Mar 132005

Dear Senator Nelson:

I was gravely disappointed in your recent vote to join the Republican?s in passing the Bankruptcy Bill.

I suspect the answer to my questions is found in the fact that you have received over $30,000 in campaign contributions from the credit card industry over the past six years, but just for good measure, I?ll ask them anyway.

  • Why over 50% of those who declare bankruptcy due to the failure of the current healthcare system when experiencing a major medical situation are not part of those who deserve a safety net?
  • Why they believe that interest rates over 30% are legitimate and fair charges for those already struggling?
  • Why those who are victims of identity fraud should not be protected from the credit card companies?
  • Why our service personnel should not be cut some slack when they are serving?
  • Why the very rich are exempt from these stringent rules? Are the rich the ones who truly need the safety net?

I mean, it’s not like the ABA and the MBNA’s won’t pocket the Democratic votes yesterday and refrain from bankrolling GOP candidates against you all next year and dumping money into the RSCC. You all will get nothing for this vote but snickers from the industry and bankrolled GOP candidates anyway. Hell, even the NYT says that the GOP was surprised at how many Democrats sold out yesterday, and is portraying a divided Democratic caucus. Is that the Democrat?s grand plan, or did I miss something?

Four years after these Bush guys have been in power, you Beltway Democrats still don’t get it. It seems like you feel that they have to pick and choose their battles and let some go in order to focus on the bigger issues like Social Security, judges, and ANWR. Yet according to the polls, the public is already with us on those issues and yet act like we have no advantages here. This is not a game where we need to conserve ourselves and let the "small" battles go; this White House is in battle and campaign mode all the time on all issues, and it was in their design to hit Democrats with a large battle like Social Security and get them to focus squarely on that, hopefully to the exclusion of all else in this exact "small" battle strategy. And while we focus on Social Security, they had planned all along to push through under the radar screen as much as possible, including the bankruptcy bill, the tort reform fiasco, and the tax and budget bills, all of which will harm consumers and the needy in this country while they keep us focused on Social Security.

We have to be ready to battle them on all issues, all the time, as hard as that may be for the minority party. Democrats needed to delegate senators as point people on all these issues to be lieutenants marshaling support and speaking for the opposition while he focused on keeping the caucus together and telling the Joe Bidens of the world that he had better slither into the wallpaper if he wanted to be an MNBA whore on this one. Instead, he is trying to do it all himself and run some kind of "focus on the big ones" strategy that will actually undercut any credible argument to voters next year that Democrats represent an alternative. I mean, how can you run a midterm election campaign as reformers with an alternative agenda when your caucus and the Minority Leader split and voted against consumers?

So, my main question is this. If I promised to give you $30k over the next six years, will you return to Democratic Party principles? If not, given your vote on this and Abu Gonzales nomination, would you just go ahead, make if official, and announce your switch to the Republican Party?

Sincerely yours,
B. John Masters, Jr.

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