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October 15, 2004

Common Decency

Hugh Hewitt's Weekend Symposium question is a good one: "How deep a hole have John Kerry, Mary Beth Cahill and the Edwards dug for themselves? How lasting the damage?

Before I answer this, I have to ask myself a question: how cynical do I feel about my fellow American?

I thought about it for a moment, and answered "pretty dang cynical".

Let's talk about it.

What does it take to be a Kerry supporter in this election?

To buy the Kerry line to the point that you consider him presidential material, you have to simultaneously believe that:

  • George W. Bush was responsible for a recession that began well before he was nominated to run for the Presidency
  • That tax cuts on "the wealthy" were responsible for the job losses during the recession,
  • that "targeted" tax cuts given to score political points rather than foster contribution to the overall economy will be the cure...
  • ...for an economy that's growing at a healthy clip
  • That Bush "lied" by using a justification for war in Iraq that Bill Clinton and, incidentally, John Kerry and much of the liberal media wholeheartedly endorsed when their party was in power
  • that John Kerry, internationalist extraordinaire who publicly called for a "global test" on American self-defense, would act first and foremost in America's best interest
  • That "letting inspectors..." who work for an international body that was paid-off and in the tank for Hussein "...do their job" would ever have twigged to any weapons programs that Hussein did have,
  • that porous sanctions imposed half-heartedly by paid-off politicians who had a fiscal interest in the sanctions' removal would even remain in force, much less break Hussein's stride
  • that a candidate who has spent his entire political career subverting and short-changing our military, either by commission (his "Winter Soldier" testimony, his meetings with the North Vietnamese in Paris) or omission (his impatient frenzy to cash in the "Peace Dividend" by downsizing and down-budgeting the military in the nineties, and his votes under a variety of motivations against a fair chunk of our current military arsenal) will be tough on defense in the middle of a war,
  • that a man who believes that terrorism in the eighties and nineties was ever a "nuisance", and that fat 'n happy, ignorant "nuisance"-hood is a desirable state for the nation's foreign policy has the faintest intention to "hunt down and destroy" terrorists
  • that a man who has stated he'd respond to "imminent" threats - from an enemy who operates in complete, cloistered secrecy and whose operations are incredibly resistant to intelligence-gathering efforts - is capable of even recognizing the threat we face, much less effectively dealing with it
  • That ceding our health care system to government control will, in abeyance of market laws, make health care simultaneously more affordable and yet better (all the while with John Edwards' strings being pulled by the Plaintiff's Bar)
  • That decades of voting for abortion, even partial-birth abortion, are consistent with the rigorous Catholic faith of the good altar-boy
Given a population segment that must simultaneously buy all of those premises (or choke back their horror at them, which may be worse), how big a stretch is it to assume that they'd be equally facile at ignoring the deeply-hypocritical assault on Mary Cheney's privacy and basic human dignity?

To become part of Kerry's base, you must ignore so much reality, suspend so much disbelief, and employ such Kerri-Strug-like logical gymnastics, it beggars the imagination to believe anyone in that base would even bat an eye at their candidate's hypocritical, calculated "faux pas".

Among the swing voter? You must again ask yourself how cynical you feel about your fellow voter.

I live in Saint Paul, heart of liberal darkness, and Twin City of Minneapolis, "Berkeley on the Prairie". I may not be the one to ask.

Posted by Mitch at October 15, 2004 05:04 PM | TrackBack
Comments

You get bonus points for difficulty for working in the Keri Strug reference.

Posted by: Dodd at October 15, 2004 07:22 PM

There are no Kerry supporters, of course. Just Bush-haters.

Posted by: Eliza-beta at October 16, 2004 08:05 AM

Wo0oo! SOmetimes you make ti too easy.

But for starters, can you help me figure out how March 2001 is well before the 2000 nomination convention. Can you show me where Senator Kerry said we would have to pass a test BEFORE we premptively defend ourselves and finely, I've read the transcripts and can't find anywhere a deeply-hypocritical assault on Mary Cheney's privacy and basic human dignity. In fact, When Edwards brought up the same thing, Cheney thanked him for his kind words.

Talk about making shit up!

I don't hate Bush, but we've tried it his way for almost four years and it looks like we have a big giant mess. And it's not the mess that is what makes it difficult for me to consider his re-election, it is the fact he doesn't even recognize that there is a problem.

