Saturday, November 22, 2003

MoDo: "The only thing we really have to fear is fearmongering itself." 

Scaring Up Votes

James Goodby and Kenneth Weisbrode wrote in The Financial Times last week that the Bush crew has snuffed the optimism of F.D.R., Ronald Reagan and Bush père: "Fear has been used as a basis for curtailing freedom of expression and for questioning legal rights long taken for granted. It has crept into political discourse and been used to discredit patriotic public servants. Ronald Reagan's favorite image, borrowed from an earlier visionary, of America as `a shining city on a hill' has been unnecessarily dimmed by another image: a nation motivated by fear and ready to lash out at any country it defines as the source of a gathering threat."

Instead of a shining city, we have a dark bunker.
Well, personally, I live in an actual city (sometimes shining, sometimes dark) which sometimes feels like an all-too-penetrable bunker. It's the folks in suburbs, small towns and rural areas across the country, who can't face the fact that a terrorist is never, EVER going to explode a truck bomb outside their WalMart or launch a rocket-propelled grenade at their Knights of Columbus Lodge, who think they're in a bunker, because they're out of their minds with paranoia, solipsism, and boredom.

JFK on Liberal Pride 

Acceptance of the New York Liberal Party Nomination
September 14, 1960

What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label "Liberal?" If by "Liberal" they mean, as they want people to believe, someone who is soft in his policies abroad, who is against local government, and who is unconcerned with the taxpayer's dollar, then the record of this party and its members demonstrate that we are not that kind of "Liberal." But if by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people -- their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties -- someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal."

But first, I would like to say what I understand the word "Liberal" to mean and explain in the process why I consider myself to be a "Liberal," and what it means in the presidential election of 1960.

Full text.

Will Bush Be Silenced, or Continue to Spread Message of 'Inclusiveness'? 

Evangelical Christian leaders expressed dismay yesterday over President Bush's statement that Christians and Muslims worship the same god, saying it had caused discomfort within his conservative religious base. But most predicted that the political impact would be short-lived.

Bush's remarks sent immediate shock waves through Christian Web sites and radio broadcasts. A Baptist Press report quoted Richard D. Land, president of the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination, as saying that Bush "is simply mistaken."

The Rev. Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, also issued a statement contradicting Bush.

"The Christian God encourages freedom, love, forgiveness, prosperity and health. The Muslim god appears to value the opposite. The personalities of each god are evident in the cultures, civilizations and dispositions of the peoples that serve them. Muhammad's central message was submission; Jesus' central message was love. They seem to be very different personalities," Haggard said.

The Rev. Brenda Bartella Peterson, executive director of the Clergy Leadership Network, a new organization of left-leaning clergy that seeks to counter the Christian right, declined to say whether she believes Christians and Muslims worship the same god.

"I would rather you not quote my theology," she said. "But I have to say that I'm very pleased that President Bush wants to be so inclusive, and I think his inclusiveness in this particular comment speaks well for who we have been as a nation theologically. Not all of his policies and his actions have been as inclusive."

Sayyid M. Syeed, secretary general of the Islamic Society of North America, responded to Bush's statement with a single word: Alhamdullah, Thanks be to God.

"We read again and again in the Koran that our god is the god of Abraham, the god of Noah, the god of Jesus," he said. "It would not come to the mind of a Muslim that there is a different god that Abraham or Jesus or Moses was praying to."
Interesting. I think Bush should be called on to publicly explain whether he agrees with the Reverend Haggard, or whether he agrees with Mr. Syeed. A lot of people would be interested to know. Especially people (Bush included) who think Bush was sent by Divine Grace to lead us in the War Against Evil. Because if Christians and Muslims worship the same God, doesn't that mean that Bush has been sent to us by Allah?

Weird. I've gotta mull that one over for a while...

We Can't Win; We Can Win... 

1.) We can't win. Bush is going to be re-elected.

