Sunday, October 4, 2015

Jeb Happens!

I take it back. Jeb really isn't the smart one in the Bush family. Turns out he's actually dumber than his brother George. And that's saying something given what Dubya put the country through for eight years in the Oval Office.

In a recent interview, Jeb said of the deadly shooting in Oregon, "Stuff happens." That's right, kids. The man who would be the trifecta in Bush presidencies actually reduced this tragedy to a bumper sticker. This guy isn't low energy; he's low I.Q.  Oh he did his best to clarify his remarks later by insisting he wasn't referring to the Oregon massacre.  Unfortunately for dear old Jeb, nobody was buying it.

The remarks came just days after Bush, who apparently didn't pay much attention to the 2012 election, pulled a Mitt Romney by saying he didn't want to give "free stuff" to minorities. Though to be fair to Jeb, this is a popular meme within the GOP. It seems they have convinced themselves that the only reason blacks and Hispanics don't vote Republican is because Democrats keep giving them freebees. Right, and enacting voter suppression laws and calling Mexicans rapists have nothing to do with it.

Even when Jeb actually makes a salient point, he still ends up sticking his foot in his mouth. At that very same "stuff happens" interview, he said, "A child drowns in a pool and the impulse is to pass a law that puts fencing around pools. Well it may not change it."  While governor of Florida, Bush signed a law that required pool owners to do just that. Oh, well.

And then there was that Fox News' interview with Megyn Kelly where she asked him if he would still have invaded Iraq based on what we now know. That was Jeb's moment to distinguish himself from his brother and tell the country he was different. But like a moth drawn to a flame, he couldn't resist and actually said yes, he would've invaded. Jesus, how many mulligans can one guy get?

From day one, we were fed this line over and over again. Jeb Bush wasn't his brother. He was thoughtful, intelligent and transformative. He was the only establishment candidate who could beat Hillary. And, best of all, he was willing to lose the primary in order to win the general.

So far, only the last claim has proven to be true. Jeb's poll numbers are so low, his financial backers are threatening to bail on him. At this point in the campaign, Mike Huckabee has a better shot at capturing the Republican nomination than Bush.

Funny isn't it. Two years ago, Barbara Bush was asked about whether her youngest son should run for president. She replied no. "We've had enough Bushes." Based on Jeb's performance over the last few months, I would say momma Bush has nothing to worry about. Her son should be home for Thanksgiving dinner next year.

Without the secret service detail, that is.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

How the Left Can Win the War on Gun Control

Once more a tragic shooting spree has taken the lives of innocent people and once more a nation reacts in shock and horror. President Obama addressed the nation tonight, just like he has done so many times during his two terms in office. Both sides of the political spectrum offer the usual answers. The Left says responsible gun control that would keep guns out of the hands of crazy people would solve most if not all of the problem. The Right maintains that more guns, not less, would deter these acts of violence.

Both are wrong. The Right's solution would only turn the country into a modern-day O. K. Corral. And as for the Left's solution, sadly, even passing a few gun laws wouldn't have stopped most of these heinous acts. The real problem isn't a lack of gun laws or an insufficient number of "good guys with guns stopping bad guys with guns." I submit that the real problem has been right under our nose and the Left's decision not to address it is the real culprit here.

Put succinctly, the problem is the Second Amendment itself. For most of our nation's history, the Amendment was understood to grant unfettered gun rights to those individuals who belonged to militias during the formative years of the Republic. Owing to the fact that America did not have a standing army until after the Civil War, militias were the only defense the nation had against a foreign invasion. Indeed President Lincoln had to rely on state militias to form the Union Army.

This is what the Amendment actually says:

"A Well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." 

Any honest and objective reading of that sentence would lead one to conclude that it was never the Founders intention that every citizen in the country should have unfettered access to guns.  And for the better part of two centuries, that was the prevailing sentiment of the Supreme Court, as well. Two landmark decisions are worth noting here.

The first is United Staes v. Cruikshank in 1876, which said that "The right to bear arms is not granted by the Constitution; neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence." It ruled the Second Amendment was limited to the federal government.

The second major decision was United States v. Miller in 1939. There the Court ruled that the federal government could limit or restrict those weapons that did not have a "reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia."

