THE BLOG
10/11/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Dear John

According to a recent poll by the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, more than 80% of American adults consider themselves to be middle class. About 40% of these citizens plan to vote for John McCain for president. But some of the policies favored by these middle-class McCain supporters diverge significantly from their candidate's own positions. Here is what they have to say.

Dear John,

We've got to talk. We're the middle-class folks you've had so much to say about lately. Even better, we're the ones who are planning to support you. But sometimes, it just doesn't seem like you're listening to us.

Take the economy. You've picked up on the fact that we're worried about jobs. But what do you plan to do about it? These days when we hear you say "middle class" we know the next words out of your mouth will be "tax cuts." The truth is, tax cuts just aren't that high up on our agenda. Only 1% of us think taxes are the most important issue facing the country. For 95% of us, tax cuts don't make the top two. So why not consider some of the policy ideas we like for a change?

For example, there's the Employee Free Choice Act. It would allow employees to be represented by a union when a majority of their co-workers sign cards saying they want to be represented by that union. Considering the fact that union members earn significantly better wages and benefits than those of us working similar jobs non-union, some commentators have nicknamed this bill the Rebuilding the Middle Class Act. Whatever you call it, six out of ten of us middle-class McCain supporters wish our member of Congress had voted for it. But last year you helped kill it with a filibuster in the Senate. What were you thinking?

Then there's SCHIP. Another 60% of us middle-class McCain supporters wish our member of Congress had voted to expand this federally funded health insurance program to cover more children from low- and middle-income families. But you missed out on most of the important votes on the measure and then praised the President for vetoing it. In an interview, you even lumped health coverage for our kids in with wasteful government spending. Is that the type of service you intend to cut as President?

Just how well do you know your middle-class supporters, John? 63% of us think it would be a good idea to require that employers provide paid family and medical leave. One in five of us think it's an excellent idea. But we can't find that part of your platform. 67% of us would like to see hedge fund managers get taxed at the same rate as others in their income bracket. 61% of us want a national health insurance plan available to everyone, for heaven's sake. We seem to be thinking along different lines here.

Look, John, we're hoping this relationship can be saved. But November is fast approaching. We're certain to get to know each other better during that time. Maybe you'll come around to our way of seeing things. Otherwise, we may have to rethink this relationship. And that's a very different kind of 'Dear John' letter.

Best Wishes,

Your Middle-Class Supporters