Where not to find real family values in Washington State
When it comes down to the nitty gritty, we as attention-paying citizens or don't-give-a-damn citizens need to come out
of the closet. We need to admit who or what we stand for and declare what philosophy and policies best reflect our concerns.
If we are most focused on American Idol, Nascar, the Oklahoma City Sonics and crime shows, let's just stay where we are,
with asses super-glued to the couch.
If we are paying even slight attention to what is going on, listening even with half an ear to campaign slogans, television
sound bytes and what passes for popular journalism in this country, let's make a real appraisal of who stands for what?
I'll start with Republicans because appraising most Democratic policies really means labeling Demo priorities as corporate
Republican values moderated in a lefterly direction.
We have discredited Republicans on their last lap of driving this machine with one hand on the steering wheel and the
other hanging out for lobby money.
Republicans have one foot pressing metal to the floor and the other nowhere near the brakes.
Because McCain and his party have only one single song to sing ...
America is at War!
American lives need to be lived in a wartime environment.
American citizens need to practice a total deferral to the self-defined patriotism of the elect.
Republicans continue to insist that American citizens absolutely must trust their future to those few at the top of the
power pole who want to replace the current benchwarmers. Only this time there is some combat experience that boils down to
John McCain's trigger-happiness and his dubious declarations that in addition to sound generalship, he is also highly informed
and experienced in domestic matters.
Given the Cheney/Bush version of urgency and importance of the need for a coherent national security objective guided
by wise, strong, stubborn and insensitive leadership, Republicans insist that we must accept all this in its continuing context.
State Republicans make the same insistence. If you trust the BIAW and candidate Rossi with their corporatist view of
what's best for working families and the poorest among us, here is the national and state Republican Platform in a large nutshell:
(1) We must fight the war on terror while remaining strictly stuck with the Republican Tax Cut Experiment which has not
helped Mr. Bush avoid being a president who has presided over national economic failure.
If we want to vote Republican we are then left to hope for the best but continue to expect the worst and recognize that
the burden of middle class taxes are going to continue paying for our prosecution of the war on terror and no-bid contracts
to non-family oriented business.
(2) We will prosecute the war on terror in a pay-off-the-national-debt circumstance created by this administration that
will be an ongoing burden on our grandchildren.
Trillions of dollars of debt generated by a Republican party that has always labeled Democrats as "taxers and spenders"
is not something Leno and Maher can make jokes about.
Rather, the Republican Party's solution to all economic woes - as highlighted by that mental economic genius, John McCain
- is for Republicans to be the "tax-cutters and spenders" party.
(3) We will continue to prosecute a war on terror while in the Bush 3rd term John McBush and his party are baiting us
with the phrase "ownership society."
Ownership society to Republicans is in reality merely another means of generating - you guessed it - more profits for
"Owning" health care, retirement, education and homes only happens when you "buy" something from chosen lobbied corporate
interests (see Medicare D plan), "invest" in something to own or by patriotically consuming what the Jones are already consuming
so as to keep up civic duty.
(4) We will prosecute the war on terror while an ungodly number of us go without access to adequate health care. That's
one thing tens of millions of Americans could use ownership of. Of course the rest of we middle classers do "own" always-increasing
health care premiums.
Somehow I fail to see how this helps the troops, keeps terrorists at bay, or will make it easier when we invade Iran
in order to secure whatever non-attention-paying Americans (apparently the largest voting block in the state and nation) will
buy into as a security blanket worth supporting.
(5) We will prosecute the war on terror while the Republicans - under the guise of "ownership society"- preside over
corporate reductions and/or eliminations of pension funds.
Why is it that we must be patriotic and support a "conservative" tax-cut and spend commander-in-chief under this circumstance?
(6) We will prosecute the war on terror while Republicans who pretend that the extreme Christian Right represents the
majority of American Christian voters.
The Republicans will continue to be willing to work hand in glove with the Christian Zionists to encourage Israel to
widen it's borders in order to look like the Israel of prophesy. Otherwise, in the John Hagee playbook, Jesus and his Armageddon
Asteroid cannot End the Times and leave all of us more liberal-minded Christians Behind.