It was accepted as axiomatic that the whole purpose for the Amendment in the first place was to ensure that the country had the means with which to defend itself. Reasonably sane people all concurred. Guns were not so much a right as they were a necessary evil that allowed the nation to preserver against foreign attacks.

All that changed with the now infamous District of Columbia v. Heller decision in 2008. It was here for the first time that the Court ruled that the Amendment did in fact protect an individual's right to bear arms. Two years later, in McDonald v. Chicago, the Court doubled down on that decision by ruling that the right to "keep and bear arms" as stated in the Second Amendment was protected under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and that it applied to every state in the country.

Both these decisions were staggering in their consequence. In effect, the Supreme Court reinterpreted and, as some have suggested, rewrote the Second Amendment, ignoring the part about well regulated militias, and deciding that every citizen was entitled to own a gun if he or she chose to do so. Not only that, it ostensibly outlawed any attempt at banning guns and severely restricted the means by which local governments could even regulate them.

And this is where we now stand. Two highly flawed Supreme Court decisions which have not only opened the flood gates to gun ownership in the country, but granted carte blanche to every gun toting idiot to beat his chest and fight against any reasonable restriction on his so-called rights. It is estimated that there are now as many guns in the United States as there are people. No other developed country on the planet comes close.

The Left must resist the urge to play on the enemy's turf. The answer to gun violence in America isn't to enact one or two anemic laws filled with loopholes wide enough to drive a truck through. If the Left ever hopes to win the war on gun control, it must do all it can to change the discussion from crazy people with guns back to where it belongs. It must challenge the very premise that the Second Amendment is sacrosanct. It must do all it can to reverse the damage done by the Supreme Court in both the Heller and McDonald decisions.

There is a reason the United States leads all developed countries in gun homicides. We have a gun culture that is enabled by selective renderings of history and upheld by flimsy judicial activism.  Until both are properly disposed of, we can expect this deadly trend to continue unabated.

This will not be an easy fight to win. Indeed, it may prove to be an impossible task. But reasonable gun restrictions have been successfully thwarted at every turn by the gun lobby. Even attempts at passing a common sense background check law failed miserably. There is no indication that future attempts will be any more effective. Face it, America is addicted to violence. It's in our blood. Our only hope is a blood transfusion.

And that transfusion must come politically through winning elections at the federal level. The next president will be in a position to nominate one, possibly two, Supreme Court justices. If it is a Democrat, it is possible that both the Heller and McDonald decisions could be revisited and reversed.

And if that were to happen, America could begin its long but necessary journey back towards a more genuine and accurate understanding of its history; back to a time when learned men wrote noble words that they fully expected their posterity to grasp.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Ten Years Ago

It's hard to believe that ten years ago this month, on a suggestion from a friend, I decided to launch my first blog: Christians Against Hypocrisy. Initially, the blog was little more than a sounding board on the growing political influence of conservative Christians in the country.  I still remember that first posting. I asked a simple question.

"Are you, like me, fed up with the conservative right defining your type of Christianity for you?"

A few brave souls took the time to read the piece, which was hardly the stuff of Pulitzer prizes, and chimed in with their comments, all of them encouraging. I can't begin to thank that friend for his suggestion - though I'm sure more than a few could question his sanity. It proved an invaluable release valve for my pent up frustration.

By 2008, with the heat of a presidential election gripping the nation, I began to hone my writing skills. 2009 saw a total of sixty postings, many political. It was clear that the blog was becoming less about religion and more about progressive values. So by early 2010, I decided to launch another blog - this one - which would specifically speak to those values. And over the last five plus years, I have, I hope, done a credible job advancing them.

I have never apologized for my beliefs, though sometimes, I have had to atone for how they were expressed. What can I say, I lead with my chin. And while I have spared no expense going after conservatives in this blog, on more than one occasion, I have focused my wrath on progressives. I find that many of them share one thing in common with the Tea Party. They're too caught up in their own private Idaho. A bubble is a bubble, no matter which side of the political aisle you're on.

