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    Friday, October 15, 2004

    A gay old time with a wedge of cake 

    Ian Barnes of Macon, Ga., writes: "It is amazing that Republicans want to have their cake and eat it too. It seems that they are offended that John Kerry mentioned Mary Cheney in the debate Wednesday night.

    "Maybe they need to be reminded why we are discussing gay marriages -- Republicans want an amendment banning it.

    "This has created a major dilemma in many Republican families. They must decide whether to be gung-ho behind their fearless leader (Dub-ya) which may alienate a gay member of their family, or do as Dick Cheney has done, and agree with John Kerry's position on this issue.

    The GOP needs to be careful when they drive a wedge issue down the throats of Americans. They should realize that most of us "regular folks" have at least one gay uncle, mother, child, close friend, etc."

    It's Republicans who want to "have their cake and eat it, too" and are trying to make gay marriage a wedge issue??? If Kerry's supporters are willing to defend one of the sleaziest campaign tactics in recent memory, I don't suppose it will do to quote Lynne Cheney about Kerry: "This is not a very nice man."

    The fact is that Kerry has the same position on gay marriage as George Bush, i.e., that a marriage is between "a man and a woman." I trust this is true because Kerry said it was, during that very same last debate, when he talked about what a good Catholic he is. But talk about wanting to have it both ways: Despite that, he's voted against the defense-of-marriage act and is against the constitutional amendment. The only reason to support a constitutional amendment -- and I think reasonable people can disagree on this; I'm not so sure about it myself -- is to head off the possibility of gay marriage being instituted state by state by judicial fiat. John Edwards is spectacularly wrong when he says states have never had to recongize the marriages conferred by other states. Whether or not the full-faith-and-credit clause applies to gay marriages will develop as the central issue in this debate, and I don't see how the Supreme Court can stay out of it.

    Bottom line: Bush and Kerry believe the same thing about gay marriage. Bush's actions are in line with his professed beliefs. Kerry's are not. Democrats are going to have a problem with this man on this issue and many others. He is willing to say anything, and you can never tell from his actions whether he really means it or not. If that's the kind of uncertainty you want in the White House, go ahead on and vote for it.

    Kerry brought up Cheney's daughter, and Edwards did earleir, to create exactly the same kind of wedge you accuse the Republicans of favoring. He wanted to remind Bush's conservative Christian supporters, in case they had forgotten it, that there was a lesbian (not the more politically correct gay, did you notice?) in their midst. But I suppose a campaign that will use Christopher Reeeve's death, before the body was even cold, to say that such people will get out of their wheelchairs and walk again if Bush is defeated will resort to just about anything.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 1:12 PM

    Lesbian remark  

    IAN BARNES, Macon, GA writes: It is amazing that Republicans want to have their cake and eat it too. It seems that they are offended that John Kerry mentioned Mary Cheney in the debate Wednesday night.

    Maybe they need to be reminded why we are discussing gay marriages - Republicans want an amendment banning it.

    This has created a major dilemma in many Republican families. They must decide whether to be gung-ho behind their fearless leader (Dub-ya) which may alienate a gay member of their family, or do as Dick Cheney has done, and agree with John Kerry's position on this issue.

    The GOP needs to be careful when they drive a wedge issue down the throats of Americans. They should realize that most of us "regular folks" have at least one gay uncle, mother, child, close friend, etc.


    I agree and I wonder what was so different about Kerry's remarks from those of John Edwards during the v.p. debate -- which the vice president thanked him for.

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 11:55 AM

    Kerry and . . . Reagan? 

    In a way, this election reminds me of 1980.

    Americans (including this one) were unhappy with Jimmy Carter, but afraid of the idea of a former actor, and a Barry Goldwater-conservative to boot, as president. In fact, the American people were nowhere near as conservative as Reagan back then. The race was rather close.

    Then came the debates. Issues aside, the debates made Reagan look like he could be president, that he was a viable alternative to "four more years" of the same old stuff. This took the wind out of at least some of the anti-Reagan vote.

    (A confession. I voted for John Anderson, the moderate third party candidate -- and have been doing penance ever since.)

    Flash forward to 2004 . . . John Kerry came into the debates -- and into the field of vision of many Americans for the first time -- and turned out to be, not the wimpy ditherer promised by Bush & Co. More than one commentator has pointed out that -- if you watched the debates not knowing who really was president -- you would guess it was Kerry.

    On top of that, the -- shall we call them -- misstatements by both Cheney and Bush (for example, when Bush claimed Wednesday to never have said he doesn't worry about Osama Bin Laden) lent themselves to several replays of the debate statement and then the film clip from 2002 proving it untrue. Same thing with Cheney saying he never even suggested that Saddam Hussein was connected to 9/11. So Bush's credibility is taking a much deserved hit.

    As Bill Schneider pointed out on CNN a couple days ago, people's opinions have changed from immediately after the debates to favor Kerry's performance even more:
    "The second debate was seen as much closer. Viewers gave Kerry only a two-point edge. But look what happened in the two days after that debate. Kerry's edge over Bush grew to 15 points."

    And Bush has lost a lot of ground to Kerry on the "honest and trustworthy" front. (Thanks to liberaloasis for the link).

    All of which gives even more power to Kerry's charge that Bush is in "a state of denial" and out of touch with reality.

    And that makes me think that Kerry wins -- and maybe it's not close.

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 11:44 AM

    Thursday, October 14, 2004

    On further reflection 

    I've been looking through the e-mail, and more than half of the anti-Bush missives are, well, a little extreme. The expressions used start from "pathetic," "outright liar," "evasive" and "no poise or intellect" and go all the way to "looks like he might have had a small stroke" and "jabbering monkey." These are not people who came to the debates looking for a challenging exchange of ideas.

    I say "anti-Bush" because there were a lot more of those than ones that could fairly be called "pro-Kerry." I think Democrats this year have the same dynamics Republicans did when Bill Clinton was running for a second term: a bitter, visceral hatred of the opponent that goes way beyond any policy differences and does not respond well to attempts at rational discussion. And I suspect that will cause the same problems for Democrats as it did for Republicans as the election draws nearer. It's a lot harder to keep the base energized when hatred of the other guy is stronger than love of your own guy.

    The debates -- especially the last one -- have shown Kerry to be much less of an enigma on domestic policy than he is on foreign policy. He is what he is -- call it "Massachusetts liberalism" or "Government is the solution" or whatever you want -- and will do just about as you'd expect: a wide range of governmentg programs affecting just about every area of American life, with a hefty price tag. If that's what you want, vote for Kerry -- and pray that he can keep his pledge for no new taxes for the middle class.