Your Republican Party thinks more of these folks than the attention-paying voters who live and work all around us.
(7) Republicans will continue our "war on terror" all the time camouflaging an absolute conviction on the part of failed
foreign policy theorists that American might is the brave new world of the future ...
... that American might will facilitate our continued consumption of an inordinate share of energy reserves.
Because we can, that's why.
(8) Republicans will forever deny any criminality on the part of their pseudo-religious political shill who did their
bidding when they thought they would have the majority votes forever.
Under Republicans we will prosecute an ongoing string of military adventures that will continue to cost the precious
blood of our children. These folks will continue the patriotic hypocrisy that ignorantly and naively assumes that the poor
and middle class of this country constitute a willing and unlimited supply of military manpower for decades to come.
These things are what the Republicans did not and will not tell you. They want to prosecute the war on terrorism and
do it in terms of maintaining their own discredited and - when it comes to corporate welfare - dishonest domestic economic
It does not matter what you and I think so long as they are in power. Only you and I can take this out of their hands.
They will not change things unless we intervene.
So all you self-styled economic sophisticates who have bought into Republican capitalism worship keep your heads in the
sand. If you cannot see just how many corporations in this country are only showing profits primarily through government intervention,
bail-outs and contracts - you go ahead.
Reveal to the rest of us just how poorly you understand the less-government-more-free-enterprise ticket.
Grover Norquist may someday buy you a latte from the last standing Starbucks after the government becomes so small it
goes down the bathtub drain.
Of course you may be standing behind the Starbucks counter brewing and serving the latte yourself.
Grover won't mind. He's smarter than you in a really dumb way.
So all you righteous Christians who see John McCain as led by George Bush who is led by God to export war and death to
As we attempt to impose a fake American dominance on the world based on our national credit rating and economic extortion
backed by big-stick-waving, go ahead and look the other way while your narrow morality authorizes a trashing of the American
Those of you who have been politically born again into the cult of a Republican Jesus, can keep insisting that Jesus
would vote the same way; would advocate for George Bush and John McCain on FOX , Limbaugh's program - even the 700 Club
- and would go along with the deaths of civilian men, women and children in Iraq or anywhere else as "acceptable collateral
If you think John McCain on the national stage and Dino Rossi and his fellow BIAW-paid for philosophical automatons inside
this state hold the key to wise governance, you still haven't done your homework.
The holes in your common sense and civic wisdom remain vast and empty.
The horse the McCain Gang rode in on ain't the horse of Barry and his true conservative
By the way, don't think this article is limited to national politics.
In Washington State the BIAW and Deputty Rossi are part and parcel of this
whole failed philosophy.
Finally, we have the two nominees from the major parties.
Relief from the election is now less than five months away. The contrast between
candidates only more fully emphasizes the contrast in parties.
Much is being written now about the potential demise of the Republican Part as consituted
over the past 30 years. Republicans, for the most part rose to electoral majority and congressional power using tactics of
anger, divisiveness and the most serious degradation of polical civility in the past 100 years.
Nationally, the party now faces the ironic appropriateness of a presidential candidate
in his 70's who primarily touts what are now old tired lines the next generation ingnores in his campaign accurately characterized
as the 3rd term of George W. Bush?
John Dean writes in Conservatives Without Conscience how the co-founder of the National
Review, James Burnham, in a 1959 attempt to blend real-world politics with intellectual conservatism, distilled a 13-statement
list of point-by-point comparatives to liberal positions that differentiate between the two. Of his list, Burnham declared,
"Whether the cause of this linkage - which is not absolute, of course - is metaphysical,
social or psychological, we do not need to decide in order to observe that it exists." (Dean, page 9) Metaphysical, social
How about 50 years later we use the words supernatural, socio-pathic, psycho-pathic
or just plain Left Behind?
Here's the list as quoted in Dean's book.
(1) There is a transcendent factor vital to successful government.