And naturally, when I've done that, I've taken my fair share of lumps. Though this blog doesn't get a lot of followers, those who do follow it have never been shy of letting me know what a sellout I am. If there's one thing that makes me nervous about the 2016 election, it's not the Republicans, it's progressives. Had they made even a modicum of effort to show up the last two midterms, Democrats would still control both Houses of Congress. No they're not nuts like the Tea Party, but they're lazy as hell many times. And they can be such cry babies, especially when they don't get their favorite candidate.


No doubt, I'll get some flack for the above. Know what, screw 'em. Wanna prove me wrong? Show up next year regardless of who the Democratic nominee is. Even if it's Hillary.

Anyway, it's been a nice ride so far. I just hope that the next ten years are as fruitful, if not more so. See 'ya around.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

A Pontiff For All Seasons

I've thought long and hard about what it is about this Pope that seems to drive conservatives up the proverbial wall, and I know what it is.

Pope Francis gets it. All of it. This Pope understands what it truly means to be a Christian. It is not an easy walk. It requires humility, compassion and a profound understanding of what it means to be a Shepard for the lost the way Jesus was during his brief ministry on Earth. On our best days all of us barely register a 3 or 4 on a scale of 1 to 10. Imagine what our worst days would look like.

Like Christ, he is not ashamed to wash the feet of inmates. He shuns all outward signs of excess, moving out of the spacial papal apartments and into the Vatican guest house. Guest house? The Pope in a guest house? At night he sneaks out to be with the homeless. On his visit to New York, he got out of his Pope mobile to bless a disabled child on the road. Can't you just see in your mind's eye Jesus doing the same thing.

For this ex-Catholic, these last few months have been extraordinary. I never believed I would see in my lifetime a Pontiff so humbled by his position so as to exhibit such traits. And yet here he is among us, not Jesus incarnate as some have foolishly said, but Jesus personified. A true servant of the people.

His critics - all of them conservative - have accused him of mingling in things he knows nothing about. He should stick, they say, to matters of morality and leave economics and the environment to those best suited to handle such matters. Like that's really worked out well.

But Pope Francis is having none of that. To him, economics and the environment are moral issues. How we treat those less fortunate, goes to the heart of who we are as Christians.  How we treat the world that we have been given, speaks volumes about our ability to be good stewards. I submit that with regard to both we have have been dismal failures. Millions suffer needlessly while a few enjoy untold riches; and slowly but surely we are destroying this planet. The Pope is warning us that there will be a price to pay for such sins.

Perhaps if this Pope had come out railing against homosexuality and abortion, his critics would've been mollified. No doubt they would've stood up and applauded him for being a righteous man of God. But when he speaks about poverty and global warming, he is somehow neglecting his papal duties and abandoning the teachings of Jesus.

There is of course one tiny problem with their logic. It just isn't true. The Jesus they refer to doesn't exist, except maybe in their warped brains. They keep looking for the passage where Jesus commands his disciples to go pull themselves up by their own boot straps. There is no such passage. Just like there's no such passage that reads God helps those who help themselves. Indeed just the opposite; scripture is replete with commands that we are to live out our faith through our actions toward one another. As it is written in James,

Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food, If one of you says to them, "go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

The Christian faith is not a self-help group. Our role is not to be bystanders while the world around us  is in need. Rather, our faith demands that we put our money where our mouth is. As Jesus himself said in Matthew, "Whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sister of mine, you did for me."

Pope Francis takes these words to heart and he challenges all of us to put them into practice. Like Jesus before him, he rattles the cage and reveals the hearts of the cold and indifferent. He speaks out against crony capitalism and greed, calling it the "dung of the devil."

"The promise was that when the glass was full, it would overflow, benefitting the poor. But what happens instead is that when the glass is full, it magically gets bigger. Nothing ever comes out for the poor."

That might be the most accurate critique of trickle down economics that I've ever heard. But he didn't stop there. In an address to Congress this week, he took aim at what Dwight Eisenhower once referred to as the military industrial complex.

"Many powerful people don't want peace because they live off war. Some powerful people make their living with the production of arms. It's the industry of death."

On the topic of immigration, the Pope had some stinging rebukes for the xenophobic elements that are gaining momentum within the United States.

"The people of this continent are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners. When the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past. We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our neighbors and everything around us. Building a nation calls us to recognize that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility in order to adopt one of reciprocal subsidiarity, in a constant effort to do our best. I am confident that we can do this."