Flash

Posted by: Flash at October 16, 2004 08:30 AM

Hewitt replays this stuff over and over again. Reminds me of a 2-year old that wants to play the same Blue's Clues video every day. Nothing wrong with that I guess, just something the saintly Hugh will eventually grow out of after he matures from mental midget status.

Posted by: hrunzik at October 16, 2004 08:51 AM

Flash: I must need to make it easier.

"But for starters, can you help me figure out how March 2001 is well before the 2000 nomination convention."

It was *January* 2001:

http://money.cnn.com/2004/01/22/news/economy/nber/

And even if it were March, the notion that an administration can cause a recession at all, much less within two months of getting into office, is ludicrous. Of course, the roots of recession are *long* before the official beginning, always; Bush must have been busy in the days between the inauguration and the official beginning.

" Can you show me where Senator Kerry said we would have to pass a test BEFORE we premptively defend ourselves"

Doesn't matter. Passing ANY global test, ever, is unacceptable. The notion of subjecting US policy to French and Belgian and Sudanese review alone should get Kerry and any other adherent laughed out of office.

" and finely, I've read the transcripts and can't find anywhere a deeply-hypocritical assault on Mary Cheney's privacy and basic human dignity. In fact, When Edwards brought up the same thing, Cheney thanked him for his kind words."

It was wrong in both cases. Family - at least, family who aren't involved in the campaign - are always off limits.

"Talk about making shit up!"

You're forgiven. :-)

Hrunzik: Is there some sort of point in there?

Posted by: mitch at October 16, 2004 09:15 AM

Even If I give you January 2001, your comment was 'recession that began well before he was nominated to run for the Presidency" And that is just a falacy! No one has ever blamed Bush for the recession, and if they have, they are shortsighted. But GW made decisions that have not provided a very good environment for recovery. You may disagree, but you can't hide from the numbers that tend to favor my view.

Test: I believe we have a responsiblity to make sure the world understands why we MADE (past tense) decisions, and a commitment to our countrymen we won't do it blindly. You seem to disagree, and that is why we are voting for two different men.

Cheney had brought up his daughter in this campaign before Kerry's comments, making it fair game. What Kerry said was innocent, and clearly not some hypocritical assault. You should have been as outraged when Cheney brought it up for political purposes.

Flash

Posted by: Flash at October 16, 2004 09:30 AM

"Even If I give you January 2001, your comment was 'recession that began well before he was nominated to run for the Presidency" And that is just a falacy!"

The roots of the recession began at least a year before January 2001.

And in any case, it's all embroidery around my original point; that to believe Kerry, you have to believe that a recession that started *days* after Bush took office was Bush's fault!

" No one has ever blamed Bush for the recession, and if they have, they are shortsighted."

Well, we can at least meet halfway. Plenty have - spend a nauseating day reading Atrios or any of the other giggly fratboys.

" But GW made decisions that have not provided a very good environment for recovery. You may disagree, but you can't hide from the numbers that tend to favor my view."

I don't need to hide from them. I can body-slam them without breaking a sweat. Bush's tax cuts *financed* the recovery.

"Test: I believe we have a responsiblity to make sure the world understands why we MADE (past tense) decisions,"

Quick - show me where Kerry was talking in the past tense.

" and a commitment to our countrymen we won't do it blindly. "

Which Bush did not do.


"Cheney had brought up his daughter in this campaign before Kerry's comments, making it fair game."

Disgree. If you and I were running for office, and either of us mentioned that we were divorced (as opposed to using it as a key plank of our campaign - and even Willis isn't stupid enough to argue that...er, maybe he is. Back on point here...), it'd be one thing. IF either of us then turned around and used that fact to wave in the face of the other's constituents to say "look at what a hypocrite he is, preaching family values!!!", which is exactly what Kerry did, it'd be pretty low-rent. Which is what Kerry's statement was.

" What Kerry said was innocent, and clearly not some hypocritical assault. You should have been as outraged when Cheney brought it up for political purposes."

Posted by: mitch at October 16, 2004 09:45 AM

The article you refer to is a much cited article by the Right. It mentions that the NBER is re-evaluating the start of the recession, to place it as early as Nov 2001. When you visit their site http://www.nber.org/cycles/main.html they have clearly determined that there was no change in the date of the recession, and still post the Novemeber 2001 report, and later a October 2003 position paper on Recession dating

"The National Bureau's Business Cycle Dating Committee maintains a chronology of the U.S. business cycle. The chronology identifies the dates of peaks and troughs that frame economic recession or expansion. The period from a peak to a trough is a recession and the period from a trough to a peak is an expansion. According to the chronology, the most recent peak occurred in March 2001, ending a record-long expansion that began in 1991. The most recent trough occurred in November 2001, inaugurating an expansion."

http://debates.org/pages/trans2004a.html

"you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons"

DID: Past tense!

