Dave, we’re thrilled that you are running again and we’re sure you’ll be returning to represent Dow. . . that is, returning to represent your many constituents with the same. . . well, you know what we mean. You’re a great team player, Dave, and while we do have a few errant Representatives who sometimes stray from the party discipline, we always know we can count on you to say what we tell you to say, and vote as we tell you to vote.
You know that such loyalty pays off: look at how we kept India from extraditing your good friend, Andrew Liveris, the CEO of Dow, over that old accident that killed a few people in Bhopal all those years ago. Such a mess, that. Were you pleased that we had Rudy G. award him that vision-thing a few days ago? Rudy is such a stitch. When we asked him to trek all the way out to Montana, sorry, Michigan, to give the award to the CEO of Dow, he said, “Is that the company that brings good things to life?”
Well, we could go on, but we know you have important things to do, people to see, and golf to play. Are you actually going to campaign this year? You know, walk in parades, press the flesh and all that? We are assuming you are because the Democrats are running Mike Huckleberry against you and he is already on the road making some pretty strong remarks about economic issues and environmental quality. But we assume you’ll do as you’ve done for so many years: let the good folks at Dow know that you’re their boy, and don’t comment about anything Huckleberry has to say. He sounds like he’s done his homework, so we think it’s best that you don’t do or say anything that sounds like he struck a nerve.
We thought we would pass on some speaking points for you to use, as well as how to deal with some issues that Huckleberry might bring up. You know how pesky he can get about caring for the environment, the poor, health care, jobs, etc.
Before we get to the speaking points, you might not be aware that outside of Midland and Dow, there are a number of people are unhappy with you. They say you are something of a toady (some even call you “Rubber Stamp Camp,” which, while it has a certain catchy rhythm, is, well, disrespectful). If some hostile reporter asks you about this (although there don’t seem to be any of those in your region), it might be best if you don’t respond to that characterization; even a cursory look at your voting record shows that you have never strayed from the party line. Just say that you are in the House, working for your district, and you just happen to agree with everything the party says. Well, maybe not. Just say you won’t dignify those comments with an answer.
Now, on to the speaking points.
• You’ve reduced taxes. True, most of the reductions benefit the rich, but the middle class has saved tens of dollars. DO NOT talk about all the cuts to social services for families, the elderly, veterans (we got 600,000 of those slackers off their benefits while talking about seeing to the needs of the brave men and women who have fought, and are fighting, for us. Neat trick.).
• You tried to clean up Congressional ethics. Be sure to talk about the compromise you worked out so the Ethics Committee could never function (don’t say that last part; just stop at the compromise). DO NOT mention that the public outcry embarrassed the leadership into dumping your plan and reverting back to the old one.
• You’re very concerned about every young person having the opportunity to attend college. “College tuitions are out of control and need to be investigated.” That always gets applause. DO NOT mention that you voted to reduce aid to college students.
• You helped reform Medicare. Don’t talk too much about this because you probably don’t understand the various plans people have to choose from. Just say that there are bugs in any great program; they’ll eventually be worked out; you and Congress are working hard to correct the problems, or something along those lines. DO NOT mention that you’ll never have to worry about health insurance because you’ll have what all congressmen have: a great plan paid for by the taxpayers who might not be able to afford health insurance of any kind. Also, don’t talk about how the “reform” mostly benefited drug companies.
• You are concerned about the environment. And so is Dow. After all, Liveris said so when he got that award. DO NOT talk about your efforts to reduce the number of pollutants that Dow has to report to the EPA, or that you are in favor of drilling in the Artic so the U.S. can pull out six months worth of oil and screw up the environment there for the next few centuries. By the way, you’re a hunter, aren’t you? Be careful not to eat anything you shoot or fish you catch in the rivers and lakes in your area; Dow has polluted everything there, and we want you to come back to D.C. healthy. No glowing at your desk in the House as you sleep though sessions, please. Ha, ha.
• The economy. The economy is going through a rough patch. Rough patch, that’s good. Find some way to blame it on What’s Her Name, the Governor of Michigan . . . Granholm. It won’t hurt to infer that in addition to being at Democrat, she’s the first FEMALE governor of Michigan, and that things might be better if a man were at the helm. Women have trouble making the tough decisions, and being a Democrat on top of that, means she’s all soft and gooey about caring for the poor, social services for mothers and children, families out of work, stuff like that. DO NOT talk about how the tax cuts have led to the biggest deficits in history, cost hundreds of thousands of jobs, and led to deep cuts in social services that the poor and elderly depend on.
• The war in Iraq. You’ll probably get a lot of questions about the war. Here’s how you respond: national security; 9/11; the War on Terror. That’s all. This has worked for President Bush for six years, and no one has caught on to the fact that he doesn’t have any other answers.
• Spying by the government. Big privacy issue. Response: national security; 9/11, the War on Terror. You might add: criticizing the government, and particularly the President, aids the enemy.
• More on the war. Key words: patriotism, sacrifice, love of country, support our troops–don’t criticize the President, Rumsfeld, or the war. If you are pushed: national security, 9/11, the War on Terror. You might throw in “If we don’t fight them there, we’ll be fighting them in our streets.”
• Why you’re not going to impeach the President? So he told a few. . . no, try again. So he misled the public about a couple of things like why he went to war, and why he’s spying on us, and a few other minor details. But Clinton lied about having sex! Don’t let people forget that! If people ask about all the other investigations that the Democrats want to hold, remind your constituents that people make mistakes, except Clinton, who lied about having sex (you can’t repeat that too many times).
• Family values. It’s okay to use the terms “family values,” “traditional family values,” or “American values,” but don’t go into any details about what they mean. We’ve tried to boil them down to outrage over homosexuality and abortion, and that has sold pretty well with the Jesus folk. It has also let us keep their attention off some other issues that Democrats get all weepy about, like the homeless, loss of jobs, health care, and the damn environment.
• Jack Abramoff. If any of your constituents read the newspapers, they might know about the $35,000 you received from Abramoff. Tell them that you didn’t know about the Abramoff connection, and that you thought the Tribes were giving you money because they liked you, even though you sat on the House committee that dealt with Indian affairs. Let them know you’re considering returning the money if it looks like there was some impropriety, which there wasn’t, of course. Don’t tell them you’ve been “thinking” about it for almost a year now.
We’ll stop there. This covers a lot of territory, and we don’t want to overload you. If you have any questions, or if Huckleberry gets to be a problem, remember that Karl Rove is working with us, and he always has terrific ideas. Did you hear about what he did when Bush was running for governor of Texas? Ann Richards was governor, and doing a pretty good job, so Karl had to find a way to turn things around. So he “discovered” that his office had been bugged! Big headlines all over Texas about how the Democrats had bugged his office. Got a bunch of people mad enough to elect Bush. It also sparked an FBI investigation; turned out that Karl had bugged his own office! Isn’t that a hoot? So just remember that we’re here for you.