Small wonder conservatives in this country are having a cow over this Pope. He's had the audacity to unmask their false god of money and expose their racism. And just like the Pharisees of Jesus' time, they aren't taking it well.

Some of the comments from the far Right have been downright repulsive and disgusting, but hardly surprising. I have known for quite some time how vacuous this movement really is, and now, thanks to this former Jesuit priest, hopefully everyone else will know it too.

With all the riches that this world has to offer, it is nothing short of an embarrassment that any one should starve for lack of money to buy food. As Christians, all of us should be ashamed that such atrocities still exist and all of us should take heed of the Pope's charge to us to do something about it. As Jesus said in John 13,

"A new command I give you: love one another."

Friday, September 25, 2015

John Boehner Calls It A Night

Well, that was unexpected. John Boehner, the beleaguered and sometimes reluctant Speaker of the House, announced that he is resigning from Congress, effective October 30. Tell me you saw this coming and I'm calling Bellevue to have that rubber room prepped.

Seriously, though, this moment was four years in the making. Ever since that ill-fated and much maligned 2011 budget deal that brought us the Sequester was enacted, Boehner has been on borrowed time. His base despised him and the establishment, while being sympathetic, had little respect for him. His own number two, Eric Cantor, undermined him at every turn. To say Boehner was between a rock and a hard place would be an understatement.

Still, even with all the dysfunction he has had to contend with, I thought Boehner would survive. After all, thanks to the gerrymandering after the 2010 midterms, he had a super majority at his disposal; a majority that in all likelihood won't be in jeopardy for several election cycles. But even with the largest majority any Republican Speaker has had to work with since the days of Harry Truman, he was never able to control his conference. Too often, the Republican-controlled House looked more like a frat house than a legislative body. The low point for Boehner was when he allowed a small group of escaped lunatics, lead by Ted Cruz, to shut down the government over the rollout of Obamacare. It was a stinging indictment of his leadership ability.

It was clear Boehner wasn't in the mood for a repeat performance over defunding Planned Parenthood. Odds were he was prepared to allow the Senate's clean funding bill a straight up and down vote in the House. And almost immediately after that, he would've faced a no confidence vote from the unhinged contingent. Anyway you slice it, he was screwed. In the end, he fell on his sword. For the first time since assuming the mantle of Speaker, John Boehner had the balls to tell his opponents to go fuck themselves. The government, for the time being, will NOT be shutting down.

And now the sixty-four thousand dollar question on everyone's mind is who follows Boehner. Obviously, the early favorite is current majority leader Kevin McCarthy. But the truth is nobody knows for sure. With all the infighting that has been going on within this motley crew, you never know. These dim bulbs might get so caught up trying to one up themselves, Nancy Pelosi could end up back as the Speaker. Yes, as strange as it might seem, if the Republican conference can't agree on a new Speaker or doesn't have a clear-cut winner that can garner enough votes, Pelosi could actually emerge as the winner. It hasn't happened since 1856, when Nathaniel Banks of Massachusetts won with a simple plurality to become the Speaker.

But while a Pelosi victory would be nice, I doubt it would actually happen. In the end, Republicans should be able to cobble together enough votes to elect one of their own. The real problem will come after the vote. If Boehner couldn't lead this group, how in the hell is McCarthy going to, or whoever ends up getting the gavel?

One thing is for certain. John Boehner's tenure as Speaker of the House may be coming to an end, but the nightmare that is the Republican-controlled House will go on for quite some time.

Oh joy, oh bliss!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Why Scott Walker Imploded

Did you catch Scott Walker's press conference where he announced he was "suspending" his campaign? To tell you the truth, I didn't, at least not live. But I did did manage to catch the part where he said, "I encourage other candidates to do the same (quit) so that the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive, conservative alternative to the current front-runner. This is fundamentally important to the future of the Party, and more importantly, to the future of the country."

How magnanimous of Scottso to put his party and country first. Such a trooper. And how about the parting shot he took at his party's "current frontrunner." Nice touch, Gov, not mentioning his name. But then it takes a special kind of courage to compare union protesters to ISIS, right?