(2) Human nature is corrupt, and therefore conservatives reject all utopian solutions
to social problems.
(3) Tradition must be respected, and when change is unavoidable it must be undertaken
(4) Governmental power must be diffused and limited by adhering to the "separation
of powers" and "checks and balances" of the Constitution.
(5) Direct democracy must be rejected because people are not well informed and are
(6) [Conservatives believe] in States Rights
(7) Each branch of government must be autonomous and must resist encroachment or
usurpation by any other
(8) Public support of limited government must be encourage in order to keep government
(9) The Constitution's principles have permanent value
(10) Government must be decentralized and localized so that power is diffused
(11) Private enterprise should be encouraged.
(12) Morality begins with the individual
(13) Congress should be more powerful than the executive branch.
Having successfully and specifically exploited number (5) for seven years, the current
Republican talking point Presidential electoral project implies that the (1) "transcendent factor vital to successful government"
The corruption of human nature is considerably less dim than the corruption of the
corporate nature. The abuse of corporate "personhood" identity has deteriorated to volumes of legislated non-Constitutional
inequality: specific partisan legislation on behalf of non-mortal corporate "persons" at the tragic expense of human citizen
Our contemporary Republican self-styled "conservatives" of this generation have no
notion of change undertaken cautiously and gradually. What has become unavoidable is change based upon greed.
Invoking the fear-based metaphysics of (1) against those described in (5) above,
we see a Republican suppression of separation of powers, checks and balances and all that lie in the venue. This was quite
aptly expressed by Naomi Wolf last year in her history article:Fascist America in Ten Easy Steps.
Included in those "Ten Easy's " are
Set up and internal surveillance system
Harass citizen's groups
Arbitrary Detention and Release
Target key individuals
Control the Press
Dissent = Treason
Suspend the rule of law.
Yeah, and so much for autonomous resistance of encroachment and usurpation. States
"No Child Left Behind" and the Abandonment of Common Sense?
Imperialist invasion and occupation supported significantly by National Guard and
Well, the Conservative Republican version was probably still alive in the 70's, when
Goldwater and Dirkson told Nixon to get his ass out.
By the 1990's limited government merely an on-going talking point until the Gingrich-Delay
Republican unwise governance.
Until of course the manipulated election of a manipulated candidate so short of wit,
wisdom and maturity that he will be without peer the most incompetent Republican ever to sit in that office.
Permanency of Constitutional Values? Enter the pulpit-pounding hypocrisy of today's
social conservatives who dominate a party that has included the not-infrequent talking point of Gay Marriage as the overriding
issue facing this country.
Yeah, and so much for decentralized localized government and diffused power.
"Private enterprise" - in terms of small-business entrepreneurs is the talking point
joke behind which big business sucks at all the biggest troughs. Under the current Republican Conservatism, the Depart of
Labor should be renamed the Department of Corporate Welfare.
Morality begins and ends with the individual. It doesn't spill and splash from a
pulpit nor self-promote itself as an artificial and manufactured construct entitled "Morale Values."
Congress more powerful than the Executive Branch? I think that means that legislation
and policy are the purview of represented electorate. Execution of the law - putting into effect the will of the people -
every four years that's what we hire (or rehire) the President to do.
If we "conservatively" applied this last notion, future candidate posturing during
presidential elections would be mere taking point politics and implied influence sans a lot of the "when I'm President I will
- " nonsense.
This is what John McCain and his party have come to and what they are asking voter
permission to continue. If the majority vote him into office this people will confirm what most of us already suspect.
Aptly described by Oliver Lange in Vandenberg - The Journals, 1971
"We proved the lie, were served up with a gagging portion of our own vintage distillation
of apocalyptic horseshit
-- all the narcissistic swill about indomitable spirit, invincibility, courage and
nobility of purpose
-- and demonstrated once and for all
to those who looked on with interest a fact long suspected:
that this nation, through a self-administered indoctrination of spurious righteousness,
larded with the false rewards of superfluous luxury,
had at last achieved the most tractable, malleable -- let's face it, spineless --
people to walk the face of the earth."
