Sunday, July 25, 2010


Will Rogers understood that given a choice between doing the smart, sensible, and politically advantageous thing, and doing nothing or something stupid, the Democratic Party will go for dumb and stupid almost every time.

Dear Sanford,

I took time before I went to court for a trial now entering its 3rd week to vote for you last Tuesday. However, I believe that you are now facing one of the most serious challenges since you were first elected around 1992. I would much prefer that you win this November. To that end, a few months ago I dropped off at your office and e-mailed you a list of my suggestions for you and other Democrats to hold their seats.

I have to laugh when I tell people the same old quote that Will Rogers famously said: "I am not a member of an organized political party. I am a Democrat."

I write this because the Democratic Party, as usual, is doing everything possible to lose the next election, or, in another sense, failing to do the most simple things that can help win elections while also helping the country.

So, I am going to try to get my point across one last time: if the Democratic Party were to do one thing, and only that thing, it would probably be enough to hold both houses of Congress. The party should introduce legislation in both chambers to dedicate 100% of the proceeds of the estate tax to a worthy cause. Previously I suggested the proceeds go to prescription drug relief for seniors (the donut hole). I think that the recent health care bill took care of that. So I have a better idea: dedicate all of it to benefits and medical care for disabled veterans.

That one piece of legislation, trumpeted publicly and made the centerpiece of every Democrat's re-election campaign, will be enough to make the crucial difference. Because the Republicans are so wedded to eliminating the estate tax, they would have to do a 180 degree turn to understand the political peril of continuing their position on this subject.

If through some miracle the Republican Party is smart enough to get their local candidates to reverse their positions on eliminating the estate tax, then simply move on to the next thing. For instance, take the war in Afghanistan. Vote to end the war and put the money saved in job creation and making public work projects available for any unemployed person who wants a job.

And so on. By dedicating the proceeds of taxes the Republicans want to eliminate, or, by cutting spending on unpopular ventures (like the wars abroad) and dedicating the funds saved to job creation (rather than welfare) the rug is pulled out from under the Republican Party's raison d'etre, which is to cut all taxes while borrowing money to keep all government programs that kill people while eliminating all government programs that help people or save their lives.

Jim Finkelstein