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Commentary: Hey, Dems: We gotta talk

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 28, 2010 - “4-1-1, Information. What city, please?”

“Do you have any listings for Oz? No? Then, I guess Washington, D.C., will have to do. I’d like the number for the office of strategic planning for the Democratic Party.”

“There’s no such listing, sir.”

“OK, could I get the number for the party office that’s in charge of looking out for the economic needs of working Americans?”

“That number was disconnected in 1968, sir.”

“Oh. Well, do they have some kind of line for citizen feedback — some way for ordinary people to let party leaders know how they feel about what they’re doing?”

“Yes, there’s an extension for the Citizen Complaint Hotline.”

“Perfect. Can I have that number?”

“No — it’s unlisted.”

“I see. Um, is there any way that I could talk to somebody who’s in charge of setting the party’s agenda?”

“I’m showing a listing for the Democratic Party Brain Trust…”

“That’ll do.”

“I’ll connect you.”

[beep, beep, click, ring, ring, ring…]

“Hello. The Democratic Brain Trust is out to lunch…”

“I thought so…”

“…but your call is very important to us. Please listen closely to the following options: to continue in Spanish, marques dos, for Swedish press 3…if you’d like to communicate through rap music lyrics, punch 13, dawg…if you are an illegal alien and would like some money, press 46…to hear this message in sign language simply say,’ocho-cinco’…if you insist on speaking English and are not bothered by the cultural imperialism that choice implies, please hold the line…

“It appears that you have selected English. Are you sure you’ve dialed the right number? If you are a right-wing TV or radio talk show host making a prank call, press…”

“Look, I’m just a registered voter who wants to talk to one of you nitwits…”

“Very well, leave your message after the tone… (Beep)…”

“Dude, we gotta talk. We gotta have one of them things Dr. Phil likes so much — an intervention. Yeah, that’s it, we need an intervention because I’m not quite sure what you clowns are trying to do and I’m not quite sure that you are, either.

“Last January, Obama was sworn in and you guys took control of the Presidency and both houses of Congress. After one year of your enlightened leadership, some unknown Republican state senator from Massachusetts just hijacked Ted Kennedy’s old Senate seat across the aisle and he’s being greeted like a conquering hero from coast to coast. Is this your definition of success? I’d call it the “Massachusetts Massacre.”

“Massachusetts? Hell, that place makes Cuba look like a GOP stronghold. If your health care bill won’t fly there, what do you think it’s going to play like in Missouri? Or Kentucky? Or in any of the other swing states that you desperately need if you’re going to stay in power?

“Upstart Scott Brown took 52 percent of the total vote in Massachusetts, but he won 70 percent of independents — the voting bloc that holds the balance of power nationwide. Last year, James Carville predicted a 40-year reign for the new Democratic majority. At this rate, you’re going to make Hitler’s 1,000-year Reich look like a smashing success…

“After the vote was in, I saw Nancy Pelosi on TV vowing to get health care passed regardless of Republican opposition. Has it dawned on any of you Einsteins that a clear majority of the electorate supports the Republican opposition to this bill?

“Polls show 36 percent of voters approve of the Rube Goldberg monstrosity you’ve come up with; that leaves 64 percent to oppose it. Have you heard about the off-year elections coming up? One-third of the Senate and the entire House has to greet the voters on the first Tuesday of next November. Do you really want to keep that date after ramming an unpopular bill that will impact everybody down the throats of the electorate? Do I have to explain democracy to a party that labels itself “Democrats”?

“Look, I know you think you know what’s best for us, but give us hayseeds out here in fly-over country some credit. Maybe we figured out that there’s no way to add 25 to 40 million new people — your numbers, not mine — to the existing system without, a.) raising premiums, b.) cutting services or, c.) both. “Though the present system could certainly use an overhaul, about 85 percent of us still have health insurance. Most of us have coverage because we work. We know that if we get sick, we’ll be able to see a doctor of our choice in a reasonable amount of time. Your alternative offers us no such guarantee.

“I mean, look at the 2,500+ page backroom political Frankenstein you’ve come up with. Why do citizens of Nebraska get Medicaid for free while Missourians have to pay for it? Isn’t that some kind of due process violation? Why don’t union members have to pay the 40 percent 'Cadillac Plan' health tax the rest of us are stuck with? Besides, if your program’s such a good deal, why did Congress exempt itself from it? Don’t you guys know a bargain when you see one?

“I think that you people have badly misread the mandate for change you think you got in November of ’08. Most of us don’t want to live in a soviet socialist republic. We simply wanted a change from the wretched excesses of the Bush/Cheney era. ‘The middle class is broke, jobs are scarce and the country is in scary — and growing — public/private debt. You can’t fix health care for the same reason I can’t buy a jet airliner — at present, neither of us can afford to. First, we’ve got to fix the economy by putting people back to work.

“Do the initials FDR, HST, JFK and LBJ ring a bell? These Democrats won seven presidential elections between 1932 and 1964. They didn’t dominate the politics of their age in spite of the economic concerns of the American middle class but because of them. They appealed to…

“I’m sorry, but the voice mail box you’ve reached has not been set up yet. If you wish to report a heat-stricken polar bear, dial our 24-hour emergency line, 1-800-hot-paws or go to www.algoreismelting.com. For less urgent matters, please try again later…” (Click)

“Hello? Hello? Is anybody there?”

Postscript: There’s a possibility that the above message may have finally gotten through to someone. As of this writing, the president is stumping in the heartland, promoting the need for jobs growth.

M.W. Guzy is a retired St. Louis cop who currently works for the city Sheriff's Department. His column appears weekly in the Beacon.

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