Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Dear Senator McCain

Dear Senator McCain,

Last night, you made some amazing statements concerning your qualifications to be the next President of the United States. I, like many other Americans, would be intrigued to learn more.

You have an interesting debating technique. You seem to enjoy leading the audience with sweeping statements. But instead of tantalizing us with your astonishing “I know how” statements, why not provide us with some specifics?

You said, “I know how to fix Social Security.” That is an absolute relief to hear. Being just eight years away from applying for it, I’ve been really worried about my Social Security. Your previous suggestion was to privatize Social Security, but you did not mention that last night. I am guessing that you have temporarily abandoned this idea due to the precipitous drop in the stock market. The only detail I heard you mention on Social Security was that you want another commission to study the issue.

Let me clue you in: Like millions of retirees or nearly retired persons, I have worked diligently my entire life assuming the safety net of Social Security would be there as the “third leg” to my retirement income – with the other two legs being my pension and savings. This is how all the financial advisors, throughout the decades of my career, said to save for retirement. My employer is thinking about either reducing pension fund benefits (luckily, they are not going to abandon the employer-based pension as many other large corporations have) or asking employees to work longer years. And, my personal retirement savings lost almost half of its value during the last two weeks. So, I will be relying on Social Security more than I had originally planned. You say “work more years.” No, my health will not allow this to be a solution. Since you declare that you know now to fix Social Security, please share this amazing secret.

You scolded Obama for telegraphing (your word) that he would cross over Pakistan’s borders, if necessary, to get bin Laden, saying that “you should not announce it.” Then, using different words, you “telegraphed” that you would do the same thing. You said, “I know how to find Osama bin Laden.” The commander in Afghanistan is General David McKiernan. Please give him a call and share your secret with him. Better yet, why don’t you hop on a plane to Kabul and relieve some of our over-extended troops. They have families they haven’t seen in 15 months.

You made a statement that Obama has voted to raise our taxes 94 times in the last 3 ½ years., a non-partisan project of the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center, delved through the records to determine just what these 94 instances were:

• 23 votes were against new tax cuts for corporations.
• 7 votes were "for measures that would have lowered taxes for many, while raising them on a relative few, either corporations or affluent individuals."
• 11 votes were to increase taxes on people making more than $1 million a year, to help fund programs such as Head Start, school nutrition, or veterans' health care.
• 53 votes were budget resolutions that, by themselves, could not have resulted in raising taxes.

This total includes multiple votes on the same measures. A close look at the record reveals that Obama has voted consistently to restore higher tax rates on upper income taxpayers but not on middle- or low-income workers.

So, Mr. McCain, why do you keep lying about Obama’s record? Is it because you know that most voters will not bother to look it up? Is it because if you actually said what you would do, lower taxes for the wealthy and for corporations while ignoring the middle and lower classes (more of the usual “trickle down”), then people will turn away from you in droves?

Why don't you, instead of trying to smear Senator Obama (“that one”), lay some actual plans on the table for all Americans to see? Maybe then, you would be fighting on a level playing field based on issues, expertise, judgment, and leadership rather than one about pitbulls, lipstick, unfounded smears, and inciting people at your rallies to refer to Obama by shouting “terrorist” or “treason” or, worse, “kill him.”

Senator McCain, give us voters, who are not members of your base, some credit. We know, and have known for a long time, who Fannie and Freddie are. Most of us know that these two entities played a small part in the mortgage meltdown, but that the big banks and mortgage companies lending to people who did not really qualify (called subprime) is really what caused the economy to tank. We understand what’s at stake in Afghanistan. We want you to understand that most of us want to get out of Iraq as soon as we can do so responsibly.

Please, Senator McCain, stop speaking in huge generalities and sweeping statements. Instead, please answer the questions – give us some details. We’re waiting.

A well informed voter