7 February 2008 Washington State Politics
Dino wants you to think that what he does, she does
Let's see now, the Republican candidate who constantly needs a headline and issues for his own political gain wants gullible
you to believe that your governor is guilty of Republican tactics.
In Katrina/Fema/Bush fashion, Dino stumbles about levees, imposes his own bureaucratic attitude by proposing delay with
levees while the most strapped bureaucracies in the region add to their own recovery woes by taking on the levee issue without
help from Olympia?
That's a real workable proposal? Next thing you know he'll propose that the local governments can build the levee's more
cheaply by suspending the minimum wage and try it using the "George W. Bush prevailing wage tactic."
Yep, that's running the government like a business.
Millions of dollars have been wasted on what plan Dino?
What makes that plan flawed Dino?
Come on, give us details, not rhetoric.
Otherwise, Dino, aren't you just another civics-challeneged Republican inserting yourself into the only headlines available
to promote yourself as the economically wiser option?
"He's all about headlines," Arthur said, "people don't need Republican talking points that lack details or justifications.
That's the long time model that is being rejected and tossed out all over the country. "
Republican tactics in Washington State suggest that the state party is also behind the times with their own national party
which is slowly coming to understand the Limbaugh-style inflammatory accusations don't get it anymore.
If you want to be insulted by folks who think you're still gullible - even stupid - go find the next headline-grabbing
event Mr. Rossi or his party holds.
Details here do matter.
You come up with a plan Dino, make it known in details. We don't need another politician defined by one-liners lacking
Gregoire’s 2008 opponent Dino Rossi contends the governor is being too hasty with the levee plan and is inserting
too much bureaucracy into the process by suggesting the Department of Transportation lead the project.
“I think there are other options and I think local governments need to come up with them,” Rossi said. “Just
because they may have wasted millions of dollars on a plan that’s flawed doesn’t mean you should do the plan that’s
Rossi also said Gregoire is using flood issues for her own political gain. He gaffed at the governor’s recent trip
to a relief center at Baw Faw Grange in Boistfort, where Gregoire served crab cakes she won in a recent football bet with
the governor of Maryland.
“She’s all about headlines,” Rossi said. “People don’t need crab cakes, what they need is
a real solution.”
A recent Chronicle op-ed by Rossi criticized the state’s past funding issues with the flood plan and Gregoire called
it a clear and irresponsible attempt to exploit the situation.
“My main message is ‘Don’t politicize it,’ ” Gregoire said. “Nothing will get done,
and that’s the saddest outcome for the people there. They deserve better than turning this into some political campaign
American Core Values in choosing Presidents
We need someone who has seen blood flow for needless reasons and regretted it
One of the American Choices we make periodically and must always have up for review is
the one that relates to who is in charge of and manages our military resource.
We are reaching what ought to be the end-times of having to pay for our shallow civic behavior as voters who
failed to fully consider the qualifications of our elected leaders. But we are not, we will pay for our stupidity for years
The American Choice is to never again be casual nor shallow about why we support the election of specific
Personally, although having a concern for the circumstances in America and across its borders that draw those
willing to work cheaply to this country, immigration reform is not any predominant reason for casting a ballot in support
of and immigration-reforming candidate.
Personally, although concerned about public morality in an ethical sense of the highest good of all concerned,
moralizing the population based on literal-minded evangelical Christian shallow theology is the least of my priorities and
why I refuse to cast a ballot for a born-again religious stampeder.
Personally, although concerned about the massive public need for universal health coverage and overriding
the self-serving hypocrisy of corporate medicine and it's co-conspiring partners, corporate pharmacy and insurance, I would
not cast a ballot in support of a universal health care promiser running for President based on a single concern for reformation
of public health care alone.
Whoever we elect must have demonstrated experiential knowledge and not just an ability to speak about American
foreign policy and military matters. We absolutely must have the wisdom of someone who has served out there where there has
... someone who is not just a muscle-flexor, saber-rattling cheap-talk personality
with god talk, pretend patriotism and slick haircuts but no substance, but someone who has seen blood flow for needless reasons
and regretted it ...
