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Dear Republicans,

Speaking as a lifelong Progressive, American needs you. Here's three reasons why. But also, here are three things America needs for you to do:

The first reason we need you is your understanding of the importance of free enterprise. No one can doubt that free enterprise, driven by the profit motive, has done more to lift more people out of poverty than all the government programs in history. Your task: remind us Progressives that free enterprise is the engine of prosperity. But in return, we need for you to start dealing with reality. Clean air and clean water laws aren't anti-business. Neither are worker safety laws. Making Wall Street deal honestly isn't stifling innovation. And subsidies for companies making billions in profit only help your rich friends, not the "small businesses" you always talk about. We need--really need--a healthy business environment. But plug into reality & talk about what works for all of us, not just your rich donors.

The second reason we need you is that you understand the importance of a strong defense. It's comforting for some of us to believe that all conflicts are really just misunderstandings. Your task: Remind us that some people really are evil and would happily dance on our graves. But once again--get real. Invading Iraq had nothing to do with our defense; you lied to us and you lied to the world, wasting a trillion dollars and the blood of tens of thousands of our best young men and women. Stop eagerly sending the young men and women from poorer neighborhoods off to war while your children go to Harvard and run hedge funds. (You know who I'm talking to, Mitt.) Stop pretending we'll be enslaved unless we have enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world several times over. And get used to the idea that we can't run the world. One hundred years ago we didn't run the world and one hundred years from now we probably won't either. Stop bankrupting us with endless wars. (By the way, I served for twenty years as as US military officer. You?)

Finally, America needs you to be conservative--but the way it used to mean: careful and conserving of resources. Remind us that, despite the urgency of current needs, the bills will eventually have to be paid. But get real: stop proposing tax cuts for the wealthy while telling us--again--that they will magically result in higher revenues. You know these cuts do exactly what they're designed to do: make the rich even richer. Stop pretending that you can double the defense budget in a decade, put two wars on the credit card and still call yourself a fiscal conservative.

Republicans, America needs you. But it needs you to get real.

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