Wednesday, October 1, 2008
You have made it clear that you want an explanation of my vote on the so-called bailout bill. As your representative I have always felt it was my duty to listen to your voices and then to give you the benefit of my best judgment, and that is what I did on this issue.
I know you had strong opinions on the bill. Everyone in my office knows. One of my office staff, after hours of taking your phone calls, burst into tears and quit. But that particular staffer had an adjustable rate mortgage, so he'd been under a lot of pressure lately.
As I sat at my desk (which once belonged to Reymund Puccell, who I'm sure you agree was one of the finest governors our great state ever produced) and studied the bailout proposal this is what I was thinking. Is it giving too much to Wall Street without providing any help to Main Street? I called a meeting with my economic advisors, who have degrees from some of the finest community colleges in our beloved congressional district, which I have done my best to represent honestly and honorably for so many years, as I'm sure you will remember in November. But while I waited for them to arrive I began to ask myself if we were phrasing the question broadly enough.
Wall Street and Main Street are important, of course, but what about Martin Luther King Boulevard? The African-Americans have suffered a great deal under the housing crisis and I don't think the bill does anything for them. And what about Madison Avenue? I know that in the largest city in my district Madison Avenue is a quaint and atmospheric location full of wonderful antique shops, but as a metaphor it refers to the advertusung intdustry, and more broadly to marketing. Is the bailout bill going to effect our ability to market, and therefore to sell our goods, including the many wonderful products produced in our district, some of which have been finally finding a welcome overseas, due to the dollar being so woefully undervalued?
And then there is Hyacinth Crescent. The suburbs are hurting and my beloved middle-class constituents have been calling, writing, texting and emailing to insist, quite rightly, that we mustn;'t forget about how they have suffered from the housing crunch, the education follies, the health cost fiasco, and the gas orgy. And speaking of gas, the Interstate is another street that has made it's point of view clear. The truckers and others in the transportation industry have spoken with commendable force and clarity.
I mustn't forget the rural routes too. My farmland constituents have let me know loud and clear that they expect me to act on their behalf. I know how vocal they can be; the last time I had a staffer leave in tears was during the run-up to the farm bill. But that's neither here nor there.
The message from all sides has been clear and remarkably consistent. Do something immediately. Don't vote for the bailout. But save the markets. But not with this plan. This plan is unacceptable. Voting against it would be disastrous. And act now!
Personally I was hoping the gutless leeches on the other side of the aisle would show some bipartisan spirit, but my faith was misplaced.
And that, in short, is why when the vote came up in the house I decided to crawl under the Governor Reymund Puccell desk (built out of native maple a century ago by some of our state's finest craftsmen) and stay there. Not hiding, as some of my opponents have claimed, but adopting a pose of watchful waiting. And so I missed the vote.
It is now up to the wisdom of you, the voter, to judge my actions. Next month you will decide whether you want me to continue doing my best to represent your interests here in our nation's great capital, or call me home, where I will no doubt spend my time in your coffeeshops, boring you over and over with stories about my glorious career, and whining about the disloyalty of those I served so well.
The choice is yours. All I can say is, as the time to go the polls approaches and you think about your choices, if you find yourself wishing you could hide under your own desk, perhaps you will not judge me me too harshly.
I remain, for the moment,