2.) Since we can't win, we might as well put up a real fight. Don't worry about pandering to the doubters. Screw the TV media. Go all-out in the advertising campaign. Do our utmost to expose Bush as the dangerous, incompetent, arrogant, embarrassing fraud that he is.

3.) But if we exposed Bush for what he really is...then maybe we could win. But...

[repeat as needed...]

Strange-Looking Man Fascinated With His Own 'Thoughts' Like An Infant With Its Baubles 

Dear Mr. Brooks,

When words and images parade across your mind's eye, and you find that feelings have attached themselves to those words and images, it doesn't necessarily mean they are "thoughts" worthy of print. For instance, your New York Times column "The Power of Marriage," while it does contain words strung together into sentences that could be said to have "meaning," doesn't actually contain a single sincere "thought."

Mr. Brooks, I truly don't think you "think" anything. I don't think you "believe" anything. I think you are a well-paid man of unexceptional intelligence masquerading as a contrarian "moderate" "conservative" with something to say. But the truth is you don't have anything to say. You simply write strings of words that you guess will appear to readers as sentences containing interesting content. But again: there is no content; and they're not interesting.

Also: your face looks really weird. You look like a "geek," in the old-fashioned sense.

Please leave the New York Times. You're not hip. You're not hip-ly square. You're not anything. You just suck.



Friday, November 21, 2003

Democrat Terrorists Soon to Get Theirs 

"Some Democrats are attacking the president for attacking the terrorists."

This shit is going to go on until we are KILLED in a terrorist attack. I am truly scared. When will they finally blow up Atlantic Avenue? It's going to happen. And there will be no redemption, no meaning, no final acknowledgment that Bush has our blood on his hands. There will just be more killing. I really do feel like a...


On a more positive note, MoveOn.org asks us to fight back:
Today the GOP crossed the line. In their first ad for the 2004 election, they implicitly accuse Democratic presidential candidates of "attacking the president for attacking terrorists." The ad doesn't question opponents' ideas, it questions their commitment to America. But there is nothing more un-American than attacking an adversary's patriotism for political gain.

We need to fight back.

Let's show the GOP and the Bush campaign that this kind of dirty politics can only backfire against them. We have to ensure that there are consequences for this kind of un-American attack: otherwise the Republicans just won't stop.

Of course, we'll fight back our way, using the power of the facts and the strength of millions of us working together. When Republicans equate the war on Iraq with the war on terrorism, we'll remind the public of the truth. When Republicans raise money from wealthy donors and corporate CEOs to attack the Democrats, we'll raise it with hundreds of thousands of small contributions from people across America. We won't let the Bush campaign get away with these kinds of attacks. And in the end, we'll take our country back.

Today, we can show the GOP what they're up against. They're paying $100,000 to run their ad. Together, we can raise $500,000 today to run ads that get out the truth in key battleground states. Remember, every two dollars you give will be matched by a dollar from George Soros and Peter Lewis.

Help us reach $500,000. Give now by credit card at:


Clark Campaign Needs Contributions to Keep Running TV Ads in NH 

I've spent many of my days as a candidate traveling New Hampshire, and I've got to tell you, we're hitting our stride. Because of these ads, and some other TV appearances you may have seen, people are showing up in even greater numbers than before. They are listening, they are asking great questions, and they are pledging their support.

I'm writing to let you know that our strategy is working, but I still need your help.

Donate today to keep our ads on the air in New Hampshire!

We now have only 68 days until the New Hampshire primary election.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Bush Renounces Christianity, Embraces the One True God 

QUESTION: Mr. President, when you talk about peace in the Middle East, you've often said that freedom is granted by the Almighty. Some people who share your beliefs don't believe that Muslims worship the same almighty. I wondered about your views on that.

And, Mr. Prime Minister, as a man also of faith I'd like to get your reaction to that.

BUSH: I do say that freedom is the Almighty's gift to every person. I also condition it by saying freedom is not America's gift to the world; it's much greater than that, of course. And I believe we worship the same god.