    Though Bush is the incumbent, he's the one whose domestic-agenda presidency is harder to predict. At heart, he is a conservative. But in his first term, he pushed through two of the biggest items of government expansion in history -- prescription drug benefits and No Child Left Behind. For his second term, he is proposing some truly conservative ideas, such as health and retirement accounts. And some observers think that, without re-election to worry about in a second term, he would let that conservatism blossom. On the other hand, his most radically conservative idea -- the much needed simplification of the tax code -- wasn't even mentioned Wednesday night and hasn't been offered on the campaign trail much, either. President Bush said in the last debate he went to Washington "to solve problems." The problem with a problem-solver is -- well, that they can always spot problems to solve, whether they should be the federal government's business or not.

    I continue to believe that terrorism and national security will be the primary issues that decide this election. When it comes to understanding the enemy we face and what must be done, Kerry doesn't have a clue. For all the mistakes he's made in prosecuting the struggle against terrorism (even if he won't admit them), Bush has the right policy in preemption and the resolve to see it through. If that were all there was to it, Bush would win in a landside.

    But Iraq has become THE focal point of the war on terror. Bush hasn't been as effective as he could have been and should have been in connecting the dots between planting the seeds of democracy and freedom in the Mideast and pushing back terrorism. So Iraq has become a stand-alone issue. It so overshadows everything else that the election is likely to won or lost based on whether people think Iraq was a good idea or not. I still think Bush will win, but the race will be closer than it should have been.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 5:52 PM

    Some reader responses 

    I’m having technical problems with my computer, so these are only a few excerpts of reader responses ...

    CRAIG SKINNER:
    Four years ago this president promised to fix the Social Security crisis. He offered to create personal savings accounts to help with revenue gaps in the system.

    George W. Bush was given a plan to create these privatized accounts four years ago. Instead of using the budget surplus to fix this impending crisis, the president gAve the wealthiest 1% a tax cut.

    Once again George W. Bush is offering shallow promises he never intends to fulfill. I heard of all of this four years ago, and nothing has been done. There is a Republican majority in Congress. Dubya has no-one to blame, but himself. President Bush does not serve the average citizen. He is the President of billionaires, and CEO's.

    FAITH HAGUE:
    Was it our TV reception, or was there a foreign object in Pres. Bush's left ear?

    JEREMY MOON: Tonight, I hoped President Bush would tell me about his plans for America at home. I don't feel safe in New York City right now, and despite working through college, I'm currently jobless and have no health care. But the President didn't say he has a plan to create jobs, to protect health care, or to improve homeland security. I'm not sure Kerry's plans for the homeland will work perfectly, but after tonight I know he will at least try to improve the situation at home.

    ROBERT: In my opinion Kerry won hands down. Bush has no command of the issues and their complexities. His level of discussion amounts to misrepresenting Kerry's views and arguing against this "straw man" -- repeating ad nauseum simplistic, foolish statements. We aren't safer in America or in the world because of Bush. Bush was misguided in Iraq, invading Iraq with no real coalition as his father had and in having no plan to maintain security after deposing Hussein. Bush says one thing and does another: He says he's passionate and compassionate about education and then doesn't adequately fund the program and cuts programs for young children. Bush has been a divider. Bush distorted Kerry's record throughout this debate. Kerry had a command of the complexities of the issues. He has plans and can think -- more than can be said about Bush and company.

    MARCIA CURRAN: In the third debate Kerry was terrific -- knew his subjects, expressed himself very well, kept his cool, showed up the failures of the Bush administration on domestic and international policies, and looked presidential. Bush was twitchy and smirky, made purposely misleading statements about Kerry's record and never really looked presidential.

    DENNIS W: Leo Morris writes..Bush Won the third debate?

    My fellow American, I can see why you support the president.

    Hear me out, over the next few days everyone but you will say "Kerry won the third debate."

    You and the President either can't see the truth or you are lying.

    ROBERT E. LANE, HAMDEN, CT: If this were a photo-finish old horseface would win over smirk by the width of a brownie. As it is more serious, I vote by consulting the most intelligent organ in my body, my gut. Viscerally, I trust Kerry and do not trust Bush.

    SHIRL: I was amazed after watching the third debate. If undecided voters can't see that John Kerry clearly makes a better leader, then I don't know what they are looking at. Bush evaded questions a number of times by changing the subject to education. As he admitted though, in response to a question about what he learned from his daughters, he can't speak English. In fact, he suggested, while describing his wife as a better speaker, that voters don't even understand what he is talking about. How can he lead the U.S. for four more years?

    SOHAIL ANSARI: Tonight's final debate once again showed us Americans, and the World that John Kerry needs to be the next president of the United States of America, and has the ability, vision, integrity, honesty, compassion, dedication, sincerity, and experience to do so. He is a true leader.

    Looking at Geogre Bush, on the same podium with Senator Kerry, was like looking at a juvenile delinquent, with no knowledge or grasp of the facts, no substance in what he was saying, and absolutely nothing presidential about him. How did he become president in the first place? Well, don’t answer that question, we know what happened in Florida.

    MICHELE MICHAEL: There is no doubt that President Bush is in over his head. Our economy is a mess. Our health care system is a mess. Special Interests control legislation. Our environment is in crisis. This President is in total denial with no great plan to help the future of our nation. Kerry is a man of character with sound plans and a strong vision of where this nation should be heading - Kerry was clearly the winner in all three debates and has my vote for President.

    MARY DIFFLEY: I can't help but believe that George W. Bush is not only out to distort John Kerry's record but he is out and out lying about it! Is George W. Bush lying right into the camera's - right to the American people?

    JOSEPH CASTRONOVO: This once 50-year registered republican saw a desperate George Bush who again displayed a lack of Presidential Presence which, when dealing with World Leaders is going to continue our backward slide towards being a third world nation.

    S TRUD: Questions from the moderator were hard for the President to answer tonight, it seemed. He was not direct when asked about whether he felt homosexuality was a choice. He avoided answering the question about raising the minimum wage by talking about education at Community Colleges instead. Senator Kerry was well prepared, answered concisely, and added backup information to support his position. I feel that Senator Kerry was much better during this debate and clearly won this debate.

