Friday, September 12, 2008

My dear John (McCain) letter

This is just to say that you lost my vote over the last few weeks and Barack Obama won it.

Sen. McCain, I know I'm just a simple single mom, but I do live in Michigan, ground zero in the Electoral College battle.

This wasn't an easy choice. I was with you when only five folks showed up to your town hall meetings in New Hampshire last summer as you stood up for a compromise on immigration. I cheered when you told Mitten Staters that those cushy auto jobs ain't a-comin' back before you tanked in our primary.

And I defended you against the loony left's bizarre assaults on your military service. You are, indeed, an American hero, and one of mine.

But your attack-happy, outrage-driven campaign - which is inexplicably run by the slimeballs who slandered you on behalf of George W. Bush in 2000 - is beneath you. You cannot blame the bombastic ads and barrage of smears on wily subordinates; you are the captain of this ship and you refuse to turn it around.

And as you have seen fit to appease the far right more and more each day, down to your extremist VP pick, I'm struggling to see you as the man on white horseback who's come to save the day. You seem like you only want to win - at any cost.

"This campaign isn't about issues," your campaign manager scoffed last week. Well, I think that insults the American people. And it insults me as a voter.

Because I'd like you to know that I will be voting for Barack Obama on the issues. And the economy is No. 1 for my family. I like that Obama's comprehensive economic plan is rooted in conservative ideas on tax cuts, which need to be broad-based. You don't have many ideas beyond extending the narrow Bush tax cuts and calling your opponent a tax-hiker.

I'm sure the few making over $250,000 approve, but even you knew those cuts would be fiscally disastrous, which is why you voted against them. Our country can't sustain this kind of lopsided tax code, not while the middle class is losing net income for the first time in decades, the gap between rich and poor is growing and the Iraq war drains $10 billion from taxpayers every month.

And speaking of the war, like the vast majority of Americans, I want to see it end. Here's my compromise to you: Declare victory and get out. I have no reason to think that Obama and his stable of bipartisan foreign policy advisers will go about this in a hasty manner akin to how Bush got us into this mess.

But Sen. McCain, you are even further out there than the president, who sees the need for a timetable after more than five years of morass. Violence is down now, hallelujah. But our military is broken, with some soldiers doing seven tours of duty in Iraq. The surge cannot be sustained. Nor do we have the manpower to truly fight al-Qaida in Afghanistan or Pakistan, much less start to tangle with Iran or Russia.

Your bellicose foreign policy is not the reasoned realpolitik of President Bush the Elder; it will bankrupt our budget and make us more vulnerable to terrorism. No one knows this better than our enemies.

And I appreciate Obama's willingness to include insurance companies, seniors groups and doctors into reforming health care, which is ridiculously inefficient and expensive. Your hands-off approach won't help the Big Three or small business being sunk by off-the-charts expenses. You're unwilling to even help uninsured children by reauthorizing the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

I know the new conventional wisdom is that we need to change the country by going with the GOP, which has been in charge for most of the last glorious war-ravaged decade that's culminating in economic devastation.

And I know that because I, too, have reproduced like Sarah Palin and people care more about my mug shot that what I write in this column, that I am automatically obligated to vote for your ticket.

But I'm just an average gal from Michigan who plans to vote my conscience.

Our country has been at war in Iraq since my daughter was six months old and I'm tired of having to explain death to her. Before the Bush presidency, I paid $1 a gallon for gas in Iowa, and I know as well as you do that drilling won't bring the price down one dime. What I don't know is how I'll scrape up $300,000 to send her to the University of Michigan in 12 years.

Now you're telling me that you're the maverick again, although you're certainly not on the biggest issues of the day. You have little to offer me and millions of Americans in terms of real policy change. What you can provide is a compelling life story and a superstar running mate.

Well, Sen. McCain, you warned us all not to vote on style and slogans over substance.

That's why I'm voting for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

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