Wednesday, November 01, 2006

An Individual Republican's Smack-Down of the GOP

I have to say that, if I were RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman, President Bush, or Karl Rove (and if I had a conscience) this, from Republican Frank Schaeffer, would sting like the dickens:

I'm a Christian, a writer, a military parent and a registered Republican.

On all those counts, I was disgusted by an e-mail I just received that's being circulated by campaign supporters of Republican George Allen, who's trying to retain his Senate seat in Virginia.

The message goes like this: "First, it was the Catholic priests, then it was Mark Foley, and now Jim Webb, whose sleazy novels discuss sex between very young teenagers. ... Hmmm, sounds like a perverted pedophile to me! Pass the word that we do not need any more pedophiles in office." Democrat James Webb is a war hero and former Marine, wounded in Vietnam and winner of the Navy Cross. He was writing about class and military issues long before me and has articulated the issue of how the elites have dropped the ball on military service in his classic novel Fields of Fire. By the way, that's a book Tom Wolfe calls "the greatest of the Vietnam novels."

Mr. Webb's son is a Marine in Iraq. That's an uncommon fact in this era in which most political leaders' children act as if it is only right and proper that it's someone else's war to fight.

Mr. Webb also happens to be running against a desperate opponent supported by people who circulated the stupid e-mail, something that reminds me of a 2000 smear campaign aimed at another war hero, John McCain.

I never served in the military. It was my son's unexpected volunteering that connects me to the military family and to my country. And I've been voting Republican for years. My late father – Dr. Francis Schaeffer – was an evangelical theologian, friend to Jerry Falwell and White House guest of Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford and the first President Bush.

I have nice handwritten letters from various members of the Bush family, including Barbara, thanking me for my books on military service. So I have every reason to stay in the Republicans' good graces. (It's nice to be complimented on television by the First Lady.)

But enough is enough. I've had it with Republican smears.

The Webb e-mail is the embodiment of the cynical Republican strategists, some of whom must know the difference between fiction and nonfiction. Was Agatha Christie a murderer because she wrote about murder?

According to the Allen camp's logic, God would be a pedophile, too. After all, we Christians believe God inspired the Bible. And God-the-author chose to include the "sleazy" story about Lot offering to send out his young virgin daughters to be raped by the men of Sodom.

The Bible has masturbation scenes, rape, pedophilia and God's favorite man – King David – warming himself with a young virgin in his old age. He's the same man God tells us committed murder after he indulged his peeping Tom fantasies.

Lucky for God-the-author that He's not running against George Allen.

Monday, October 23, 2006

It's a Fact: Bush Lies

Remember when Republicans incessantly and relentlessly mocked John Kerry for his famous "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it" flip-flop on a wartime spending bill? I sure do. You know, at least Kerry could point to the fact that he did vote differently on the same subject in two different moments. Regardless of what it says about Kerry's lack of convictions, or his inability to articulate what he was trying to say, it's at least a true statement in some measure: Kerry actually did vote for an $87 billion wartime spending measure that he supported before voting against another alternative $87 billion wartime spending measure that he did not support.

Then there's Bush ... who just out-and-out lies.

Notice the ghost-town silence among conservative bloggers when Bush lies.

This time, there's no equivocation about it; and Bush can't even articulate even a feeble defense of his position, as Kerry was able to.

Here's an explanation and a take-down of the duplicity and outright lies of Bush. Here's the relevant part of the transcript in a Bush interview with George Stephanopolous:

STEPHANOPOULOS: James Baker says that he’s looking for something between “cut and run” and “stay the course.”

BUSH: Well, hey, listen, we’ve never been “stay the course,” George. We have been — we will complete the mission, we will do our job, and help achieve the goal, but we’re constantly adjusting to tactics. Constantly.
And Andrew Sullivan links to a YouTube clip of Jon Stewart who just blasts Bush on the point. Check it out and let me know who's worse: Flip-flop Kerry or Lying Bush.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Ba "Rock On!" Obama

This speech is so awesome and inspirational, I almost can't contain myself with a swelling and emotional pride that this man is a liberal and a Democrat. He represents precisely why I am a liberal Democrat. The whole speech is incredible, from start to finish; but I found his concluding segment to be humbling, utterly beautiful, and stunningly magnificent:

So let me end with another interaction I had during my campaign. A few days after I won the Democratic nomination in my U.S. Senate race, I received an email from a doctor at the University of Chicago Medical School that said the following:

"Congratulations on your overwhelming and inspiring primary win. I was happy to vote for you, and I will tell you that I am seriously considering voting for you in the general election. I write to express my concerns that may, in the end, prevent me from supporting you."

The doctor described himself as a Christian who understood his commitments to be "totalizing." His faith led him to a strong opposition to abortion and gay marriage, although he said that his faith also led him to question the idolatry of the free market and quick resort to militarism that seemed to characterize much of President Bush's foreign policy.

But the reason the doctor was considering not voting for me was not simply my position on abortion. Rather, he had read an entry that my campaign had posted on my website, which suggested that I would fight "right wing ideologues who want to take away a woman's right to choose." He went on to write:

"I sense that you have a strong sense of justice...and I also sense that you are a fair minded person with a high regard for reason...Whatever your convictions, if you truly believe that those who oppose abortion are all ideologues driven by perverse desires to inflict suffering on women, then you, in my judgment, are not fair-minded....You know that we enter times that are fraught with possibilities for good and for harm, times when we are struggling to make sense of a common polity in the context of plurality, when we are unsure of what grounds we have for making any claims that involve others...I do not ask at this point that you oppose abortion, only that you speak about this issue in fair-minded words."

I checked my web-site and found the offending words. My staff had written them to summarize my pro-choice position during the Democratic primary, at a time when some of my opponents were questioning my commitment to protect Roe v. Wade.

Re-reading the doctor's letter, though, I felt a pang of shame. It is people like him who are looking for a deeper, fuller conversation about religion in this country. They may not change their positions, but they are willing to listen and learn from those who are willing to speak in reasonable terms - those who know of the central and awesome place that God holds in the lives of so many, and who refuse to treat faith as simply another political issue with which to score points.

I wrote back to the doctor and thanked him for his advice. The next day, I circulated the email to my staff and changed the language on my website to state in clear but simple terms my pro-choice position. And that night, before I went to bed, I said a prayer of my own - a prayer that I might extend the same presumption of good faith to others that the doctor had extended to me. [Emphasis is mine.]
Amen, brother! I will follow this incredible leader all the way to the White House, because that is most certainly where he is heading. He is the real deal.

Monday, June 12, 2006

COHA on WHINSEC: "Torture is Un-American"

The Council on Hemispheric Affairs comments on the legacy of the U.S.'s training of Latin American military officers at the WHINSEC (Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly the SOA or School of the Americas). Combining the current anti-terrorist fears in the U.S. public, an administration policy that tends to ignore or dismiss torture as legitimate interrogation techniques, and border security concerns, one wonders if WHINSEC might not just stay open, but might also ramp up its old ways again.