Saturday, January 9, 2010

Hypothetical Stumping

An imaginary speech delivered by a Republican candidate for Senate in Massachusetts:

Thank you. Thank you. I appreciate the invitation to speak to you at this time and at this place. The people of Massachusetts have been very supportive of my candidacy. As I go from house to house, neighborhood to neighborhood, from town to town, and from city to city, I am reminded of the diversity of our Commonwealth, but also of its universal hospitality.

While my opponent was taking a vacation, I was traveling across this state, meeting with the voters. Enough is enough. I can see it in their eyes. I hear it on their lips. Enough is enough. Enough of the corruption. Enough of the incompetence. Enough of the lies. Enough of the thuggery. Enough of the profligacy. Enough of the resentment. Enough of the fear.

In Washington, we have seen a majority party turn its back on the promise of hope for the politics of fear, resentment, and avarice. It tries to get the American people to look backward in order to distract them from the failures of the present. On so many issues---spending, jobs, financial services reform, cap-and-trade---the current Democratic Congress is massively out of step with the American people. But no issue has caused as much public unrest as the current attempt at health-care "reform." It is a case in point of the excesses of the current Congress.

The health-care bill that passed the Senate is so toxic and so unpopular that they could only pass it in a party-line vote, and that passage could only come after countless special backroom deals. The public---the Senate itself---was given little time to analyze the text of the bill that passed before the vote was made. But partisanship ensured that such a vote did take place, and that the vote was in the affirmative.

The negotiations for this bill take place in secret. Nearly everything that could be done to shut the public out of Capitol Hill's health-care discussion has been done.

This bill will add additional taxes to many Americans' medical care. It will cut the care for our elderly. It will place new regulations and limitations on the kind of care and medical financing available to you.

Candidate Obama pledged that you could keep your health-care plan if you like it. President Obama now supports policies that will make many Americans' health-care plans an endangered species on the fast track to extinction. Candidate Obama attacked taxing medical benefits. President Obama now supports taxing them. Candidate Obama said he opposed mandates forcing you to buy medical insurance. President Obama now supports these mandates. Candidate Obama promised again and again and again that the negotiations for the health-care bill would be broadcast. President Obama and the Democratic Congress now conduct these very same negotiations in the shadows, away from the cameras. The story of this health-care bill is a long litany of broken promises, partisan pacts, and demagogic tirades.

Is this the change the American people, the people of Massachusetts, want?

When there are so many needs in this country and this state, with jobs still being slashed, with states and other organizations and many Americans' households on the verge of bankruptcy, with skyrocketing deficit spending threatening our financial future, is this the best Washington can do? I know they can do better. We all know they can do better.

It's time to unlock the power of the American people. Supposed stimulus money is doled out to special interests, costing much but raising employment little. These levels of spending add to the yokes of debt of our children and grandchildren. It's time to focus on investing in the future. Let's invest in generating new reserves of energy---not taxing away the energy we do have. Let's focus on restoring industry---not driving it away. Let's focus on reforming the financial regulations to reward prudence and so that the growth of firms does not endanger the stability of the market---not paying off high-rolling insiders. Let's focus on really reforming health-care and improving the quality of care for all Americans. Let's put aside the endless, zero-sum partisanship and try to find solutions with an open mind.

The market can work. The free actions of free people can lead to marvelous results. If we have faith in ourselves and faith in our fellow Americans, we can accomplish great things.

We can, despite what you may have heard, change the way things are done. We can challenge injustice when we see it. We can raise our voice, and Washington will hear us.

On January 19th, we can change the course of this nation. We can take a step towards restoring something like sanity to what's happening on Capitol Hill. In the Senate, I would be the forty-first vote for the Republicans. This vote will force the Democratic majority to work in a bipartisan fashion to forge sensible, effective legislation. It will put the brakes on the current version of health-care reform. It will say to the leadership on Capitol Hill that partisan ferocity is not enough to govern this nation.

Now is not the time for a politics of recrimination. We can only go forward, so we must keep our eyes on the road. We must work to stabilize our finances. We must work to uphold our international obligations. We must work to put our nation on the road to economic and civic renewal. I look forward to working with Republicans and Democrats alike to get on that road.

I speak to you at a time of great uncertainty and great crisis. Yet now can be our opportunity---not an opportunity for the extension of political power or personal gratification. No. Now, can be an opportunity to renew the promise of America, to renew the principles upon which America has stood, stands, and, I hope, will stand. Let us work to keep true to the faith, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, "that in due time the weights should be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal chance."

This is a chance to change things. Let's make the most of it.

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