August 02, 2004
What criteria are you using?
I know everyone has their own criteria for voting for a particular candidate. My primary concern has always been "which one do I agree with more?" I've never quite understood why this isn't universal. Why does anyone care if a candidate is "likeable"? I mean, how much time do you spend in the company of your various elected officials? Either they're mostly going to do things you approve of or they're not.
I'm not saying someone is wrong for having a different way of evaluating a candidate. I'm just saying I don't fully understand any method that strays too far from this basic concept. So with that in mind, I'm trying to make sense of this David Langworthy op-ed in which he confesses that he's starting to lean towards voting for Kerry. He lists a bunch of issues - Iraq, energy, health care, stem cell research, retirement benefits, and the budget deficit - and he gives Kerry the advantage on four, with the other two being tossups. This would make the choice clear for me, but apparently not for him. What's his hangup?
To even contemplate [voting for Kerry] I would first have to clear some high hurdles. The largest, by far, is the Bush loathing so prevalent among Democrats. As a Texan, I take deep offense at this. Bush is neither a monster nor an idiot. It is ugly and mean-spirited — and utterly calculated — to make those claims. I hope John Kerry means what he said about conducting a civil campaign.
The second hurdle is John Edwards' background as a plaintiff's lawyer. If there is a native-born parasite class in this country, it is trial lawyers. I shudder to think what unlimited access to the White House would bring.
And we're back at my original question. What does some people's "Bush loathing" have to do with it? You're not voting for Michael Moore or Whoopi Goldberg. Do you just find candidate loathing distasteful, David? If so, I'll presume you've never listened to any of the talk radio stations here in Houston, or else you might be forced to conclude that there's plenty of Kerry loathing around to balance that out. Is it that Bush is a Texan? I admit, I don't much care for ignorant Texas bashing
(not that we're somehow unique in our victimhood - I've bitten my tongue through plenty of ignorant New York bashing in my 20 years here), but neither does that mean that I feel compelled to stick up for every Texan who, justifiably or not, comes under attack from out-of-staters, much less vote for them in some bizarre act of solidarity. State of residence probably makes my Top 20 list of identifying factors, but it sure isn't number one.
As for that remark about trial lawyers, I don't even know where to begin. Putting aside the fact that some of the finest people I knew growing up were trial lawyers (this is what happens when your dad is an attorney and most of his friends are attorneys - I probably bristle at this sort of thing even more than you do about "Bush loathing", David), I can only marvel at the lack of concern regarding the "unlimited access" that corporate lobbyists have had with the current White House. I guess I can just chalk that up as a different set of priorities and move on to the next point of contention.
So I don't know. I don't know what I'd say to David Langworthy if I found myself chatting with him at a bar. I just can't quite understand why he doesn't already have all the information he needs.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 02, 2004 to The making of the President
One interesting note on Edward's status as a plaintiff's attorney is how the phrase "trial lawyer" is coming to replace it.
First, exactly who does one see sitting at the defendant's table if not another trial lawyer?
Then too, my ex brother-in-law is a plaintiff's attorney who only represents corporations. Should I despise him because he's a "trial lawyer" or should I admire him as he defends corporations against the predations of other corporations, or as occasionally and even better, private individuals.
God.... This leaves me so conflicted.
It seems to me that Langworthy is trying to put lipstick on his pigheadedness. I get the impression from the few remaining Bush holdouts I know, that a percentage of people supporting Bush are doing it out of sheer stubborness. Sure, they may recognize that Kerry is right on some issues, but they'll be damned if they will let the "libruls" get a win. This "Bush hatred" and "trial lawyer" crap is just a weak defense to justify sticking with Bush. It's all they have left.
During a recent appearance on The Daily Show, Janeane Garafalo said that she's decided that supporting Bush at this point is a character flaw.
I'm sympathetic - if you know even a little of what the administration has done, how can you possibly "stick with him"... unless you're one of the corporate honchos who have benefitted from shaping your own energy policy and environmental deregulations, and a nice tax cut.
Query Mr. Langworthy:
Why is "Bush-loathing" different from "liberal-loathing," something clearly stated by many on the other side of the fence?
If "loathing" is a sin, Mr. Langworthy commits it as he condemns it. If it turned out to be true that I loathe Bush (more on that below), how would that compare with Langworthy's loathing... and there's no other word for it than loathing... thousands of trial lawyers he's never met, or read, or heard speak? He says they're a "native-born parasite class"; am I supposed to think that accusation is somehow superior in its high-mindedness to, say, my referring to Bush as the Shrub? Give me a break!
I don't bother loathing Bush; I don't have the energy to invest in personal hatred. And like you, Charles, I couldn't care less if he's a great guy to drink beer with, or arrogant, or a kidder, or whatever. But I do deplore just about every single policy he has promulgated and every single action he has taken in his terms as governor and as (alleged) president. If Mr. Langworthy doesn't like that, he can, to use the odious phrase so often tossed at Democrats about the 2000 presidential so-called election, just "get over it."
The comments above reflect the polarization that has gripped this country.
Steve, I ask you honestly to reflect on this comment "But I do deplore just about every single policy he has promulgated and every single action he has taken in his terms as governor and as (alleged) president.
