Sunday, October 26, 2008

Peter Welch Is Bad For Vermont

Peter Welch is bad for Vermont

In a recent Free Press article, Peter Welch said he wasn't willing to risk a "government shutdown" to vote against a bill that funded the war in Iraq. This has become vintage Welch...First point, what does it say about our legislative process that a bill so important as war funding is tied to funding for the government in general? And how does Welch think he is possibly going to change anything without that recognition and the requisite courage to stand up to it and say no? Instead Welch chooses to spin his decision into protecting school lunch, veterans care, social security and highway repair by not voting for a government shutdown?? Do you see what he has done, and skillfully so? He has made it seem like he is the one protecting us when what is really doing is nothing, or, more of the same. Not the platform he ran for office under.

Do you want more? Here's more... Welch is appearing on both the Republican and the Democratic ballot according the the Free Press article. I won't get into how that happens, only what it means. And what it means is that Peter Welch plays the middle; his soft, pliable, constantly spinning and hard to pin down views reach out rhetorically and play to both sides. Normally, in a world that was open to differences in opinion, I would say that reaching out to as many people as possible was a good thing, but in this case our political world is not one that is open to diversity of opinion. Congratulations Peter, you are officially a Republicrat, or maybe it's a Demican? Not the platform he ran under.

And there's more. When faced with the biggest "bailout" in US history and after hearing from "thousands of Vermonters" who understand what "bailout" means and are not in favor, Welch chooses to abandon the Citizens of Vermont as he abandons the Constitution, by justifying his vote by saying:

"From day one I was convinced we had to act, not acting was a catastrophe for the economy,..."

Defining a lack of action as a recipe for "catastrophe" is a perfect example of why Welch does not represent Vermont; he perpetuates the fear and doesn't explain or explore "catastrophe" or "action" or "not acting" he just uses the words like we are supposed to follow along without question.

Thousands of Vermonters opposed the bailout and called Welch to express their opinions. How did Welch respond? He responded by saying that those thousands of Vermont Citizens are just expressing their rage, that we Vermonters are an emotional bunch and that he knows better. I paraphrase the quote from the Free Press article here: "...if it was just a no vote to express rage...that Vermonters feel for how we got here...".

It's my opinion that Vermonters calling Welch's office were likely very upset, as I was when I called; the main difference, however, between Welch and the Vermonters that he represents is that the Vermonters have beliefs that are foundational to the way they live their lives. Many Vermonters make decisions with a higher concept of idealism and the idealism comes before the fear of the consequences. Vermonters know that tough times are here and more tough times are coming; Vermonters saw the bailout as a direct and violent crime against what they believe to be true and right. What Vermonters were saying to Welch was NO! What Peter Welch heard was thousands of his constituents just needing someone to complain to.

In conclusion it is clear that all of this is not the Congressman's fault, in fact I believe Welch has been perfectly consistent with both his message and his non-action. To quote:

"It's an approach that you take," he said. "My two years, I think, show pretty clear a mosaic at this point that is all about trying to restore protection and strength to the middle class."

Read that statement..."I think", "Pretty clear", "Mosaic", "at this point", "trying", "middle class". Could you have more ambiguous words in a shorter sentence. This is who Peter Welch is, this is his "approach". Those of you that voted for him felt so passionately about what was wrong and what needed to be fixed and how to fix it that you were susceptible to Welch's lawyerly charms. Welch has had so many opportunities to stand up for what, at least in my opinion, Vermonters stand for. He has had so many chances to make a real difference and at every turn he chooses more of the same, he chooses status quo and then he defends his position by saying it was too difficult a choice and that he couldn't "risk" it. Ladies and gentleman, Peter Welch has had two years to represent Vermont and instead he has represented himself. It's our turn to make a statement now.

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