This will probably be my last post before Tuesday, November 4, Election Day. I think you know what it is about, and what I’m going to ask you to do. Vote Democratic!
Barack Obama for President
Of course, you know that I support Barack Obama and I am urging you to do the same. Obama is the only one who can bring the substantive change that we need to Washington, DC. That includes replacing tired and discredited ideological positions with pragmatic, evidence-based programs. Whether it’s health care reform, fixing the economy, or building a new green economic infrastructure, which will create new jobs and move toward solving global warming, Barack Obama and his running mate Joe Biden have already pledged to undertake these challenges. John McCain and Sarah Palin, in contrast, can only encourage their followers to chant “Drill baby drill,” as a response to our energy crisis. And McCain showed the country during the recent mortgage meltdown that he had no clue how to fix the problem.
And bad news on the economy hits our doorsteps every day. Job losses, businesses going belly up, credit and markets contracting. These are serious threats not just to our prosperity but to our national security. And they are not separate issues. If we can’t fix the economy, we are not going to be able to fund the troops and weapons systems we need to combat terrorism and keep us secure either.
Of course we must also end our involvement in Iraq, which has gone on too long. Despite the success of the recent military surge, we also must have a political solution to the situation there and credible diplomatic efforts in the region. Once again, John McCain and Sarah Palin have no understanding of the difference between those two necessities. They are not capable of fixing the political problems or conducting the diplomacy that that region sorely needs. Joe Biden with his extensive foreign policy experience and Barack Obama with his calm and respectful demeanor are the ones who can restore American honor abroad, and protect our security and our prosperity at home.
Gerry Connolly for Congress in the 11th
Closer to home, I am also urging those in the 11th Congressional District to vote for Gerry Connolly for the House of Representatives this Tuesday. This is not a vote for a lesser of two evils. Gerry Connolly is the right man for the job and would be even if Tom Davis were running again.
Under Connolly’s able administration, Fairfax County has been consistently rated one of the best run counties in the United States. Fairfax County provides a business friendly environment that has led to its continued growth and prosperity.
At the same time, Connolly has come up with innovative and progressive policies that have won him national recognition. He brought the Cool Counties program to Fairfax, supported green initiatives, and smart growth, which encouraged developing housing, stores and offices along Metro routes. Connolly has encouraged the growth of walkable downtown areas and supported the expansion of rail to the Dulles corridor.
Recently, in answer to the increasing mortgage foreclosures, he came up with a program for the county to buy some of the foreclosed homes and turn them into workforce housing for low income county employees rather than let them stay abandoned, driving property values down further. This innovative solution to a problem that plagues not just Fairfax County but the entire mid-Atlantic region, won him kudos from the national media. In addition to helping county employees, many of whom are first responders, afford housing in Fairfax, Connolly has supported a living wage for county employees and big box legislation that limits the growth of large super stores like Wal-Mart.
In addition to this, Connolly has stood up to the demagoguery of the anti-immigration crowd and not allowed Fairfax to turn into a laughing stock, synonymous with jingoism and nativism, as Prince Williams County has done. Connolly instead concentrated on anti-gang and anti-crime efforts. He sought to solve the problems that are caused by illegal immigration without demonizing the many legal residents of Hispanic and Muslim descent. For that he is to be admired.
In addition to running Fairfax well and implementing many progressive programs of which we can be proud, he already has ten years experience serving on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He will enter Congress as a capable and experienced public servant.
Judy Feder for Congress in the 10th CD
In the 10th CD, Judy Feder is a smart, competent Democrat who deserves your vote. She served in the Clinton administration, where she was appointed in 1993 to the Department of Health and Human Services. She worked to expand health care coverage. She also has worked as a dean at Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute. She is a scholar who is widely recognized for her work on ways to make health care more affordable. In 1988, she was Staff Director of the Congressional Pepper Commission, a bi-partisan commission on comprehensive health care. She's also worked at the Brookings Institute and Urban Institute on health care issues. Given her expertise in health care affordability issues, she is the perfect person to represent Virginians in the coming crucial discussion of health care reform, an issue that will be vital to efforts to expand health care coverage and get the economy back on track.
Mark Warner for U.S. Senate
Of course, Mark Warner deserves your vote for the U.S. Senate. He was an effective governor who worked across party lines to restore fiscal balance to Virginia when its previous governor – who also happens to be his opponent now – left the state a financial shambles with a $6 billion budget shortfall. Under Governor Warner, Virginia was named one of the best managed states by Governing Magazine.
Tom Perriello for Congress in the 5th and Other Virginia Races
Newcomer Tom Perriello in the 5th CD also deserves the votes of citizens there. Frankly, Virgil Goode has been an embarrassment to the good people of that district. It’s time for a change to somebody who demonstrates that being a person of faith doesn’t mean rejecting modern, progressive values including compassion, tolerance, intelligence, and knowledge.
I know less about the issues in the other races in Virginia but Glenn Nye and Sam Rasoul also deserve your votes.
Reject Gridlock and Republican Obstructionism
Some Republicans are trying to salvage what they can this year by making the case that if Obama wins, it would be dangerous to also give him a Democratic majority in Congress. What they are asking you to do is vote for gridlock. They are asking – hoping – that voters will ensure Obama’s failure by allowing four more years of a determined program of Republican obstructionism.
When the Democrats took Congress in 2006 – and took the Senate by the narrowest possible majority – the Republicans publicly vowed to block every initiative the Democrats brought. Their whole strategy was to force the Democrats into appearing to be a do nothing Congress. But nothing could be further from the truth. That truth was that Republicans consistently prevented majority rule.
If the Democratic Congress suffered low approval ratings, it wasn’t because the public hated Democratic reforms because there weren’t any. Between Bush’s vetoes and a Senate that couldn’t override them, the Democrats were never able to keep their promises. It’s time to break those obstructionists’ backs and return Congress and the White House to majority rule.
A New Direction
Republicans had their chance for nearly 8 years to show whether their ideology worked. It didn’t. It was a miserable failure that has left our country bankrupt. It’s time for a change. And it’s past time for new ideas that do work. But the only way to get them is for the voters to sweep Democrats into power and give them at least the same chance that was given to the Republicans. Let’s see whose ideas really do work and end the debate once and for all with evidence and accomplishment.
So Tuesday, vote Democrat. For every office.