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    Friday, October 29, 2004

    At least Evan Thomas told the truth 

    If I want to bash Kerry, I really have to work at it. I don't have nearly the support staff that the bash-Bush crowd has. After this is all over, a lot of people in my profession have go some 'splainin' to do.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 3:34 PM

    Endorsements 

    Yes, there really are some thoughtful undecideds out there. One has just written about her thinking process and how she came to finally choose guess who. And here's an endorsement that will drive John Kerry right around the bend. Oh, my god! It's all over now. Even Dan Rather thinks Bush will win.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 3:24 PM

    Thanks, there wasn't nearly enough hype yet 

    Of course there's no chance at all that the Lancet report is another piece of partisan poison from the get-Bush hit squad. I'm surprised it wasn't reported on 60 Minutes.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 3:02 PM

    The Real Message 

    Leo, the missing munitions story -- now pretty much confirmed with an April, 2003 tape from an embedded ABC News affiliate -- is about more than explosives. It's about how the White House didn't plan for the post-invasion period, didn't send enough troops and how -- time after time after time -- it has fudged the facts and sought to escape responsibility.

    In fact, Bush & Co.'s multiple responses and attacks since the story broke Monday is a great example of how he has operated for four years -- especially Bush surrogate Rudy Giuliani blaming the troops.


    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 2:26 PM

    Ignorance is bipartisan 

    Well, I guess it wouldn't be an election without the self-styled elite letting their moral preening and intellectual vanity bubble to the surface and harp on their favorite "Republicans are dunces" campfire song. Never mind that there might be something a little more subtle going on. Since liberals lead with the heart, and conservatives insist on thinking about things -- i.e., people move from liberalism to conservatism as they grow up and see the world as it really is -- an appreciation of subtlety is probably too much to ask for.

    I'd at least have supposed that the "country is going to the dogs because the morons don't have sense enough to vote for those of us who are superior" crowd wouldn't try to prove the point by quoting the founding fathers who believed the same thing. The fact that it hasn't happened yet might just undercut the argument.

    And they might be a little more humble, considering the (already posted) evidence that their guy isn't as smart as our guy. Tom Brokaw asked Kerry about this, by the way: "Someone has analyzed the president's military aptitude tests and concluded that he has a higher IQ than you do." Kerry's response: "That's great. More power. I don't know how they've done it, because my record is not public. I don't know where you're getting that from." Hmmmmn. Hasn't Kerry said repeatedly that all his military records have been released?

    If you're going to claim the intellectual high ground, don't be so shy about it. Have the nerve to go all the way, as Seymour Hersh did: "I think one thing you have to face up to is the fact that there are roughly 70 million people in America who do not believe in evolution -- and those are Bush supporters."



    posted by Leo Morris at # 2:23 PM

    Here's some candy; now go away, kid 

    Read a report that some people are so caught up in the election that they're going to turn their kids into campaign billboards for Halloween, plaster them with Bush or Kerry buttons and stickers. I'm not sure this is a great idea. They'll probably run into a lot of mean old men like me.

    To a Kerry-supporter trick-or-treater: Hey, kid. Looks like you got a lot more candy than any of the other children with you. Give it to me. Here now, we'll give some to Johnnny and some to Melissa and some some to Inez. Sure, I know you have more candy because you knocked on more doors and worked harder. But we have to be fair. Welcome to my world, kid.

    To a Bush-supporter kid: Hey, do you really live near here? You don't look like anyone I know. Are you sure you're not too old for this? The age limit is 12, you know. Where's your mother? Does she know you're out this late? Sorry, kid, you're not authorized.

    I really shouldn't be beating the Bush side up over the widespread perception that they're going to try to get a lot of Kerry voters disqualified or at least indimidate them so they give up without casting ballots. It's about the only tactic to use when the other side is outright telling people to go ahead and vote twice; you'll never get caught.

    Oh, well, at least the kids have lots of other options for costumes, unless, of course, they live in Canada.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 1:50 PM

    Not such an explosive issue 

    Why in the world has the Kerry campaign settled on the "missing" explosives in Iraq as its last-minute-push issue? Tommy Franks is amazed, too. The United States has managed to destroy about 400,000 tons of explosives since it's been in Iraq, while it was deposing Saddam, rebuilding the infrastructure, keeping insurgents at bay. Now, 380 tons, one-tenth of one percent -- MAY be missing, in the chaos of war. It may have gone missing before or after our arrival. We might even have destroyed it. Nobody knows. Even Bush says so. But this is proof that Bush is incomeptent?