    BELUKINO:
    Go to greatschools.net and type in Salem, Oregon. Check out the elementary schools and the pie shaped wedges showing the percentage of Hispanics in each school. Then do this all over the state: Ontario, Woodburn, Boardman, Hillsboro, and the cities around Portland. What happened in California and other states is happening here in Oregon. The student population in Jackson County in southern Oregon is already 10%. Woodburn's Hispanic population is over 50%. How much is this costing Oregonians for health care, schools, etc.? We have high unemployment in this state. How did we get this added burden? When is enough enough?

    THERESA MALLOY:
    I feel Kerry clearly won the last debate. He was accurate precise he answered all questions. I felt Bush was very evasive. He didn't even have a lead in to other subjects when asked a question he didn't have an answer to. He just answered about education when asked about the minimum wage. He referred to education whenever it seemed he didn't have an answer. I also was disturbed by his constant grin and snide laughs. These were serious issues they were discussing, I saw no humor.

    CATHERINE RICE:
    Are you kidding me? Bush said during the debate he supports bidding out federal contracts in a competitive process. Guess he did not speak to Cheney before he said that....Awarding over $2 billion in federal contracts in Iraq to Haliburton without any bidding is not what I would call endorsing a competitive system. This man will say anything...

    RICHARD FELLOWS, Pleasanton, CA: I remember a little over a year ago, a garden party of my old engineering department. Counting those present, half were out of work. When Pres. Bush replied to the question tonight about creating jobs by promoting education and funding community college courses, I could only think how much an AA degree would mean to add to the wall next to their BSEE and MSEE degrees. Clearly George Bush is out of touch.

    I thought John Kerry had a more cogent answer. He will get my vote.

    NICOLE HUGUENIN: Bush answered the question about what he would say to an unemployed worker with something along the line of we'll get him an education. Is he infering all people who are unemployed never had an education in the first place?

    From my experience its the people that have recently graduated college that have been laid off or the people who have been working for 20 years at the same company that have been laid off. Does Bush think these people really want to go back to school and back into debt to relearn employable skills?

    I understand my point does not apply to factory workers and those in the steel industry, but living in an area that is supposed to be the hub of the new economy, Silicon Valley, I see just as much unemployment of highly skilled workers as areas that employ people in those industries as well.

    ROBERT JOSMAN
    Kerry wrote, in his own hand, to his draft board to allow him to go to France to "study," rather than being drafted. His draft board turned him down and sent him a draft notice. Only then did he "volunteer" to join the the Navy, sorry but getting a draft notice and being given a choice of which military service you are drafted into is not volunteering.

    FROM CAROL: But Kerry volunteered to go to Vietnam – twice. First on a ship, then on a swift boat.

    GLORIA: How is it that, when everything I read on websites, says Kerry won all three debates, you guys say it's a toss-up? I just spent an hour reading posts at various sites that are open to anyone, and the consensus is very heavily )better than 90%) in favor of Kerry in all three debates? What gives? This is the famed liberal press? Are you afraid for your jobs?

    FROM CAROL: I am cut to the quick! You think I thought it was a tie??

    DONDI CUBE: Leo, you have to face realities like George he has to admit mistakes too. Both of them did their best tonight but a Kerry won all three debates because it is really hard as George Bush used to say to defend the unfavorable condition in his Administration.

    How can you defend the $89 billion tax cut to 1% rich when the 30 to 40% middle income group are groping to survive under this economy of joblessness, gasoline hike, tuition hike, medical insurance hike and most people are saddled with debts mortgaging the appreciation of their homes to get by? Here is what I will predict based an normal condition (I don't know what dirty tricks Karl Rove will employ in the next two weeks) the Youth vote will deliver the Presidency to John Kerry. I'm sure you have heard the heavy new registrations in Florida, Ohio, Penn, also here in the West. Kerry is running 5 : 1 on those new voters not being covered by the polls.

    T. LACEY: Kerry did a great job answering the questions and explaining his solutions. Bush, as usual, evaded the actual questions and continued to rely on his platform of fear and implementing programs without funding them. Bush's record is dismal, Kerry offers a new hope for the future!

    WDK: Sitting in the living room around the Philco watching JFK and RMN...sage adviCe to the working class from my father, the farmer, sailor, railroad worker, and house painter..."remember son, the Republicans are all about big business, and the Democrats are for the little guys; we're the little guys." Hope the people that actually work for a living and that the voters of Ohio and the rest of the country remember that in Nov.

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 3:11 PM

    Hindsight 

    Hi Leo,

    All the instant polls following the debate showed Kerry as the clear winner. I thought Bush totally blew it when he was asked to commiserate with people who had lost a job and instead, he told them they should get more education.

    After four debates, it's clear that the professionals pale in comparison to the real people who asked questions in the Town Hall Meeting. For example, why weren't there any questions lst night about the environment, energy independence, growing poverty rates?

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 2:09 PM

    Wednesday, October 13, 2004

    So, now what? 

    Well, it's a wash on the three debates. Kerry one the first one, the second one was a tie, Bush won this one. The president was much more relaxed, found a humorous note or two; Kerry was the one on the defensive. He feels he has to keep reassuring the country that he would defend it; that is not reassuring. The strange thing is that the Bush people reportedly wanted the first debate to be on foreign policy because that is supposedly his strength. But his best performances were on the domestic part of the second debate (that's why it was a tie) and this debate. Best line of the night: "That makes Kennedy the conservative senator from Massachusetts."

    Does Kerry have the advantage because he won the first one big and put the president on the run when more people were watching? Or does the president, because he won the last one and will have momentum? Dunno. This is all about style anyway, how two men looked and seemed for three and a half hours out of a year-long campaign.

    What we're left with is what we started with, the substance of what the candidates have stood for. Internationally, two different views on how to fight terrorism and what Iraq means. Domestically - not much difference between what Bush did in his first term and what Kerry would do in a first term, but a gulf between those two and what Bush would do in a second term. There couldn't be two more different candidates, and it's hard to imagine there are people who still don't know enough to make a pick. To think, this thing will actually come down to the mood swings of the undecided.

    ... and I've always heard, of jury trials, that it is frightening to trust your fate to the 12 most uninformed people the court can find. That's about how I now feel about this election.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 11:01 PM

    Closing thoughts 

    As I'm watching the spin, I see that the Republican line is that Kerry doesn't have plans, he has "a litany of complaints." Bush et al. wish that were true.

    In the end, on domestic issues, the Democrats will run on health care - and John Kerry has an excellent plan to insure 95 percent of Americans. The Kerry plan focuses not on creating a new bureaucracy, a la Hillary Clinton, but instead focuses on funding the private insurance program we have in America. (I personally think single payer would be better, but that isn't doable.) Bush, on the other hand, pushes Health Savings Accounts, which will - in the long run - decrease the number of uninsured.

