Our readership is stronger than ever and growing by leaps and bounds. Our writers are talented and dedicated, and I’ll compare their level of excellence to any political publication on the internet. Our five year readership goal was met in the first two years. Our 10 year readership goal is almost met and may well be with this, our December-January final issue.
So yes, we are going out on top, and we are going out before we have reached our potential. Why? The answer isn’t as simple as I might want it to be. To those who are interested, please let me explain. About a month ago I sent a letter to my team, that is, the movers and shakers who put out CS2 religiously and on time the 1st of every month–except this month. And the lateness of this month’s issue is all on me and has nothing to do with them. I want to tell you about these people before I go on.
Karen Feridun is simply brilliant. Most of you know her as the President of the Kutztown Area Democratic Club. But I can assure you that she’s much more than that. She has that rare combination that eludes 99.9% of us: She sees the big picture as well as having that attention for minute detail. Most of us have one or the other and that’s it. If I were King of the World and had my druthers, I would fire Tom Herman (Berks County Democratic Party Chairman) immediately and replace him with Karen. That would be a 1000% improvement right off the bat. One thing I’ll miss most about not putting out CS2 is my late night phone conversations with Karen on “Democratic strategy”. I always came away from those knowing that I wasn’t the smartest one in the conversation.
Dorothy Reilly is one of the most despised people I know. Most people hate her. A very small percentage love her. Count me in the latter group. Dorothy has no use for the Democratic Party flag: the white flag of surrender. Next to me, she has probably absorbed more hate and arrows from party hacks and lapdogs than anyone at CS2. Wear them like badges of honor, Dorothy. So many “small minded” Lilliputians trying to tie down Gulliver. I may not always agree with Dorothy, but I know that what you see is what you get. There’s no phoniness. She doesn’t talk like Noam Chomsky all year and then show up as a “vote for the ticket” party stooge at election time. If there’s a political fight, I want Dorothy Reilly in my fox-hole.
Lynn Petrovich takes my breath away. She writes with a wry sense of humor that most of us would kill for. She makes me laugh out loud whenever she wants to. I always get the feeling when I read her that she is in control of my emotions and I have nothing to say in the matter. She produces the desired effect on the reader in a seemingly effortless manner. I’m sure to have withdrawal symptoms from not seeing that Lynn Petrovich essay every month.
Bob Johns is true-blue. Bob and I have been friends for 35 years. He should get a medal for putting up with me that long. Bob, a die-hard Democrat, has put up with my attacks on the gutless bastards who run the Democratic Party with good humor for these 35 years. Bob has been loyal to me and loyal to CS2 from the get-go, often contributing to help defray the costs of the Ezine. I value that loyalty and I return it in kind. Bob and I will be friends long after the demise of CS2.
Kathleen Welch is the most introspective of the writers we’ve featured in CS2 over its life. Her Road Less Traveled column has appeared 20 times. Kathleen has the courage to write about herself and the people in her life, often with an appealing self-deprecation that wins over the reader. If you haven’t read Kathleen, all her essays are still available in our archives. I promise you it will be time well spent.
Ron Stouffer and Rosie Skomitz have been with CS2 since the very first issue. They have been the single-payer health care advocates for CS2 as well as outreach people for Healthcare for All PA. In addition, they have shouldered the lion’s share of the editing duties. For three years Rosie has waged a losing battle to penetrate my head with the correct usage of the apostrophe. Some people are just uneducable. Rosie is also perplexed by my penchant for capitalizing words at random in the middle of a sentence. Sometimes I think she feels I am doing it on purpose just to annoy her. I’m not owning up to that here. Each reader will have to come to his own conclusion.
James Patrick has been writing book reviews for this publication for quite some time now. As editor, it has been a pleasure to watch James develop from neophyte high school writer to the “man of letters” he is today. James has quite a bright future in the world of literature, and I hope he sticks with it. He is quite simply the best read young person I know. Keep in touch, James.
Jack Lindeman is the unsung class of CS2. If you haven’t read Jack’s essays or poetry because it wasn’t political enough for you, that says more about you than it does about Jack. It is entirely your loss. Few people know it, but at the turn of the century a major publisher took on the job of ascertaining the 100 best poems of the century by assigning a poem of the year for each year of the century. CS2’s own Jack Lindeman had two poems on that list. Enough said.
And of course, most importantly, is my lovely wife Pat. She has been with me for 37 years and I love her more now than I did in our first year. She has put up with at least one political harangue every day for those 37 years. Pat is responsible for our covers at CS2 which have received much praise over the years. She is also the general all-around problem solver and html fixer for each issue. In addition, she wrote two of the classiest and most popular pieces we ever published. The original Oaxaca article which became a series and a two part tribute to the artist Dorcas Weidener. In addition, she has fought a losing battle trying to curb my talent for getting people irate with me.
I would be remiss in not mentioning two other people who were central to the success of CS2. One is Jack Romig who was in charge of our poetry section for three years. Jack established a level of excellence that was the envy of many publications in the field. Thank you, Jack. The other is Sylvia Baylor who for 2 1/2 years wrote the Keystone Scorecard which gave the reader the real “skinny” on what those SOBs in Harrisburg are really up to. She did so with a dry wit and an appealing sarcasm. Sylvia was simply not replaceable. In addition, I would like to thank all those who contributed over the years to make CS2 the class act that it was.
