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The e-mail arrives from our two major political parties, who believe it is inspirational. Several years ago I thought it was important to know what these parties were thinking, so I signed up for their manifestos.
Things get lively around the elections, when the future of the nation is in peril and a check is desperately needed to keep America's enemies at bay. But these days, my friends at NRCC Communications and DCCC Press are simply grinding out boilerplate. The subjects that appear in my mailbox usually tell me as much as I want to know.
NRCC is the National Republican Congressional Committee. Their e-mail to me on July 19 was titled "Bill Foster Wants Fewer Opportunities for Students."
Bill Foster is the Democratic congressman from Illinois's 11th District. Foster was elected to Congress from Illinois's old 14th District in 2007, was defeated for reelection in 2010, but was sent back to the House by the state's new 11th District in 2012. If they keep pounding him relentlessly around the body, Republicans think that next year it might be easier to knock him out.
Why does Foster want fewer opportunities for students? Because, explains the e-mail I opened only to write this post, "Bill Foster wants more bureaucratic interference in our children’s education. Instead of giving control back to parents, Foster simply believes that Washington has all the answers. 'Bill Foster’s vote was a true disservice to millions of students across the country,' said NRCC Communications Director Andrea Bozek. 'It’s clear that after running up trillions in debt, Washington can’t even run Washington. Yet, Foster thinks they should be in charge of our children’s education.'"
The second e-mail from NRCC Communications on July 19 said, "Brad Schneider Wants Fewer Opportunities for Students." Schneider is a Democrat representing Illinois's Tenth District, which first elected him last year with 50.5 percent of the vote. Republicans think he is very vulnerable. "Brad Schneider’s vote was a true disservice to millions of students across the country," said Bozek. And so forth and so on.
The day before, the NRCC sent me an e-mail whose subject was "Daniel Lipinski Doesn’t Think You’re Good Enough." When opened it went on to say, "Lipinski Supports Giving Big Business Delay From ObamaCare, But Not Illinois Families."
The other e-mail from the NRCC that day said, "Bill Foster Doesn’t Think You’re Good Enough." Two days earlier I got an e-mail that said, "Hey Bill Foster, It’s Time To #DelayMyMandate." And another that said, "Hey Brad Schneider, It’s Time To #DelayMyMandate."
A few days before that, the e-mail from the NRCC was headlined "School’s Out for The Summer, But Students Are Out-of-Luck Thanks To Brad Schneider," and "School’s Out for The Summer, But Students Are Out-of-Luck Thanks To Bill Foster." This had to do with Democratic opposition to a Republican House bill tying student loan interest rates to the market. When the old law expired July 1, the student loan would briefly double until a new law was worked out.
“It’s been over a week since Brad Schneider and Washington Democrats allowed student loan rates to double,” said Bozek. “Illinois families should be outraged that Democrats cannot even agree to give young people a break in a stagnating economy.”
She also said, "It’s been over a week since Bill Foster and Washington Democrats allowed student loan rates to double,” said NRCC Communications Director Andrea Bozek. “Illinois families should be outraged that Democrats cannot even agree to give young people a break in a stagnating economy.”
Even if Andrea Bozek is the most rabid partisan in Washington and is certain she is doing God's work by delivering boilerplate to every contested district in the nation, this has got to be God's work at its most mind-numbing. When I was a young wire service reporter in Saint Louis one of my responsibilities was to call the stockyards in East Saint Louis each morning and then write up something on the price of hogs. Maybe one day Andrea Bozek and I will have a conversation.
Meanwhile, what are the Democrats up to?
The same thing.
DCCC is the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Its correspondence that reaches me focuses on Republican Peter Roskam, first elected from Illinois's Sixth District in 2006. The Dems have drawn a bead.
"Congressman Roskam Lets Students Down — Again"—July 19.
"Congressman Who Called Latinos "Wetbacks” Fundraises For Congressman Roskam’s Campaign"—July 2
"VOTE ALERT: Congressman Roskam Puts Jobs on Backburner to Restrict Women’s Health"—6/18
VOTE ALERT: Congressman Roskam Votes Against Measure to Empower Military Sexual Assault Victims 6/14
"Does Congressman Roskam Side With Extremists Who Say Rapes Don’t Really Result in Pregnancy?"—6/12
"On 50th Anniversary of Equal Pay Act, Congressman Roskam Remains Stuck in Extreme, Anti-Woman Ideology"—-6/10
"Congressman Roskam Stands Idly By as Defense Workers Receive Furlough Notices"—6/5
'When Will Congressman Roskam Stop Standing Behind Scandal-Plagued Scott DesJarlais?'—5/29
"Bob Dole Doubts He Could Make it in Congressman Roskam’s Republican Party"—5/28
I'm not saying that nothing informative ever drips from this endlessly leaky faucet of e-mail—though if you asked me nicely I'd be tempted. But it is unending, and it is relentlessly puerile. Even when the big guns are silent (which they rarely are), this is the kind of sniping that goes on along the front lines of the political wars.