    The Republicans will run on taxes. And, as the President says, people will know in their own personal lives whether they benefited - really - from the Bush tax cuts. My bet is that they have seen very little, in real terms, from them, especially the millions of people who have lost jobs, or who are now working at jobs that pay substantially less than the jobs they lost.

    ... BTW, as I watch CNN, there are seven people who say they're still undecided. Frankly, I don't believe them. I think that most of them will vote for Kerry come Nov. 2 (as most undecideds vote for the challenger).

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 10:52 PM

    Left, right and in between 

    Jessica Stuart asks: Does President Bush realize that he is only feeding the division in this country by throwing around unnecessary, backhanded and weighted stereotypes? He deliberately uses terms like "liberal senator from Massachusetts" and criticizes John Edwards because he was a trial lawyer. All of those buzzword blanket statements make Bush sound juvenile, like an elementary school playground bully.

    But there is a political spectrum ... left to right, with a middle that shifts back and forth. Maybe it's a "stereotype," but calling someone left or right is one way of saying where people are on the spectrum. I suspect you're right about the "trial lawyer" part. Most Americans don't hate lawyers as much as the "right" thinks they do, because we all realize we might need a lawyer one day.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 10:31 PM

    On litmus tests 

    Carol: And, of course, Kerry has a litmus test, too. He more or less said so. A president is always going to have a litmus test (even if he doesn't call it that) for what he wants in a Supreme Court justice. That's another way for us to decide which president we want.

    I totally agree. So everyone who wants Roe vs. Wade to be preserved should vote for Kerry, and those who want abortion re-criminalized should vote for Bush.

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 10:27 PM

    Maybe he's perfect 

    Michele says: There is nothing wrong with a president having flaws, it actually makes him more human and relatable. The problem with our current president, is that he won't admit to having any!

    On the other hand, what if he's right?

    posted by Leo Morris at # 10:26 PM

    Bang, bang 

    The Assault Weapons Ban was a fraud. It forbade some guns and permitted others on the way they looked. Renewing the ban would thwart terrorists? Please.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 10:14 PM

    Has anyone ever flunked a litmus test? 

    Carol: And, of course, Kerry has a litmus test, too. He more or less said so. A president is always going to have a litmus test (even if he doesn't call it that) for what he wants in a Supreme Court justice. That's another way for us to decide which president we want.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 10:11 PM

    Kerry's right on the assault weapons ban  

    Bush didn't support the renewal of the assault weapons ban because there weren't enough votes? What does he think leadership is?

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 10:10 PM

    Reader question: Why can't we stop immigrants? 

    Amy Saleik asks: If we can count how many immigrants are coming across our borders each day (4,000 says Kerry), why can't we stop them as we're counting??? :)

    Good point. The real issue isn't really how many get across, but our attitude about the ones that are here. I'm afraid the Bush administration hasn't taken the issue seriously enough, and I doubt a Kerry one would, eitehr.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 10:06 PM

    Oh, Lord 

    This is just getting tiresome. Poor little kids don't have afterschool programs just so the evil rich can keep more of their money. Get a new line, please.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 10:03 PM

    Roe vs. Wade 

    Does anybody really believe that G.W. Bush doesn't have a litmus test against Roe vs. Wade?

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 10:01 PM

    Those evil rich people again 

    This is John Kerry as his politics-of-envy, class-warfare best. It became so obvious that increasing the minimum wage hurt people at the low end that even the New York Times editorial page has argued against it. And "equal pay" for women? Compare like groups (single men and women with a college degree, for example) and the difference goes away. But Bush ducks. Doesn't want to sound like an evil conservative, I guess.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 9:58 PM

    A false promise 

    This guest worker program that Bush speaks of is a sham: The people come, stay for three years, but have no hope of citizenship. What this does is further suppress wages for the lowest-income workers.

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 9:53 PM

    Good job, Bob 

    I know the moderator is from that evil bastion of liberal Bush-bashing, CBS. But he's asking good, tough questions of both of them.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 9:52 PM

    Isn't this rich 

    Why does Kerry just go after the over-$200,000 bunch? What about those who make $100,000? Aren't they rich, too? Take their money as well. Until I start making $100,000 a year, of course.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 9:49 PM

    Whatever happened to the lockbox? 

    Health care for children 

    Health Savings Accounts, which Bush supports, would have exactly the opposite effect of what Bush says - and leading economists agree. It would end up raising health care costs further - and reduce even further the availability of health insurance. HSAs favor the healthy and the rich and would leave the sick and the poor in the private system, and THAT would increase even further the number of uninsured.

    Kerry's health care plan would cover EVERY child, and Bush's wouldn't. That in itself makes it worthwile. The plan makes it worthwile for states to cover children in families that make up to $54,000 a year. To me, that would be worth higher taxes, but I think it could be done without that.

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 9:46 PM

    Looking to the future 

    There is reason to hope that in a second term, Bush won't just try to match Democrats in spending. His plan to let young people opt out of Social Security, along with his plan for health accounts, is a way to start moving government out of diasterous financial area. And listen to Kerry -- the very idea that government should back off something and let people have it back is practically treasonous. Another smart (and cosnervative) idea Bush has is to simplify the tax code. I hope this comes up and Bush is passioante about it.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 9:39 PM

    The big bully 

    This is a critical difference on health care, and Bush has it exactly right. The main cost of rising costs is that consumers feel no connection between what they use and what the costs are - most of it is taken care of by third-party payers, and the government is the biggest bully on THAT block. Health-savings accounts will give people back some feeling of ownership of their health care. Kerry's answer is to help make the bully bigger. But I WAS glad to hear one more promise: I have a right to cheap Canadian drugs.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 9:36 PM

    The Supremes 

    Leo writes about gay marriage: This one's headed for the Supreme Court.

    I agree. And I believe the Constitution, without an amendment, guarantees gay marriage.

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 9:36 PM

    Liberal Catholicism 

    Kerry has focused on the parts of the Catholic faith that the bishops mentioned have relegated to secondary status: economic justice, environmental stewardship. I think he's made a connection with some Catholics on this.