Really? I mean sure, there is plenty that a great many fine and patriotic Americans like yourself may take exception with...but every single action.
The overthrow of the Taliban? The on the ground pursuit of Al Qaida in Afghanistan? How about the regulation on reducing sulphur in deisel fuel? (Even the Sierra Club begrudingly praised the President on that one.) DoJ/SEC's prosecution of dirty execs from Tyco, Enron, Adelphia, Arthur Anderson, Rite Aid and Homestore... not worth anything? How about getting Iran to open it's nuclear weapons program to international inspections? Getting Libya to admit their role in the Pan Am bombing over Scotland?
I'm mean sure, there are a great many things that you may disagree with but to say you don't agree with anything...I hope that's hyperbole.
Bush loathers and liberal loathers...a pox on both your houses. I think it is far easier to say what you would not do than to say what you would do. That's why negative campaigning is so prevelant...it's so easy.
Jim Hightower said of politics, "The only thing in the middle of the road are yellow lines and dead armadillos." That may be true. But the few of us armadillos still alive, kicking and undecided in the middle of the road are some of the most powerful people around because we will determine this election.
The overthrow of the Taliban?
To paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of their deaths are greatly exaggerated. They appear to be quite active in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The on the ground pursuit of Al Qaida in Afghanistan?
Huh? Osama's still there. AQ is still there. By most reports, we totally blew it and allowed Osama to escape.
How about the regulation on reducing sulphur in deisel fuel?
I wouldn't really count not rescinding a Clinton regulation.
DoJ/SEC's prosecution of dirty execs from Tyco, Enron, Adelphia, Arthur Anderson, Rite Aid and Homestore....
The track record is spotty, I note GTE (nee' WorldCom) is missing, they underfunded Sarbanes-Oxley after fighting it, fought Spitzer at every junction. Nah.
How about getting Iran to open it's nuclear weapons program to international inspections?
The last I looked, this statement isn't true.
Getting Libya to admit their role in the Pan Am bombing over Scotland?
You got me there although I think getting them to renounce their Pakistani faciltated Nuclear program more important.
Actually, they fought like wildcats behind the scenes not to prosecute corporate criminals. They were forced into it when the Republicans in congress started walking away from them.
I don't think you've done your homework here.
Langworthy's little editorial was so weak I can't imagine many newspapers would even print it.
One guesses Jeff Cohen somehow saw this editorial as providing some balance. About all it really provides is more evidence that he runs a bad newspaper that's getting worse all the time.
I would respond that the Taliban no longer controls Afghanistan…as originally asserted. Anyone who thinks that complete elimination of the Taliban is something that can be accomplished by snapping our fingers either is advocated nuking a country into glass or has absolutely no clue exactly how difficult that task is.
Please reread the post regarding AQ. I gave the President credit for pursuing AQ on the ground, sending guys in to look cave by cave. While Osama has not been captured, several of his lieutenants have and others have been killed. Furthermore, instead of having the luxury of going where he wanted to go within Afghanistan, he and other AQ operatives must constantly move around in response to that ground force. Clearly it’s not perfect, few things are…but I would consider this a worthy action.
With regard to the sulphur reduction, the proposal did originate during the Clinton administration during Carol Browner’s tenure as EPA chief but it was not placed in regulation. It was actually enacted in May 04 for the first time and extended it the percentage reduction from 97% in the original proposal to 99%.
The budget for the SEC has risen $300M from 2002 -2004 and it has a 10% increase slated in the 2005 budget. The SEC can’t hire people fast enough for the enforcement division.
CNN must have blown this story. http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/06/28/iran.nuclear/
But I think you missed the larger point. Saying what you’re against is FAR easier than saying what you are for… I like some things this administration has done. I dislike others. I can’t and won’t take everything and automatically run it through a GOP/DEM good/bad filter.
Look I voted for Republicans several times. I’m registered as a Republican and they keep asking me for money (For the record, the KCC has gotten more money from me than any GOP candidate). But I’ve voted across party lines multiple times when I thought the other party offered a better candidate. I refuse to judge everybody as either 100% good or 100% bad. It’s intellectually dishonest.
I would like to pose a simple hypothetical question to you Steve and anyone reading this…if you we were able to in one fell swoop do one really, really big thing to change our government or how it operates, what would it be? Think tangible.
Patrick asks "...if you we were able to in one fell swoop do one really, really big thing to change our government or how it operates, what would it be?"
Abolish the electoral college.
How can we claim to be such big proponents of spreading democracy throughout the world if we really don't trust it here in the U.S.?
I submit that Popular Vote Winner Al Gore would have accomplished all of the same things that you list above as positive achievements for Bush plus many more.
But he would not have put off the hunt for Al-Queada to go on a WMD snipe hunt in Iraq. And he would not have supported huge tax cuts for the rich that have left us with record deficits.
I appreciate your response especially since it is so far down the blog.
I would certainly agree that the electoral college needs revision. I have long thought the elector should be awarded on a congressional district basis with 2 electors going to the candidate with a plurality of that state's vote.
Just my two cents.