I think most of you know me. I'm the poster boy for close elections.
As you may remember, I won my 2008 Senate campaign after a long recount by just 312 votes out of 2.9 million cast. That's a margin of about 1/100th of one percent. So I can tell you from personal experience that every vote counts.
And every vote in Congress counts, too. I'm proud of the vote I cast for health care reform that expands access to medical care while reducing the deficit. That's right: health care reform will reduce the national debt by over a hundred billion dollars over the next ten years, and by 1.5 trillion dollars over the following ten.
But, voters wouldn't know that health care reform reduces the deficit from the campaign ads the conservatives are airing, or from those shady third party ads. I call them shady, because they're shady. They operate in the dark.
Those ads tell you that the stimulus package has been a total failure. That's interesting. Because none other than John McCain's presidential campaign economic adviser, Mark Zandi, has done a comprehensive study of the recovery package and determined that it has created or saved three million jobs and, get this, averted a depression. Averted a depression.
Now, I don't know about our opponents in this election, but I'd say that averting a second Great Depression is, on balance, a very good thing.
Look, people are hurting. Millions of Americans are without jobs. Still struggling, still losing their homes, still anxious about the future.
But let's remember how we got here. The month Barack Obama was sworn in we lost 750,000 jobs in this country. With all due respect to the President, I think his analogy that the economy was a car in a ditch when he took office is just a little too static. Here's my analogy, which, in my opinion, is both more kinetic and, frankly, far more accurate.
When the President took office, not only had the car gone into a ditch, the car had flipped over and was rolling down a steep embankment. We, the American people, were in the back seat, and the Bush Administration had removed all the seat belts, so we were all flying around the interior of this car as it was rolling and flipping and careening down this steep embankment, headed to a 2,000 foot cliff. And at the bottom of that cliff were jagged rocks. And alligators.
Now, at noon on January 20th, 2009, as the car was careening toward the cliff, George W. Bush jumped out of the car.
President Obama somehow managed to dive in through the window, take the wheel and get control of the thing just inches before it went over the precipice. Then, he and Congress starting pushing this wreck back up the embankment. Now you can't push a car up an embankment as fast as it careens down the embankment, especially if some people are trying to push against you. But we got it going in the right direction. And slowly we've gotten ourselves up the embankment, out of the ditch and onto the shoulder of the road.
There. That's what happened.
But you wouldn't know that from all these ads. All these smear ads, all these deliberately misleading ads – all of these ads that are paid for by organizations led by people like Karl Rove.
And we don't know exactly where the money's coming from. But I can guess. I'd guess from big coal companies, big oil companies, big multi-nationals that want to continue outsourcing our jobs, big banks that want to roll back Wall Street reform, big insurance companies that want to roll back health care reform – that don't want to cover kids with pre-existing conditions, or, adults with pre-existing conditions, and who want to drop you if you get sick, or who want to continue to impose annual and lifetime caps so that medical crises will continue to be by far the number one cause of bankruptcy in this country.
Well, they may have the powerful corporations on their side. But we've got you.
And that's why I brought up my recount. I know that if just a few volunteers had decided to sit that election out, I might not be a Senator today. And that's why we need all of you, all of you to work your hearts out for the next few days. I want you phone-banking and door-knocking.
Now, many of you have families. Ignore them. Get on the phones. Get on the doors. Talk to your neighbors. Tell them the truth.
And tell them the stakes. Are we going to go back? Back to the policies of Karl Rove and George Bush? Because that's exactly what they say they're going to do. Or do we continue moving forward? With the policies that have not only averted a depression, but invested in our future? In education and infrastructure and broadband and research and development in medicine and renewable energy.
Because that's the choice. It's backward or forward. And what we do, what you do in the next few days may very well determine which direction we go. I know. 'Cause remember, I'm the poster boy for close elections. And I know that you won't want to wake up on November 3rd and say to yourself - "If I had only done a little bit more. If I had only listened to Al." It's up to all of us.
So thanks for joining the DailyKos GOTV blog-a-thon. Now get blogging! And door-knocking! And phone-banking!!!