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 9:32 PM

    Another good one 

    Another good exchange on abortion that shows us two different views. Kerry gave a rationale for his position. Bush gave his own, without calling Kerry a sinner.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 9:32 PM

    Headed for the Supremes 

    Bush and Kerry both gave interesting, thoughtful answers on gay marriage. But the hidden trap in this debate is the "full faith and credit" clause of the Constitution. Sooner or later, it has to be decided whdether one state's acceptance of gay marriage, as in Massachusetts, must be accepted by other states. This one's headed for the Supreme Court.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 9:29 PM

    Thank goodness 

    Bush should be glad they're moving into social issues, gay marriage and such. He can make valid philosophical points to match Kerry's valid philosophical points. No Republican can ever outpromise a Democrat. I've heard two things on my list already from Kerry - a good-paying job and cheap gas.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 9:26 PM

    Improved 

    Someone told Kerry to look, not at the moderator, but at the camera.

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 9:24 PM

    Take all their money 

    Yes, punish all those lousy companies that want to go where they can get the best deal so they can offer their product at the cheapest price. And what about all those lousy foreign companies that dare to come over here and hire Americans. We should take all their money, too ...

    posted by Leo Morris at # 9:23 PM

    Jobs and education 

    Is Kerry serious in criticizing the president for changing the subject from jobs to education. There is a connection, Senator.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 9:20 PM

    Laugh a minute 

    Kerry: For every one of my plans, I show how to pay for it. Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho. But he's right about Bush never using the veto (on spending bills).

    posted by Leo Morris at # 9:15 PM

    From a reader 

    FROM READER JEFF SCHULT: Dubyah is giving up his own personal flu shot ... for us. Brings a damn tear to my eye, it does.

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 9:14 PM

    On message, on message, on message 

    Talk about sticking to your talking points. The question was about flu vaccines - another curve ball from the moderator. Bush: Flu shots = chance to slam Kerry on frivolous lawsuits. Kerry: Flu shots = chance to slam Bush on health insurance. They both had a chance to promise that all Americans have the right to free flu shots. What a disappointment.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 9:11 PM

    How dare they think of suing? 

    If you had contaminated vaccine, wouldn't you want the right to sue?

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 9:10 PM

    Blame it on England 

    The company that makes the flu vaccine is from California.

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 9:08 PM

    And the winner is ... 

    I wasn't going to post this early, but just have to say:

    The betting around here today was who would find a way to cheat the "domestic agenda" format and bring up foreign policy first, Bush or Kerry. And the winner is ... the moderator.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 9:04 PM

    What I'm watching for 

    Being a bleeding-heart liberal, I am not watching to see what's in it for me. I'm doing pretty well in my middle-class life.

    I AM watching to see what's in it for the people who work 40-hour weeks at places like Wal-MART and yet are struggling to pay rent AND eat, whose kids don't have health insurance.

    A recent "self sufficiency" study done in Pennsylvania found that it takes $16 an hour for a family of four to live frugally in Philadelphia.

    In real-money terms, wages for the typical American family have gone down $1,500 in the past four years, while college tuition and health care have gone up 30, 40 percent.

    There is nothing in the Bush economic plan (if there is one besides tax cuts) that gives any hope to these people.

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 8:59 PM

    And give me all your lupins, too 

    Since the opinion in Washington seems to be that we are all just cogs (consumers of government services) in the wheel, I plan to watch tonight's domestic-agenda debate with one idea in mind: What's in it for me?

    And when I say I want cradle-to-grave coverage, I'm not fooling around. I don't just want a guaranteed good job; I want a promise of a four-week vacation in Europe every year. I don't want just health coverage for myself; don't forget the dental plan for my cats. I want a free education all the way through graduate school for all the kids of all my relatives. I want free food delivered to my door, along with a free diet plan for when I eat too much of it. I want a great car and cheap gas, and my house could use a little fixing up. I'm not sure of everything I want, but I'll be listening tonight so see how much of it they're willing to promise me. A weekend in the Lincoln Bedroom would be nice, now that I think of it.

    I don't think I'm being greedy or unrealistic. I figure if John Edwards can promise to make the blind see and the wheelchair-bound walk again, everything is on the table.

    Naturally, someone has to pay for all this. Don't look at me. Go after all those rich people. And "rich" is anyone who has $1 more than me. Go ahead and take that dollar and a hundred more besides.

    Say, hold on a sec. Then I would have more money than the person it was taken from, and that means I would have to ...

    Guess there is more to this redistribution of wealth business than one might suppose.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 11:27 AM

    Tuesday, October 12, 2004

    Lots of Children Left Behind 

    Leo writes: "Funding for the education department went up 58 percent in Bush's first three years - not bad for a Republican - and funding specifically earmarked for No Child Left Behind has gone up 12 percent since the law's inception. Kerry makes his claim based on the fact that Bush didn't fund the law by the full amount Congress authorized, which Bush never promised to do."

    It may be true that the Bush administration has increased federal funding for education and NCLB. The problem is that the "No Child Left Behind" law imposes many more responsibilities on the states for testing as well as providing better teachers and choices for parents. So defaulting on the money that's needed to make the law work is a dirty trick.

    The major reason why those two liberal giants, Ted Kennedy and U.S. Rep. George Miller of California, helped pass the law was because they believed the president when he pledged that more accountability would be matched with the funding necessary to actually leave no children behind.

    In fact, it's not only the "terrorist" teachers' unions (as Education Secretary Rod Paige slandered them) who have complained about this. In a poll by Public Agenda last year, 90 percent of school principals and superintendents said the new law is an "unfunded mandate."

    Money aside, the General Accountability Office reported recently that the implementation of this supposedly signature law has been abysmal.

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 10:30 PM

    Don't run away from the 'C' word 

    Now that George Bush has thrown down the gauntlet by using the dreaded "L" word and making John Kerry very defensive (I've never heard anbody complain about scare-tactic labeling when the "C" word is used), I hope he has the courage to go the rest of the way tomorrow night and actually debate as a conservative. When Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush (campaigning as a Reaganite the first time around) talked about conservative values to the American people, they won rather handily.

    A dilemma for Bush now is that he hasn't actually governed as much of a fiscal conservative; his rhetoric was a lot more serious than his actions have been. He believed (or let himself be persuaded, at any rate) that pushing through some big-government items, i.e. Medicare "reform" and No Child Left Behind, could help increase his base. But of course these two items have become two of the biggest clubs Kerry hits him over the head with - he's not spending enough. No matter how hard he tries, a Republican can never outpromise a Democrat when it comes to domestic spendig. (Although Kerry has boxed himself in with his foolish "Read My Lips" pledge to not ever raise taxes on the middle class; doesn't he remember Bush 41's experience?)