Well, maybe the Methodists know somethin' different, but here's what the Journal of Lutheran Ethics says:
The question is whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Muslims would say that they do. For there is but one God, and to worship anything but that one God is not to worship God at all. Since Christians, Muslims, and Jews all worship the God who created the world, who called Abraham from Haran, and whose Scriptures were completed and perfected by the Qur'an, it seems obvious that they worship the same God.
But Jesus alone is the grounding of the Reign of God in the history of God and in the history of the world...because Jesus alone reveals and embodies God in history, nothing else does.
The God of Islam does not seem to be recognizable in these Christian ways of identifying God.
I dunno George, I'm no theology expert (and obviously neither are you) but it sounds like heresy to me!

Blair learns Bushspeak, with inflections of Rumsfeldian tautology 

Now as for your first point, just let me say this: What has caused the terrorist attack today in Turkey? It's not the president of the United States. It's not the alliance between America and Britain. What is responsible for that terrorist attack is terrorism -- are the terrorists.
My only question is: If terrorism is responsible for that terrorist attack, then what is terrorism responsible for?

An effigy of U.S. President George W. Bush is pulled down in Trafalgar Square, London, as part of a large protest over his state visit.

QUESTION: But why do they hate you, Mr. President? Why do they hate you in such numbers?


BUSH: I don't know that they do.

Paranoid, Malicious "Leader" Embarrasses U.S., Britain 

The awkwardness continued after Bush's toast, when he again picked up his glass to clink with the queen, who stood motionless, waiting for her own national anthem. Bush put his glass back down and, as the orchestra played "God Save the Queen," winked at somebody in the audience.

[T]he palace made certain accommodations to suit his tastes. The orchestra played "King Cotton," a Sousa march, and "My Heart Will Go On," the theme song from the movie "Titanic." And, just before the guests arrived, the palace butlers placed bottles of Coca-Cola alongside decanters of the queen's port.
Get it? He likes Coke. He's just a "regular guy." Just an ordinary "American."

[Retch. Gag. Projectile vomit.]

Frightened, suspicious, ugly little man "inspects" guard of honor with impatient sidewise glance


Thanks to Atrios for pointing this out. Howard "Mistah" Kurtz writes the following:
How strange is the following story, after 30 long years?...

"Howard Dean, speaking with reporters Tuesday afternoon following a campaign appearance in Bedford, N.H., expressed relief that the 30-year wait for answers about what happened to his brother might finally be over. As he has since the disappearance of his brother, Dean was wearing a belt buckle that belonged to Charles Dean as he spoke. "'This has been a long and emotional journey for my mother, Jim, Bill and me,' Dean said. 'We greet this news with mixed emotions but are gratified that we may now be approaching closure to this painful episode in our lives.' "Dean, in a soon-to-be released autobiography, called the capture and death of his brother 'the most traumatic events of my life.'"

I wonder if the remains would have been found if Dean wasn't running for president.
What the fuck is Kurtz implying?

Does this blathering, conscienceless fuck even acknowledge this part of the story?
Larry Greer, a spokesman for the Pentagon's P.O.W./M.I.A. operation, said the excavation where Dr. Dean's brother was apparently found was one of three being conducted as part of a monthlong Laotian mission, and was the result of seven investigations into the disappearance of the two young men. He said such recoveries are fairly typical of the 600-person, $103 million annual operation, and noted that 708 sets of positively identified remains have been found in Southeast Asia since the search began in 1985.

"It's very routine," he said of the recovery. "We bring these folks back every month, month after month after month, for a long time."

Change of Focus 

Nightline Daily E-Mail
November 19, 2003

TONIGHT'S FOCUS HAS CHANGED: The DA and Sheriff from Santa Barbara have just held a press conference, announcing that there is an arrest warrant for Michael Jackson on multiple counts of child molestation, and they are negotiating his surrender with his attorneys. We are going to switch topics to cover this tonight, we'll report on President Bush's visit to Britain and the situation in Iraq tomorrow.

