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The Voting Mango

All Presidential Politics from here till November

Friday, February 13, 2004

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From the Department of Unorthodox Opinions

I got my letter posted on Andrew Sullivan! Woohoo! Since this is my politics blog, I'll repost here:

"I really enjoyed listening to you on Boston's NPR tonight. After listening to the Christian Coalition spokesman tonight, I write in what I suppose is a defense of Evangelicals -- we're not all like that. I'm 20 years old, a senior at a large (liberal) public university, straight, female, an evangelical christian, a conservative, and a vehement supporter of civil gay marriage. I've been involved in theatre and the arts for most of my life, and have known and loved a number of gays, and seen the war waged on them by the religious right, which is what brings me to this fight anyway.

As far as I can tell, the only good reason why gays shouldn't be allowed to marry is a "the Bible says it's bad" argument, and while I think that "the Bible says" is an excellent reason to do things on an individual level, it's insane on a governmental level, especially when a good chunk of those being governed think that the Bible has the same amount of authority as, say, Hamlet. So that falls, and we're left with all the good pragmatic reasons to let gays marry. You know all those -- so if you remove the religion, there's no good reason not to. And all of this "we have to defend the family" stuff is garbage. What they're saying is "Homosexuals make us uncomfortable. Maybe they'll go away."

Basically, then we're stuck with religious arguments. Here's where I start to get a little unorthodox. I support gay marriage for religious reasons. I think that Jesus loves everyone, and wants everyone to know him. I think that's more or less the only way to heaven. And I think that the Christian Coalition and their ilk are doing their darnest to drive gays away from the church, and the peace, love, joy, forgiveness, etc that can be found there. Now, if you ask them, they'll tell you they want the gays to repent and then they'll be welcome. The hymn "Just as I am" apparently does not apply to homosexuals. This makes me nuts.

I was once walking across campus and found myself trying to navigate between a group of LGBT folks and the Fred Phelps psychos, and I thought "If I have to pick sides here, whose side do I stand on?" and it was without question with the LGBT folks. I'm willing to cede gay marriage because it's practical, and because I dream of the day that gay people don't automatically assume that Christians are out to get them. What Jesus has to offer is for everyone, not just heteros, and in any case, he never sought to change the laws of his culture, he set out to change people. And he hung out with the beautiful people that made the Pharisees uncomfortable. I still have issues with gay marriage in the church (if I thought I could rationalize it with the Bible, I'd support it in a heartbeat, but as much as it kills me, I can't) but as far as I'm concerned, if you want to marry the man you love at the courthouse (or wherever, really), that's fine by me. The amazing thing is that most of my conservative Christian friends agree with me on civil marriage for various reasons. We're not all the Christian Coalition.
"
posted by mango  # 11:45 PM
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From the Department of Misbegotten Sex Symbols

This is creepy. So is this. If you want to drool after Dean's idealogy, just don't get your latte-spit on me, but lusting after the man himself... creepy. Go look at the pictures. (Memo to the Crushies: Your man resembles a ferret.)



posted by mango  # 11:30 PM
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From the Department of If You Can't Take the Heat...

Earlier today, Bush's campaign sent out a link to a webvideo ad that accuses John Kerry of taking gobs of money from "special interests" and engaging in a bit of quid pro quo. As Kerry has indeed taken gobs of money from special interests, and done some very nice string pulling for donors, this ad did not disturb me. Kerry, however, sent out a rather hysterical email entitled "Republican Smear Tactics and Clark's Endorsement." The main thrust of it was that Bush accuses him of taking money from special interests, but Bush takes money from special interests. Good God, what are we going to do?!?
I can't say I like it, but I feel like most politicians take money from special interests (Yes, Howard, I know you don't, I know the organic chai-drinking idealists are your special interest. This is not less scary.) and I don't really see much we can do about it. I also have no really issue with negative campaigning if the accusations are true. I mean, we want to make an informed decision, and the candidates are certainly not going to give us the dirt on themselves. Furthermore, the main thrust of the Bush ad is that JFKerry campains against special interests, and yet takes there money. For the most part, one of the nicer things about Republicans is that at least they don't pretend. Anyway, if you'd like to see for yourself, the Bush ad is here (turn off your pop-up blocker) and I've reprinted the highlights of Kerry's statement below (with my commentary).

(Incidentally, nice work, John, distracting attention from the real accusations about you...)