    Bush can talk about the economy, which is really performing pretty well, but there are some structural deficits that either he or a President Kerry are going to have to come to terms with very early on. He'd be much better off talking about tax cuts, which will bring much-needed growth and on which he got some support on this week from the newest Nobel Laureate economist. That would draw Kerry in on a class warfare debate, which is really the strongest weapon in his arsenal.

    Or maybe Kerry can bring up Christopher Reeve again and promise to make everybody get up out of their wheelchairs and walk. At least the body will be cold by then.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 6:00 PM

    Decisions 

    Leo writes of abortion: "It is almost always the wrong decision at the wrong time for the wrong reason."

    I would respectfully suggest that he isn't in a position to make that statement. (Neither am I.) What I do believe is that, at least before viability, the only person who ought to make such a decision is the pregnant woman - even if it's somebody else's idea of a wrong decision.

    The argument here is the question of what is a Constitutional right. I personally don't believe that rights can or should be legislated, or that one's reproductive rights should be dependent on geography. This is why I support Roe v. Wade.

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 1:22 PM

    Monday, October 11, 2004

    Judges 

    During Friday’s debate ...

    QUESTIONER: Mr. President, if there were a vacancy in the Supreme Court and you had the opportunity to fill that position today, who would you choose and why?

    BUSH: I'm not telling.

    (LAUGHTER)

    I really don't have -- haven't picked anybody yet. Plus, I want them all voting for me.

    Bush doesn’t have to tell us whom he'll appoint. He's already shown us by the people he's nominated to lower federal courts. For example:

    Janice Rogers Brown, who ruled in one case that racial harassment is protected by the Constitution.

    Charles W. Pickering, who has claimed that minorities "spontaneously react that discrimination caused" any adverse effect.

    William Pryor, who has advocated weakening the Voting Rights Act.

    William G. Myers III, a former mining-industry lobbyist who has compared federal land management with the reign of King George III.

    J. Leon Holmes, who compares abortion to slavery and says that wives should be "subordinate" to their husbands.

    Jay Bybee, who, as a lawyer in the Justice Department, argued that the president has the constitutional authority to order torture.

    People for the American way provides more details: www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?old=14172

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 2:54 PM

    Christopher Reeve 

    During Friday's debate, John Kerry mentioned that "Chris Reeve exercises every single day to keep those muscles alive for the day when he believes he can walk again, and I want him to walk again."

    Reeve died yesterday at age 52.

    Even if we had gone full speed ahead on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, it is unlikely that a cure for the kind of injuries Christopher Reeve had suffered would be found for decades. But there would have been more hope.

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 2:52 PM

    Reader reactions - a little late 

    Here are excerpts from the emails we received during and after Friday night's debate ...

    CAROL LOWE, Mesa, AZ: I watched the debate and asked myself, what planet is Bush from? He is so out of touch with reality, it's unbelievable. He thinks he never does anything wrong, and makes no mistakes ever. He paints a rosy picture, that couldn't be farther from the truth. Here on Planet Earth, things are not going well at all. We're in a quagmire in Iraq, with our troops dying every day, and their families are being affected in such enormous ways.

    DEAN GILFORD: I felt SORRY for him (Bush). And I'm super pissed at him for charging this whole war to my kids. And giving all of US who SHOULD be paying for this war we now own a payoff, er I mean tax break. And I actually felt sorry for him. He looked so pathetic!

    JOHN HERBST: Some good points were once again raised by John Kerry in last night's debate, clarifying certain issues involving the ongoing situation in Iraq, nuclear threats in other nations around the world, easing the regulatory red tape impeding the importation of prescription drugs from Canada, Medicare reform and minimizing frivolous lawsuits/tort reform, as well as tax reform to ease the burden on the middle class, and get the top 1% of America's wealthiest upper class to shoulder their fair share of the tax burden, re-tooling environmental regulations and acceptance of the need for addressing climate change policy on a global level with international cooperation, as well as a forward thinking approach to the legal and moral issues surrounding new technologies such as stem cell research.

    R. WEBER: John Kerry simply has a more presidential bearing than George Bush. A President shouldn't slouch, and he shouldn't act infallible. What is it about the President that he can't admit making mistakes?

    Frank Pastizzo:In the 2000 debate with Al Gore, George W. Bush stated how and when he would use military force. He specifically opposed using the military for nation building and not having an exit strategy. Congress and America did not grant our president power to go to Iraq to build a democracy in the Middle East, with our young men and women overseeing this grand experiment. Expert guerilla fighters are targeting our American boys and girls. As we continue to use our fierce weapons to kill the impassioned insurgents, we inevitably kill more innocent civilians and the resentment towards our occupation grows. Under the Bush Administration' cavalier and dangerous scheme, we will be in Iraq a long time, and many, many more will be killed. This is a colossal mistake, and it needs fixing now. President Kerry is our best hope for life saving remedies and a return to international diplomacy.

    JRG: President Bush was prepared by his handlers in this debate. However, they forgot about the environment. They don't care about it so they forgot it, and if you replay the tape and the question you see the depth of the President’s knowledge.

    I think Senator Kerry is prepared to lead. President Bush has lead us into a War we didn't need, and a deficit generations to come will face and it is still growing.

    GERALD & VICTORIA YEUNG: Bush was right to point out Kerry's abysmal voting record when it comes to respect for life. Despite his so-called religious background, Kerry has consistently been on the wrong side of life issues and failed to take opportunities to reduce the number of abortions in this country.

    Kerry's unwillingness to impose his beliefs on others is simply a red herring. If President Lincoln followed that kind of rhetoric, we might still have slavery today. Or the Nazis may have been allowed to continue their Holocaust of the Jews and other minorities unchallenged. It is truly deplorable when people use morally relativistic arguments to justify their failure to stand up for the weak and defenseless in our society.

    BRENNANMFJ: Why is it that when Bush delivers a "so-so" performance it's hailed by pundits? I want a president who we don’t have to lower expectations or make excuses for.

    John Kerry was very strong, consistent and intelligent during the debate. He truly is a classy, cerebral, thoughtful person who I think will make an exceptional president.

    Kerry didn't take advantage of the opportunities to really expose the reality of life under this administration -- especially regarding the fact that insurgents now have full control over areas of Iraq; the Administration has produced "cleaner" air only because it relaxed it's restrictions on what actually constitutes "clean air," letting itself off the hook; and under Bush's watch the Republican platform actually would bann all abortion EVEN if the woman was raped or her life was in danger! Americans deserve to hear the truth.

