Monday, July 7, 2014

Beating Graham

Some of you may not know that Lindsey Graham does actually have an opponent in the upcoming election.  Brad Hutto has been around and involved in state politics for awhile, and represents SC Senate District 40.  I was so impressed with his strong stand on women's right to reproductive freedom and privacy that I hoped that he would be that candidate who is unafraid to really promise to make a difference.

Sadly, based on his website, this does not appear to be the case.  Other than promising to fight for a woman's right to make her own health care decisions without government intervention, his statements on issues tend to be along the lines of trying not to say much that might be controversial.  Getting people off food stamps, improving education and infrastructure (while making sure government tightens its belt).  He's going to "fix" the Affordable Care Act, by allowing people to choose the best plan and at the same time not letting the insurance companies be in control.  Granted, he promises to support alternative energy development, but even Exxon claims to do that.

I like Brad.  And we all know it took guts to step up to run against Graham, who has been courting the biggest of the big money backers for a very long time.  He doesn't have lots of billionaires who are going to be writing him checks because frankly, they have Lindsey Graham in their pockets.  What he does have is lots of people who might make the effort to get out and vote for him if he is willing to take a strong and public stand for them.

I don't know anyone who is sponging off the government by collecting food stamps.  That allotment is a pittance, and yet it helps to sustain more of us than you can imagine.  I like that Hutto is speaking out in support of raising the minimum wage.  But $10.10, by the time it gets passed in the Senate is still inadequate.  It will still keep families living in poverty.  By the way, those of us who are living with the help of food stamps -- you don't even know who they are, because they are embarrassed and afraid to admit it.  In order to get rid of the need for food stamp assistance, our government needs to take a strong stand against employers who claim they are unable to stay in business if they give employees a living wage.

And here's more unsolicited advice to State Senator Hutto:

Don't be afraid to speak up for Obamacare.  Honestly, if you're willing to campaign on all the great benefits of the Affordable Care Act, you will be doing a great service to the public, because you will be fighting the absurd and destructive disinformation campaign that idiots like Graham have been promoting, all in the name of fear-building in order to garner votes.

And by standing up to right wingnuts on women's reproductive health, you've gotten our attention and a lot of loyalty.  Mention it every chance you get, and we'll actually get out and vote for you.  

Here's something few politicians do in South Carolina:  talk about the great work Elizabeth Warren is doing to curb the great and powerful Wall Street beast.  And specifically talk about the bill that was recently defeated that would have allowed people to refinance older student loans at current lower interest rates, and Lindsey Graham's part in that defeat.  And if you want students to get out and vote for you, talk about making college more affordable.  Oh, go on, even talk about subsidizing education, the way we subsidize big oil and big agriculture.

For that matter, you might even get some hard-core republican farmers out to support you if you talk about how failure to regulate and large government subsidies have strangled the family farm, and small business in general.  Because Graham and his gang have convinced voters that the enemy is government, where the enemy is actually the giant corporation with their lobbyists and lawyers that control people like Lindsey Graham.

So many issues, and it's just a matter of explaining to people how the current system, with Graham and Scott, have worked to keep us one of the poorest states, with bad roads, failing education, low-paid workers, inadequate health care, oh, and gun violence.

The issue that seems to have alienated more of us Dems than any other is that of gun control.  Hutto voted for the ridiculous bill that allows guns in bars and restaurants, putting the onus of responsibility on the bar/restaurant owners.  If you're afraid of the people here who are passionate about their guns, you should know that even gun owners understand that there is a time and a place for wielding that weapon.  Here we are in 2014 making the country's top-10 list for gun violence.

I would give pause at the voting booth when I consider that you might be in the US Senate, voting on a bill that would require background checks and limit ammunition capacity.  Such a reasonable law, adopted in states that recognize the need, a law that might actually make life safer on the streets and in our schools, I would have to say at this point you would vote against it.

All things being equal -- and in politics in 2014 they are not -- you just might win against Graham.  But because all things are not equal, Brad Hutto needs to be a strong alternative to Lindsey Graham, not a lukewarm bunch of promises.  My motto here in South Carolina is, if you're going to lose anyway, you might as well speak out.  In fact, and in a wonderful irony, speaking out will get you the greatest chance of beating the odds and winning that election.

So, Brad, go out and defend us against the likes of Lindsey Graham. 

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