Tuesday, August 10, 2010

CPSIA - Am I a Tea Partier?

I have heard the comment that I am too harsh on the Democrats and risk marginalizing myself as some sort of Right Wing Nutjob, a Tea Party extremist.

Is this a fair criticism?

My POV is that this criticism fails to take into account my experiences in this business tragedy and does not consider that my views and my anger did not come from the sky - they were built, block by block, by Congressional Democrats and by the leadership at the CPSC.

I won't defend my being perpetually angry at the agency or Congress for their defiant stance of indifference. [Some Dems cloak their indifference in words of sympathy, never matched by actions consistent with their purported tears. I follow actions, not words, and prefer to ignore insincere blubberings unless something concrete is offered. It never is.] I have been working on this project for three years now, and actively working to get the CPSIA fixed for almost two years. That's a punishing death march, guys, particularly since almost everything I have written or pushed for has been disregarded or completely ignored. It seems improbable that I have been wrong about everything without exception for two long years - even a blind squirrel finds the occasional acorn. Hence the anger and the mounting frustration.

Of course, there are other sources of anger and frustration. The process of implementing this flawed law by the CPSC has destroyed so much good in the process. What we have left is much less protective of public health or well-being. The constant media pandering and the relentless positioning of businesses and business people as evil societal elements that must be controlled is, frankly, embittering. Under the pressure of this relentless drumbeat, it is hard to not feel unprotected and in great danger. We have no defenders and are on notice that we are prime suspects.

No defense, but please someone, tell me, what am I supposed to do now? Grin and bear it? Give in and pretend everything's okay? If you think either option is realistic, you really don't understand my situation or my motivation. These aren't realistic options. I am fighting off doomsday - grin-and-bear-it doesn't work when the Grim Reaper is coming your way. And there are no days off.

So if I can't go along to get along and if the CPSC and Congress have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they have made up their mind and have no interest in me or my problems, what options are left to me? The process of advocacy that I have been practicing and that I have been financing hasn't produced enough results - we are still in the soup. If I can't give up and if what I am doing just doesn't work - logic suggests I need to do something else.

So what I have been doing is telling the truth - it's the Dems who have done all this and it's the Dems who refuse to fix it. It's the Dems who won't listen and it's the Dems that refuse to acknowledge their errors. If everyone in Congress voted to save their job by supporting passage of the CPSIA in August 2008 rather than face reelection attack ads, that was then and this is now. The Dem leadership has chosen to ignore the OBVIOUS and continue to deny that anything can or should be done in this matter. There's nothing wrong or politically-incorrect about speaking the truth - and that's the truth. We are where we are because of the Dems. They own it.

If the politicians who are busily engaged in snuffing out our business enterprises won't listen and cannot be influenced, then what's left to me? I must enter the political arena to specifically target them for removal. And that's what I am doing. It's only fair - they act like they want my business dead. So we need to put different people in their place. And we need to do it right away.

If this makes me a Tea Partier or a Right Wing nutjob, so be it. My head is not bowed. My customers, my suppliers and my working associates and partners know where I stand. I am fighting for our business life and will not rest until the people responsible for this mess are brought to justice.


Anonymous said...

Rick -- The House & Senate voted 4 times on the bill.

12/19/07, House: 407-0
3/6/08, Senate: 79 - 13
7/3/08, House: 424 - 1
7/31/08, Senate: 89 - 3

That's bipartisan by any estimatation. Looks like you have some Republicans to be pissy at too.

Rick Woldenberg, Chairman - Learning Resources Inc. said...

Since the bill was passed, the ONLY people interested in our problems have been the Republicans. They were also sensitive to these issues from the first day I met them.

I don't think there is any benefit in focusing on blame for the original "sin". Congress had and continues to have the power to fix their mistake. The Democratic leadership has absolutely refused to face up to their faulty handiwork. The Republicans have demonstrated again and again that they want to fix the bill, fix it right.

At this point, the Dems have a lot of work to do to repair the damage they and their leadership have wrought. The money we have wasted on this misadventure won't be rebated to us. They caused these losses. The jobs lost, the companies closed, the markets crushed - the Dems own it.

That's the truth, pleasant or unpleasant.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if you'd started out congenial and conciliatory, you'd have a point. But you were bombastic, angry and personal from the beginning. You didn't "get" this way. You started out this way.