    SHERYL ZETTNER:

    Is Kerry waiting for the last debate to hammer Bush?

    Like on this small business question -- Kerry completely ripped Bush apart on small business in his minority report on Bush's 2005 budget (in the Small Business Committee), but then when Bush says he supports small businesses in the debate, we hear nothing from Kerry.

    Then there's Elliott Abrams and his testimony in the Iran Contra hearings. The fact that Kerry was key in taking down Oliver North, and Abrams’ testimony resulted in pleading guilty of withholding info from Congress. Then Daddy Bush pardons him and he is now working in Bush II's administration. That seems pretty damning.

    And why isn't the press talking about any of this?

    Oh, and the question about Bush making Supreme Court appointments. Some of the people Bush has nominated for judicial appointments are just plain scary. Certainly not people who fit the criteria that Bush says he would use

    SAM: This was a much better debate than the first one. There were two candidates present rather than one candidate and a petulant, annoyed individual making faces. Voters need these discussions for the proper comparison of individuals, policies and ideas. It seemed clear that Kerry has many good, practical ideas to deal with some of the pressing problems this country faces. We need someone who sees the reality of those problems and is willing to take steps to solve them.

    DON ABRAMS: Again and again, Bush seemed to be saying, "The dog ate my homework." Nothing is his fault - the economy, the war in Iraq, unemployment, ... Why can't the man take responsibility for anything?

    RICK USHER: The first time Bush called Kerry a liberal was when he said "Senator Kennedy is the biggest liberal senator." Why hasn't anyone picked up on this error?

    EDWIN CUBE: It was a homerun for Bush, better results than the 1st debate. The problem was, Kerry became a better debater and the homerun scored while Kerry was in double digits. It's 10-1, not even close. Bush was so defensive, like a tired fighter trying to hold, trying to gasp breath and lost the focus on the questions being discussed. I tried my best to be impartial but George Bush could not give a good performance and Kerry was in control all the way. Kerry was a good counter puncher and returned the favor to George Bush lecturing him to be a good President and how to be a good debater.

    Casaserenavalva: Doesnt anyone understand what happened to just the airline industry after 9/11? We are in an incredible position. Such pessimisim is so sad.

    CHARLES: I don’t have health insurance, pay my own bills, and I am proud of that.

    CHRIS ROY, Seattle: George Bush appeared to have benefited from a lot of last minute coaching between the first debate and the second, and turned in a stronger performance, but it wasn't enough. Bush did have stronger comebacks to Kerry's challenges in the second round – unfortunately, much of what he said stretched or broke the truth. Perhaps most embarrassing, while minor, was the fact that Bush forgot about his part ownership of a timber-growing enterprise, for which he claimed $84 on his 2001 tax return, exclaiming "Do I own a timber company? That's news to me ... want some wood?" In doing so, Bush came across as so privileged he can't even keep track of all the business interests he has his hands in.

    DAVID, Cleveland: Is Bush as ill-informed on Iraq as he seems?

    WILLIAM ROBICHAUD: I'm not registered with either party, but in the debate, Bush came off as a desperate, whining child! Zounds, he was almost shouting at us!

    I don't want that in a leader.

    CRAIG SKINNER: Why was with the President screaming at Charlie Gibson? It's a Presdiential debate not a WWF Smackdown. And what are "internets"? Bush proposed the hydrogen car? What in the world was he talking about? Mr. Bush, just because you see something on the Discovery Channel doesn't mean you proposed it, okay?

    TIMOTH MINNECI: About that timber comment from Kerry: From the website that Mr. Cheney meant to name-drop in his debate:
    http://www.factcheck.org/article.aspx@DocID=265

    President Bush himself would have qualified as a "small business owner" under the Republican definition, based on his 2001 federal income tax returns. He reported $84 of business income from his part ownership of a timber-growing enterprise. However, 99.99% of Bush's total income came from other sources that year. (Bush also qualified as a "small business owner" in 2000 based on $314 of "business income," but not in 2002 and 2003 when he reported his timber income as "royalties" on a different tax schedule.

    Thanks to Dailykos.com

    REBELTHREAD: I believe the president lost his temper and was testy with the moderator, showing a lack of personal control. Senator Kerry once again is more clear and concise and presidential.

    JOANNE R. KURTZ: Kerry was confident in his answers and Bush was mud slinging as usual, indicating his lack of confidence in himself as usual.

    Bush's term has cost me money from day one. Halliburton and the Bush oil and he does have a great deal of oil interests in Mexico. Daddy Bush opened the border and signed the bill to open the oil fields down in Mexico on his way out of office.
    His "No Child Left Behind" is a joke. Texas schools are a shining example of how little is taught in their schools and how little is really learned, all that has been done is lower the standards for the children, and lower the standards for the teachers. That is not progress.

    STEVE COMPTON: Kerry showed more presidential presence again tonight.

    THOMAS PARSONS: It's quite interesting to see how poorly George Bush does when he isn't addressing a screened audience solely of supporters, and then is required to have and communicate ideas that gibe with the facts: He can't do it. Away from the spin and the vacant rhetoric, we're able to compare in the debates both the ideas and the measures of the men. Kerry clearly dominates. Bush's notion of a compelling argument is: "I know how the world works" or "John Kerry is a liberal."

    ROGER WILLIAMS: Why is it that Bush respects life in the womb (doesn't like stem cell or abortion) but shows so little respect for life outside of the womb: underfunded education, no plan for health care, and the topper ... the deaths of both Iraq and U.S. citizens in the current conflict?

    ROBERT P. MEREDITH: Bush has no idea how to get out of the mess he got us into. And the global community is aghast at this sophomoric moron and his grasp on international relations.

    Kerry clearly won the debate on domestic and foreign policy issues. God help us with the axis of evil ...

    Kcurran: Bush again was lost and his feelings were hurt. He is an embarrassment. I AM A VETERAN FOR KERRY
    SAVE AMERICA-DUMP BUSH

    LINDA GOURLEY: Bush tried to quote from the constitution (every man created equal) but couldn't finish his thought and had to improvise. THAT'S impressive. THAT'S who I want representing the U.S. to the world. He doesn't understand democracy let alone know how to defend it.

    FROM CAROL: I think he hesitated because he realized the quote is from the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution – although someone suggested that Kerry should have just given up his response time and asked Bush to elaborate on the Dred Scott decision.