And finally, the question Kerry was addressing asked "Do you believe homosexuality is a choice? "

Kerry responded "We're all God's children, Bob. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as."

I believe it was a fair and appropriate response, since Cheney had already invoked his daughter in the campaign. You do not, and I respect that!

Now go do your show! Unfortunately, I'll be watching the Gophers!

Flash

Posted by: Flash at October 16, 2004 10:08 AM

Maybe you can add to your list-"The 250,000 troops we put in Kuwait to force Saddam to readmit the UN weapons inspectors were not a distraction from the War On Terror, but the 150,000 troops in Iraq now are".

Posted by: Terry at October 16, 2004 12:15 PM

Cheney has not brought up his daughter--when asked he spoke of his family.
When John Edwards brought up Mary the VP with class responded with a thank you and effectivly cut off the discussion of heer.
Kerry was not debating Cheney and he (I would bet a million or two) has never had a discussion of homosexuality with Mary Cheney so why should he presume to know what she thinks

Posted by: bethl at October 16, 2004 07:46 PM

Tuesday, August 24, 2004; Devenport, Iowa

"Lynne and I have a gay daughter, so it's an issue our family is very familiar with," Cheney said as his daughter Mary stood in the audience. He said he opposes the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage that Bush has endorsed.

"But the president makes basic policy for the administration," he added.
==
Mary Cheney is director of vice presidential operations for the Bush campaign
==

The VP brought her into the rhetoric long before the 3rd debate.

Posted by: Flash at October 16, 2004 09:55 PM

From the Seattle Times: InfoSpace shares in 2000 the year the company stock price collapsed from $277 to less than $9 per share during the dot-com crash. That, my friends was the acknowledged beginning of the Clinton Recession. Fact! Great observations, Mitch. You really do make it too easy. Then again, so do they.

Posted by: Mr.Atos at October 16, 2004 11:29 PM

Do you see a pattern here:
- recession "starts" when you first see the results;
- terrorism "starts" when the first (second?) plane hits the WTC
- corporate corruption "starts" when you bring the first indictment

Others of us see the roots to all if this in the years leading up to the current administration, i.e. during the Clinton years - lax on terrorism, lax on SEC investigations, left on economics and taxes.

Posted by: AlrightAlready at October 17, 2004 06:32 AM

Flash, it doesn't matter whether Cheney discussed his daughter or not. The question was about whether being gay was a choice or not. There are many thoughtful and eloquent arguments for both points of view, and it was not necessary to use any individual as an example when answering the question.

The debate was supposed to be about the candidates and their policies, Kerry chose to analyze one of his opponents' children rather than give a straight answer about what he believes.

Kerry put words into the mouth of a person he does not know, and chose that person simply because of her relationship to the VP.

It was a tasteless and opportunistic political stunt.

From the media coverage it appears that even a majority of Democrats agree.

It's a shame that you don't get it.

Posted by: Lin at October 17, 2004 08:57 AM

Flash - question to you - From what he said in the debate (and only what he said in the debate) - What is Kerry's opinion about whether HE thinks homosexuality is a choice?

Take your time.

If you can give me an answer, great. Skip the rest of this post. If you can't - does it bother you that instead of giving a clear direct answer, he chose to give what he thinks someone else's opinion is?

Posted by: Trickster at October 17, 2004 11:42 AM

Both Edwards and Kerry invoking Mary Cheney makes it clear it was part of a concerted strategy. Now the question is were their intentions benign, or not? The only logical conclusion is that their intentions were not benign, and an underhanded attempt to use Cheney's family against him politically. No other reason to bring it up, none.
Cheney thanked Edwards trough gritted teeth only to be a gentleman.