    All it really shows is how incompetent Clueless Kerry is about articulating anything coherent about Iraq. There WERE weapons of mass destruction there, and he's arguing they may be in the hands of people who want to do us harm. Guess it wasn't the wrong war in the the wrong place at the wrong time, after all.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 1:35 PM

    100,000 dead -- and counting 

    The folks who continue to justify the Iraq war -- and the way the Bush administration has conducted it -- usually begin (and often end) with the fact that Saddam Hussein was a monster who had killed thousands of his own people -- and the Iraqis are better off with him out of power.

    Now comes a study by the British medical journal Lancet that may undercut even that argument. It concludes that the American invasion has resulted in about 100,000 civilian casualties killed by military action or the violence that has followed. Here is a news story about the study and here is a link to Lancet (you have to register -- it's free) to get its report and comment.

    Even if "freedom" really were "on the march" in Iraq, think that would make much difference if one -- or, most likely, many -- of those 100,000 souls were people you knew and loved?


    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 1:34 PM

    All the Polls that Fit . . . . 

    I don't get all my news from "The Daily Show," but last night's appearance by pollster John Zogby (the only guy who got it right four years ago) had me making late night phone calls to friends.

    Jon Stewart asked Zogby who is going to win and he said, "Kerry," without equivocating. His reason? Bush is not polling high enough for an incumbent. In fact, as Zogby said, if the election were between "Bush" and "Not Bush," "Not Bush" would win going away. "Not Bush" might even beat Kerry.

    Of course, a lot of the polls say something else.

    But this election has raised so many questions about the whole art/science of polling . . . and the rollercoaster ride is so anxiety-producing . . . and, anyway, I'm not going to change my vote or the passion behind it . . . And so I'm officially adopting this strategy through Tuesday:

    I only believe polls that make me feel better.

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 11:56 AM

    Thursday, October 28, 2004

    Decline and fall 

    This article from the American Prospect crystallized something important for me.

    I don't hate George W. Bush. Really. But I do hate what his success says about the United States of America. In an earlier post, I mentioned a study that suggests that a disturbing number of Bush supporters are unaware of basic facts about Iraq and the view of America in the world. In addition, an overwhelming majority of them believe that Bush's positions on many international issues are exactly the opposite of what they really are.

    In the Prospect article, Jim Sleeper notes the Bush campaign's success with turning war heroes like John McCain, Max Cleland and John Kerry himself into traitorous cowards. Then he writes:

    "The republic has survived excesses like that, if barely. What really scares some of us is the foreboding that, this time, it won't outlast the swooning and the eerily disembodied cheering at those Bush revival rallies. Something has happened to enough of the American people to make some warnings by this country's own Founders leap off the page as never before.

    "As soon as King George III was gone, the Founders took one look at the American people and became obsessed with how a republic ends. History showed them it can happen not with a coup but a smile and a friendly swagger, as soon as the people tire of the burdens of self-government and can be jollied along into servitude -- or scared into it, when they've become soft enough to intimidate."

    Sleeper says that, at the time of the Constitutional Convention, the Founding Fathers were all reading Gibbon's "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire."

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 2:26 PM

    Is It a sign? 

    Is there a cosmic message in this year's World Series? The Boston Red Sox destroyed the Curse of the Bambino by winning the World Series for the first time in 86 years. And they did it in the most historic way ever -- coming back from being down 3-0 to the despised New York Yankees and then going on to sweep the Series. That's eight wins in a row.

    It's often been true that an American League win in the Series is followed by a Republican win in the election.

    But maybe the fact that the Red Sox broke their curse in the year that a Massachusetts senator is vying for the White House means a special alignment of the planets (not to mention last night's lunar eclipse!)

    Besides, this year the Red Sox and Kerry availed themselves of some pretty strong medicine. On Opening Day the Sox flew in a Navajo code talker to bless them, and that same man, Chester Nez, gave his blessing to Kerry in Albuquerque Tuesday night.

    It won't replace a successful Get Out the Vote effort, but it sure can't hurt.

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 1:19 PM

    Wishing and hoping 

    Leo, the missing explosives bombshell has not fallen apart -- not by a long shot.

    In fact, the White House's shifting stories about when they knew about it and what might have happened to those munitions provide even stronger evidence that they're desperately-seeking excuses. (Talking Points Memo has several excellent posts looking at the various tall tales.)