Leroy Sievers and the Nightline Staff
ABCNEWS Washington bureau

Annular Flashback: November 19, 2002 

This had to be among the top five most bone-chilling Krugman pieces from last year. And what with the Diebold thing, it seems even scarier:
Victors and Spoils

A few months ago Mr. Rove compared his boss to Andrew Jackson. As some of us noted at the time, one of Jackson's key legacies was the "spoils system," under which federal jobs were reserved for political supporters. The federal civil service, with its careful protection of workers from political pressure, was created specifically to bring the spoils system to an end; but now the administration has found a way around those constraints.

We don't have to speculate about what will follow, because Jeb Bush has already blazed the trail. Florida's governor has been an aggressive privatizer, and as The Miami Herald put it after a careful study of state records, "his bold experiment has been a success--at least for him and the Republican Party, records show. The policy has spawned a network of contractors who have given him, other Republican politicians and the Florida G.O.P. millions of dollars in campaign donations."

What's interesting about this network of contractors isn't just the way that big contributions are linked to big contracts; it's the end of the traditional practice in which businesses hedge their bets by giving to both parties. The big winners in Mr. Bush's Florida are companies that give little or nothing to Democrats. Strange, isn't it? It's as if firms seeking business with the state of Florida are subject to a loyalty test.

So am I saying that we are going back to the days of Boss Tweed and Mark Hanna? Gosh, no-- those guys were pikers. One-party control of today's government offers opportunities to reward friends and punish enemies that the old machine politicians never dreamed of.
Full story.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

The Trip From Hell 

Lamenting the constraints of moving around with a large entourage, Bush last week told British journalists, "I travel in somewhat of a bubble."

* * * *

GEORGE Bush was last night branded chicken for scrapping his speech to Parliament because he feared being heckled by anti-war MPs.

Previous world leaders, including Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela and Francois Mitterand, have all given speeches to the Lords and the Commons while visiting Britain.

Tony Blair gave a joint address to the American Senate and Congress in July.

But earlier this year, Bush was embarrassed when he was heckled by MPs in Australia.

* * * *

The trip has turned into one that no one wants, despite what Mr Bush said yesterday. He claimed he was not upset about the prospect of protesters because "freedom is a beautiful thing". Speaking on Breakfast with Frost, he said: "So Laura and I are really looking forward to coming."

That does not square with what US officials, like their counterparts in Whitehall, are saying. One official described it as the trip from hell.

When preparations were being made months ago the expectation in Washington had been that it would be a victory trip, with Iraq relatively stable and its elusive weapons of mass destruction unearthed. What had not been anticipated was the present chaos and mounting death toll.

While we have your attention, Mr President...  

Selected letters published yesterday in the Guardian UK:
Dear Mr Bush,

Novelists are famous for not knowing much about public affairs, but for what it is worth, I have always liked America. I have only been a tourist, but my family goes back a long way: my grandfather died as a reporter with American troops on the Rhine in 1945, and my father was wounded twice at Anzio fighting alongside the US Third Infantry Division.

After that, we had our Suez; you had your Vietnam, Korea, Guatemala, Chile... I could go on, but we will pass over these things because in the 20th century we won the first, second and cold wars. It wasn't just the winning, it was the fact that we were on the democratic side, and that we behaved with propriety. We were not the aggressors. We negotiated. You waited. Good heavens, did you ever wait!

Pearl Harbor and the Twin Towers were attacks to which you responded with appropriate force. Saddam Hussein, however, had neither the means nor the motive to attack you. Nor did he supply others. None of the reasons you offered for invading Iraq - taken singly or jointly - stood up to moral or strategic scrutiny. This was clear to even those of us well disposed towards America. We were at first puzzled ("I'm sure they know something we don't, they're just not allowed to tell us"); then, as it became apparent that you knew nothing, we became unhappy.