"Trailing badly in the polls, George W. Bush is launching a negative attack on John Kerry. Bush couldn't even put this ad on television -- because he won't appear in it to back up its claims."

Do we know this? Personally, I think if you can reach millions of people around the country for a few thousand dollars over the web, why spend many times more than that on television, especially in an already crowded ad market. And anyway, maybe having Bush's mug in there would further the association that this commercial belongs to him, but it's not like you're seeing this ad on TV between ads for Pampers and Gas-X -- it's on the Bush website, and for the most part, you had to get there by way of an email from the Bush people. So it's not like they can say "Oh, we have no idea how THAT got there." It's their content. If they wanted to hide that, they could have someone create a conservative answer to MoveOn.org and host it there.

"In an attempt to avoid an honest discussion of the issues, Bush has chosen to make his first campaign message to the American people a misleading, negative attack on John Kerry -- before the Democratic nominee has been chosen."

It's misleading? Show me. As a Missourian by upbringing and constitution, I demand this. It's misleading? Give me the real numbers. And shouldn't we want to know the dirt on the candidates before they're the only choice of millions of straight-ticket voting Americans?

"The video clip Bush sent, titled "Unprincipled," sounds like a campaign ad, although it was sent to millions of Internet users. This video demonstrates two things: the Bush White House is going to run a gutter campaign, and their worst fear is a Democratic nominee named John Kerry."

Uh...no, and no. First off, if the Bushies had really wanted to run a gutter campaign, they would have mentioned that little thing that we're not mentioning. Also, can we please accept that all campaigns are going to be negative (except for John Edwards, but that's a whole different story) and that's okay? If Bush said that, for example, if was John Kerry was, as it turns out, born a woman, that would be out of line. If, however, they say that he takes money from special interests, well, he does! Second -- all of the candidates, GWB has more political courage than all the rest put together (you could make an argument for Dean, but I feel there's a difference between being courageous and getting yourself into scary political situations because you're an idiot. And don't tell me Dean had to be politically gutsy to stand up against the war...) and the rest know it. This is why they all run around talking about how they are the man most feared by Bush, Rove et al. Hogwash. I would say that the biggest threat to Bush was Leiberman, on the grounds that he had the best chance of appealing to the middle, and also seeming sane. Leiberman's the kind of guy you'd trust with your daughter, not just because you know he wouldn't touch her, but also because he'd beat down (or die trying) anyone else who did. But he's gone. Of the Dems remaining, Edwards is the most trouble. I can't dislike Edwards. I try, but I can't actively dislike him. Kerry, I actively dislike, and I would only vote for if you thrust a stylus into my cold, dead fingers and punched my chad for me. Edwards is likeable, he's family oriented, he's more or less squeaky clean, and he's only owned by one special interest (trial lawyers) which presumably he'd be anyway, even if they gave him no money. In any case, I don't think Kerry has Rove especially worried. I think they're attacking him because he's the front-runner, and sending out attack ads on, say, Kucinich, would not be especially value-added at this point. If anyone beats Bush this November, it's gonna be Bush. That's the who Rove shold be worried about.

"The clip attempts to cast Kerry as a pawn of the special interests. Well, we have three words for George W. Bush and his tactics:
"Bring. It. On.""


Topic one: Yes. He is. We covered that. Topic two: Writing. One. Word. Sentances. For. Emphasis. Is. Really. Annoying. Especially. When. They. Remind. Us. Of. A. Cheerleading. Movie. We'd. Like. To. Forget.

"We welcome a debate on special interests because there's nobody more vulnerable on this issue than George W. Bush. The fact is, George W. Bush has taken more special interest money than any person in history."

You don't sound like you welcome a debate over special interests. You sound like you have "discussion of special interests" induced wedgie. If Dubya's vulnerable on this issue, show us. Now we have unsubstantiated claims from both sides. That was educational! And really, more special interest money, thananyone else in history? More than, say, those people who took millions of dollars and/or barrels of oil from Saddam?

"It seems that since the Bush campaign can't attack job loss, health care costs, rising deficits, or other problems facing America, they've decided to attack John Kerry."

The Scene: Bush's cabinent meeting

Bush: Can anyone here attack job loss, health care costs, rising deficits, or other problems facing America?

Rumsfeld: Ooh! Ooh! Pick me! Pick me!

