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Archive for October, 2006

The Evangelicals are catching on…

Posted by Brian on October 31, 2006

The AP reports:

Of the many disturbing trends for Republicans going into November congressional elections, one of the most troubling is the drop in support among white evangelicals.

The number of conservative Christians with a favorable view of the party has plummeted from 74% to 54% between 2004 and this year, according to the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Evangelicals comprise more than one-third of Republican voters.

Why the drop? Part of it can be explained by a general decline in Bush’s support numbers that cut across all demographics. But more specifically in regards to this group, the AP writer continues:

The complaints are familiar. Through every Republican victory since the Moral Majority was formed in 1979, abortion remained legal, gay couples won greater acceptance and prayer was still barred from public schools.

To add a few more, they lost the Schiavo battle, they’re losing the stem-cell fight, and despite the complaints of some of their numbers, kids around the country are excited about going trick-or-teating tomorrow.

So six years into a Republican-controlled congress and executive branch these people who so enthusiastically voted Republican are wondering where their piece of the pie is. They’ve been offered a few small slices, but by and large, on the big issues that dominate the culture wars, “progress” (as they define it of course) seems to have eluded them. And while they probably blame the usual suspects (“activist judges,” the “liberal media,” the 60’s, Bill Clinton, and “the gay agenda”), they might want to look closer to home if they really want to understand what’s going on:

In the book Tempting Faith, An Inside Story of Political Seduction, author David Kuo, a former aide in the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, wrote that Bush aides privately called conservative Christians “nuts,” “ridiculous” and “goofy.”

Kuo, a born-again Christian, said Republicans have failed to fulfill campaign promises to evangelicals, yet have kept Christians on their side by portraying Bush as “pastor-in-chief.”

“So much of the support for his presidency comes purely on the basis of his Christian faith,” Kuo said in a telephone interview. “The biblical notion is to defer to your pastor. Christian political leaders have taken advantage of that — portraying themselves as spiritual leaders — but they’re not. They’re political leaders.”

And this is perfectly consistent with one of the main points of Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter with Kansas, that the GOP plays a bait-and-switch with social conservatives across the country: they run on social issues but govern on economic ones. And the “nuts” fall for this every election cycle, though now it seems that some might actually be catching on.

This could be a major factor in <knock on wood> the Democrats taking both houses of congress next month.

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Too funny…

Posted by Brian on October 26, 2006

James Dobson’s group Family Research Council has released a report on members of the House of Representatives, ranking each member on how they voted on a seven different issues “affecting the family” (gay marriage, human cloning, etc).

Looking at the rankings, we see that wife, mother, and grandmother Nancy Pelosi of California is given a 0% score (I think that’s an F).

How do they score child predator Mark Foley from California? He gets a 42%. What’s with voting for the Marriage Protection Amendment, Senator Foley?

What about confirmed adulterer and alledged abuser Don Sherwood from Pennsylvania? He gets a whopping 85%.

Is there any shady behavior these people are not willing to overlook in their god-ordained pursuit for political power?

Posted in American Issues | 1 Comment »

The Fear Factor

Posted by Brian on October 21, 2006

From “land of the free, home of the brave,” to “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” to this. How far we have fallen…

Posted in American Issues | 1 Comment »

Factoid of the Day

Posted by Brian on October 19, 2006

I found this bit of data to be quite interesting.

According to Geoffrey Nunberg in his new book, Talking Right: How Conservatives Turned Liberalism into a Tax-Raising, Latte-Drinking, Sushi-Eating, Volvo-Driving, New York Times-Reading, Body-Piercing, Hollywood-Loving, Left-Wing Freak Show (link to the right), a search of Google Groups posting reveals that “you liberals” is more common than “you conservatives” by a 7 to 1 margin.

 Now, I have my own biases when it comes to interpreting this nugget of info, so I’ll keep my speculation to myself. But if someone with more of a disinterested stance on American politics wishes to take a crack at explaining the disaparity, please go right ahead.

And on a totally seperate note, my use of “factoid” above, while perfectly acceptable today, is actually a misuse of the word in light of its original usage. Originally, it meant “something resembling a fact, but not quite factual,” along the same lines as a humanoid resembling a human, but still not quite human. But at some point, some sources, (probably TV news) began using it to indicate a “trivial but true fact,” which I do believe is now its commonly accepted meaning.

Posted in American Issues, Language | 2 Comments »

On a personal note…

Posted by Brian on October 16, 2006

Updates have been few and far between for a couple of reasons.

First, I don’t have much to report. I’m still not working so my life is quite boring. Who was it that said having work to do provides an impetus for blogging as one has something to avoid?