OK, dear reader – thank you for letting me brag about my Ezine. Now let’s get back to why it is closing. I sent an email out about a month ago telling my core group that the Bush-Obama depression was making the conduct of my business difficult. More hours, fewer rewards. This is something that most Americans are struggling with, and it makes the recent “message-free” Democratic campaign all the more tragic. So I need to spend a lot more hours keeping my head above water. All that’s true.
But since writing that letter I’ve had time to do a little introspection and soul-searching. And the truth of the matter is that no matter how busy I was, I would have made time for CS2 if I was still inspired by the three assumptions that made me start CS2 in the first place. Only one of those assumptions rings true to me now and continues to inspire me. The other two are patently false. And one out of three just ain’t good enough.
The thing I got right is that the public is not conservative. Oh sure, if you ask them whether they are conservative or liberal, they’ll say conservative. That is largely a product of the wonderful job that Republicans have done from the 1980s till the present on messaging just what it means to be a conservative. Conversely, the Democrats have done zero messaging on what it means to be a liberal.
Yet when you ask the public whether they support the wars, they do not. They support the soldiers, but not the wars themselves. Ask them if they think the government should make it a priority to protect Medicare and Social Security. They do. Ask them if they support the Bush tax cuts for the rich. They do not. Ask them if companies like BP should be subject to more government regulation. Overwhelmingly. Should the government be active in assuring clean water and air? Yes! Public option? Yes by 65%. These are classical liberal positions that are reflected nowhere in our political theater. The public is liberal by a margin of 55-45%. But the public is unaware that the sum total of these positions makes them liberal. Why? The Republican Party is not about to tell them. They don’t want the public thinking of themselves as liberal. The Democratic Party also doesn’t want the public thinking of itself as liberal. That is because that party is run by moderate “stand-for-nothing” stooges whose corporate sponsors would be quite upset if the party turned liberal. We now have two generations who have never seen a national politician run for office as a liberal. We’re working on our third. Is it any wonder that the public has no idea that they are liberal? Yet their liberalism persists despite the efforts of both parties to kill it……For the rest of this story go to Farewell From CS2.
Ron Stouffer and Rosie Skomitz have been crusading for single-payer healthcare for over 15 years now. When then Governor Mitt Romney put Obamacare in Massachusetts, most Democrats correctly called it a total sell-out to the insurance industry. They were right. Yet when President Obama gave Mr. Romney’s health care plan to the nation, most Democrats stated that it was landmark legislation. Thankfully for CS2 readers, Ron and Rosie aren’t most Democrats. They saw through the con-job right from the get-go. They continue to advocate for true health care reform with Can You Hear Me Now?
Does Dorothy Reilly have a secret wish to do me in? Just as the government begins its crackdown on Wikileaks and the people who put their information on the net, Dorothy comes up with her second column in as many months featuring them: My Last Rant…For Now. I sure hope Dorothy will come to visit me in jail.
Karen Feridun signs out with the bittersweet One More For The Road. This is one woman I’m sure going to miss.
Lynn Petrovich is living proof that I have exquisite taste and a great eye for talent. (See how I always manage to make it about me). This month’s column may be her last but it is certainly not her least. Check out Not The View.
Walter Brasch is the pro’s-pro. He’s shown us how to advocate without going off the deep end. You see how well we’ve all learned the lesson. None of us have ever gone off the deep end, right ladies and gents? Check out Walter’s latest: Fairness and the Bristol Stomp.
What the hell is wrong with James Patrick? Month after month he sends me excellent literary criticism in the form of book reviews. No ad-hominem attacks. No cheap shots. No kicks in the groin or rabbit punches to the neck. What’s wrong with this kid? Just kidding, James. Keep up the great work. Readers, check out The Pleasure of My Company and then go to our archives to read all James’s reviews.
Ever since I’ve been editing this magazine I’ve been looking for a moderate Democrat who was willing to defend his views in this publication with the idea of fostering a debate between the left and the center of the Democratic Party. I also wanted someone who can write well. This was a tough search. Moderation, by its very nature seems to produce a lot of people who, although they may be able to write, seek to avoid political conflict. I am pleased to announce that I have found the exception to the rule. His name is Tom Littleton. Tom is quite capable of articulating his point of view and seems to enjoy the debate with the liberals. Check out Tom’s debut entry: The Winter of Our Discontent.
Kathleen Welch writes beautifully. One of my regrets with closing CS2 is that I will not receive future installments of her wonderful Road Less Traveled series. She’s written 20 of them for us so far. I hope she continues to write 20 more. They would make a wonderful book. Read this month’s entry: Moving Beyond Disdain.
Last, but not least, is an article that is not quite finished and which will be completed this weekend due to my illness. If you thought I was going to sit quietly by and abide the crap this administration is spewing about the meaning of this election then you had better think again. If you want the company line, there’s a show on BCTV that will give it to you every time. That’s not what you get here. Check out Election Recriminations by yours truly.
Please come back January 2 to read three articles that did not make it into this issue. They are: Karma for Kessler; Alternative Views – My Ass!; and The “Stand For Nothing” Trevedi Campaign and the Culture of Democratic Failure.
Well, come on, conservatives, Blue Dogs and apologists, you didn’t think I was going to let you run scot free just because I was closing CS2 did you?
Please come back on January 2 to hear about our plans for future activism:
Is there a Son of CommonSense2 in your future?
Keep on keepin’ on,