Busting Allen West: A Political Diary of a Great Patriot

Discussion in 'Politics' started by MarcATL, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. MarcATL

    MarcATL Gold Member

    Aug 12, 2009
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    Busting Allen West: A Political Diary of a Great Patriot

    I have always had an interest in politics, but work and my other commitments made it difficult for me to do much more than donate money and volunteer for some phone-banking and door-knocking in the last week or two before elections. This January I retired, moved to Florida, and decided to become more politically active. Now I had plenty of time available to pursue my interest- I just needed a candidate.

    Florida redrew its congressional map last year based on the 2010 census. In February, Tom Rooney, the current congressman for Martin County, announced that he would run for re-election in the new District 17 which he expected to be more favorable territory for a Republican. Soon after, Allen West announced that he would move his campaign north and run for re-election in the new District 18 which included Martin County, St. Lucie County, and northern Palm Beach County. He wanted to be my new congressman. His likely Democratic opponent was a 29-year-old political neophyte, Patrick Murphy. In June I received a phone call from a Murphy campaign intern. The only thing I knew for sure about Mr. Murphy was that he was not Allen West. That was enough- I had found my candidate.

    Though neither candidate had been officially nominated (the primary would be held in August) Murphy already had an active phone-banking operation up and running. I volunteered and started the next day. The office was in Palm Beach Gardens- 40 minutes away. I got into a routine of volunteering on Mondays and Fridays and mostly kept that schedule through election day. Fortunately, after a month the campaign opened another office in Martin County and I was able to cut down my commuting time significantly.

    My prior volunteer experience was limited to working with other union members and calling from AFL-CIO generated lists. This was different. Now I was working mostly with younger people who had taken a temporary job with the campaign. In many cases they were just out of school and were expecting to return later to graduate school or law school. The internship was a temporary diversion from their career path but they still approached their task with enthusiasm and dedication. Most days that meant calling 400 strangers- a grueling and thankless job. I usually worked half days and found even that level of engagement mind-numbing.

    The lists we used were generated from voter registration information. We called a lot of Republicans and independents. Many of those conversations were less than cordial. In the handful of calls on a given day that turned into an actual discussion of issues, I found myself talking a lot about Medicare. West had twice voted for Ryan's budget bills, which called for turning Medicare into a voucher system, and I knew that vouchers were politically toxic in the retiree haven of South Florida.

    The formality of the primaries was dispensed with on August 14 and the campaign began in earnest. As the summer wore on and turned to fall, I got to know Patrick. He was young, energetic, driven, and accessible. He was merely adequate as a public speaker, but won people over with his enthusiasm. He came from a prominent and wealthy South Florida family- something that the West campaign would use against him in their relentless series of negative commercials. He graduated from a prep school in New Jersey and the University of Miami and then became a CPA. Later, he joined the family construction business. The highlight of his business career was putting together a fleet of skimmers and spending 6 months in New Orleans working on the oil cleanup after the BP catastrophe.

    Politically, he is a self-proclaimed centrist- occupying a still largely undefined area someplace to the right of my preferred positions but well to the left of the ground staked out by Allen West. He is a strong advocate for the environment and women's rights. He is against turning Medicare into a voucher program. He touts his CPA background and states that he is pro-business. He makes a general distinction between short-term needs of the economy and long-term needs, suggesting that he recognizes the macroeconomic case for stimulus when appropriate. He is in favor of restoring higher taxes on those earning over $1,000,000 a year. Patrick Murphy is not my ideal candidate, but he is a huge improvement over Alan West and I had no reservations about working on for his election.

    In September, the campaign suggested topics for letters to the editor and I was happy to oblige. Two of my letters were published in local papers. Here's a reprint of one, a letter on Medicare:

    The other letter was on sequestration, highlighting the fact that West sponsored the National Security and Job Protection Act- a measure which would exempt all defense spending from the across-the-board cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act.
    ...more at the source...

    Source: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021798362
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2012
  2. Stephanie

    Stephanie Diamond Member

    Jul 11, 2004
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