Our guest blogger is John Boccieri, a former Congressman from Ohio and U.S. Air Force Instructor Pilot.
I’ve been honored to serve Ohio in both Statehouse chambers and in the United States Congress. And if there is one thing I’ve learned about Ohioans, it’s that you don’t cross those who dedicate their lives to service and expect to get elected.
Unfortunately for his campaign, Governor Romney has managed to upset both veterans and nuns this week.
Gov. Romney began the week by infuriating veterans when his efforts to bolster his campaign through blatant lies about the Commander-in-Chief backfired. Seeking the votes of Ohio veterans, Romney intentionally misconstrued the President’s lawsuit against the Ohio Secretary of State and Attorney General as an attack on our service members. This transparent political move angered veterans and active military members – like me – throughout the country, who rightfully resent his misuse of the goodwill and respect we have earned through our sacrifices.
Here are the facts that Mitt Romney eagerly distorted: In an effort to reduce lines at the polls, Ohio instituted an early voting period that extended through the Monday before Election Day. However, after the 2008 election, partisan conspiracy theorists, bitter about the Democrats’ historic victory, blamed this early voting period for the President’s success in Ohio. After conservatives took over the state legislature, they fought to push back the early voting deadline. They were able to do so for all voters except active duty military, who enjoy special protection under federal law.
President Obama’s suit seeks to reinstate the early voting period for all Ohioans. He wants service members to continue to be able to vote early, as well as every other Ohioan – including the state’s 913,000 veterans and our military family members who are not protected by the special federal law. Our voting rights are sacred and the numbers we’re talking about should alarm everyone. In 2008 alone, 93,000 voted during this early voting time period. More than enough to sway the outcome of this election.
Governor Romney’s campaign twisted the intent of this lawsuit, and falsely claimed that the President was attacking the rights of military voters. Knowing our country’s deep appreciation for the contributions of our military, his campaign is attempting to manipulate the goodwill of voters and turn them against the President. Lying about our men and women in uniform in this disgraceful manner is politics at its dirtiest, and Governor Romney’s tactics have angered veterans and military personnel throughout the country. We who serve do not appreciate our work and sacrifice being turned into false fodder for his personal political gain.
As if using military service members in his campaign smears was not unscrupulous enough, Governor Romney’s campaign has also spent the last week levying insults at our nation’s struggling poor. His most recent attacks focus on welfare and welfare reform, charging that the President has not been as hard on those in poverty as his democratic predecessor President Bill Clinton.
Not only have these accusations angered President Clinton, who has adamantly rejected this characterization of himself and the current president, but they have also upset nuns working for social justice. Yesterday, Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of the Catholic organization NETWORK, issued an invitation to Governor Romney to join her and her Sisters for a day of service, where he can witness firsthand (as the nuns do every day) the hardship faced by Americans living in poverty.
Misleading voters, abusing veterans, vilifying the poor, angering nuns – these are not the campaign tactics of a successful candidate for the presidency of the United States of America. There are moral standards in politics, and Governor Romney is going to learn that when the election returns come in from Ohio.