What we hated was the way you failed to understand the inheritance of the west. It was not a birthright of absolute superiority, but it was the best thing we had; it was something that went, as Mr Blair put it, to the "heart of our credibility as a nation". And this credibility, for which so many millions died - you have let it run through your hands. And in doing so, you allowed a British prime minister to be morally finessed by Jacques Chirac... Dear God, that it should come to that.

You can laugh at the old Stalinists who lead the protest march against you and ignore the anti-western ranting of a few journalists here whose pathology is one of guilt and self-hatred. But please do be aware of the distaste felt towards what you have done by reasonable, pro-American Britons. I hate to think what the allied dead of two world wars would have made of it, and of your presidency.

Sebastian Faulks

Dear President Bush,

I'm sure you'll be having a nice little tea party with your fellow war criminal, Tony Blair. Please wash the cucumber sandwiches down with a glass of blood, with my compliments.

Harold Pinter

Dear Mr Bush,

Two years ago, shortly after the 9/11 atrocity I was arrested in the early hours of the morning at the home I shared with my wife in Colnbrook. At the time we were happy and looking forward to the future. I was studying to convert my US commercial pilot's licence to a European one and Sonia, my beautiful wife, had recently had a promotion at work. As the anti-terrorist branch officers stormed into our home, our life died and the nightmare began.

The front page headlines around the world reported the US and their representatives as saying that I was the "lead instructor" of four of the pilots responsible for the hijackings and that I would in time be charged for "conspiracy to murder". I faced extradition and the death penalty.

The proceedings against me lasted seven long months. Millions of pounds and dollars were spent on what the crown prosecution service described as the biggest investigation ever in the UK. The result was that the US case against me was thrown out of court by a UK judge who said that there had been "no evidence whatsoever" to support the allegation that I was involved in terrorism.

I spent five months of hell in Belmarsh prison where threats were made on my life. My dream of a career as a pilot is over. The money spent on my training is wasted. My wife and I are unemployed. Many people will now always think of me as a terrorist. Because the US won't admit they were wrong and withdraw the warrant I can't travel out of the UK except to visit Algeria. I can't even visit my in-laws in France. The "war on terror" has moved on but my life and family are still in pieces.

Lotfi Raissi
The pilot falsely accused of aiding the September 11 terrorists

Dear Jorge,

Look out! Behind you!!

Hahahahahahahaha, only kidding.

DBC Pierre

Dear George,

I hate to wake you up from that dream you are having, the one in which you are a superhero bringing democracy and freedom to underdeveloped, oppressed countries. But you really need to check things out in one of the countries you have recently bombed to freedom. Georgie, I am kind of worried that things are going a bit bad in Iraq and you don't seem to care that much. You might want it to appear as if things are going well and sign Iraq off as a job well done, but I am afraid this is not the case.

Listen, habibi, it is not over yet. Let me explain this in simple terms. You have spilled a glass full of tomato juice on an already dirty carpet and now you have to clean up the whole room. Not all of the mess is your fault but you volunteered to clean it up. I bet if someone had explained it to you like that you would have been less hasty going on our Rambo-in-Baghdad trip.

To tell you the truth, I am glad that someone is doing the cleaning up, and thank you for getting rid of that scary guy with the hideous moustache that we had for president. But I have to say that the advertisements you were dropping from your B52s before the bombs fell promised a much more efficient and speedy service. We are a bit disappointed. So would you please, pretty please, with sugar on top, get your act together and stop telling people you have Iraq all figured out when you are giving us the trial-and-error approach?

Anyway, I hope this doesn't disturb you too much. Have a nice stay in London, wave hello to the demonstrators, and give my regards to your spin doctors. I bet they are having a hell of a job making you look good.

Salam Pax
The Baghdad Blogger

Dear George,

First, do no harm. Your state visit to the UK is risky, unpopular and awkward enough. Many Americans will be nervously peeking at the TV news from between our tightly crossed fingers and praying that you don't utterly disgrace us. Don't go all folksy and Texan, thanking Tony Blair for his friendship. He has enough to deal with already in the Labour party without receiving any more public kisses of political death from you. Don't interrupt when someone is asking you a question. Try not to puke on the Queen.

