Month: <span>August 2004</span>

Jeff Cheney, in reaction to Phil Ringnalda as quoted in yesterday’s post:

“I think it’s a great sign for democracy when we can have such heated debates. However, there is a danger that we’ve stopped listening to each other and that we’ve grown attached to our points of view. A danger that we’ve become bigots. I’d like to see more blogs pointing at opposing views rather than similar views — engaged in a dialog rather than preaching to the choir.”

I agree with Jeff in principle, but we’ve got a pretty dirty battle going on with this (any?) election. I think at the moment it’s hit-hard, hit first, and ask questions after innaguration day, and there may not be much way around it.

I’d also like to see a dialog. A dialog among the bloggers, a dialog in and with and among the press, a dialog between the candidates.

As it stands, it’s mud-slinging all around. Or as a comedian I’m fond of once said in a completely different context, “hurling flaming piles of poo.”

I’m angry that Kerry either has been unwilling or unable to make his campaign into a dialog about the issues. He tried to early on, but was either told by his handlers that he’d be over our heads, or got distracted by flaming poo, or simply got tired. (It happens.)

I’m also angry that Bush continues to refuse to play straight, and tell us what’s really happening without all his obfuscating double-talk. After all, what the hell does it mean to say that the war in Iraq has been a “catastrophic success?” I agree with Edwards — I don’t have any idea what that means.

I listened to part of the RNC’s opening night on the radio earlier this evening, and the message I heard repeated loudly and clearly was: “9/11 was a tragedy, you’re in danger, don’t worry — this administration has everything under control, see we even set foot in NYC, and if you elect Kerry it’s going to be a heyday for terrorists.” Some of this is between the lines, but most of it isn’t.

And what ever happened to Bush’s claim that he’d never use the 9/11 tragedy for political advantage? It was a public statement I heard over and over again before our invasion of Iraq, but ever since then 9/11 has been the keystone of Bush’s domestic political strategy, and his primary selling point in his campaign for reelection.

Then in the smoky back room over here, we have the so-called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth to thank for helping to create a press environment in which it’s so easy for the RNC speakers to imply that Kerry can’t handle the terrorist threat.

But that’s not even the real issue. Does anyone really think that if Kerry were elected, that we’d go back to our pre 9/11 collective state of mind, and the belief that terrorism can’t happen here, that we’re somehow immune? I don’t think so. And yet Bush and his friends are happily taking credit for our collective-conscious’ terror-alert-level, while at the same time playing on our fears to get us to stick by them. (Oh wait — they invented the idea of the terror alert level.)

What I want to hear about is real issues. We people with lives and minds, families, jobs in some cases, and voter registration cards, have lots of questions that are going unanswered by any candidate, and for the most part, unasked by the mainstream press:

What about a plan for getting our people out of Iraq? What about jobs and the economy? What about oil prices? What about the national debt? What about education, health care? What about social security? What about the other wars in Asia, Africa and elsewhere? What about guns in schools? What about alternate energy sources? What about free speech, personal liberties, and privacy? What about the scoundrels who are probably ripping off millions or billions of dollars right now, from average people, because the FBI has redirected most of its white-collar crime resources towards anti-terrorist investigations?

I could go on all night.

There are so many more things we should be talking about, but because of this innane debate about Kerry’s war record, we’re stuck in a 24-hour news cycle that’s obsessed with his dirty laundry, his wife’s shoot-from-the-hip personality, and Edwards’ hair. And for balance, we’ve got the RNC and its 9/11 spin, its “see, we did the right thing” free-for-all.

As I said: Poo-slinging ’till Election Day.

Unless you like cats:


Phil Ringnalda: “The best-selling political books have absolutely no nuance, no awareness that politics is about compromise, not volume and vitriol… I fear for my country.”


Rogers Cadenhead:

“There has to come a time in this country when politicians face a backlash for engaging in win-at-any-cost, blatantly false gutter politics. Sixty seven days from now is a good place to start.”