Flash -- Even if Kerry's Global Test is an after-the-fact meeting to 'regain' trust of allies, it's still a ridiculously stupid concept. Why should we have to justify ourselves to the countries that were being bribed by Iraq to maintain support of Saddam??? Kerry's foreign policy strategy, THROUGHOUT HIS LONG AND UNDISTINGUISHED CAREER, is always:
1) Trust your enemies and fake allies
2) Bad mouth your true allies
3) Question and undermine every war effort while we still have soldiers in harm's way, thus strengthening the resolve of our enemies
4) Seek permission and legitimacy from corrupt international bodies before acting in America's best interest

His global test is not after the fact. He stated in his acceptance speech that he would respond vigorously when attacked. He made no mention of preemptive attacks to protect the U.S. He has done so since, but that only serves to illustrate that he'll say anything, anytime, about the WoT.

The world loves a weak America. They will get it with John Kerry.

Posted by: chris at October 17, 2004 01:36 PM


Lin: What is more shameful, the father bringing it up in the first place, or someone else mentioning it later within an appropriate context.

Trickster:
""What is Kerry's opinion about whether HE thinks homosexuality is a choice?""

He did give a direct answer which was pretty clear, he feels it is NOT a choice, that it is a predispostion. If you are going to play the 'Didn't answer the questions game' Tell me why GW's answer to most everything was to bring up 'Leave the Children Behind Act' whether it was Jobs, economy, and the like. Kerry answered most questions in context, GW struggled in that department.

Chris:
The only strategy is the one the GOP is fronting once Cheney created the wedge issue in Iowa late August. The GOP decided to flip flop on whether they thought it was appropriate to use Mary Cheney in the discussion. It was fine for them, when it served their purpose, but when they realized they were losing the battle, they took the hard nose approach.

I'm a reasonable guy, and look for honest debate, but if you folks are going to throw all objectity out the window, then you are nothing more then pawns of the RNC.

Kerry is not the perfect candidate, but GW has simply not been a very good President. We've tried it his way for almost 4 years and frankly, it has been pretty embarrassing. I'ld like to give someone else a shot, cause 4 more years of this will be too much for the country to handle!

Posted by: Flash at October 17, 2004 02:38 PM

Why don't you include the question the VP was asked in Iowa----this was not a out of the blue--mention gay daughter moment.
If I had millions to bet, I would bet that John Kerry has never had a conversation with Mary Cheney on homosexuality. Therefore he has not a clue about what she thinks--he only knows what he thinks she should think. Pompous, arrogant, conniving a**hole.

Posted by: bethl at October 17, 2004 03:07 PM

I am a lifelong Democrat. I voted for Nader in '00 to make a point when I was reasonably assured that Gore would win my then state of residence, Wisconsin. Hardly an RNC pawn am I.

I would very likely vote for a Zell Miller/Joe Lieberman Democrat who actually gets the WoT and refuses to give aid and comfort. Then with a GOP Congress I'd get the divided government I prefer (because when either party controls the White House and Capital they tend to spend like drunken sailors). However, the first priority is to win the war, and when I think of winning wars 'John Kerry' is not the first name that comes to mind.

The ethic here seems simple to me: I can talk about my children. You can't. And vice versa.

And if you're going to talk about my children to serve your own purposes, be prepared for the consequences.

Posted by: chris at October 17, 2004 03:38 PM

"Wedge issue"

Definition: An issue which has nearly 70% of the American public on one side, and liberals on the other.

Thus if a Conserative takes a position backed by 70% of the public, he or she is raising a "wedge issue."

Posted by: James Ph. at October 17, 2004 03:48 PM

Flash -
Under Bush ---
Economy - 4% growth for the last 10 quarters
Unemployment - presently 5.4 %
Iraq - Saddam gone, Fallujah under the gun, elections in January
Afghanistan - Taliban deposed, Al Quaeda base disrupted, recently held elections, bin Laden probably dead.
US - no further terrorist attacks.

Re: Kerry/Edwwards ----
False spectres of renewed draft (a Democratic idea - not Bushes) and failure in Iraq (where we fail only if we give up).

An inability to tell the truth about the economy, the war in Iraq, their "liberal" voting records - or even stem cell research. Among other things.

Kerry specifically ----
An inability or unwillingness to answer the Swift Boat Vet questions honestly and staightforwardly. An inconsistency in his recitation of his own history that is a direct indicator of a congenital and systematic liar. A history of answering any negative information with threats of legal action and future reprisal rather than honest answers. A history of disregard for the Constitution of the United States (specifically for the First, Second and Fourth Amendments as evidenced by his 19 year voting record) that is inconsistent with the desire to take the Presidential oath to preserve and protect the intent of that document. A lack of understanding of the effect his words can have (as in his support for Haiti's Aristide which generated a surge of violence in Haiti). To say nothing of the effect his words have had in the past - witness the Swift Boat and POW opposition to his presidential aspirations.

