Red states, blue states, purple states -- Mother Nature doesn't care. She rippled through all of them with super-storm Sandy, exposing the true colors of all in her path. In her deadly destructive wake, Sandy has exposed what many Americans already know -- that we are all one family and stronger together.
As President Barack Obama said to all affected by Sandy, "Your country will be there for you as long as it takes to recover and rebuild."
Americans have known for years that we need smart government to carry us through tough times. Not only the super storms like Sandy but the everyday storms of poverty, underemployment and illness.
No one has expressed that better than former President Bill Clinton. I recall working as a special counsel to then-HUD Secretary now New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2000 when I had the honor of attending a White House veto ceremony. It's like a bill signing ceremony, only rather than enacting law, the president is vetoing it and laying out a grander vision.
And so it was that day in 2000, when President Clinton delivered his veto message to a Republcain estate tax bill that would have aided 3000 families at the expense of the remaining 98% of Americans. While dispatching federal firefighters to Idaho, Montana and North Carolina that day, President Clinton said:
The estate tax repeal is part of a larger Republican strategy to have, now, over $2 trillion of tax cuts over the next 10 years. Now, in other words, their aggregate proposals would spend all the projected non-Social Security tax cut. That leaves nothing for continued improvements of education when the student bodies are just getting larger, more and more kids, and more and more diverse. Nothing for a voluntary Medicare prescription drug benefit, the biggest problem most seniors have. Nothing to extend the life of Medicare and Social Security beyond the baby boom generation. Nothing to invest in scientific research and the environment. Nothing to pay for their proposal to partially privatize Social Security, which itself would require the injection of a trillion dollars more into the Social Security Trust Fund over the next decade. Nothing for emergencies. Remember, I told you we've already spent $600 million this year on wildfires in the West. Things happen in life. Things happen in a nation's life just like they happen in your life. Emergencies happen.
Sound familiar? It should -- Democrats have been saying for years that we need smart government to invest in people and take care of each other. Now, 12 years later, we share the same message on the eve of election 2012: When emergencies happen, we are all in this together. Twelve years later we still see the Republicans' desire to place tax cuts over government's basic ability to deliver quality services to Americans facing emergencies in public and private life -- and we see Democrats saying that there is still a positive role the federal government can and must play in creating jobs, opportunity, and a safety net.
Into this debate stormed Sandy. And now we are told that if Romney loses, Sandy is the reason. Let's step back and consider why. Not because Romney lost momentum, as Haley Barbour said. Not because he couldn't personally attack the president. Not because his friend Chris Christie praised President Obama, as Rupert Murdoch charged.
No, Mitt Romney won't lose because Sandy stopped him -- he'll lose because Sandy revealed him. Sandy revealed his true colors -- particularly Romney's jokes about climate change and his view that emergency aid is "immoral" at a time when people need help. And you simply can't win an election to run the federal government if you say you won't use the federal government to help those in need. When emergencies happen, smart government must happen. We have known this for years and see it again now with FEMA's response to Sandy.
Americans know that the same compassion that drives us to help in emergency situation also compel us to take care of each other during those more personal silent storms as well. So please, make the impact you can on victims in Sandy's path. And as you prepare to vote, keep a thought to those silent storm victims too -- the rape survivor, the hungry child, the jobless parent, the ailing grandparent -- who also need smart government to happen so they can ride out their own personal storms to a sunnier day.
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