Bush: Anyone other than Donald?

Cabinet: (blank stares and murmuring)

Bush: Well, we've got to do something! The taxpayers aren't paying us just to sit here! This is still wartime, and I'm a war president! We've got to attack something! (A long pause)
I know! John Kerry! Maybe we can say he's a WMD because of the suspected presence of botulinim toxin in his forehead!

Cabinet: (Wanton adulation)

The groundswell of support you've created is putting the Bush campaign on the defensive. Bush/Cheney '04 will use its $130 million -- and counting -- to consistently attack our cause.
Now, Kerry was a soldier at one point, and therefore should be aware that when one attacks, it generally is called "offensive" whereas responding to an attack is "defensive." Therefore, the ad was put out by the Bush offense, the email was part of the Kerry defense. Are we all clear here? And anyway, if Kerry gets to be the frontrunner, what on earth does he expect Bush to do with his money? Buy truffles and ballbats? Sponsor an American Idor tour? No! It's to campaign, which means attacking the other guy. For Pete's sake, John, if you can't take the heat, get out of the race.



posted by mango  # 10:25 PM
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From the Department of Standing Up to George Bush

I find it a bit creepy when doomed candidates go on like their election as the nominee, and maybe president and Secretary General for that matter, is imminent. Today's missive from Howard Dean is a cute little bit of parallel rhetoric that rotates around the phrase "This fall, I will stand up to George Bush and say..." Well, you might, Howie, but don't be surprised if the Secret Service start giving you funny looks. Generally, they only let the nominee debate... ask Ralph Nader. Anyway, if you're curious as to what Dean will be saying while he's being herded over to the "Free Speech Zone" by large, stern men, here is an abridged version, with my summary of the deleted bits in the brackets:

"[I'm a doctor, I know healthcare.] I will stand up to George Bush and say, "I've provided Americans with health care. Why haven't you?"

[My education programs have educated students, stopped child abuse, and ended teen pregnancy, insolence, and acne.] I will stand up to George Bush and say, "I've provided Americans with education. Why haven't you?"

[Only an evil bastard president would try to get Saddam out of power. An evil bastard who shall remain nameless. Also the Washington Democrats who supported it.] Next fall, I will stand up to George W. Bush and say, "I knew that we shouldn't go to war with Iraq because it was not an imminent threat to the United States. Why didn't you?"

[I balanced my budgets. Sometimes I balanced not only my budgets, but also a running chainsaw on my nose, all while standing on a ball -- that's how good at balancing I am.] I will stand up to George Bush and say, "I've balanced budgets. Why haven't you?" (He has a point here.)

[I halved unemployment (when he was governor was also under Clinton, when gross fiduciary misconduct could have halved unemployment). Vermont is now paradise. There is milk and honey. ] In the campaign next fall I will stand up to George Bush and say, "I've created new jobs. Why haven't you?"

[630,029 white liberal yuppies support me. And they give me their latte money. Because of this, we have Changed the Face of American Politics Forever. It now has an eyebrow ring and a chin stud.] Because of your support, I am the\ [sic.] only one who can stand up to George Bush and sincerely say, "My only special interests are the American people. Who are yours?"
(Apparently you lose your citizenship when you make over a certain amount, own a company, work for a company, buy products from a company, or vote for the evil bastard Republicans.)

And now to bring it home, we present... Contradictory Statements!

"Mine is a record of getting things done, not just talking about getting things done.

The way to beat George W. Bush is with a candidate who has already stood up to him - when it mattered, on issues that matter - like health care, investing in our children, the Iraq war, the national debt, and jobs."


Now, he may have done the governor-y things, but he hasn't stood up to Bush. He may have opposed Bush, but to stand up to someone, you pretty much either have to defy them, or go do something similar, and in this case, have it matter. Oh yeah, Dean, I'm sure Bush was shaking in his boots when you stood up to him. Not so much. I can stand up to, say, Yassir Arafat, from the comfort of my own home, but unless he notices, it's not real useful. Perhaps if Dean had debated Bush, challenged him to a duel, etc, he could say he stood up to him, but complaining about someone is not standing up to them. Neither is doing something well (health care, education, etc) when the person you're defying is not even President yet. So basically, on the all-important issue of standing up to GWB, Dean's record is not one of getting things done, it's one of talking about it.



posted by mango  # 11:17 AM

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