No - I don't think Bush is the "perfect" President, but he's light-years ahead of Kerry.

Posted by: bear at October 17, 2004 08:48 PM

Bear:
"No - I don't think Bush is the "perfect" President, but he's light-years ahead of Kerry."

I guess we'll find out in four years or so when we can compare presidencies *grin*

Flash

Posted by: Flash at October 17, 2004 09:30 PM

"... cause 4 more years of this will be too much for the country to handle!"

Flash, when you make "Drama Queen" statements like this, do you hold the back of your hand to your forehead?

Posted by: Trudger at October 17, 2004 10:26 PM

"What is more shameful, the father bringing it up in the first place, or someone else mentioning it later within an appropriate context."

Flash - even in this hypothetical situation, it is the parents' right to speak about their children, and in this case we must assume that Dick Cheney has license from his daughter to do so, since it's been brought up a few times before. If Mary has given him permission, then there is no harm done.

Again, there was no "appropriate context" for Kerry's comments. The question posed did not require the use of an example (that's why I called your statement hypothetical). Even if it did, it would only be appropriate if he had permission from the person he used. Please don't mistake the motives of any politician, especially those involved in such a high stakes campaign. Kerry used Mary Cheney for political gain, and for no other reason. I'd say the same if Bush used Kerry's or Edwards' kids as an example during the debate.

If you watched the VP debate, you could clearly see Cheney gave a somewhat chilly "thank you" and abandoned the rest of his time. He was visibly peeved, and my impression was that he chose not to exacerbate the situation by addressing Edwards' lack of propriety.

I am not trying to argue issues or who won the debate, there are plenty of folks engaged in those pursuits already. I have given no indication of who I support, and my opinion is not based on any loyalty I may or may not feel toward a particular candidate. I am simply speaking as a parent.

I don't really appreciate that you've included me in the "pawns of the RNC" statement. I assure you that you've made an inaccurate assumption.

Kerry's use of Mary Cheney was wholly inappropriate, and so was Edwards'. I would think so even if they mentioned your child without permission.

Posted by: Lin at October 17, 2004 11:47 PM

Flash - Safire says "That this twice-delivered low blow was deliberate is indisputable. The first shot was taken by John Edwards, seizing a moderator's opening to smarmily compliment the Cheneys for loving their openly gay daughter, Mary. The vice president thanked him and yielded the remaining 80 seconds of his time; obviously it was not a diversion he was willing to prolong. Until that moment, only political junkies knew that a member of the Cheney family serving on the campaign staff was homosexual. The vice president, to show it was no secret or anything his family was ashamed of, had referred to it briefly twice this year, but the press - respecting family privacy - had properly not made it a big deal. The percentage of voters aware of Mary Cheney's sexual orientation was tiny. But Edwards's answer in the vice-presidential debate raised that percentage. Because Cheney refused to react and the media did not see the spotlight on lesbianism as part of a political plan, the opening shot worked."

Cheney did not bring it up, and his "thanking" edwards was pure manners.

One less straw to cling to.

Posted by: Alison at October 18, 2004 07:52 AM

Flash wrote:
"I guess we'll find out in four years or so when we can compare presidencies *grin*"

LOL!!! Dont bet the farm on it, babe.

I notice you had no defense for Kerry's past or present performance - what makes you think you'd have anything to celebrate with regard to his future performance?

Posted by: bear at October 18, 2004 11:31 AM

I think we need to discuss the impact that obesity adds to health care costs in our nation and if obesity is a choice or you are born with over eating tendencies. Maybe John Edwards wife could comment on that. Is there a study she could share that would demonstrate how many pounds the average american has gained since George Bush has become president and how she may feel Bush has led this country to being overwieght.

We could ask John Edwards about this very important domestic issue, but Edwards lack of comments shows he is probably ashamed of his wifes tendencies and he has not been clear whether he feels obesity is something you are born into or a choice?

Posted by: The Doctor at October 18, 2004 04:10 PM

" Maybe John Edwards wife could comment on that"

Ouch. What would the reaction be if a republican actually said that on TV?

Posted by: jarhead at October 18, 2004 11:03 PM
hi