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Enron - Launch the Assault
January 31, 2002
by J. Carlos Jiacinto

In every war a key moment arises to lead the main assualt. This moment passes by in a flicker and provides the generals in charge the moment of truth and ultimate decision. In June of 1944 the Allied forces led the crucial amphibious assault on Normandy, begining the charge toward Hitler's Germany.

History now provides the Democrats here in America that key moment. With Bush having extremely high approval ratings, following key victories in New Jersey and Virginia, the Democrats must now disembark upon the shores of Texas and begin the assault to weaken Bush's grasp on the White House. The Enron scandal provides the party with the key point for the upcoming elections and the key issue of difference with the Republicans.

This scandal provides the party with several significant opportunities. First it shows how Bush, Cheney, and his subordinates lacked any respect for the Enron employees by not revealing the company's financial troubles.

Secondly the victims in this scandal lost all of their life savings and their retirements. Their faces are concrete. They appear on television and they are there, waiting and hoping against all odds for justice.

Thirdly the Vice President's arrogance in refusing to turn over the minutes of the meetings in which he articled energy policy conveys the appearance of guilt and hypocrisy. These same Republicans demanded that First Lady Hillary Clinton release the meetings of her task force are as silent as the night in regard to Cheney's stonewallling. His stalling may be on principle, but it clearly sends the message that he has something to hide.

The Democrats must lead the assault on the Enron issue because clearly people suffered. The scandal affects many Americans whose pensions lost money because of investments in this company. It affects the employees who are without jobs in a recession. The scandal provides the party with a golden opportunity to gain new supporters: former Enron employees, many of whom would never have considered voting for Democratic candidates in the past. Jesse Jackson is right in taking them to Washington and donating money to charities helping these employees. The Democratic Party should take the initiative and reach out those employees through charitable giving, donations, and promises to change the system.

While Enron could very well not hurt the President it will stall his agenda. Just like the Clinton impeachment stalled his domestic agenda the Democrats possess a golden opportunity to ground Bush's intiativies to a halt. It can - and will - prevent Bush from achieiving success in many areas in which he must provide concrete results. Bush could very well escape accountability for this scandal, and the main public may forget as well; but one fact remains clear from the 2000 election: every vote counts, and the former Enron employees will ensure that their voices reach Capitol Hill.

After the 2000 election it is clear that even just a few hundred votes can change the course of history. The party needs to realize that in both the 2002 and 2004 election cycles those very few hundred swing votes could very well be the Enron Employees. With this opportunity in the balances the Democrats must now disembark on the shores of Enron's headquarters in Houston and begin their assault on Bush's grasp of the presidency.

J. Carlos Jiacinto (e-mail: jiacinto@hotmail.com), a graduate of Dickinson College (2000 Major: Political Science), attends American University in Washington, DC, where he is currently working on a Masters Degree in International Politics and International Economic Policy.

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