June 5, 2004
It's morning in America
Amidst the tragic sadness I'm sure half the country must be feeling for Reagan's death right now, I'd like to note that there are still moments that make this country great, and that there are reasons even in the darkest days to celebrate that we are all alive today.
Too many men, too many people, making too many problems
I was nine when Ronald Reagan stopped being president, so I'm the last to weigh in on how his policies affected me personally and directly. And clearly, I know nothing of the actual person to judge on character. He seemed always like a guy who was inherently decent despite having a set of values that I vehemently opposed. To a degree, I think we see that in the current president, with only much more malice and much more stubbornness.
I offer my sincerest condolences to Nancy Reagan and the rest of the Reagan family. However, I find, in the midst of everyone offering such, those who claimed to care so much for the man cared the least about the true desires of his comfort. For all the talk about putting Reagan's face on money, carving him into Mount Rushmore, and so on, the one thing that the Reagan family actually asked for was devotion to stem cell research that may have eased the decade of suffering Reagan had undergone. This request was denied by those who, in the fit of utmost tragic irony, claimed to be the most devout followers of Reagan's gospel.
And that, on the day of his death, is what we're left with. Gospel. Reagan stopped being a person and became a religion twenty years ago. Hell, how people can say they'll "miss" a man who hasn't been seen or spoken publicly in ten years is a tad disingenuous.
But looking back on how hard-right Reaganites refused to listen to Nancy's calls for stem cell support, I think it's clear a lot of the tears for Reagan are meaningless... they could care less about the man, and they still have his gospel to, like all religions, delve further and further from what its founder was really like as the years go by.
Despite all the actions that have worsened this country and all his views that I will eternally disagree with, I truly hope that Ronald Reagan rests in peace. I am doubtful, however, that his followers will allow him to.
Update: Mark Evanier expresses similar thoughts about the inevitable GipSploitation '04. I'm glad I'm not the only one noticing how little the conservatives care about Nancy Reagan's wishes in the name of her husband, too.
June 4, 2004
It is very likely that Hillary Clinton is going to run for Postmaster General in 2004...
Sadly, No! catches some revisionist history.
There are certain things the right does that, by merit of their results, make you shudder. (Abortion, gay rights, etc.) But there is nothing, and I mean nothing, more flat-out hilarious than the abject terror in the minds of conservatives for their self-created image of Hillary Clinton. I've never decided on what's more tragic- that conservatives feel there is actually a victory to be scored against her, or that every time they declare that there is... they lose.
June 3, 2004
So it goes
Hey, this will be a big suprise to everyone: potentially-illegal voter-roll manipulation is still going on in Florida.
June 2, 2004
And Santorum said, bring forth the money-changers back unto the temples
President Bush's re-election campaign is trying to recruit supporters from 1,600 religious congregations in Pennsylvania -- a political push that critics said Wednesday could cost churches their tax breaks.Ah, the morality of the epochs of silent piety.
An e-mail from the campaign's Pennsylvania office, obtained by The Associated Press, urges churchgoers to help organize "Friendly Congregations" where supporters can meet regularly to sign up voters and spread the Bush word.
"I'd like to ask if you would like to serve as a coordinator in your place of worship," says the e-mail, adorned with the Bush-Cheney logo, from Luke Bernstein, who runs the state campaign's coalitions operation and is a former staffer to Sen. Rick Santorum, the president's Pennsylvania chairman.
The Internal Revenue Service prohibits political campaign activity, for or against any candidate, from taking place at all organizations that receive tax exempt status under a section of the federal tax code -- including most churches and religious groups. Violators could lose their tax breaks and face excise taxes.
I'm clearly far from devout in terms of religion, but in the long run, I'm all for churches making the move to officially become political action committees. For one thing, isn't the pretense gone by this point that they're anything but that? Religion exists to provide guidelines for the people, and modern society has established that the people enact the true guidelines through the legislative process. Churches aren't as much archaic as they are merely outdated.
Second, the price for getting involved in the process is to lose any seperation-based tax exemption. And frankly, I'm all for that. The day we start taxing churches in this country is the day we will never need to argue about the federal deficit again for the rest of our grandchildrens' lives.