Second, despite all the security arrangements, physical barriers and traditions that make a state visit - as you have said yourself - like travelling in a bubble, you can make an effort to learn from this trip. You've said that you admire the longstanding British tradition of free speech. This week, free speech will be blasting in Trafalgar Square and in the streets. Pay attention. To British ears, your claim not to read polls sounds like stolid indifference to public opinion, not moral strength and political courage. Even if you are sheltered from the demonstrations, read the British newspapers - the whole raucous range of them. Watch television; listen to the radio. Competition as well as tradition makes the British media the feistiest in the world. If you argue your position from awareness of what they are saying, rather than ignorance, you may win some respect.

Ride in a London taxi. Why don't we have those superb vehicles here in Washington? Please get us some. And meditate upon the traits of intelligence, humour and dignity that will always make Britain great, whatever her status as a military power.

Best wishes for a safe journey,
Elaine Showalter
Writer and professor of literature, Princeton University

Dear George,

I would just like to say how much I hate you. You have done nothing positive in your whole time as president. You are the reason for the poverty in the Middle East. You have no idea what you are doing. You're killing loads of people, and that is not excluding your own nation too. There are still lots of very poor people in America, and they are getting poorer.

You keep making excuses about Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, but all you were in Iraq for was the oil. Saddam had been there for 30 years, so why is it only now you decided to act? You keep talking about September 11 when all you do is bomb other countries and give Israel lots of money. It is a very bad idea that you have come over here.

I don't want to grow up in a country which is so influenced by you and your policies.

Mickey (12)

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Bush to exist in "sterile zone" 

From the Guardian UK:
'Shoot-to-kill' demand by US

Home Secretary David Blunkett has refused to grant diplomatic immunity to armed American special agents and snipers travelling to Britain as part of President Bush's entourage this week.

In the case of the accidental shooting of a protester, the Americans in Bush's protection squad will face justice in a British court as would any other visitor, the Home Office has confirmed.

The issue of immunity is one of a series of extraordinary US demands turned down by Ministers and Downing Street during preparations for the Bush visit.

These included the closure of the Tube network, the use of US air force planes and helicopters and the shipping in of battlefield weaponry to use against rioters.

In return, the British authorities agreed numerous concessions, including the creation of a 'sterile zone' around the President with a series of road closures in central London and a security cordon keeping the public away from his cavalcade.

Bush's head in "sterile zone"

Monday, November 17, 2003

Clark's Zip Code Drive 

In case you haven't heard of the Wes Clark campaign's "ZIP(code) Drive," it's this:
The Clark04 ZIP(code) Drive will run from Monday, November 3rd through Monday, November 24th. All donors who contribute through the Clark04 website during the three week period will be counted in the ZIP Drive (minimum donation of $10 required). We will provide an updated contributor total from each of the top 10 ZIP codes at the end of every day so you can track the progress of your community.

We encourage you to give frequently, though the number of donors, not the number of transactions, will be counted in the competition. The ZIP code with the largest number of online donors as of 11:59 pm PST on November 24th wins the ZIP Drive!

General Clark will visit the winning ZIP code for a "Conversation with Clark," as his campaign schedule permits. In addition, each contributor from the winning ZIP code who gives online between November 3rd and November 24th will be invited to a special reception where they will have a chance to meet Wes Clark personally!
I was happy to see that as of today, AmCop's very own 11215 had climbed to the #9 spot on the Top Ten ZIP codes list, tied with Little Rock, AK with a whopping 12 donors. So, as I want (and expect) to meet Clark at, say, the Community Bookstore up on 7th Avenue, I hereby implore all Park Slopers to click here and make a (minimum) contribution of $10 today!