And don't worry about marginalizing yourself. That happened long ago. Manhattan might as well worry about the loss of its farmland.

But since you're worried about your reputation -- and you ARE or you wouldn't have written this piece -- a good start would be to try to avoid words like "Dems" that Republicans and Tea Partiers use disparagingly. If you talk their talk, don't be surprised if people wonder if you walk their walk.

And maybe consider writing a piece about whether the Republicans truly care or if they are using the cover of being out of power to coddle you. "Golly, Rick, we really want to help, but those nasty DEMS have all the power."

jennifer said...

After my experience with the CPSIA I decided to attend a Tea Party Event and I was surprised by how much common sense was surrounding me. Yes - there were a few extremists but there always are...on either side of the aisle. We need common sense and if the Dems aren't willing to admit they are wrong it is time to vote the other way. This nonsense has gone on way too long.

Esther said...

I appreciate your willingness to stand up and speak the truth. I am with you. The Democrats can marginalize us by deriding the Tea Party movement, but only to their detriment. I only hope the Republicans will be able to pull some of the legislation of the last few years back. What a mess!

Rick Woldenberg, Chairman - Learning Resources Inc. said...

Hey Anonymous, I have no doubts about whether the Republicans are being genuine. They blocked the Waxman Amendment, a truly deceptive and defective attempt on the Dems' part to "fix" the law. They have been ceaselessly loyal and considerate. I wish I could say the same thing about the Dems, but I can't. Sorry, but it is what it is.

The Republicans may be suffering from a damaged brand owing to strong feelings about Mssrs. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. For myself, my concern is for the here and now. The Dems have done zippo to help me or the thousands of other business people suffering under the noxious CPSIA. The Republicans have introduced more than ten bills to help, spoke at our rally in 2009 (no Dems were permitted to speak at the command of their leadership) and have regularly pitched in on this issue. That would certainly include the sensible Anne Northup and Nancy Nord.

I am ready to repair relations but not on the terms that the Dems demand. So be it. They deserve what they have get.

Brenda said...

The passage of CPSIA is what woke me up. The Democrats' unwillingness to address the problems small businesses face due to CPSIA is what led me to the Tea Party.

halojones-fan said...

"If you talk their talk, don't be surprised if people wonder if you walk their walk."

Isn't the first tenet of Dem/Left ideology that you should take everyone as an individual and not resort to groupthink stereotyping?

Ben S said...

Anonymous ought to start reading two years ago when the blog began if he wants to see Rick being less angry and more hopeful. It's not like the feelings appeared overnight.

Anonymous said...

Well, to be honest, as a Democratic who is staunchly against the CPSIA, the repeated tirades against the "Dems" has lead me to follow this blog less and less and go to other sources for information. The "Reps" have done plenty of crummy things in this country too. Mainstream America doesn't understand even a tiny bit of the CPSIA. For instance, in 2008 Mothering Magazine had a large article strongly supporting the CPSIA, when a flip through their pages shows the CPSIA has the potential to wipe out nearly their entire advertising base. Most people don't get it, and in a democracy, it's "most people" that matter. If true reform were passed, the Democrats would take the fallout for being "soft on safety" (which is how the media would spin it) and the Republicans know it. Easy to be "brave" when there are no consequences.

If you ask me, the Republican party over the last decade is lot more concerned about protecting big business than about protecting mom and pop.

I've come on here less and less because the blog is starting to seem less a good source of information and more like a long, angry political rant. If that's what you want, more power to you. You've certainly earned the right to rant. You have the freedom to write what you want and I have the freedom not to read it. If you're posting this because you care, well yes, I do think you're alienating quite a few people, myself included.

halojones-fan said...

"the repeated tirades against the "Dems" has lead me to follow this blog less and less and go to other sources for information. "

Sorry to hear that you prefer a soft, safe echo chamber to the actual back-and-forth of conversation. I know it's very painful to find that there are rational and intelligent people who disagree with you, but part of being an adult is the realization that being smart and trying to do good doesn't always ensure success. "The right people did/said/thought/wanted this" doesn't mean that it's the right thing to do.

"If true reform were passed, the Democrats would take the fallout for being "soft on safety" (which is how the media would spin it)"

Okay, so let me get this straight--I'm just trying to understand you, here--you're saying that A: most people don't know anything about the CPSIA, but B: if it were repealed then they'd all complain. You're trying to have it both ways!