Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Spreading the word about Wyo. Democrats

Chris Rothfuss, running for the U.S. Senate from Wyoming against Republican incumbent Mike Enzi, sent out an opinion piece yesterday about the current economic mess. I spent a god portion of my Saturday dropping off bundles of material on Rothfuss & Carter & Trauner to county voters who requested absentee ballots. The idea is to get the material into the hands of undecideds as they are filling out their ballots. Many hadn't yet received theirs, and some just weren't happy that I was ringing their doorbell. But I did get into some fine conversations with some, and had some surprises along the way.

I stopped in front of one house in my assigned territory in Cheyenne south of I-80. A strategically placed flagpole flew the Marine Corps and POW-MIA flags. In the driveway, a huge pickup sported stickers for the Marines, Army Airborne, and those ribbons that popped up during the Iraq invasion. It's easy to jump to conclusions, having seen all of those members of the military used as backdrops for Bush's LSOS speeches. True, many veterans I've talked to are Republicans -- but not all.

Mr. R came to the door with his buzzcut and tattoos. Vietnam, I thought. And then I went into my spiel, showing him my Dem candidate flyers. He stopped me. "Got any yard signs for Trauner?" I said I didn't but could get him one. "How about Mockler?" I didn't have any signs for our Democrat running for mayor. I told him I'd contact her campaign. "What about stickers -- I drive all over the state and I can drop them off." I said I would get him all the stickers he needed. He took my material, noting that he wanted to see some new blood in Congress and the mayor's office.

As I thanked him and walked off, I thought about how dangerous it is to compartmentalize people. I also decided to leave my assigned task and go get this guy a yard sign and some stickers. He seemed a bit surprised when I returned quickly with the goods. When I drove away, he was planting the Trauner sign among the green grass and flowers and trees of his front yard. Later, I got into a conversation with a couple I'd say were in their late thirties. The man was Independent, the woman Republican, and their three boys, well, who knows? The man said he was leaning Democratic this time, both for president and Congress. The woman then admitted that she was too, at least in the Congressional races. She works for the school district and her three boys all were in public schools. Education was big with her, and she was dissatisfied with the current state of affairs. Nothing like discontent to get people to vote for change. That's real change, the Obama kind, not the fake McCain variety.

I know that walking neighborhoods talking about politics isn't everyone's cup of tea. I would have rather been lounging in my backyard, reading my Roddy Doyle novel, or spending time with my family or doing a thousand-and-one other things. But times are tough and strange and I have to do something about it. In the next decade or so, as we dissect the damage that Republicans did to this country, I want to be able to say I took a few small steps to change that.

Back to Chris Rothfuss's opinion piece.... I'm going to include a few paragraphs below and let you go to the candidate's web site for the rest. Here it is:

This train did not wreck itself, but nobody is taking responsibility. Through action, inaction, and failed oversight, Congress (both parties) and the Bush administration have crafted this economy. Political action committees (PACs) representing the financial sector contribute heavily to campaigns and lobby strongly against regulation. Unfortunately, there is no comparable force lobbying on behalf of the people for transparency, fair lending, and responsible asset management. The members of the House that voted for the bailout on Monday received an average of 51% more campaign contributions from the finance, insurance and real estate sector than those that voted against it. That’s no coincidence.

My opponent, Senator Mike Enzi, has worked diligently to deregulate the financial sector over his 11+ years on the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee. During this election alone he has received over $250,000 in contributions from finance, insurance and real estate PACs. That’s about $200,000 more than he’s received from the people of Wyoming. Senator Enzi has not been a casual bystander in our economic crisis - he has been instrumental in its creation.

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