Regardless of whatever spin the Walker campaign may attempt to put on this "suspension," the truth is that Scott Walker simply sucked as a candidate. His decision to drop out of the race had nothing to do with helping his party defeat Donald Trump; it had everything to do with his lousy poll numbers, which were so low they had to be put under an electron microscope just to be detected.

It's also time to put an end to this ridiculous myth that Scott Walker was some kind of political dynamo in Wisconsin just because he got elected three times - one of them by virtue of a recall. To be clear, Walker received a boatload of soft money and had the good fortune of running against some of the weakest candidates the Democrats have ever fielded in the Badger state. Over the last few months, his popularity there has plummeted.

To those not familiar with Wisconsin, the state is considered by many political pundits to be a toss up, but that's not entirely true. If you take away Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, the state has voted Democrat in every single presidential election going back five decades. In fact, prior to the 2010 wave election that saw the GOP take the House and many gubernatorial races, Wisconsin's legislature was under Democratic control. Far from being a dynamo, Walker seems to have been the beneficiary of some incredible good timing and inept politics.

In the end, his luck and money simply ran out, His donors were bailing on him left and right and he didn't exactly help himself trying to one-up Trump by suggesting we put a wall on the Canadian border. Apparently it never dawned on him that at least one third of the border between the U.S. and Canada is surrounded by water. They're not called the Great Lakes for nothing, Scotty.

But it wasn't just his draconian positions that did him in. He simply had no personality to speak of. In the two debates he was about as flat as you could be. If Jeb Bush was low energy, Walker was practically comatose. And when he did manage to open his mouth, he looked like a really bad stand-up comic who was desperately trying to remember the punchlines to his jokes. Even his most ardent supporters knew they had a dead horse on their hands.

Scott Walker is no leader. In fact, he's a pretty shitty governor with a lousy record in a state that, thanks to his policies, is now facing a budget shortfall of $2.2 billion. Just imagine what he might've done to the country if he had gotten half the chance. A friend of mine on Facebook summed up the news of Scott Walker's departure from the presidential election best. "Scott, who?"

Bye, bye, Governor. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Say It Ain't So, Joe

Dear Mr. Vice President:

Recent reports indicate that after weeks of soul searching and weighing all the pros and cons, you are now leaning towards tossing your hat into the presidential ring. Your reasons will likely be as follows: You have been a very good vice president and an enormous asset to Barack Obama; you know how to negotiate with this Congress because you've done it many times; and, lastly, you will never be this close to the presidency again, so why not give it that one last shot, especially given how badly you've wanted it for years.

Those are all valid reasons for running I'm sure, and while I sympathize with all that you have had to go through with the passing of your son, I would strongly ask that you reconsider your decision to enter the race. The reason could not be clearer. You can not win the nomination, no way, no how. Here's why.

You and Hillary Clinton are basically cut from the same cloth. She is a woman, you're a man, but both of you are considered, and rightly so, as part of the establishment. While you enjoy a somewhat higher favorability rating than Clinton, part of the reason for that is that she has stumbled somewhat over the last few months due primarily to the way she's handled the email server issue. The other part, as I'm sure you're quite aware, is that it's easy to be popular when you're not officially a candidate. Once declared, however, most candidates take a hit in the polls. It will be no different for you.

But getting back to this establishment thing. Let's face it, sir, you've been in Washington longer than I've been driving. In fact, I was 11 years old when you won your first senate race. That's about as establishment as it gets. Even Hillary can't touch that. How do you expect to attract younger voters when most of the people who voted for you in 1972 are considerably older than me? Some might even be dead.

The truth is that if you run, you will simply siphon off votes from Hillary Clinton, thus making it easier for Bernie Sanders to win the nomination. Now maybe that ends up being a good thing, especially if it turns out there maybe something more to this email server issue. You never know about these things. Three months ago, I would've bet the ranch that Hillary was home free, and now look at what's happened.

But even if she ends up going up in a ball of flames, that still doesn't give you the nomination. That's because you have the same problem she does. The Left doesn't trust you anymore than they trust her. She's got Monsanto hanging over her head, but you've got the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act hanging over yours. Between the two, you've got the larger burden to overcome. I cannot think of a single legal scholar that thinks the draconian penalties in that Act have been a success. Quite the contrary; it is now all too painfully apparent that this Act needlessly subjected untold minorities to unwarranted incarcerations. To say many in the African American community are pissed would be an understatement. Good luck making amends to them, sir. You've got your work cut out for you.

