By Rep. Darrio Melton
With only three weeks until Election Day, the campaigns are in full swing and voters are hearing from candidates on both sides of the aisle. The Democrats are pointing out the failed policies of four years with a Republican supermajority. Meanwhile, the Republicans are promising to fight the liberal candidates and liberal special interests and liberal Obama policies and liberal, liberal, liberal.
A few weeks ago, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) sent out a mail piece to voters promising to fight “the Liberal special interests in Springfield.” That’s the capital of Illinois, not Alabama.
If you turn on the TV, you see commercials for Attorney General Luther Strange blasting Joe Hubbard for being a “liberal” like Obama.
Even in House and Senate races, the President’s picture and the word “liberal” is plastered across all manner of campaign materials.
But there’s a dirty little secret in all this: There are no liberal special interests in Alabama.
Our “Liberals” are moderates by everyone else’s standards. Only in Alabama are 75 percent of the NRA “A+” rated candidates Democrats. That’s not liberal. I would estimate that a majority of the Democrats running are pro-life and support traditional family values. That’s not liberal.
The Republicans think the voters won’t figure this out. They’re playing a mean game of Wizard of Oz with the voters.
Just like the Wizard, they talk with a big voice and blow a lot of smoke. They think that by calling Democrats “liberals,” voters will turn their heads and mark a Republican ballot, without asking what’s so special about the “Conservatives” on the other side of the aisle.
When Dorothy and her friends finally come to greet the Wizard, he tells them to come back tomorrow, but Dorothy calls him out: “If you were really so great and powerful, you’d keep your promises,” she tells him.
In the past four years, the “liberal Democrats” have been relegated to a back corner of the State House. We have had no power to pass legislation or to debate bills. The Republicans could do whatever they wanted and there was nobody to stop them.
Yet four years later, they’re still running on “fighting Obamacare” and “growing our economy.” If they could stop Obamacare, they would have done it already. Rather than creating jobs, Alabama is one of the fews states to suffer from a shrinking economy and to lose jobs last year.
Instead of being the Great and Powerful Oz, the Republicans just made a mess and hoped we won’t notice.
Then comes Toto, who pulls back the curtain to reveal an old, grumpy man masquerading as the wizard. He’s not really great and powerful at all–he just puts on a show and fools people into believing he’s something he’s not.
The Republicans want you to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain this November.
I’m asking you to pull the curtain back and look for yourself.
Representative Darrio Melton is a Democrat from Selma. He was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 2010.