    Wishing won't make it so. But that's what the White House folks continue to believe. How about Dick Cheney saying that Iraq is a "remarkable success story"? Then again, I'm just a member of the "reality based community."

    BTW, I never said Bush hates women. In fact, I think he probably likes to have them around. He just doesn't like them as much as he likes his corporate and religious-right sponsors who don't want to pay decent wages and who believe wives should be subordinate to their husbands.

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 11:46 AM

    Wednesday, October 27, 2004

    October surprise 

    Now that the "missing explosvives" bombshell has fallen apart faster than a Bush National Guard memo, and the New York Times joins CBS news at the bottom of the "We're for Kerry and don't care how we have to get it done, so get out of here with your stupid credibility nonsense" pile, Kerry clearly needs a different October surprise. Maybe he should try this, which is right up there with the flu-vaccine shortage. I'm sure Bush knew about this -- in fact, he was probably warned and chose to ignore it, despite the terrible hardships it will inflict on the Americn people. Carol, you can add this to the list of reasons to hate Bush. It's not up there with "he clearly hates women," but I'm sure it could get some traction.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 5:49 PM

    It wouldn't be ALL bad 

    Now that I've mentioned the horrifying possibility of a Kerry win, I should note that there are at least two reasons conservatives won't have lost everything if Bush doesn't win re-election:

    1. Kerry in the White House cuts Hillary Clinton off at the pass for a 2008 presidential bid

    2. The likelihood of a Republican Congress will tie Kerry up in gridlock and keep domestic spending and government growth in check.

    There might be one or two more reasons to find a silver lining in a Kerry presidency, but I honestly can't think of any right now.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 5:37 PM

    Please, please, please 

    Obviously I want George Bush to win. But I have an almost equal wish: that whoever wins, either Bush or John Kerry, wins big, at least by 3 or 4 percent, so we can head off the recounts and the lawsuits and the wrangling that goes on for (at least) the rest of the year. I would like to go to bed Tuesday night (or get up Wednesday morning) with a president-elect and a losing candidate who has conceded gracefully. It goes against a lot of my local-is-better, libertarian leanings to say this, but we're LONG overdue for some sensible and uniform national election guidelines. At the top of my wish list: voting that goes on for 24 hours, or maybe even or a weekend.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 5:32 PM

    Another W.hopper 

    Here's another W.hopper to add to the collection: "W. is for Women."

    In fact, the Bush administration has reversed, or is attempting to reverse, many of the major gains made by women in the past three decades -- enforcement of equal pay laws, laws against sexual harassment, gender equality in education and sports.

    Bush's war on the poor affects women -- and children -- disproportionately: The majority of low wage earners are female, and the government "safety net" programs that offer lower income households the best chance of survival are being shredded.

    And that's before we get into issues of reproductive rights. A study last April by the National Women's Law Center provides details. It's called "Slip-Sliding Away: The Erosion of Hard Won Gains for Women Under the Bush Administration . . . ."

    But, you say, Bush seems like such a nice, compassionate conservative. Yet another study, this one by the National Council for Research on Women, suggests how he's managed to pull it off: The Administration simply has not posted the data the might provide proof of discrimination or pay inequality, or removed it from government Websites.

    So while the Bush administration uses the supposed new "freedom" of women in Afghanistan as a cover, it's doing its best to reduce the freedom of women here at home.

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 3:35 PM

    Tuesday, October 26, 2004

    Countdown 

    Last night, a friend told me she was planning to put a sign on her front door:

    1. Yes, I plan to vote
    2. Yes, I know my polling place
    3. No, I don't need a ride

    Philadelphia is a center of GOTV -- Get Out The Vote -- efforts in this swing state and we are being overwhelmed with callers and visitors making sure that we're going to get out there. Since the city is likely to go 4 to 1 for Kerry, canvassers can spread a wide net. They don't have to worry much about accidentally getting out Bush votes.

    And Bill Clinton's first appearance since his heart bypass surgery on Monday -- drawing 100,000 people -- surely energized Democrats even more. See this for a tribute to Bubba's enduring political genius. But see also this for a report on a growing "pro-Kerry" (not just anti-Bush) sentiment.

    The activity this year is unprecedented. In the first place, election officials here say there are about 100,000 newly-registered voters in the city alone -- mirroring record breaking numbers of registrations across the nation, the majority in urban, high-Democratic areas.