And then there's the mud-slinging that will ensue. Mud-slinging, you say? What mud-slinging? The mud-slinging that you are going to be forced to engage in with Hillary. Or did you just think you were going to stand up on the debate stage, smile and say, "I think Hillary would make a fine president, but I'm asking for your vote because, well, I kinda like the White House and I was hoping to stay at least another four years. What'd ya say, America. Can ya help a fella out?"

Come, come, Mr. Vice President. This is politics. You're not running to head up the Peace Corps here. Everyone in the country knows what's driving this decision. Hillary is vulnerable. You know it, I know it, the guy living under a rock on the Moon knows it. At some point you are going to have to say publicly what everyone else knows privately. And when that happens, the gloves will come off. It's going to get ugly fast. You are going to have to look straight at the camera and say something like this: "Hey, you know me. I'm trustworthy, I'm dependable, I have no baggage and I can defeat the Republicans in 2016."

And just as you are saying that, you will be ripping apart the presumptive nominee of your party and giving the GOP more than enough ammunition to bring her down in the general election. Think about it. Up until now, most of the rhetoric towards her has been aimed at the minions who hang on every syllable that comes from the mouths of the AM radio and Fox News talk-show hosts. People who weren't going to vote for her anyway. And, as we have seen over the last two presidential cycles, that doesn't hold much water with the overall electorate.

All that changes the moment you open your mouth. You go from candidate to messenger boy in one fell swoop. Why else do you think so many conservatives want you to run? With all due respect, it has nothing to do with your good looks and personality. They don't think you can win, but they do think you can help them beat Hillary. Or even better, prevent Hillary from even becoming the nominee.

As I mentioned above, Bernie Sanders would be the primary beneficiary of a civil war between you and Hillary. He already has a majority of progressives on his side. The huge crowds he is drawing at his events are not mirages. He's for real and whether you run or not, he would be a formidable opponent for Clinton. With you in the race, he would not only win both Iowa and New Hampshire, but also a majority of the rest of the primaries. Far from being a contender, you'd more than likely play the role of spoiler.

So Bernie wins the nomination. What's the problem? Well, apart from it not being you, which I'm assuming was the reason you got in the race in the first place, most of the enthusiasm surrounding the Sanders campaign I've always suspected is overrated. Yes, I know he's leading Hillary in the polls, but the fact is he hasn't had near the scrutiny she has. Have you taken a close look at his platform? You can bet your pension the GOP has and if he becomes the nominee, all that attention Clinton has been getting suddenly shifts to him. Thought you were sick and tired of hearing about death panels? Just wait till you hear the word socialist in your sleep. Give Republicans this much: once they get a hold of someone, they never let go. They will throw everything, including the kitchen sink, at Sanders.

And then there's the black vote. Bernie doesn't poll all that well with them and you're not exactly their sugar daddy. Like it or not, Hillary is the only candidate that manages to hold most of the Obama coalition together. If she isn't the nominee, some of those African Americans who came out to vote the last two presidential elections, might decide to stay home. Did you like the 2014 midterms? You could be looking at a repeat in 2016. Black Lives Matter isn't just a movement, sir, it's a warning to the Democratic Party. Ignore us and pay the price.

Of course, if Donald Trump ends up being the Republican nominee, all that could be moot. He's polling so badly with everyone who isn't white, it's hard imaging Democrats losing. Stranger things, though, have happened. Trump, so far, has managed to make every one of his opponents that have challenged him look small. And, let's face it, Bernie's not exactly the warm and fuzzy type. He looks more like a stern college professor than a presidential candidate. Just what the Democratic Party needs, John Houseman lecturing the country on a national debate stage.

And what if someone like John Kasich should get the nod? I've said this before and I'll say it again: Kasich could win. He could win Ohio and Florida, not to mention a number of other swing states. The point is, are you prepared to take that risk? With so much at stake?

Mr. Vice President, you've had a brilliant career, both as a Senator and as the number two executive in the country. You've been a loyal public servant for the better part of five decades. You have just one more public service to perform: doing everything in your power to keep the Republicans out of the White House.

I pray, sir, that you will do the right thing.