The Republican Record Since Bush Stole the White House
The following is an open letter to U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas that was emailed to his office, other politicians, the media, and others this week...
Dear U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm,
I am a Texan who received a recorded phone call this morning with your voice urging me to vote Republican on Nov. 5. You urged me to vote for the "great" Republican candidates who are running for U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and Texas and local offices.
Here is the "great" job Republicans like you and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and U.S. Rep. Dick Armey and Bush and Cheney and others have done since y’all - as we say in Texas - stole the White House in late 2000:
• Unemployment has risen from 4 percent to 6 percent, while under Democratic President Bill Clinton, unemployment went down from 7 percent to 4 percent.
• The poverty rate went up for the first time in eight years, from 11.3 percent in 2000 to 11.7 percent in 2001, according to federal government figures. The number of Americans living under the federal poverty level INCREASED by 1.3 million in 2001, while under President Clinton the number of impoverished Americans DECLINED by 7.7 million.
• The share of income going to the poorest fifth of households declined, for the first time in five years, from 3.6 percent in 2000 to a record-low 3.5 percent in 2001. The next-to-the-bottom [8.7 percent] and middle [14.6 percent] fifths of households also saw their pieces of the pie drop to all-time lows, dating to 1967, when such statistics were first recorded. The share going to the next-to-the-top [23 percent] fifth tied for an all-time low.
• The percentage of income going to the richest 20 percent of households went the opposite way, increasing from 49.8 percent in 2000 to a record-high 50.2 percent in 2001. The wealthiest Americans’ pie piece rises even more – to 55.6 percent - if you include capital gains, such as the windfall Bush received when his interest in the Texas Rangers baseball team was sold to campaign contributor Tom Hicks in 1994 [Bush reported this as capital gains, rather than income, to pay the least amount of taxes].
• The average amount by which Americans fell below the poverty level also hit a record of $2,707 [data goes to 1979], according to the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. And experts don’t expect the trend to change soon.
• More than a net 1 million jobs have been lost since early 2001, while under President Clinton, more than a net 22 million jobs were gained.
• More than 2 million people were laid off in 2001 by companies like Enron and Worldcom that you Republicans support so much, and we are on target to reach more than another 2 million layoffs in 2002, according to the U.S. Labor Department. That is the most since the early 1980s, when another Republican administration controlled the White House.
• The percentage of MBA graduates in the top 30 U.S. business schools who have a job within three months of graduation declined from 97 percent in 2000 to 80 percent in 2002, according to Business Week.
• We now have returned to Republican-led budget deficits again, after getting good surpluses under President Clinton.
• We are in the midst of starting World War III with our irresponsible, go-it-alone invasion of Iraq. More than 25 countries – including those that aren’t favorable to us like Pakistan – already have nuclear weapons, and others like Iran and North Korea are much farther along in building these weapons of mass destruction than Iraq. Republicans have failed to link Hussein with the Sept. 11, 2001, acts of terrorism. Bush is on record as saying he’s going after Hussein for personal reasons because Hussein tried to kill his dad. Others say oil is a big factor since Iraq is the second-leading exporter of oil in the world, and U.S. companies want a bigger role in controlling that. And Bush and you and others are willing to sacrifice American, Iraqi, and others lives for the sake of personal, petty, putrid politics.
• Republicans have created much ill-will among our allies overseas by breaking nuclear treaties, not signing environmental pacts like the Kyoto Treaty, refusing to support an international court to resolve international disputes, and other arrogant, selfish decisions. How can we expect other countries to support us when we don’t support international issues they care about?
• The federal government is desecrating our national parks by putting oil wells in such places as Utah’s Arches Park.
• The ranks of people without health insurance swelled by about 2 million in 2001, to some 41 million, the largest one-year increase in nearly a decade, according to Covering the Uninsured, a partnership of national organizations that includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO. Republican politicians like Bush and Cheney have done NOTHING to address the increase in the uninsured.
• Republicans want to invest Social Security funds in the stock market, which has dropped significantly since Bush & Co. stole the White House.
• Crime increased across the country by 2 percent in 2001, according to the FBI, the first increase in more than a decade.
• Republicans care more about school children saying the Pledge of Allegiance than significantly increasing funding for education, especially higher education to lower tuition and fees, which will do much more to further our pledge of "liberty and justice for all" than simply saying that pledge.
• Republicans have cut many domestic programs, causing the ranks of the homeless to rise again.
• The number of protests and protesters against the federal government’s policies has increased dramatically in the past two years.
• Civil liberties are being eroded, as many Republicans push to create a police state.
• Republicans continue to blame Clinton for everything that goes wrong under them, making a mockery of their claim to "take responsibility."
• Little has been done to fix the electoral "problems" and fraud that occurred, mostly by the Republicans, in the 2000 election.
• Bush has already taken more days of vacation than probably any American president in history, including the entire month of August 2001 when he was told early that month of an impending terrorist attack and remained on vacation for the entire month, doing nothing about what he was told.
• And so on. And so on. And so on.
I can come up with more failures of the Republicans in the last two years, but this should do for now.
In your recording, you also thanked me for supporting you in the past 24 years and referred to Texas as "the greatest state in the greatest country in the history of the world." Besides wanting to know what criteria you use to define the greatest state and greatest country, I could come up with a list at least this long of reasons why Texas is not the greatest state [for instance, we rank among the highest rates of poverty and people without health insurance in the nation] and the U.S. is not the greatest country [for instance, numerous other countries have much fewer homeless people and people without health insurance]. I should add that I have NEVER voted for you or given you any money in the last 24 years, so I don’t know how you can say I supported you.
Again, I am extremely angry about your propaganda phone call this morning, and I hope you do not make any such calls to me in the future. For liberty and justice for all – not just hollowly mouthing the words, as so many Republicans do,
A Texan who votes and tells others to vote DEMOCRATIC
P.S. You ended your recording with "I love ya." You don’t love me. You love wealthy yahoos who fund your campaigns who you pay back using our tax money. I find that ending almost as offensive as you calling Republican politicians "great."
Jackson Thoreau is co-author of We Will Not Get Over It: Restoring a Legitimate White House. The 110,000-word electronic book.
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