Second, I’m going through a personal crisis of sorts after hearing some life-changing news and it’s occupying a lot of my thinking at the moment. Because of this, blogging is pretty far down on my list of things to do.

I suppose I should thank all those who still visit my blog regularly… so thanks!

Posted in Personal | 4 Comments »

John Kerry on Fox NEws

Posted by Brian on October 16, 2006

Watching Fox News this morning I was reminded yet again of one of the many problems in American olitics in this day and age.

Chris Wallace was interviewing John Kerry about, among other things, Iraq and North Korea. At one point, things went like this:

WALLACE: Senator, back in 2004 — and this is the summer of 2004 by which point we all knew that, in fact, there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq — President Bush challenged you on whether you would still have voted for the authority to go to war. Here’s what you said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: Yes, I would have voted for the authority. I believe it was the right authority for a president to have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: But this week you wrote this, and let’s put it up on the screen, “There’s nothing — nothing — in my life in public service I regret more, nothing even close. We should all be willing to say I was wrong. I should not have voted for the Iraq war resolution.”

Senator, if it was right to vote for the Iraq war resolution in 2002 and it was right in August of 2004, why is it now your biggest policy mistake?

KERRY: Because this administration has made every mistake and abused every authority that it was given to such a degree beyond where we were at that point in time.

And also, we have learned since then, Chris, of the degree to which they misled us, the degree to which they have abused the authority that they were given. At the time…

… 

WALLACE: But I want to ask you a question which goes to you…

KERRY: Sure.

WALLACE: … not to President Bush, because this, quite frankly, is a rap against you. Isn’t this — and I’m talking about your vote now for the war resolution and now your recanting of this — isn’t this another case of I was for the $87 billion before I was against it?

The “rap” against Kerry that Mr. Wallace is speaking of must be the old “flip-flop” label that the right painted on Kerry back in 2004. Back then, Mr. Wallace was saying, Kerry was in favor of the war… but now he is against it. What gives, Senator?

My reaction was that Kerry should be commended for fessing up to his part in the current Iraq fiasco. After all, it’s not everyday a politican says “I was wrong.” Yet there was Mr. Wallace playing “gotcha” with the Senator and using his words against him as an example of a Kerry “flip-flop.”

Sure, I hate finger-in-the-wind pols as much as the next guy, but sometimes a regret or a change of position, even from a politician, can be sincere. Kerry trusted Bush and his team to do a good job in Iraq, but they botched the job in a big way. As a result, he regrets his vote. Where’s the story?

Just take a look at the current president, a man who sells his stubborness and tunnel-vision as a virtue and people buy it. Heck, when asked for a single mistake he made in office, he couldn’t think of a anything he would have done differently. If only I were so omniscient when it comes to the tough choices I have to make.

At what point did we fetishize consistency in politicians to such an extent that we threw out our common sense?

Posted in American Issues | Leave a Comment »

Keith Olberman scores again…

Posted by Brian on October 7, 2006

I don’t know who writes this stuff for Keith Olberman, but kudos to whoever is behind his latest commentary and its powerful message:

And lastly tonight, a Special Comment, about — lying. While the leadership in Congress has self-destructed over the revelations of an unmatched, and unrelieved, march through a cesspool… While the leadership inside the White House has self-destructed over the revelations of a book with a glowing red cover…

The President of the United States — unbowed, undeterred, and unconnected to reality — has continued his extraordinary trek through our country rooting out the enemies of freedom: The Democrats.
Yesterday at a fundraiser for an Arizona Congressman, Mr. Bush claimed, quote, “177 of the opposition party said ‘You know, we don’t think we ought to be listening to the conversations of terrorists.”

The hell they did.

177 Democrats opposed the President’s seizure of another part of the Constitution*.

Not even the White House press office could actually name a single Democrat who had ever said the government shouldn’t be listening to the conversations of terrorists.

President Bush hears… what he wants.

Tuesday, at another fundraiser in California, he had said “Democrats take a law enforcement approach to terrorism. That means America will wait until we’re attacked again before we respond.”

Mr. Bush fabricated that, too.

And evidently he has begun to fancy himself as a mind-reader.

“If you listen closely to some of the leaders of the Democratic Party,” the President said at another fundraiser Monday in Nevada, “it sounds like they think the best way to protect the American people is — wait until we’re attacked again.”

The President doesn’t just hear what he wants. He hears things, that only he can hear.

It defies belief that this President and his administration could continue to find new unexplored political gutters into which they could wallow.

Yet they do.

It is startling enough that such things could be said out loud by any President of this nation.

