We know the Republicans are happy to keep the country in the dark, and if we Democrats are to recapture the power necessary to assert our values, we must find the energy, courage, creativity and unity to map out a brighter day for the people we sincerely want to serve.
The reason I ran in 2006 was to make my district one of the fifteen that at the time it would have taken to switch the control of the House and stop the Bush agenda. The second priority I had was to provide health care for everybody. And the third was to do public financing of campaigns.
Palin, Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and others have made an art form of convincing far too many Americans to suspend their disbelief, and they have severely damaged the ability of our country to have serious discussions about serious challenges.
Every time I hear a Republican talking about health care reform, they say the American people don't want it. They say it so much that I think they're beginning to try to convince themselves that it's true.
I really don't think there's a lack of good will between members of the parties. I go back a long way with a lot of Republicans, so I don't think it's personal. But there does seem to be a much greater gap in both the philosophy and emphasis on partisan victories as opposed to policy development.
People aren't necessarily as concerned with how you vote as long as they feel they have a voice. If you can cross that basic threshold - that is, when a voter knows you're willing to listen to them and that you care about their lives - then that's most of what you need to get their vote. It's not your voting record.
I have a treasure trove of Baker memories, all of which reinforce my sense of Howard Baker as one of the most decent people with whom I have worked. While I was simply a young staffer, he never treated me or my colleagues as anything else but equals.