Dear Senator Voinovich…Cloture Please

2009 November 9

Dear Senator Voinovich:

Only 400 and some odd days left in your distinguished political career. County Commissioner, Mayor of Cleveland. Governor. US Senator. Thousands of votes cast, tens of thousands of hours of debate. Often mentioned in the same breath as one of Ohio’s greatest patriots, John Glenn. Many Ohio parks and buildings have been or will be named in your honor.

As I take my daily walk around downtown Cleveland and imagine the countless times you’ve done the same, I look upon the great Northern Coastline and think about our tiny significance in this unimaginably large world. As I stare up at (and often, try to stare down) the magnificent stone buildings that makes Cleveland look like a capital city, I often think about the gallons of blood, sweat and tears that went into building these everlasting monuments to our civic society. I think about what connects us, generation to generation, a pride in our cities, our state, our country — the desire to do what we believe is right, the desire to “secure a stable future for our children and grandchildren,” as you’ve said.

And that’s what I’m writing to you about today. Securing a stable future for our children and grandchildren.
That and John Bolton.

You and I disagree on most things. But that’s one of my favorite things about being a Buckeye. Living in the purplest of purplest state, it’s a pretty sure bet that half of the state will disagree with you on everything and half of the state will disagree with me on everything. Chances are 50-50 that I will disagree with whomever you and I are speaking with. I think, though, that we all agree that what is most important in this life is to secure a stable future for our children and grandchildren.

Millions of us have voted against you every chance we could. But all of us must agree that you, as our Senator, Governor, Mayor, Prosecutor have always done what you believed to be right for our children and grandchildren. It is fitting that you have led the Senate Ethics committee, because you have proven to be the most ethical of the nation’s Senators.

Senator, I am not naive. I understand party loyalty is important, and there have been hundreds, probably thousands of votes you have made in your career that you have made where voting with your party was not the choice you would’ve made if you voted in a vacuum, if political realities did not have to be considered. Ii understand that there are times that you must stand with your party in the short term so that you can be an effective leader and representative in the long term. But I also understand, and I hope that here we agree, that politics in America, and the attendant (un-)civil discourse has gotten far too unnecessarily divisive.

Of the thousands of votes you have cast in your career, your vote against cloture on John Bolton’s nomination will be one of the most remembered. You voted against your party. You voted against your party’s leader and our president. You took a strong, controversial stand because you knew that it was right and in an important, but perhaps small way, would secure the future for those that come after us. It is these votes — the unexpected, the courageous — that make our careers and our legacies.

Walking through downtown Cleveland, I see monuments to the usual suspects, Lincoln and Washington, but also to some (sadly) lesser-knowns —  Commodore Perry and Justice John Marshall — and others not-so-well known —  John T. Corrigan and Justinian. Bold men, all. Party-line voters, none. My favorite statues, however, have to be the massive lions guarding the entrance to the County Courthouse: Jefferson (on the left) and Hamilton (and on the right). When people complain about the bitterness in today’s politics, I think about these two great men — knowing that I disagreed with half of them most of the time just as you disagree with half of them most of the time. But all of us Americans agree that one truth that is self-evident is that these two are forever deserving of our praise and honor.

Very soon, you will be asked to vote on the Democratic health care bill. Well, more specifically, you will not be asked to vote on this bill. You will have to vote on whether the Senate can vote on the bill. I understand that you do not agree with me on this measure. I understand that you do not agree with most Ohioans and most Americans on this measure. I do think that you are wrong, but certainly respect your deficit-hawk position (and hope that this, and not party loyalty is the reason behind your opposition.) I am not writing today to ask for your vote on this bill, but am writing to ask for your vote for cloture.

This bill is not perfect. It may not even be very good. But it is fine start to fixing a serious problem facing all Ohioans and all Americans. It is especially serious to those under the age of sixty-five (our children and grandchildren). For far too long, we have not addressed the impending problem (when it was just an impending problem.) For far too long, we have not addressed the exploding problem.

Now is the time. And you are in a unique position among your Senatorial colleagues in that you can do what is right — vote for cloture — with impunity from your party. I urge you to vote against the bill, if you must, but vote for the cloture motion. Do not stand in the way of this bill — this is not some abomination that must be stopped by a tiny (40%) minority of Senators. Allow the Senate to bring this bill to an up-or-down vote. And then after its passage, work to improve it with additional legislation.

No one will remember the 39 other Republican members of this Senate (not even Sen. Snowe). But they will remember the Senator that did what was right and allow this bill to come to the floor. And most importantly, YOU will know that you did what was best for all of us, most especially our children and grandchildren.

My thanks for your time, consideration and service to our state and country,
Sebastian Melmouth
Akron, Ohio

5 Responses leave one →
  1. Jego permalink
    November 11, 2009

    Nice piece of pretentious, pseudo-populist hypocrisy.

    I note this particular smarmy bit:
    “This bill is not perfect. It may not even be very good. But it is [sic] fine start to fixing a serious problem facing all Ohioans and all Americans. ”

    Pray tell, how is it a fine start if it’s not even very good? I always like to start with constitutionality, and this is not authorized by the Constitution (not by general welfare nor by interstate commerce which seem to me to be the only available justifications). So for me, that’s enough: game over.

    If Voinovitch is the saint you claim, he’ll vote against this gigantic piece of shit and not even let it go forward. Tell me–how is it a fine start? Particularly with regard to the way it treats physician reimbursement, 14th Amendment violations, penalty taxes and the accounting structures.

    Dearie me. You have read the bill, have you not?

  2. Mike permalink
    November 23, 2009

    So, here’s a question: are you satisfied with him not voting at all? Doesn’t join with his party, but doesn’t help it along…is that good enough?

  3. Jego permalink
    December 2, 2009

    Too late now, but I’d say vote it down. I like to pull dog shit out of the swimming pool, rather than let it find its own way. Personal thing.

  4. Sebastian Melmouth permalink
    December 2, 2009

    I am not looking for his cloture vote to start debate. i’m looking for it to end debate (because it will also mean that we can finally kick Lieberasshat out of the caucus.

    and, although a late response, i think voino sucks but i’m not above groveling.

  5. Roy permalink
    December 2, 2009

    Nice…Lieberasshat…sounds like German Oktoberfest Sausage!

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