Rhetorically, it is about an inch short of Mr. Bush accusing Democratic leaders; Democrats; the majority of Americans who disagree with his policies — of treason.

But it is the context that truly makes the head spin.

Just 25 days ago, on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, this same man spoke to this nation and insisted, quote, “we must put aside our differences and work together to meet the test that history has given us.”

Mr. Bush, this is a test you have already failed.

If your commitment to “put aside differences and work together” is replaced in the span of just three weeks by claiming your political opponents prefer to wait to see this country attacked again, and by spewing fabrications about what they’ve said, then the questions your critics need to be asking, are no longer about your policies.

They are, instead — solemn and even terrible questions, about your fitness to fulfill the responsibilities of your office.

No Democrat, sir, has ever said anything approaching the suggestion that the best means of self-defense is to “wait until we’re attacked again.”

No critic, no commentator, no reluctant Republican in the Senate, has ever said anything that any responsible person could even have exaggerated into the slander you spoke in Nevada on Monday night, nor the slander you spoke in California on Tuesday, nor the slander you spoke in Arizona on Wednesday… nor whatever is next.

You have dishonored your party, sir — you have dishonored your supporters — you have dishonored yourself.

But tonight the stark question we must face is – why?

Why has the ferocity of your venom against the Democrats, now exceeded the ferocity of your venom against the terrorists?

Why have you chosen to go down in history as the President who made things up?

In less than one month you have gone from a flawed call to unity, to this clarion call to hatred of Americans, by Americans.

If this is not simply the most shameless example of the rhetoric of political hackery, then it would have to be the cry of a leader crumbling under the weight of his own lies.

We have, of course, survived all manner of political hackery, of every shape, size, and party.

We will have to suffer it, for as long as the Republic stands.

But the premise of a President who comes across as a compulsive liar — is nothing less than terrifying.

A President who since 9/11 will not listen, is not listening — and thanks to Bob Woodward’s most recent account — evidently has never listened.

A President who since 9/11 so hates or fears other Americans, that he accuses them of advocating deliberate inaction in the face of the enemy.

A President who since 9/11 has savaged the very freedoms he claims to be protecting from attack. Attack by terrorists, or by Democrats, or by both — it is now impossible to find a consistent thread of logic as to who Mr. Bush believes the enemy is.

But if we know one thing for certain about Mr. Bush, it is this:

This President — in his bullying of the Senate last month and in his slandering of the Democrats this month — has shown us that he believes whoever the enemies are — they are hiding themselves inside a dangerous cloak, called the Constitution of the United States of America.

They are never wrong, and they never regret. Admirable in a French torch singer. Cataclysmic in an American leader.

Thus the sickening attempt to blame the Foley Scandal on the negligence of others or “The Clinton Era” — even though the Foley Scandal began before the Lewinsky Scandal.

Thus last month’s enraged attacks on this Administration’s predecessors, about Osama Bin Laden — a projection of their own negligence in the immediate months before 9/11.

Thus the terrifying attempt to hamstring the fundament of our freedom — the Constitution — a triumph for Al-Qaeda, for which the terrorists could not hope to achieve with a hundred 9/11’s.

And thus, worst of all perhaps, these newest lies by President Bush about Democrats choosing to await another attack and not listen to the conversations of terrorists.

It is the terror and the guilt within your own heart, Mr. Bush, that you re-direct at others who simply wish for you to temper your certainty with counsel.

It is the failure and the incompetence within your own memory, Mr. Bush, that leads you to demonize those who might merely quote to you the pleadings of Oliver Cromwell: “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.”

It is not the Democrats whose inaction in the face of the enemy you fear, sir.

It is your own — before 9/11 – (and you alone know this), perhaps afterwards.

Mr. President, these new lies go to the heart of what it is that you truly wish to preserve.

It is not our freedom, nor our country — your actions against the Constitution give irrefutable proof of that.

You want to preserve a political party’s power. And obviously you’ll sell this country out, to do it.

These are lies about the Democrats piled atop lies about Iraq which were piled atop lies about your preparations for Al-Qaeda.

To you, perhaps, they feel like the weight of a million centuries.

As crushing. As immovable.

They are not.

If you add more lies to them, you cannot free yourself, and us, from them.

But if you stop — if you stop fabricating quotes, and building straw-men, and inspiring those around you to do the same — you may yet liberate yourself and this nation.

Please, sir, do not throw this country’s principles away because your lies have made it such that you can no longer differentiate between the terrorists and the critics.

Via Crooks and Liars, where you can find the video.

Posted in American Issues | 2 Comments »