Why I’m voting for Steve Driehaus

I listened to an On Point episode the other day where a Utah voter said, “On any other election I’d probably vote for Bennet (Democratic candidate).  But I think this election is a referendum on Barack Obama, so I have to, HAVE TO vote for Ken Buck.”

I don’t get that.  I don’t get how Obama has been so vilified as an extremist for the things he’s done so far.  I mean, for all the “socialist” rhetoric Limbaugh and Beck have been throwing around, you’d think the guy was more red than the Japanese rising sun.  But Obama’s got folks on the far left screaming at him that he hasn’t done anywhere near what they expected from him, and Solidarity US (a socialist organization) said flat-out,

“(The Tea Party) has particularly succeeded in branding Barack Obama and his policies as radical leftist – while the real Obama, as we know, is far from the “left wing” of the Democratic Party let alone the socialist left.”

Look, I’ve got my issues with the policies of the Obama administration, but he’s far, far, far from the leftist he’s portrayed.

I’ll simply say this.  I think this election should be a referendum on Wall Street’s power and the deregulation that led to it.  It was the breaking down of walls between savings and investment banks (see Glass-Steagle Act) that allowed them to play with people’s money so openly over the last number of years without fear of retribution.  And a number of persons made money hand over fist both before the financial collapse and afterwards.

But the impatience and short memory of the American people has  made the fundamental reasons why the American economy collapsed a distant memory.  In fact, Ohioans are so Alzheimers-affected that John Kasich, a Lehman Brothers exec not only chose to run for governor but currently is polling a point ahead of incumbent governor Ted Strickland.  I’ll tell you, that blows every circuit in my brain.  Which leads me to why I’m voting for Steve Driehaus.

I met Driehaus for the first time on the first floor of our building.  I talked with him either by myself or with Matt Dawson for twenty minutes straight that evening.  We questioned him on his view of the healthcare bill, his view of regulation, and his responsibility to listen to the common person.  More than any other politician I’ve ever met, Driehaus impressed me.  Flat-out impressed me.  Why?

First, I care deeply about the issue of abortion.  Driehaus does too.  In fact, he cares enough that he joined with a group of other Democrats who refused to vote yes on the health-care reform bill until they had assurances that no federal money would be spent on carrying out abortions.  For doing this, they drew the ire of liberals like the powerful Nancy Pelosi.  And as a freshman representative, Driehaus surely lost some possibility of plum assignments or some classic Washington back-scratching because he decided to have integrity and stand up as a moral leader.  I was encouraged by Ron Sider’s call from ESA before the vote that healthcare is a human rights issue and that abortion is a human rights issue and to not yield in our convictions and advocacy for either.  Driehaus stood up for both, and I deeply respect him for that position.  And his position cost him with the Democratic leadership.  He dressed up what he said a little in our conversation, but I saw/heard it in his eyes.  He took a shot for that one from both sides.

We also talked about financial regulation.  Driehaus stated that he’s committed to “sensible regulation.”  He explained that businesses need the ability to run without punitive regulations, but also need the leavening hand of public policy to encourage them to act for the common good…or at least to have some real discipline when they inevitably get selfish. He wasn’t calling us to go read the Little Red Book or occupy the GE plant in Evendale for socialist purposes.  He was simply saying that business is a necessary part of our economy, and they need limits.

I see Steve Chabot signs around here that say, “Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!” and “Revitalize the economy!”  I agree with those vague statements, but I ask, “Chabot, I’ve only been around this district for about two years, but do you think I have amnesia? Do you think that if you say something three times, I will magically forget that you participated in the sweeping deregulation of the financial services sector, which was the primary reason people lost their “Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!” and entered “Unemployment! Unemployment! Unemployment!”? I know you’re counting on Ohioans to be so dense and puffy-eyed from the last Extreme Makeover Home Edition that we don’t remember this, but I do.

I really really hope people in our district somehow magically remember Chabot’s role in this terrible mess, because if he wins tomorrow, a very very good man with great leadership integrity and moral rooting will leave Washington.  Driehaus is a politician sorely needed in Washington; one with the guts to stand up and be counted on the great issues of our day, backslaps from Pelosi and Hoyer be damned.  After Driehaus spoke at the Faith and Values Summit here in Cincinnati, Matt turned to me and said

“Driehaus is a stud.”
I responded, “No, Driehaus is an absolute freaking stud.”

Please, Ohio 1st Districtans.  Remember.  For the good of our country and a leader we can be proud of.

Vote Driehaus tomorrow.