Wednesday, April 23, 2014

On getting fed up with the other candidates

From: Rob Shattuck <>
Date: Tue, Apr 22, 2014 at 3:10 PM
Subject: Re: follow-up to District 6 forum
To: Anthony Cook <>

Dear Anthony,

I am transmitting a draft. I am going to let my draft sit for a couple of days and then return to it.

I am bothering to send you a draft for a couple of reasons.

My matter is complex in having three parts: These are 1. Has Congress basically stopped functioning (very, very poor and inadequate performance)? 2. If so, why? and 3. If so, what recommendations does one have to improve the performance?

The other candidates have steadfastly resisted answering the first question, one way or the other. So, in the draft, I have used my 600 words to deal with question 1.

That is obviously incomplete for my purposes, and I am not sure what to do about it.

Whatever I wind up presenting to readers, I want the Editorial Board to have my answers to all three questions. Sending you the draft at least gets you started on my complex matter, and hopefully will provoke interest in learning my answers to all three questions.

Thanks for this opportunity, and I will be back in touch again soon.

Rob Shattuck


On Tue, Apr 22, 2014 at 12:22 PM, Anthony Cook <> wrote:
Mr. Shattuck
We truly appreciate your participation in the and Birmingham News forum on yesterday.
As a follow-up to the forum, the editorial board is asking each candidate to write a brief editorial further expounding on one of the answers given during the forum.
For you specifically, we’d like to ask that you further expound on your response to the question about how you differ from your opponents.
You said differ most from your opponents because you realize that Congress doesn’t function for the American people. Can you explain what you meant by that, and how that will benefit residents of District 6?
Please keep your essay to 600 words or fewer and email it to me,, by noon Monday, April 28.
We plan to publish these in reverse alphabetical order – one candidate essay each day beginning Tuesday, April 29, at 10 a.m. When we publish your essay, it’ll also include your video explaining why you’re the best candidate for District 6.
All candidates are asked to use your new profile to be available online 10 a.m.-11 a.m. to respond to reader comments on all of the essays. We’ll send you a reminder shortly before the post goes live on the site, and join you there in the comments.
Please feel free to contact me,, if you have any questions.
Thanks and best regards.

Anthony Cook
Director of Community News - Birmingham
Alabama Media Group




My campaign charges that Congress has stopped functioning for the American people.

You the voters can contribute to deciding this for yourselves. 

In my closing at the Channel 13 debate, I suggested the audience they go home, take out a sheet of paper, and, looking back 20 years, list on the left hand side instances in which they thought Congress adequately performed its role for the American people, and on the right hand side, instances in which Congress failed to perform its role adequately (which includes inaction when some action was called). Then, after doing that, I said the audience should assign their own overall grade to how adequately Congress performed during the past 20 years.

Before the debate, I did the below lists for myself.

Instances of Congress performing adequately

1. Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (welfare reform)

I said I was unsure about these

1. No Child Left Behind

2. The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 (prescription drug plan). 

Instances of failure and poor performance

1. The Affordable Care Act is a monstrosity, borne from a grossly dysfunctional Congress.

2 Not paying for Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the associated huge Federal debt run up 

3. Failure to take up Simpson-Bowles

4. Failure to undertake tax reform

5. Failure to pass an immigration law

6. Failure to begin addressing Social Security adequately

7. Failure to begin addressing Medicare adequately

8. Being a cause of the financial crisis by allowing Washington political class to balloon Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for their own personal benefit

9. Role in recovery from financial crisis that has resulted in Wall Street and big banks being richer than ever, and everyone else still struggling to get back.

10. The staggering and ever growing Federal debt Congress is not able to begin to adequately address

Overall grade --- F (i.e., Congress has basically stopped functioning for the American people)

If the overall grade is a very poor grade, the next obvious questions include why has Congress performed so poorly and what might be done to improve its performance.

For two months, I have been pressing the other six candidates to give some answer to the foregoing questions, and they have steadfastly refused to give any answers for themselves, one way or the other.. They have been unwilling to say either that they agree with me that Congress has done a very poor job the past twenty years, or to say they disagreed and they think Congress has performed reasonably well during the past 20 years and no particular attention needed to be given to questions which assume there has been very poor performance (i.e., why has it been so poor, and what might be done to improve its performance).

At most they have said to the voters is all was needed was for the voters to elect the right person to Congress and that person will do all that is possible to fix (improve) Congress. 

That is embarrassingly lame compared to my having a diagnosis of why Congress has performed so poorly (basically stopped functioning for the American people), and a set of recommendations about what is needed to improve Congressional performance (get it functioning again).

Clearly, if I am willing to ask the above questions, and if I am right with my answers, and if implementing my recommendations will get Congress functioning again for the American people, the 6th Congressional district and the entire country will be benefited.

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