You've been sitting on my desk awhile, and I've been meaning to get back to you. I appreciate what you have to say about Rep. Markey's record, and I don't doubt your sincerity. And Rep. Markey--can I call her Betsy to avoid confusion with Ed Markey?--Besty is a dramatic improvement over detestable homophobe Marilyn Musgrave. But I do have concerns about your resolve. And since I don't live in Betsy's 4th District of Colorado but rather in the safe 2nd (whose residents probably receive a lot of fundraising letters like you), I think it's fair for you to listen to my concerns about donating.
That last point is a big one for me. If I am to donate to Besty, I do not want to hear later that Betsy must consider her district constituents first. If I am a donor, I expect to be treated as a constituent. I learned this lesson two years ago, after donating hundreds of my minimal working-class wages to multiple Senate candidates in the effort to achieve that 60 vote majority. Of course elected officials must consider their constituents, but they would do well to give real consideration to anyone who helped them, because ultimately they represent all Americans.
I was also quite concerned over Betsy's No vote on the House healthcare bill. I'll agree that it is not the most wonderful bill, but really it was the best bill we were likely to get, and it had a public option. I really need to hear from Betsy that a public option is a Good Thing, and this is a much bigger concern for me. I appreciate what you have to say about Betsy's support for the A.C.E.S. Act and the Creditcard Holder's Bill of Rights, but that is not enough. I worry because Betsy did not take a leadership role in her district when it came to supporting, explaining and promoting the public option as the cost-control measure in the healthcare bill, and that makes me wonder if this will be a recurrent problem.
See, I can afford to donate only to candidates whom I can trust not to run away from progressive issues, and not only because I feel strongly about those issues. When it comes to making a donation, I need some assurance that the recipient will understand how to be a progressive in a Republican district. I sympathize with any Democrat who won a district that voted for McCain over Obama, and I know that it is not fair for me to ask that all such Democrats be Alan Grayson, because the demographics of each district are different. However, it is not too much to ask that Betsy take a cue from Rep. Grayson in terms of understanding the generally populist landscape, and to also understand that even if CO's 4th did not elect Obama, enough people came out to vote for Obama to elect Betsy Markey.
Those eastern Plains counties may not be big on social change. But I am willing to bet that they have a streak of economic populism in them, and that Betsy is more than capable of reminding them of how little the big banks care for them, and that it is precisely public institutions that are obligated to consider them when private ones are not. It is exactly something like a public insurance option that will most benefit those rural communities who are otherwise not afforded many options by private health insurance interests. That Betsy Markey assumed that residents of rural and socially conservative counties are committed to voting against their own financial interest is a great concern to me. I see a great need for representatives to educate their constituents after listening to their concerns, instead of simply saying what Conventional Wisdom holds those constituents want to hear repeated back.
In this story on a Markey constituent meeting, I see Betsy simply assuming that conservatives only want to hear that tax cuts were in (what should have been called the Jobs but ended up) the stimulus bill. Unless the reporter omitted it, Betsy apparently made no courageous and necessary effort to educate her constituents about the history of the Depression, FDR's programs, and Keynesian economics to dispel the corporate, rightwing attack on all government spending. I can't send my minimal, hard-earned money to someone who doesn't, can't, or won't do that. I'm not expecting perfection of Betsy, but if I'm being asked for money, I need some evidence of an effort to not just react to her constituents but to lead and educate by progressive example.
So, I cannot send money now. However, I am more than willing to send money when Betsy takes the sort of transpartisan populist stands on pro-people issues that will, at the end of the day, promote progressive values, and win hearts and minds in the 4th by example. That is what will get her dedicated volunteers on the ground as well.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to correspond.