THE DEBT

Paul deLespinasse: ‘The last Democratic president did NOT balance the budget, though he did come a lot closer to it than the current administration. The total size of the national debt went up each and every year of the Clinton administration; for a couple of years the debt owed to private owners of bonds went down a bit, but this was more than canceled out by increases in the amounts owed to the Social Security and other trust funds. An operating deficit is an operating deficit, no matter where they are borrowing the money from, so the ‘surplus’ was just another accounting trick (which of course was initiated long before Clinton). Any corporation which kept its books as the federal government does would properly be run out of town by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, the SEC, and the AICPA. The way the government makes its financial reports to the public hardly allows for general understanding of what is happening. I sometimes wonder if most congressmen understand this point.’

☞ Even accounting as you and I both would (and I periodically argue we should), the budget was at least more or less balanced in Clinton’s last year. Click here and set the date range from January 19, 2000, to January 19, 2001 – Clinton’s final 365 days. You’ll see that the total debt (including that intra-governmental debt owed to the Social Security Trust Fund) was $5.727 trillion both days. After a year, it was no higher – and everyone saw future surpluses (even accounted for properly) as far as the eye could see. Bush almost immediately put an end to that. The debt will be about $10 trillion when he departs.

THE RACE

Yes, I know.

But take heart, Democrats.

You’re right if you feel that we need to get this primary contest behind us. We’re pushing to have the unpledged delegates make their decision as soon as possible after the last primary June 3. That’s the natural time to do it – and now only a few weeks away. To force an earlier conclusion might not sit well with whichever side did not prevail.

I don’t want to sound tone-deaf to everyone’s concerns – which I share – but there really are lots of hopeful things not to lose sight of:

  • The huge upswing in Democratic turnout. In Ohio, in seven critical counties (Putnam, Brown, Shelby, Belmont, Warren, Delaware and Clermont), more Democrats voted in the Primary than voted in the 2004 General Election. And now we have a Democratic Governor and a Democratic Secretary of State – and have had local DNC organizers on the ground for more than two years. Whichever of our superb candidates is the nominee, he or she is going to win Ohio. Lots of other examples like this.
  • States with Democratic Governors account for 295 electoral votes – against 270 needed to win. Add California’s 55 and you’re up to 350. Obviously, we’ll not likely win every state with a Democratic governor – but neither is California the only Republican-governor state we’ll win. For starters, there are Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Minnesota, and Hawaii, all of which we won in both 2000 and 2004. There will be others.
  • Kennedy didn’t get his bitterly-contested nomination until July 12, 1960.
  • Clinton was running THIRD in the polls in June, 1992.
  • The country is crying out for change with FAR more urgency than it was in 1960 or 1992.
  • Young voters – of every ethnic background – are turning out more heavily with each successive election and in 2006 voted our way 61% to 39%.
  • Even some older voters recognize we’re on the wrong track. Writes Parag Mehta, our National Training Director:

My parents both got to vote in the Texas Democratic Primary and Caucus. Who would have thought that my parents would even know what a caucus is? Well, my mom voted for Hillary, my dad for Obama. Some see this and ask, “Why must the Party be divided so?” I think about 1992 when mom voted for GHW Bush and dad voted for Ross Perot and ask, “Isn’t this progress?”

  • We’ve made dramatic progress in on-the-ground Party organization . . .

. . . with tens of thousands of neighborhood leaders already signed up;

. . . with more than 1,000 local polling officials already extensively interviewed, to spot and avert potential fiascoes and inequities NOW, not in the chaos of Election Day;

. . . with our national Voter File cleaner and significantly more powerful than ever before.

But mainly: I’m all but certain that whichever candidate does NOT prevail will strongly endorse the one that does . . . and make the case to his or her followers that – as disappointing as not-winning was – if you really believe in my leadership, then follow me in working your heart out for our Party and our country (and our planet).

This fall, when both Barack and Hillary – and Gore and Carter and Edwards and Oprah and MoveOn and NARAL and HRC and the unions and everyone else – are all imploring their supporters to turn out to vote, they WILL.

And they’ll write millions of checks.

(It’s right now – when all those checks are going to fight each other – that we need your help organizing the grassroots and running TV ads.)

So yes, we face a big challenge. But no, do not despair. And please help.

 

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