find some information on how much of our GDP we pay in taxes compared to other nations. Suffice it to say we’re well below average. Notable exeptions would include Japan (with no military budget to speak of), and Mexico (hardly a country whose standard of living we aspire to emulate).

    See the data here.



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