    But we've seen voter registration drives before. What's so unusual this year is the number of ordinary people who personally are volunteering to get out the vote for Kerry. Several friends of mine are hosting volunteers from America Coming Together and MoveOnPAC. Lawyers are volunteering for voter protection. Others are taking election day off from their jobs in order to drive voters to the polls or work phone banks.

    When I get calls from advocacy organizations and forwarded emails from Michael Moore, I'm asked not only to vote, not only to give money, but also to WORK.

    My relatives in Ohio and my friends in New Mexico, two other swing states, report the same level of activity and excitement.

    On America Coming Together's website, people in non-swing states can sign up to volunteer in swing states. There are trips from D.C., Maryland and Virginia to Ohio, from New York to Pennsylvania, from Georgia to Florida, from Chicago to Wisconsin. MoveOnPAC has set an impressive goal -- 50,000 volunteers working in 10,000 neighborhoods to turn out 440,000 voters for John Kerry -- and I wouldn't bet against them.

    Sure, there's anxiety about dirty tricks. Even stronger, though, is a sense of anticipation for a shared community experience on Election Day, a shot at making history.

    The Bush campaign also has dedicated volunteers, of course. I just don't believe that there is a matching level of interest and commitment to keep the status quo.

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 10:24 PM

    Get your wimpy newspaper off of my porch 

    Talk about an election that's too close to call: As reported earlier, President Bush's hometown paper, the Lone Star Iconoclast of Crawford, Texas, endorsed John Kerry. Now we learn that John Kerry's hometown paper, the Lowell, Mass., Sun, has endorsed Bush.

    Those of us in the news profession probably make too much of newspaper endorsements. They probably fall more into the "preaching to the choir" category than the "persuading to cross the aisle" variety. People generally read political editorials to have their views validated, not their preconceptions challenged.

    But at least we're keeping a conversation going, and if we do it well, people might even stumble across an idea or two. There might be well be ensuing arguments, people engaged in the fine art of debate. I think it's fair to say that the electorate is involved this year as they seldom have been in recent history. Those of us in the opinionatin' bidness owe it to them to provide the fodder that makes the involvement interesting.

    After my endorsement editorial ran Monday (backing Bush, of course), I received two immediate pieces of feedback that were distinctly different (we sign our editorials, so people know exactly whom to call). An acquaintance in the building thanked me for writing "such a well-done piece" that made the case for Bush so eloquently. And an ill-tempered and anonymous reader let me know he could not possibly continue to subscribe to a newspaper that would print such drivel. Obviously I had succeeded both in captivating someon's intellect and pushing someone's emotional buttons. I'll leave it up to you to decide which was which.

    The Evil Empire across the hall (we're a two-newspaper town by virtue of a joint operating agreement) a few days ago came out with its endorsement, for Kerry, lamentably. Though I found their logic faulty, their reasoning specious and their conclusions laughable, I admired their dedication in taking a stand and backing it up. They were serving their readers, even those smart enough to disagree with them.

    I reserve my scorn for those who have wimped out, those great organs of public discourse that studied all the conflicting evidence on the greatest issue of our day and ... announced they just could not make up their minds. The Cleveland Plain Dealer has just joined the Tampa Tribune (two not small newspapers) to bail on their readers. The Plain Dealer even had the audacity to say, after announcing it could not take a stand, that it trusted its readers to be able to make up their own minds.

    Well, of course we all trust our readers to make up their own minds on every issue that confronts them. We give them our advice anyway, on the theory that we might have studied the issues a little more closely and that our readers might like to have our opinion as one more piece of evidence to consider. If a newspaper is going to duck the biggest issue to confront its readers, why bother to give them an informed opinion on anything? If I were a reader of the Tribune or Plain Dealer, I'd cancel my subscription immediately. They have shown themselves, in very serious times, to not be serious participants.