    SHELLY KNAPP, Whidbey Is., WA: John Kerry clearly won the debate tonight. It was so refreshing to hear him tell everyone the truth, right in front of the President, about the Bush administration's completely flawed and failed policies on everything from the war on terrorism, the war in Iraq, healthcare, the economy and the environment. Anyone who has been really reading about the issues could see right through the lame responses coming from President Bush.

    DEBBIE KARKIAIANEN, Garden City, KS: I can't tell you how refreshing it is to hear John Kerry offer real solutions to our country's problems after four long years of an ineffective administration. I really felt that Senator Kerry presented himself in an effective, presidential manner during the debates this evening.

    JOHN DG: Senator Kerry was direct, factual and I feel personally related to the People. He explained that the issues on the table are not SIMPLISTIC and straight forward as President Bush would have us believe. John Kerry answered the questions, stressed his plans and gave an optimistic vision for America. He showed that he is willing to be flexible if the information changes. The President once again sounded like a repeating record and was defensive the total debate. His presentation was better than the first debate, but not good enough.

    JAMES FENNELLY: Kerry was in control of this entire debate. Bush lost his wits. At one point, I thought Bush was resorting to school yard name calling because he couldn't argue the facts with Kerry.

    RRVDH: John Kerry is a decent honest moral citizen. Bush is a toady of rightist, conservative, money-grubbing bozos who are undermining the society we as Americans have sweated and slaved to create.

    LINDA: Bush sounds like a broken record!

    JEFF SCHULT, Connecticut: Bush *is* doing better than he did last week. But he could hardly do worse.

    But Kerry is also doing better than *he* did last week -- more confident and more relaxed, harder on Bush without being harsher. Bush is the one coming across as more strident.

    I just laughed out loud ... I'm so glad Dubya has heard of rumors of the
    possibility of a draft on "the Internets."

    Bush is in a corner on Iraq, after the "no WMD" report. I don't know that anyone could debate their way out of that one.

    LARRY MORRIS: I hate to be partisan, but ... Kerry continually says "I have a plan to do thus and so in x number of months or years," but I have never heard (yet) exactly what these plans are.

    FROM CAROL: The detailed plans for Kerry-Edwards campaign are on www.johnkerry.com

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 1:46 PM

    A national tragedy 

    What is there to say about abortion except that it is a national tragedy? It is almost always the wrong decision at the wrong time for the wrong reason. Abortions are safe, they are legal, but they certainly aren't rare, and that's the problem.

    For years I've offered my own peculiar view as a possible compromise for those tired of the extreme positions at each end of the spectrum. We've gradually come to accept that death occurs when the brain dies. Why doesn't life begin with the brain, or at least that part of it that enables cognitive function? If we set a conservative figure of 20 weeks (because that part of the brain develops somewhat after that), we'd have a useful benchmark. Before 20 weeks, none of the state's business. After 20 weeks, the state has an interest. In my naivete, I assumed this would appeal the majority of Americans, who are neither pro-life absolutists (never an abortion for any reason) nor pro-choice absolutists (never an interest by the state for any reason). They see a need for abortion sometimes but not nearly for all the myriad reasons offered by the pro-choice side. They are, mostly, troubled by the whole issue.

    What I discovered, of course, was that the absolutists did not want to hear about any compromise -- this is the perfect "red state vs. blue state" issue; it was just ahead of its time -- and the non-absolutists were either tired of talking about it or feeling too beat up for not agreeing with the extremists all the time.

    Given their inclination to side with the absolutists, both Bush and Kerry fall into some convoluted thinking at times (at least it seems so to me). The core issue in abortion is whether the fetus is or is not a distinct human being deserving to claim its own rights in the debate. So I don't understand the Bush position that allows for an exception in the case of rape. If abortion is murder, then why should this "unborn person" have any fewer rights because of the circumstances of its conception? But I find the Kerry position (call it the Kennedy Catholic Line) just as indefensible. It would be like saying, "I personally believe it is wrong to kill one's grandmother, but I certainly wouldn't impose that morality on anyone else."

    About the only thing I'm still certain of after all this time is that Roe vs. Wade is among the worst Supreme Court decisions of all time. The court was on the right track in its reasoning (although pegging everything to "vialbility" instead of brain function wasn't using the best science available), but it was a judicial usurpation of the highest order, which derailed a national conversation that was already taking place in state legislatures. If there was ever an issue that shouldn't be decided by nine unelected people, this was it.

    And same-sex marriage is another one. If there's any lesson to be learned from our national abortion trauma, it is to let the national conversation play out on such divisive issues, so that Americans can come to understand what they'll accept and what they won't. That's what letting the states be "the laboratories of democracy " is all about. The conversation on same-sex marriage is under way in a lively fashion, and Americans are becoming engaged in it. If this conversation is stopped dead, either by attempts to forbid same-sex marriage in the Constitution or to impose it by judicial fiat, then we're likely to have the same festering, bitter division we have had for over 30 years over abortion.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 11:37 AM

    Liar, liar, pants on fire 

    As I said, we tend to see only the faults of the other side. Carol is quite passionate about the distortions from Bush, but seems unconcerned about the misrepresentations, half-truths and big fat lies from Kerry. For example:

    That Bush underfunded No Child Left Behind by $28 billion. Funding for the education department went up 58 percent in Bush's first three years -- not bad for a Republican -- and funding specifically earmarked for NCLB has gone up 12 percent since the law's inception. Kerry makes his claim based on the fact that Bush didn't fund the law by the full amount Congress authorized, which Bush never promised to do.

    That 1.6 million jobs have been lost under Bush. This count includes only private-sector jobs. If public-sector jobs and other factors are included, the actual figure is becomes slightly under 600,000, so it's still an open question whether this administration will be the only one since Hoover's with a net job loss.

    That Gen. Eric Shineski was fired for speaking his mind. This is such a big whopper that even ABC News called Kerry on it. The general had announced his resignation the year before.

    That the Duelfer report concluded that sanctions were working against IRAQ. It concluded no such thing.

    That Kerry has a plan to provide health care for all Americans. His plan would increase coverage for about 24 to 26 million people, which would increase the Americans covered from the current 86 percent to about 92 percent.

    And on and on. Anyone who wants unmanipulated facts and figures should look for them somewhere besides a national political campaign.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 10:50 AM




    TowarnickyMorris

    On the left: Carol Towarnicky, chief editorial writer for the Philadelphia Daily News, from a liberal point of view.

    On the right: Leo Morris, editorial page editor of the Fort Wayne (Ind.) News-Sentinel, from a conservative point of view.


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