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My Constituents Care Way More About Political Gamesmanship Than Jobs, Health Care, And The Economy

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My Constituents Care Way More About Political Gamesmanship Than Jobs, Health Care, And The Economy

It is my responsibility as an elected official to look out for the people back home, the voters who sent me to Washington. So, after 20 years representing Ohio's 8th District, I know what the good citizens of Montgomery, Preble, and Butler counties really want: someone who engages in the kind of calculated political gamesmanship that increases his standing in the Republican party while simultaneously hindering our country's legislative process at every conceivable turn.

I assure you, the last thing my voters need is some well intended, do-all-I-possibly-can-to-help-the-little-guy congressman running around Washington, working across the aisle, and fighting tooth and nail for jobs, health care, and financial reform to ensure their tax dollars never end up in the hands of banks capable of holding our entire economy hostage.

No, sir. My constituents deserve better.

They deserve a leader willing to roll up his sleeves and play the types of twisted, greedy political games that, by their very nature, tear apart the fabric of our democracy for the sake of assuring reelection. They deserve someone on their side who will ask the tough questions, such as how will painting Democrats as radical ideologues play in, say, Arkansas? Can we vote "no" on the health care bill and still make it look like we give two craps about the welfare of ordinary Americans? How can we twist positive news about the GDP into a negative for the Obama administration?

Trust me: If you talk to an unemployed, uninsured mother of two in Greenville, she'll tell you that jobs and reliable medical coverage come a distant second to the crafting of meticulous talking points that deftly omit the facts and reduce what should be honest discourse about our country's future to a series of contrived, easy-to-digest sound bites designed to sway crucial independent voters.

Take the folks I represent in Dayton. They've seen unemployment skyrocket to 13.2 percent. Now, here is what I did for them: Even though the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicts that the stimulus bill will ultimately save or create 2.5 million jobs, I came out and said that the dismal performance of the "stimulus" demonstrates the danger of letting Washington take more control of our economy.

My constituents had to be proud. They must have loved the way I blatantly ignored the truth and put quotation marks around "stimulus" so as to delegitimize the whole project. And I bet they noticed that, with just one sentence, I slyly preyed on America's inherent distrust of big government. Pretty good, huh? It's all bullshit of course, but it's a great political play: slimy, deceitful, and downright irresponsible—the kind of no-nonsense, no-actual-help-for-anyone-but-myself strategy that the struggling voters in Butler and Mercer counties rely on.

The fact is, if I ever worked across the aisle to help thousands of uninsured Ohioans receive health care, I wouldn't be able to look them in the eye. How could I explain to them that I abandoned the idiotic yet politically fruitful claim that Barack Obama is a socialist bent on destroying the American way of life? How could I admit to them that deficit spending is the only way to get us out of an economic crisis perpetuated by my party's disastrous fiscal ideology? How could I tell them I stopped obsessing over scoring petty political points right before the midterm election?

How could I stop being the greedy, myopic scumbag they elected me to be?

More than anything, average, workaday Ohioans want me to play politics at the shrewdest, most despicable level, not to waste their time making surgery affordable or offering tax breaks to small businesses. And my constituents are so thankful that I took a nation that was actually hopeful at the beginning of 2009 and turned it into a paranoid, demoralized country unsure of whether it made the right choice in 2008.

But in the end, of course, I can't take full credit for the Republican Party's utterly undeserved yet all-too-depressingly-real resurgence. That would be unfair to my Democratic colleagues, who, in their unwillingness to act like grown adults with any kind of backbone and exercise the largest majority any party has seen in decades, have let us get away with all of it.

Thank you, you cowardly pieces of shit.

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