Tuesday, November 29, 2005
RE: Shame on them
Ten days ago Governor Dean asked Democrats to stand up for decorated combat veteran and Democratic Congressman Jack Murtha, who was under attack for speaking up about Iraq. More than 115,000 of you sent Murtha notes of encouragement, letting him know you would not be silent as Republicans try to score political points by attacking veterans.
In your letters, many of you singled out freshman Congresswoman Jean Schmidt, who had the audacity to call Jack Murtha a coward on the floor of the United States House of Representatives. (That's the same Jack Murtha who served 37 years in the Marine Corps, who received the Bronze Star, two purple hearts, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal.)
You asked what you could do to turn the heat up on Jean Schmidt and show Republicans that questioning the service of our veterans isn't fair game. One great idea that many of you suggested was placing billboards in their home districts. So, at your suggestion, here's the proposal.
From this day forward, the Democratic Party will commit to putting up a "Shame on You" billboard in the home district of any Republican who attacks a veteran's service in order to score political points.
The first billboard will go up near Jean Schmidt's district office in Portsmouth, Ohio. The message: "Shame on You, Jean Schmidt: Stop Attacking Veterans. Keep Your Eye on the Ball -- We Need a Real Plan for Iraq".
If you contribute now the billboard can be up next week. Your donation right now will take the fight right into Schmidt's backyard -- and the backyard of any Republican who values political posture over a veteran's service:
We have seen this pattern from Republican leaders before. Every time a veteran -- Democrat or Republican -- challenges their authority, people who never served in combat (George Bush, Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and the rest) feel that they have the right to attack the courage and patriotism of those who have.
It happened to Vietnam veterans John McCain, Max Cleland, and John Kerry, and now to a man who served in Korea and Vietnam, Jack Murtha. We cannot let this continue -- we need to send a strong message that this kind of attack will not be tolerated.
Even after being forced to retract her words on the House floor, Jean Schmidt wouldn't back down or admit that attacking veterans' service is out of bounds. Last week, appearing on a local radio show in Southern Ohio, Schmidt said the biggest lesson she had learned from the incident was: "Not to wear the red dress."
Obviously these billboards need to get up as soon as possible. In order to get them up before the holidays, we need to place the order by 7 AM Thursday. A $50 contribution right now will send a very powerful message to Jean Schmidt -- and make other Republican leaders think twice before attacking the courage of those who challenge them:
The time has come to stop this kind of dirty political smearing once and for all. America's veterans deserve better treatment, and the American people deserve a more honest debate about our national security.
You can make it happen.
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