Boy, you talk about incivility in politics these days.
I got home late a few weeks ago and checked my e-mail. I had a note
from firstname.lastname@example.org. Apparently, a Brad
Woodhouse, communications director for Americans United for Social
Security, had sent me an e-mail.
I smelled a rat.
I get several e-mails a week from
email@example.com. Though the group portrays
itself as a national coalition of Democrats, Republicans and
Independents united "to protect the most successful retirement
program in our nation's history," its real name should be "Democrats
Out to Get Bush."
After all, two prominent Democrats Steve Hildebrand, a Democratic
campaign veteran and Paul Tewes, former political director of the
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) have lead roles
at the Americans United group. And prior to his current job,
Woodhouse was the spokesperson for the DSCC.
I opened the e-mail to see a column credited to Mark Mellman, yet
another Democratic campaign veteran. The column said President
Bush's attempt to "cut Social Security for 70% of Americans" could
be compared to Napoleon's disastrous attempt to invade Russia. It
said Bush had lost the Social Security debate and that Democrats and
"pro Social Security" groups had won.
Agitated, I decided to write back.
It's worth noting at this point that I'd enjoyed a few pints at the
pub earlier that evening. As the fine Irish brew percolated through
my system, here is what I wrote:
"You and your party have no ideas, no courage, no guts, nothing to
offer anyone or anything, if this piece of propaganda you sent out
is what you believe. You lie and exploit the old and the feeble in
order to scare and cloud and confuse… You are a wart on the heel of
a foot that is struggling to move forward."
A wart on the heel of a foot that is struggling to move forward? OK,
I may have had a few snorts of whiskey with those pints.
"… Were a Democratic president looking to face down this [Social
Security] problem, you'd be shouting an entirely different message,
wouldn't you? You care not for truth in any way. You care not either
for anything that benefits the good people of this country only
what benefits your paying clients, who happen to be Democrats."
My blood was really pumping now. I felt the sweet indignation a girl
must know when she says to her ex-boyfriend, "You are sooooo
"I trust and hope the good American people will see through your
lies," I continued, "and most of them will, but you know that it is
the old and the feeble and the tired who you seek to scare… I don't
know how you sleep at night."
Ah, the old "I don't know how you sleep at night" closer. Satisfied
with my diatribe, I fired off the e-mail, then fell into a deep,
The next morning, I had an e-mail response from
woodhouse@americansforsocialsecuritycom. I don't know if it was
actually Woodhouse or some other staffer, but apparently it was he.
Did he send additional information to strengthen his points? Perhaps
he sought to demonstrate the weakness of my argument? Or maybe he
had a good laugh over my pint-induced indignation?
Nope. His response was short and sweet and left me stunned:
"Who the (expletive that rhymes with 'truck') are you and why do I
Sheesh. I know things have got heated in Washington, but I had no
idea they'd sunk so low.
My mother says that if anyone needs to use such language to make his
point, then his argument must be weak, and that is true.
Maybe it's because Democrats have no fresh ideas on Social Security
that they demagogue (and cuss). Maybe they think their best hope at
winning back power in 2006 is to misinform, rather than engage in
I always thought Democrats were for the little guy, but I guess the
only little guys they're really for are the ones they can scare into
voting for them.
But then who the (expletive) am I and why should you care?