"if you think somebody like Roberts who wants to talk about Rwanda and international health but doesn't seem to have a clue about the bread and butter issues here in the district can win, you are dreaming."
Okay, let's deal with this criticism of Les Roberts. Am I dreaming? I don't think so. In fact, I've been framed.
Yes, framed. I'm speaking of the attempt to frame the debate about the Les Roberts for Congress campaign by our anonymous commenter. A frame is a kind of rough definition of the issues at hand, the context to define all further discussion of a subject.
Notice what the anonymous commenter tried to pull in this short statement. He, or she, is trying to get you to buy into a seductive but false dichotomy: That a candidate for Congress who is capable of talking about international issues is for some reason incapable of talking about issues that are locally relevant.
Well, how does this frame apply to the real candidate, Les Roberts? As is often the case with political frames, it just doesn't fit reality.
Is Les Roberts capable of discussing the kind of international issues that routinely are addressed by the United States Congress? Yes. Roberts has an impressive depth of experience when it comes to international issues, especially when it comes to issues of science, health, and the effects of war on an international scale. Roberts has testified before Congress, advised the National Security Council, the group of people who in turn directly advise the President of the United States on national security (the old name for homeland security) matters. Roberts has travelled internationally as a part of his work, visiting places like the Congo, Afghanistan and Iraq in times of war. Roberts has put his life on the line to get information to top in the American government and United Nations. His work has been cited by the likes of former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
When it comes to international issues, Les Roberts knows what he's talking about. He's been out into the big, wide world, and met it head on.
But does that mean that Les Roberts is somehow mysteriously incapable of talking about bread and butter issues that have a direct local impact on the 24th District? Of course not. To make such a claim is as ridiculous as claiming that the successful film career of Jennifer Lopez precludes her having a successful career in music as well.
Has Les Roberts met with local voters to speak on his experience dealing with the aftermath of genocidal war in Africa? Yes. But, Les Roberts has also made it clear that bread and butter issues are a central part of his campaign. Consider the following couple of statements from the Roberts for Congress campaign web site:
On Jobs and the Economy:
"In Congress, I will fight for a more fiscally responsible government through a balanced federal budget, the elimination of unnecessary and wasteful spending and the implementation of higher accountability standards in our federal agencies. One way to start is to oppose lucrative no-bid contracts and to eliminate extraordinary inefficiencies in the Homeland Security Department. I will also support shifting the benefit of the massive Bush "tax cuts" from the wealthiest Americans who need it the least to the middle class and poorer Americans who need it most."
On Health Care:
"In Congress, I will fight for a health care plan that will guarantee access to high quality health care for all Americans. I will also support legislation that will overturn Medicare's inability to negotiate prescription drug prices."
If that's not bread and butter, I don't know what is. The accusation that Les Roberts is running a campaign only on international issues just doesn't stick. So far, it looks like the Les Roberts campaign is running on all cylinders.
Now, let's examine what the other Democratic candidates have to say about bread and butter issues on their own campaign web sites.
It seems that none of the other Democratic candidates even has a campaign web site.
To the campaigns of Bruce Tytler, Leon Koziol, and Mike Arcuri, I'm begging: Get your campaign web sites up already! Start communicating with the Democrats of the 24th District if you want to be taken seriously.
Until those other Democrats start to actually campaign, I think it's really rotten to accuse the one Democrat who has been campaigning hard from the start of not talking about the issues enough.