(story via Atrios)
Let's see if I can get this straight
Bush audibly called a New York Times reporter an "asshole" based upon looking at him, which pales in comparison to John Kerry calling someone who physically bumped into him and knocked him over a "son of a bitch."
The 9/11 families who protest Bush are tainted by being affiliated with groups tied to Teresa Heinz-Kerry, but the Vietnam vets who protest Kerry aren't tainted at all by forming a group practically bankrolled by the GOP.
Bush has spent a double-digit percantage of his presidency vacationing at his private-owned ranch in Texas, and has owned multiple (failed) businesses. The Republican response is the demand that Kerry release his wife's tax records.
Early reports of prisoner abuse and a memo titled "bin Laden determined to strike in US" were cast off by as impossible to base assumptions on- by the president who would then take a unverified statement from a known terrorist ally that Saddam had WMDs as an excuse to declare war on Iraq.
So now, to add to the claim that Kerry is an adulterer, who didn't "really" earn his medals, who "flip-flops" about everything, there's this claim that he flipped off a Vietnam Veteran on Memorial Day.
I think my schoolhouse analogies are getting more and more accurate daily. By next week, you think Bush is going wet his pants during gym class and respond by releasing a press statement saying he saw Kerry picking his nose, nyuh-huh is is so true pinky swear?
June 1, 2004
Apparently, it's only tearing the moral fabric of society and pitting Americans against each other when you point out that rich Republicans are out of touch with the common man.
Is Kerry, especially extended through Teresa, richer than George W. Bush? Sure. But if Bush really wants to highlight that, I doubt it's going to be a winning play. When the second-richest kid in school thinks he can become popular by making fun of the richest kid in front of all the kids who live in the projects, he doesn't become the most popular kid in school. He gets duct taped to a locker.
Disarray in times of no leadership
Josh Marshall wrote one of the most significant points of the election cycle the other day:
The most salient point to emerge from the president's recent speech on Iraq was the new rationale he put forward for continuing to support him and his policies: effective management of his own failures.It's always been weird to me that Bush made his campaign slogan "steady leadership in times of change." It's almost as if he's charging directly in front of you in some kind of hail-Mary attempt. By definition, the time of change is a result of Bush's unsteady leadership.
Consider the trajectory.
Originally, the case for war was built on claims about the Iraqi regime's possession of weapons of mass destruction and its support for terrorist groups like al qaida. To a lesser degree, but with increasing force as these other rationales faded way, the case was made on the basis of democratizing and liberalizing Iraq.
As that prospect too has become increasingly distant and improbable, President Bush has taken a fundamentally different tack. His emphasis now is seldom on what good might come of his Iraq policy but rather the dire consequences of its unmitigated 'failure' or its premature abandonment.
In other words, the president now argues that he is best equipped to guard the country from the full brunt of the consequences of his own misguided actions, managerial incompetence and dishonesty.
Now, maybe that slogan refers to "times of change" as the post-9/11 world. In which case Marshall's analysis of Bush's pitch to voters is completely accurate. In the post-9/11 world, George Bush has crippled the economy, weakened the effectiveness of foreign policy, and broken all previous catchphrase promises of his 2000 campaign: he's neither "united not divided" the country, nor expressed any compassion in his conservatism... and the results from this "reformer" don't seem to be results anyone except the Kerry campaign is mentioning.
What makes Bush's demand to be allowed to clean up his own mess so striking is that it has nothing to do with the actions of any Democrats or political opponents. Bush ran in 2000 on the surplus economy, national unity, and a strong foreign policy. Based on his own choice for how to define himself as a candidate, Bush's 2004 campaign is a highlight reel of how he has failed at almost everything he set out to do four years ago.
May 30, 2004
What he said, what they did
Memorial Day isn't a day you address as "happy" beforehand. And anyone who wants to attack the truth like they did with Nightline a month ago is just as much a grandstanding coward as they were then.
The greatest memorial we can leave this list is to prevent another one from being made.