Butterfield previews Democratic talking points in Washington | Eastern North Carolina Now

    When U.S. Representative G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) visited Washington last Saturday, he outlined the Democratic Party's talking points for the November election. His speech to the Beaufort County Democratic Party Executive Committee attempted to cast a silver lining around the past two years, so that he and his Democratic colleagues can retain power.

    Over half of Americans (53 percent) currently disapprove of President Obama's performance, down from a 28-percent disapproval rating at the beginning of the year, according to Rasmussen Reports. Almost as a disclaimer, Butterfield's speech began with an ode to similar politicians who stay true to ideology in the face of an opposing majority.

    "Lyndon Johnson was a Southern Senator who was one of the greatest presidents who ever lived. Lyndon Johnson did the right thing at the right time, even though it was very unpopular for him to do it. Because of some of his bolds stands, he even decided that he would not seek a second term as president," said Butterfield.

    Almost immediately, he went into the recounting of problems facing America when Obama entered the presidency. Butterfield reminded the Beaufort County Democrats that on Day 1 of the Obama Administration: America was facing a depression; America was $11 trillion in debt; the economy was shrinking by 6 percent; approximately 500,000 jobs were being lost every month; the auto industry and financial institutions were about to go under; foreclosures were at an all-time high and consumer confidence was at an all-time low.

    Rather than highlight any progress made by the Obama Administration, Butterfield revisited the blunders of the administration of Republican President George W. Bush. Butterfield said that Bush, during his eight years, went from a $230 billion budget surplus to a $1.3 trillion deficit; and from $5.6 trillion in accumulated debt to $10.7 trillion. He said that the money was wasted looking for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; on the 10-year tax cuts for the middle class and the wealthy; and on the unfunded Medicare Part B, which provides prescription benefits to seniors.

    "You've got to get these numbers in your head, because this is the story you've got to tell and no one can disagree because this is fact," said Butterfield.

    Butterfield also referred to the human costs of the war on Iraq, saying over 4000 veterans lost their lives, and over 50,000 were permanently injured. He blamed Bush-era deregulation for the collapse of financial institutions and for the BP oil spill.

    "All of that is to say that George Bush left us in a mess, and Democrats are now having to clean it up, while Republicans are hoping for failure so they can return to power," said Butterfield.

    So far, the Democratic-led Congress has spent $800 billion of the people's money to get the economy back on track; but the artificial stabilization of the jobs, housing and financial markets has not yet been met with an undercurrent of any real, substantial growth. Interestingly, however, Butterfield remarked Saturday that the Democrats in Congress are following pay-as-you-go rules, whereby money isn't spent without an equal offset. He also said that the Democrats are eliminating wasteful programs and prosecuting those who steal from the Treasury. Butterfield called Republicans in Congress the party of 'No', voting against most, if not all, of these stimulus bills, starting with the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. Butterfield went on to say, however, that Democrats were forced to vote for the stimulus bills.

    "The economists told us that the economy needed major investment that would begin to stabilize things and reverse this decline--that we needed to put people to work, and we needed to build infrastructure for our communities, and we needed to provide aid to states that were suffering and not able to balance their budgets. We were told to do it, and we had no choice," said Butterfield.

    Friday, the day before Butterfield's Washington speech, at a White House Press Conference, Obama warned America that Republicans are "holding middle-class tax relief hostage" with their all-or-nothing approach to extending the Bush-era tax cuts before they expire on Dec. 31. Butterfield echoed this sentiment by saying that when Congress reconvenes this week, Democrats will be ready to make the middle-class tax cuts permanent and let those for the wealthy expire, but that Republicans are withholding support unless both are extended. He also repeated Obama's sound-byte that the tax cuts for the wealthy had added $700 billion to the deficit over the past 10 years.

    Butterfield is up for re-election in North Carolina's 1st District, running against political-newcomer Republican Ashley Woolard. A Sept. 3 Gallup poll revealed that Americans would choose a Republican newcomer to Congress over any other candidate. With only two political parties, one party's failure directly leads to the other's success.

    Beaufort County Democratic Party President Alice Mills Sadler showed resentment of this fact when she followed Butterfield to the podium on Saturday.

    "It's like being caught in a train wreck, and then start complaining about the emergency team that shows up to help you. It's ridiculous," she said. "It appears that Republicans are willing to chance the total economic collapse of this country in order just to regain power, just to be right."
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