Courage Lads!

It is nineteen days until Election Day and the polls could not be closer. Whether you are Democrat or Republican it’s nail-biting time. If you are a Democrat like me it is not time to whimper or whine. It’s time to display some courage. It’s time to have some faith. It’s time to show we have determination, grit and spine.

I believe we Democrats are on the cusp of winning. I believe we will win the presidency and I am optimistic we will take back the Senate. But as with everything about this election it won’t be given to us on a silver platter. In spite of the train wreck that is George W. Bush’s presidency there are lots of poorly informed and very scared Americans out there. Many of these voters will vote their fears and not their convictions. It takes courage to change presidents and change policies in turbulent times. We must complete the sale now.

Don’t be complacent. At a minimum if you have extra bucks to spare, and even if you don’t give to some worthwhile candidates or political action committees. At this point I would not give any more money to the Democratic National Committee. There is not much more TV and radio time they can buy up in swing states. However, there are progressive candidates on the cusp of victory. Throwing some money into their campaigns can make a real difference. Winning one house of Congress is vital because a president without one house of Congress aligned with him is like a boxer with one hand tied behind his back. The Senate is the better bet. Redistricting in Texas that will likely let the Republicans keep control of the House of Representatives. Show courage by throwing money at Ken Salazar in Colorado, Joe Hoeffel in Pennsylvania, Tony Knowles in Alaska, Erskine Bowles in North Carolina or minority leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota. All these people are in very close races and most are trailing their opponents by a few points, or are a few points ahead. All the races are volatile. We need a pickup of just one seat to retake the Senate. If you can’t make up your mind simply make a contribution to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and let them do the thinking for you.

Turnout is the key in this election. For many months groups like Americans Coming Together have been doing the grunt work for this election by combing likely Democratic neighborhoods for new voters and registering them. They are knocking on doors, making phone calls and arranging to get voters to the polls on November 2nd. They can always use more money so send them some dough. I expect that polls will be very crowded this year. Turnout rates may exceed 60 percent and may be as high as 70 percent. This may well be the most important election in a generation.

If you are feeling vindictive there is no better Republican to get angry at than House Majority Leader Tom Delay. The House Ethics Committee has thrice reprimanded him for his shady and arguably illegal practices. This was the same man who called the Department of Homeland Security to have them track an airplane full of Democratic Texas state legislative representatives. They went to New Mexico to avoid a quorum vote on an out of turn federal redistricting of their state. This is a man under whose leadership Democratic members of Congress have been deliberately and repeatedly kept out of policy-making deliberations. In the world of Tom DeLay, Democratic congressmen don’t deserve even to be heard. Richard Morrison is running against DeLay and he has a real chance of winning and sending DeLay back to a day job of being a bug exterminator. I’ve given Morrison $50.

If you feel passionately about putting Democrats in office then commit your time and shoe leather too. Your local Democratic party is likely looking for people to work phones or to knock on doors to get out the vote. But your part doesn’t have to be so direct. You can simply volunteer to get people to the polls.

As for the presidential race there is still a lot of ambiguity in the race. Yet I remain convinced that Kerry will win it. The October Surprise may be a surprise that boomerangs in favor of Democrats. Bad news from Iraq makes me cringe but it just continually vindicates Kerry’s contention that Bush is incompetently running the war.

The dominoes keep falling for Bush. Today alone was a day of very bad news. The Dow is down 100 points and fell below 10,000 again. Ten people were killed in Baghdad’s supposedly safe “Green Zone”. 28 U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan are accused of manslaughter and conspiracy in the deaths of two Afghanis. The official federal deficit for fiscal year 2004 was higher than anticipated and came in at $413 billion, an all time record. Bush’s chickens have been coming home to roost for a long time, and there have been more and more arriving as Election Day approaches. And with the consensus that John Kerry clearly won all three presidential debates (and Edwards won the Vice Presidential debate) and polls now showing a dead heat we are clearly on a winning streak.

But there are other signs that Bush will be trounced on November 2nd. The Republican National Committee and the Bush Campaign appear to have abandoned both Michigan and Pennsylvania, effectively admitting that the Democrats will win those states. Most polls are now showing Kerry holding a narrow lead in Ohio. Surprisingly Kerry is within the margin of error of winning in Arkansas, assumed to be out of play for Kerry. Kerry is neck and neck in Nevada.

You can also get a whiff of the future by simply watching the inept Bush campaign. Kerry has gone strongly for the middle. Bush isn’t even bothering. He and Karl Rove believe that rather than reach to the center their only chance of winning is getting very heavy turnouts from his Republican base. But that won’t work since there are more Democrats than Republicans nationwide and polls show independents are clearly breaking for Kerry. Bush has decided that image is everything. He won’t allow even a whiff of dissent at his rallies. That is why they are limited to only ticketed Republicans who pledge to vote for Bush. Rumor has it that lately to get into some Bush rallies attendees actually have to submit an essay of why they will vote for Bush. Kerry is talking about things that matter to average folks like health insurance, protecting jobs from outsourcing, getting Osama bin Laden and crushing al Qaeda.

Courage lads! The broadsides are coming at us fast and furious from the U.S.S. Republican Party. Although the sound of those guns is hellacious and the noise deafening, their gunners are pretty inept and most of them aren’t hitting us. But their ship is taking on water. The mainmast looks like it is about to fall. But this is no time to be complacent. Let’s keep all those guns firing. Do your part by donating money and time. Do it quickly, do it efficiently, do it smartly. Talk to your friends and neighbors today with conviction, quiet confidence and not a trace of hubris about why things must change. In the process of finding our courage we will find that uncommitted voters will follow us. And on November 3rd we will feel hope and optimism again. Our country will once again be on the way to being on the right track. And I hope on that day you will join me in lifting a glass of your favorite spirit and celebrating our hard won victory won.

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