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A Memo to the DNC
January 15, 2002
by Orwell Thompson

TO: Terence R. McAuliffe, Democratic National Committee Chairman
CC: Sen. Thomas Daschle; Rep. Richard Gephardt

RE: Political capital

Terry-baby! Long time no talk.

Actually, it's been never since we don't know each other. No matter. There isn't time for chitchat. After all, as every pin-headed, alcohol-saturated, do-nothing journalism professor taught me along my journey of flunking my way through three different public universities, the most effective way to gain readers' attention is to state your purpose early in a story. Among the pointy-headed intellectual crowd it's called the nut graph, or hook, if you will.

So, here it is: Out of an assumed mutual concern for the future of the Democratic Party, which to me appears to have lost its way, I am offering advice.

What does a middle-aged emu farmer from the Great White North America know about politics, you ask? For cryin' out loud, Terry, I practically can hear you chortling even from here at my fortified, barbwire-enclosed compound. Your mirth, I'm sure, derives from the belief that my thesis is wrong. But from where I sit, the sad condition of the Democratic Party is no laughing matter.

Fortunately, all things can be fixed, and I have a plan. It's encapsulated in a single word: Enron.

Ah, Enron, just five little letters that have shined a renewed light on the Democrats' hopes in this year's election for regaining the House and strengthening their hold in the Senate. Enron is manna from heaven, Terry. A pure, slam-dunk, solid-gold winning issue for Democrats.

Think about it: Executives for a big, cold, impersonal corporation lie, cheat and steal their way to millions of dollars. And who got ripped off? Who's left holding the bag? The little guy, the thousands of working men and women who lost their retirement savings because those same fat-cat executives were more interested fattening their bottom line than informing their employees about the plight of the company. This story has it all. Stock fraud, destroyed audit reports and a chance that the president's fingerprints are all over this dirty mess.

The profit-bloated executives of Enron are the very people who stood to benefit most from Bush's proposed stimulus package - thankfully thwarted by Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle - and tax cut that was passed in 2001. We cannot let the rest of America forget this. The point needs to be hammered home that Republicans, especially Bush, are in bed with Greedy Big Business.

Leaders in the party, meaning Daschle and House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, also should encourage the investigation to be expanded to include last year's series of secret meetings between Enron CEO Kenneth Lay and the vanishing vice president, Dick Cheney. Those meetings allegedly were to discuss energy policy, although the American people have been kept in the dark about the details. Not to mention the long laundry list of former Enron executive or investors who currently hold jobs in the Bush administration. Quid pro quo anyone? You can practically smell the corruption.

From now on, Enron must be the albatross around Georgie's scrawny neck. We need to link the two together in the collective mind of the American people. Never mention one without the other. Ignore the Republicans who are howling like hyenas about Bill Clinton and his connection to Lay. Their cries eerily are reminiscent of the sound emitted by mating emus, during which the soon-to-be impregnated hen will release a high-pitched shrill that, especially if emanated at 3 a.m. while you're in the throes of a violent drunken whisky binge, will leave you curled in a ball and breaking out in a cold sweat. It's the same reaction I get when I read anything written by Ann Coulter.

However, here the Republicans wailing and knashing of teeth carries no weight. While both parties might have accepted contributions from Enron, none of the money donated to the Democrats has come anywhere close to equaling the nearly $1 million Boy George received to help pay for his campaign for governor of Texas and his eventual run for the White House. It was Bush's energy plan that encouraged the building of more power plants and funding for research to seek out additional domestic sources of oil. A plan that would, yup, you guessed it, really help a company like Enron.

So resist the urge to defend Clinton - there is no need. The American people have had enough of Clinton, and will view the GOP's pathetic scheme for what it is - an attempt to switch the focus of the investigation away from their boy, Dubyah.

I don't have to tell you, Terry, that not too long ago the Democrats had another great opportunity to take the high ground by using an issue to help get their agenda passed. It was called the fraudulent 2000 election. A majority of the party, instead of challenging Bush's legitimacy, inexplicably decided to play the go-along-to-get-along game called bi-partisanship, which to date has gotten us nowhere. Like now, the Republicans shouted about whiners and poor losers and the Democrats backed off.

What are we left with? Bush's approval rating is reaching cataclysmic heights, and Daschle is being labeled an obstructionist. The president has used the war on terror to his advantage. He has shed his compassionate conservative cloak to reveal the beating heart of a true right-wing believer who really doesn't care a whole lot about policies that would benefit the working and middle class in our society.

Using Enron as a political weapon isn't mean-spirited or underhanded. It's called political capital, Terry, and I don't think the Democrats can afford not to spend it.

Yours In The Bond,

O.

P.S. You might want to delete this missive after you read it. Better yet, burn your entire hard drive. Just send me the bill. We all know it is un-American to disagree with our president in this crucial moment of war. This week I've had about a dozen Ashcroft sightings. I think the bugger was out snooping around the perimeter of my compound just yesterday, and I had to send a warning shot over his head. You can never be too safe. Thank God for the Second Amendment.

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