Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good
Jim Webb has been named one of the 75 most influential people in America by Esquire magazine. In a wide ranging interview that covers his past careers, his writing, and his current work as a United States Senator we find out more about what makes him tick. The following excerpt is about the issues he sees as currently among the most urgent (the interview was done before last week's collapse of financial markets) facing our nation:
We need to reorient our national security policy, which is a lot more than Iraq. What in classical terms you'd call grand strategy: how we connect with the rest of the world . . . .
Economic fairness. We have calcified along class lines in this country like we haven't seen since Teddy Roosevelt's days. And it's very difficult to get the right kind of discussion going on that -- up here, or anywhere, really. We're doing everything we can to inject that into the debate. And to get some corrections into the body of law that eliminate, basically, special favoritism.
Accountability issues. Infrastructure. We have a decaying infrastructure at a time when so much of our money is going out into other countries where they're building really first class, twenty-first-century infrastructure. We're in danger of becoming a third world economy.
On every single, every single issue that I have to take a vote on up here, we start off with: What's fair? Not which pressure group is calling the most or any of those things. We talk about what is fair to the spectrum involved, what's fair for the country.
Read the entire interview with Senator Jim Webb.
The Bad
My heart almost went out to the lonely boys at the GOP booth at the African-American Festival in Staunton's Gypsy Hill Park. Reflecting the Republican's deep pockets, most likely from lobbyists' donations, they had lots of signs, bumper stickers, buttons and other campaign paraphernalia. Much of the day it was just the two of them and they busied themselves arranging and rearranging things on the table. A few festival goers stopped by, fewer still took anything. They were joined by several other young men and later by the congressman himself who huddled with them for a while before venturing out to shake a few hands. Notably absent were leaders of the local committees. Maybe they'll roost there some today? 
By contrast the Democratic booth had regular traffic and by mid afternoon had run short of Obama signs, bumper stickers, and buttons. Just about everyone who stopped by wanted something and many left a donation. One Democrat commented, "we've got a problem getting enough stuff . . . but what a good problem it is."
Yeah, I almost felt sorry for the lonely boys. Almost.
The Ugly
Bob Goodlatte has received a 2007 grade of F from which uses analysis of the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy to highlight bills that impact the middle class and the aspiring middle class. The site gives detailed background about the legislation and helps voters find the resources to help them influence their representatives.
Goodlatte joined fellow Virginia representatives Thelma Drake, Virgil Goode, Eric Cantor, Tom Davis,  and Randy Forbes with failing grades. He's running at 43% for 2008, on track for another F under even the most lenient grading system! The last time Mr. Goodlatte passed was 2003. You can check out Goodlatte's votes here. It is embarrassing, no make that disgusting, that voters in the 6th district are represented by a man so family unfriendly.
We have a chance to retire Bob by electing Sam Rasoul to the House of Representatives. I can guarantee Sam won't get a failing grade on issues critical to American families. Everything Sam does, from refusing PAC money to taking on tough issues like affordable and accessible health care, speaks to his commitment to average American families.

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