I hope the Brits know what they're up against 

Blair ally in poll threat to Bush
George Bush will be served notice today that the deep hostility towards him in Britain has reached the Blair inner circle, when the former minister Stephen Byers launches a bid to destabilise the president's re-election campaign next year.

On the eve of Mr Bush's state visit to Britain, Mr Byers, an arch-Blairite, will set out proposals to help Democrats in key swing states if the White House refuses to abandon punitive trade sanctions against the UK.

Acting with the tacit approval of Blair supporters, who were enraged when Mr Bush imposed tariffs on imports of British steel to shore up his vote, the former trade and industry secretary will call for sanctions to be imposed on four key marginal states which the president will need to win.
This is a prime example of a case in which Bush's policies will result in direct, tangible suffering to large numbers of Americans. Does anyone in his/her right mind think that a Democratic (or even GOP) president who had imposed these same steel tariffs--but who hadn't also flouted important international treaties, pissed all over the environment, enraged the whole world by his foolish and reckless march into Iraq, and generally embarrassed his country--would be receiving this kind of gleeful retaliatory treatment?

In any case, I'm sure the Repugs will find a very clever way to explain to the Floridian citrus-growers, Wisconsin apple farmers, and Iowan ag-machinery producers, how their respective industries are being attacked by Saddam in cooperation with Al Qaeda and their Democrat sympathizers.

A Southern Strategy For 2004 

Zorro, father of Blicero, writes:

I have often seen on this blog site the following thought. Paraphrasing, it goes like this: I cannot understand why the southern, white, middle-class, lower-class voter votes for a Republican (party of the rich people) President when a Democratic (party of the caring people) President could do so much more for this person.

I seem to be always playing the devil's advocate in these discussions, but perhaps that is my personality.

Consider this person (substituting he/she for any he's or him's). He earns $30,000/year, has 2 kids, a pickup and a van, a house, and receives no direct federal aid. Consider that we are trying to appeal to this person directly, as a what-can-you-do-for-me person, not a it's-nice-to help-everybody person.

Consider the needs of humans in general. The first is food, then shelter, then sex. Will food be any cheaper, or easier to acquire under Democratic leadership? He has shelter. Will his next be both better and cheaper under a Democratic President? Will interest rates be cheaper? Will he be able to afford a better house?

I will skip sex because I know so little about it.

Will access to education be any better? Washington D.C, which is close to my home, has had an equally terrible school system from Carter through Reagan/Bush to Clinton to Little Busch. Under a Democratic President, there would be better early childhood education and subsidized day-care for this family, but the many educational programs for the physically/mentally/emotionally handicapped child does not statistically touch this family. Will the state universities be better or cheaper? Will universities, private and public, be any different? Will student loans be any cheaper or easier to acquire? Here is something to hang a hat on.

What are the other needs/desires of this family? This is where the analysis needs to be done. It is not as simple as Democrats are more nice. For example, Republicans have attached themselves to a fundamental form of Christianity. For Republicans, it is an effective strategy. This person can think that he is voting for a rock-ribbed, God-fearing, honorable man, one who would never lie, cheat, or steal. That this picture has no connection with reality is not the point. It is a connection that is very appealing to this average Joe or Josephine.

Another example is that, in general, the Republicans capture the law and order side of the scale. This kind of hang-em-high ideology is one that is appealing to a fundamentalist Christian, who is very heavy on an eye for an eye. It is not necessarily a mean or nasty outlook but is often more to assuage the anger of those who see criminals not called to justice or to give these people a sense of security of seeing the bad guys behind bars.

In order to appeal to this family, it is necessary to appeal directly to their needs, not merely state that we care and are the party of the poor. It is not enough to say that we help other people like you.

Please show me where I am wrong. I would like to put more into the positive side of appealing to this group of voters but am hard pressed to figure out exactly what to place on the scale.

This family needs to feel secure and to be given the hope of upward mobility for themselves and their offspring. Does the invasion of Iraq make them feel more secure or less? It is not an easy answer.

-Zorro, Father of Blicero


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