I do try to keep this blog to knitting mostly and some television and other popular culture (which I guess this fits into, actually) but I have been very upset about the current economic crisis and politics and I found a great post by Chris Weigant on the Huffington Post today and I just had to share. These are what the Democrats have actually done in the recent past that I guess they’re too humble to advertise? I was impressed:
Friday Talking Points
by Chris Weigant
In the midst of an intense presidential campaign, I can get a little partisan and negative here in the Talking Points at times, so I’d like to take a one-week break and instead spotlight a few good things the 110th Congress actually got done. If you’re interested in countering McCain’s lies out on the campaign trail, there is always the Democratic Party’s Count The Lies website (now a wiki!) to glean talking points from (they’re up to 128 as of this writing).
But let’s focus on the positive, for one week. Here are Talking Points to show that Democrats have actually gotten some things done in the past two years. Of course, there is always room for improvement, but we should at least acknowledge the achievements they did manage to accomplish.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has a much more exhaustive list of these on her website, if you’re interested.
Minimum Wage Hike
I am at a loss as to why Democrats consistently hide this shining light under a barrel. This was historic, and directly influenced a lot of people’s lives, and yet you hear almost nothing about it — especially on the campaign trail. Which mystifies me. Democrats should beat this drum loud and long, since they deserve credit for it.
“Democrats in Congress raised the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour, where it had been for a decade, to $6.55 an hour today. Next July, it will rise again to $7.25 an hour. Any American worker making minimum wage is seeing their salary improve over forty percent as a result of Democrats fighting Republican obstructionism in Washington. So remember, Democrats put money in your pocket. Democrats gave some of the hardest-working Americans a 40% pay raise. And Republicans didn’t want you to have that money, and fought against it.”
New GI Bill
Again, one wonders why this isn’t front and center of all Democratic campaigns for all offices. Democrats, led by freshman Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, passed the biggest expansion in benefits for American soldiers of all time. So why aren’t they shouting it from the skies, every chance they get? It’s a mystery….
“I never want to hear that Democrats don’t support the troops ever again from any Republican. Democrats in Congress passed the GI Bill for the 21st Century over loud objections from some Republicans, including John McCain, who called it ‘too generous.’ You know what? I don’t think it’s ‘too generous’ to allow veterans to go to college. I don’t think it’s ‘too generous’ to pay a debt to our fighting men and women that can never be truly repaid. Democrats fought hard for the GI Bill, against Republicans up to and including President Bush. But we got it passed, because we consider supporting the troops one of our most sacred duties as elected officials.”
OK, I fully admit that passing out free money to taxpayers isn’t exactly the boldest thing to do in an election year, but still, people need to be reminded who got this passed.
“Remember that $600 that taxpayers got earlier this year? You can thank Democrats for getting that stimulus package through. Now, obviously, it wasn’t really enough, but it was a step in the right direction — a step that Congressional Republicans fought hard against. Democrats put money in the taxpayer’s pocket, Republicans fight such stimulus. That’s all you need to know on Election Day.”
Democrats better on energy
Democrats have actually been getting some things done on energy, although once again, you don’t hear about it much on the campaign trail. This one has gotten more exposure than some issues, though, because of the price of gas, mostly. But it needs to be pointed out who has a long-term answer to the problem, and who does not.
“Democrats, over the strong objection of President Bush and Congressional Republicans, managed to get some positive things done on energy. Democrats passed the first hike in fuel economy standards for cars and trucks in a generation. Democrats also saved the tax breaks for green energy that are absolutely necessary to move America off foreign oil and create green jobs for the future — again, over the loud objections of Republicans. Democrats are planning for America’s energy future, when the only thing Republicans have to say on the issue is ‘drill, baby, drill.’ We can free America from Middle Eastern oil, if the Republicans would only follow when Democrats lead on the issue.”
Democrats help Americans pay for college
Education is such a natural issue for Democrats, and Congress actually got quite a few things done on this front. But you wouldn’t know it from listening to candidates. Come on, people, this is one of the Democratic Party’s strong points! Drive it home!
“Democrats in Congress did everything they could to help Americans afford good education for their children, while all Republicans had to offer was obstructionism and vetoes. Democrats did manage to cut college loan rates in half in the biggest student aid bill in half a century, made sure that the credit crunch didn’t affect students needing loans, passed a landmark College Consumer’s Bill of Rights which expanded access to college for low-income students and reined in abuses in the student loan industry, and improved the successful Head Start program. If you are a parent who is worried about education costs being too high, there is simply only one party to vote for — Democrats.”
Once again, a winning issue for Democrats. Some of these laws actually did get some media coverage, but voters need to be reminded of them out on the campaign trail.
“While Democrats tried to expand health care to 10 million children, sadly President Bush vetoed it and enough Republicans in Congress voted with him to deny these children health care. But Democrats did manage to get some positive bills passed into law, including fighting back against the Bush administration’s attempts to gut Medicaid, requiring Medicare to bargain for cheaper prices on drugs by lifting the Republican ban on doing so, and ending discrimination against mental health claims by insurance companies. If you want to fix health care in this country, you need to help us get more Democrats elected so we can do so without Republicans being able to block our efforts.”
Republicans voted against Mother’s Day
And finally, one from the archives (from FTP , at the very end). I know this was supposed to be all about Democratic victories in Congress, but this one just begs to be repeated by any House Democratic challenger, as many times as possible.
“Republicans have become so obsessed with obstructionism and so blind to the voters’ wish that Congress get something done that they actually voted against honoring Mother’s Day. This is a disgrace. The Washington Post ran a story about it with the headline: ‘Republicans Vote Against Moms; No Word Yet on Puppies, Kittens.’ I mean, what is next? Are the Republicans going to come out against apple pie, too? America deserves better than this. Vote Democratic in 2008. You know why? Because Democrats love their mothers, but apparently 178 House Republicans don’t.”