This was a letter that I sent to Senator John McCain's office in Arizona Today
Dear Senator McCain
My name is Tom (name changed to protect the not so innocent) and I'm from Sahuarita, Arizona which is a little community just south of Tucson in congressional district number 8. In the last few weeks I've lost a lot of money from my retirement accounts, my kid’s college fund and my home value and I want to ask you some questions about the economy.
You and I have spoken before, years ago when I called your office about an active duty service member (my wife), who was concerned about the administration’s policy regarding the Anthrax vaccine and its use on all military personnel. You were exceptionally knowledgeable about the issue and you really seemed to care about what was going on with the people of this country. I felt lucky to vote for you in your last two Senatorial elections and I liked how you represented the people of Arizona in the U.S. Senate. I was happy to see you run for President in 2000 and I was distraught at the tactics that were used against you which eventually led to your defeat in that campaign.
I stood by and tried not to judge, as your positions gradually shifted away from those that you espoused before 2000 and I assumed that you were just making yourself more presentable to the Republican majority so that you could make another run at the Presidency in 2008. My family and I commented on how you had changed and why you made those decisions but we all agreed that you were trying to do it for the greater good, and that you were going to be our candidate come the next election.
I'm writing you today because I am concerned and that concern stems from what I see about you on television, and the Internet. I see you up on stage attacking your opponent and I wonder, where has the man gone that wanted to make things better? Over the last few weeks of this financial crisis I've watched you repeatedly question your opponent’s character, his patriotism and his honor. What I haven't seen you do is explain to me why we are in this mess and how you are going to fix it.
I couldn't understand why you weren't talking about the economy and its effect on people like me and my family. I've patiently stood by waiting for you to explain to me why my retirement savings, my daughter's college fund, and the worth of my home have all plunged in value over the last few weeks. Instead I've seen nothing but a steady stream of vitriol and anger from you about your opponent, Mr. Obama.
I decided to take matters into my own hands and reseach your policies to try and better understand what you believe in. My research turned up that you are a proponent of deregulation and supply-side economics, though I've not seen you use those words in public since the crisis started, I believe that there is enough evidence to suggest that those two ideas are the foundation of your economic positions. I would like you to explain to me, like I'm a child, exactly how the supply-side, cut taxes, borrow & spend economic policies that you have espoused throughout the years have made my life so much better.
I couldn't figure out why those policies alone would have gotten us to this point so I kept digging I'd like to give you an example of what I discovered as a likely cause for this mess and I'd like you to defend your position on the matter. What I found was that all of this somehow links back to the (now) second biggest bankruptcy in American history at The Enron Energy Corporation. You remember them, big energy conglomerate, became huge after deregulation, then imploded because no one was watching as they cooked their books and played fast and loose with the rules. Do you know who pushed for their deregulation and who wrote the bill that created the mess? It was a guy named Phil Gramm.
Now of course we have a much larger financial crisis and this one too seems to be spiraling out of control because of deregulation and a lack of oversight. I feel like we've been down this path before and I started to wonder who created the legislation that deregulated the financial industry and allowed these investment banks and brokerage houses to start making these bad loans, repackage them as shady derivative products with high market ratings and then spread those products throughout the financial sector. These little real estate bombs that are now going off all over the place and causing the mess that we are now trying to clean up. Where did the legislation that allowed this come from? I was sick to find that it was none other than Phil Gramm.
I remember Phil because he was your economic advisor at the start of this campaign. He opened my eyes to the hypocrisy of your campaign when he said that America was a "nation of whiners" and that we were just experiencing a "mental recession." That "mental recession" hit home a few months ago when my small business failed. His comment struck me as particularly callous and that is why his name stuck in my head. In case you can't recall I've found a video of the speech he gave and I've included it here:
Then just yesterday I saw your running mate onstage in California talking about Mr. Obama "palling around with a terrorist." It dawned on me at that moment that you too have some shady associations. I want to ask you why you are hanging around with an economic terrorist like Phil Gramm? It seems that everywhere this guy goes economic chaos ensues and you chose him to draft your economic plan? Is this why you aren't talking about the economy and instead would rather smear Senator Obama?
Frankly I don't really care what Mr. Obama has to say about the economy. I've heard and read his plan. I don't know that I'm in love with his plan, but at least he has a plan. I want to hear what you have to say about the economy, what is your economic plan?
Why are you and your running mate standing on stage and talking about Bill Ayers when my retirement acount lost 40% of its value this week? Did Bill Ayers blow up my retirement account, is that where all of my life savings went?
Why is your campaign spending a single minute bad-mouthing Jeremiah Wright? Did he cause my daughter’s college fund to disappear overnight? If so where did he take it?
When are you going to start talking about fixing the largest problems in America today? What are you going to do about the economy? You won't tell us so am I to assume that you are going to keep following the same old George W. Bush policies that got us here? As an informed voter what am I supposed to think, that the Democrats somehow did this over the last 2 years? I was able to find legislation that links your policies to this financial mess, what poison pill legislation did the Democrats pass in the last 2 years that would cause this problem? Can you find it and document it for me? Someone is to blame for this mess and I want to know who that is.
I wanted to ask you these questions because I consider myself a real American; one that doesn't deal in innuendo and false bravado. I'm not easily distracted by the tired fear politics of Karl Rove and his cronies. I thought that you and I had a lot in common until you started this presidential campaign.
Now you use the very same political operatives that so viciously smeared you in 2000. Why is that Senator? What made you so desperate to win that you would mingle with the very people who ruined your chance at the presidency in 2000? Why are you associating with a man currently in contempt of Congress over a treason investigation?
What happened to the honorable man that I voted for last election cycle? Why can't you tell me how you are going to fix this crisis? Where is the man who cared enough to call and talk to me about my problems?
I eagerly await your response Senator.