    If anyone's keeping score, by the way, the latest numbers from the Editor & Publisher Web site (as of Tuesday evening), have 142 newspapers with a combined circulation of 17.5 million endorsing Kerry and 123 papers with a combined circulation of 11.5 million endorsing Bush. Don't have a fit; this ain't the Electoral College we’re talking about.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 9:41 PM

    The real John Kerry 

    People who accuse George Bush of being a liar can't quite accept that their own man is a braggart and a blowhard. Even when he's caught in outright whopper like Christmas in Cambodia, they shrug it off or ignore it. But a man who will say anything, even when it's so obviously easy to check out, cannot really be trusted.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 5:50 PM

    A stunning admission 

    So, Carol, you are "stunned" by the New York Times "revelation" that 380 tons of HMX and RDX explosives, which can be used to trigger nuclear devices, are missing from Iraq. I'm so glad you've come over to our side and finally admitted there were Weapons of Mass Destruction that might get into the hands of, oh, you know, terrorists.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 5:44 PM

    Monday, October 25, 2004

    The reality-based community 

    The news in what Bush supporters sneeringly call the "reality based community" is pretty bad. Bob Herbert's column today included a good wrapup -- Iraq, the economy, etc. -- and that didn't include the Times's stunning revelation that, by failing to secure a site where munitions were stored -- and about which it had been warned -- the United States let 380 tons of explosives be stolen, explosives that likely have been used in Iraq bombings.

    But don't expect this news to change the minds of Bush supporters. As a study by the Program on International Policy Attitudes – mentioned in a couple of blogs last week -- shows, an overwhelming number of Bush supporters not only are mistaken about generally-accepted foreign policy facts, but also about their candidate's actual positions.

    "Seventy two percent of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq had actual WMD (47 percent) or a major program for developing them (25 percent).

    "Similarly, 75 percent of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda ...”

    In addition, Bush supporters tend to believe that Bush agrees with them on issues when, in fact, he doesn't. Sixty nine percent think Bush supports the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, when he doesn't; 72 percent think Bush supports a treaty banning land mines, which he doesn't; 51 percent thinks he favors U.S. participation in the Kyoto treaty when he famously does not.

    Steven Kull, director of PIPA, provides this analysis: "The roots of the Bush supporters' resistance to information very likely lie in the traumatic experience of 9/11 and equally in the near pitch-perfect leadership that President Bush showed in its immediate wake. This appears to have created a a powerful bond between Bush and his supporters – and an idealized image of the President ..."

    Here's a very good reason why Bush is so loath to admit he's ever made a mistake.

    This is deeply disturbing, much more disturbing than, say, deciding to vote for a person because he's a regular guy or might be more fun to be around.

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 7:24 PM

    Goodness gracious 

    Leo writes: Teresa Heinz Kerry made a very dumb remark about Laura Bush never having had a real job, because she forgot about her time as a librarian and teacher. Teresa then apologized, which was classy, and Laura then said the apology wasn't necessary, which was even more gracious. ... Many women who went into corporate suites have discovered it's difficult to really have it all and are returning to home and hearth. I wonder how they'll be voting?

    Everyone's being so gracious over Teresa's super-stupid gaffe that I feel downright ungracious to point out that, in today's "Two Americas," just about the only women who have the ability to return "to home and hearth" are women with incomes the size of Teresa Heinz Kerry's.

    (That's hyperbole, of course. In fact, I know of - and greatly admire - couples who take a severe economic hit in order for one parent, usually mom, to stay home fulltime with the children.)

    But for millions of women, staying home is simply not an option. Ten million single mothers have no choice but to work outside the home to support their families, even if their children's fathers pay child support. In the recent economic downturn, single mothers - and their families - are really hurting.

    A majority of married women work because they have to – their incomes are essential to making ends meet, even more so in the past four years as middle income families are increasingly squeezed, with real income down more than $1,500 a year, and costs like health care and college tuition way up.

    It surely is in the self-interest of those women to vote for John Kerry: He supports the kind of programs for working families that the Bush administration has resisted, or tried to cut - the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Credit for lower income families, subsidized child care, after-school programs, health insurance for all children in America, a raise in the minimum wage, overtime.

    Teresa Heinz Kerry may not be able to express it, but her husband can:

    "Everywhere I go," he said in Reno last week, "I meet women working two jobs, three jobs, just to get by. And that's only counting the jobs they're paid for. After they punch out at work, many punch right back in at home for their next shift as care-giver, meal-cooker, financial-planner, house-cleaner - and all the other jobs they do to help support our families ...

    "Today, for far too many women, the American Dream seems a million miles away, because when you've barely got time to sleep – who's got time to dream?"

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 7:11 PM

    The new religion 

    Jeff Schult of Connecticut writes a follow-up to our recent exchange. I'll just quote a few of his most recent remarks and my responses.

    Jeff thinks the war on terrorism is a wash as an issue because "we have two candidates who have promised to wage a tough, aggressive war on terrorism. As president, either would have the exact same tools with which to wage the war. They both say they'll hunt the terrorists down and kill them using every means at their disposal. I believe them. I don't see how you can really draw a distinction.”

    Certainly they have both said the same kinds of things, and it's true that Kerry would have access to everything Bush now does. It's plausible to argue that, once reality set in and Kerry realized he actually had to protect the United States, he would make the right choices. But I do not believe him. Everything in his adult life – except for his very brief time in Vietnam – screams anti-war, dove, negotiator, idealist. When push, comes to shove, I fear that, in a time of war, he will study and study and study until the time to act is past. That is the distinction I draw.

    For Jeff, the "deal breaker" is the war in Iraq "and how it has turned out so far." Bush had a chance to win his vote if Iraq had come out "at this point, somehow, roughly the way his administration thought and promised it would 18 months ago."

    I can't try to convince Jeff that Bush has done everything right in Iraq, because he hasn't. Some of what’s gone wrong there can be explained by the unpredictability of war, but not all of it. The administration made some faulty assumptions and, worse, has been reluctant to make changes when the mistakes became obvious. But it seems clear that Kerry, for all his confusing rhetoric on Iraq, would not even have gone in. This is the deal breaker for me. You either believe that Bush is right that the fight against terror must be aggressive rather than defensive, or you don't. I do.

    It's pretty hard for a libertarian/conservative to disagree with Jeff here: "On domestic issues, I am concerned about Kerry's possible proclivities for spending but will count on a divided Congress for the next two to four years to keep the size of government in check. That worked fairly well during the Clinton years. And, frankly, Bush has been a horrible conservative when it comes to managing the size of government, and the conservative think tanks take him to task on it."

    I'd only point out that any conservative should carefully add up the promises made by Kerry and Bush and see which ones would cost more. Though Bush has at times been a "bad conservative," it's also fair to say that Kerry is a very good liberal. And Bush has advanced some ideas for a second term, such as simplifying the tax code and allowing younger workers to opt out of Social Security, that are truly conservative. And, frankly, I don't know that I'd want to count on Congress for anything, let alone fiscal sanity.

    I could go on – quoting Jeff and answering him – but I suspect it's pointless. He has made his gut check, and I have made mine. I doubt that all the intellectual exercises in the world would make much difference. Except for that famous handful of undecideds, people look at Bush and Kerry and see what they want to see; then they look through all the available hard evidence and settle on the part of it that supports the decision they have already made.

    Seems a lot like religion to me. I've probably argued about religion more than any other topic, and I can quote you chapter and verse on every intellectual argument there is on each side of whether there is a God or not. I finally quit the argument as exasperating and pointless. Religion is a matter of faith; you either believe or you don't. (Or, more to the point, you believe one thing or the other; accepting an intelligent design or disbelieving its existence each takes an enormous leap of faith.) Those who argue religion are trying to fit intellectual round pegs into square holes of faith. They aren't capable of being moved one way or the other by logic; they just settle on the arguments that support what they already believe.

    I think people are getting a little overwrought these days about the "divisiveness" in the country (especially in these last, intense days of a presidential campaign). Since we chose to run our politics with a two-party system, the nation is predisposed to have a more-or-less a 50-50 split. There have been exceptions – during the whole of WW II, for example, and for a few brief months after 9/11. But for the most part we've had two ways of looking at things.

    But a couple of things do bear watching. One is the likelihood that we might settle into two more-or-less permanent camps. The chance seems ever slimmer that there could be gigantic shifts in short periods (the eight years between 1964 and 1972, for example, during which we went from a landslide for Johnson to a landslide for Nixon). And our positions are becoming more like articles of faith than party affiliation or even philosophical leanings. (Yes, yes, I know, there has always been an element of faith in politics; it's just at an unprecedented level today.)

    So, no matter who wins, the country is going to be divided, which I find at least as interesting and important as who will lead us as Jeff might agree, we all have access to the same information; all the facts are there; we can all study the same history. But we come to two completely different world views. I think it might be productive to explore exactly what those world views are (less fluid than the past, more so?) and how we arrived at them. And what effect will the democratization of information (with the traditional gatekeepers less relied on) have?

    posted by Leo Morris at # 4:54 PM




    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.


     Latest posts
       •  What Now?
       •  Looking back
       •  Carol's Closing Argument
       •  Leo's closing argument
       •  Carol's Response
       •  Leo's rebuttal
       •  For Kerry, and a Kerry administration
       •  A vote for Bush
       •  Mortality, Part 2
       •  Mortality, Part 1



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