... someone who has seen cities and villages destroyed or ruined by blind military tactics
... and who understands what really happens when generals and admirals belittle collateral damage ...
... someone who understands that intellectual advisors within his administration bearing theories based on
book-learning, pseudo-academic gurus, think tanks and the notion of historical precedents are kept on a very short leash ...
If the candidate posturing as presidential material cannot convince me of that kind of wisdom connected to
avoiding an imperialism that ignores, demeans and totally devalues the lives of non-Americans everywhere else, then my vote
Candidates who speak casually in support of Guantanamo, torture, random and unjustified human incarceration
with no ability to appeal for redress should NOT EVER BE CONSIDERED PRESIDENTIAL MATERIAL.
Criminal leadesrhip may have but America has never made a collective choice for those absolutely horrific
and shameful values.
Our leaders can never again be given an electoral approval without passing the muster of social and global
responsibility and accountability.
Try as they might, George Bush and Dick Cheney will go down in history as the absolute poorest American Presidency
As having done the greatest global harm ever ...
As the American politicians most deserving of impeachment proceeds ...
Admit it or not, McCain is now, plainly speaking, an opinionated old fart
We were in Naselle yesterday for the Democratic Precinct Caucuses. In 2006 we went to this event
where maybe 10 people sat around a table in a library meeting room. This time we were at Naselle High School in a large room
with more than 30 in attendance.
When we first arrived, one couple from Bay Center who are retired and long-time party activists (former
PCO) immediately cornered Lietta and myself, assuming that with our own activist reputation, we would most likely be willing
to join them in a symbolic vote for Kucinich so as to make a statement.
Later, into the actual caucus discussions, after they'd made their position on Kucinich known, Lietta
again stood and pleaded with them to give up the symbolic gesture, insisting that the timeliness and urgency around reversing
the Iraq situation made symbolic gestures more meaningless this time than what happened with Nader in the last two elections.
Respectfully, but forcefully, Lietta admitted that both she and I had agreed strongly with many of
his positions, but that in this cycle, Kucinich's time had come and gone. She made an impassioned plea that the couple drop
their Kucinich position and make a more pragmatic and practical choice.
Don't know what actually swayed them but they eventually shifted their support to Hillary. I'm still
struck by the fact that as much as we boomers are the generation who by now should have already handed off the reins of managing
the future to the generation that now totally owns the future, many still feel that our aging leadership have the better solutions
for that future.
McCain and Clinton campaign as if they believed that the Congress with which they'll have to work will
be full of boomer-aged politicians like themselves. That's already absolutely untrue.
Admit it or not, McCain is now, plainly speaking, an opinionated old fart - just like me. At his age
he, like me, is no longer the principal owner of the future. Only he's in the more dangerous position of hurting his and my
children than am I.
If you are not going to be around to walk alongside the generation dealing with reality, this is the
worst season to attempt to lead the charge based on political rhetoric masquerading itself as strait talk in order to pander
to varying audiences.
That's dangerously true for McCain and bluntly true for Hillary who is more than 13 years younger than
the straight-talker but still an aging boomer.
One wants to ask whether or not tribal elders have a right to remain in a saddle that no longer fits
their butts while the tribal strength and vitality - warriors, workers and their growing families stand around waiting for
the old ones to keep writing out checks that the young ones will have to cash with their bodies and souls.
We don't have that right./div>
Send the chosen one to inauguration with a real mandate
I seriously doubt that voting America is on the same page with mere continuation of proposed responsible plans. I believe
those Americans who can and will go to the polls in November are most likely going to vote what their gut has already
told them. Something is wrong ... very wrong ... and needs immediate fixing. No more promises, thank you! Immediate action
There is no need for restraint right now - as if the Iraq problem can be reduced to an exercise in political and foreign
Many seem to think that civic patience somehow means you only speak once for ten minutes every four years. The rest of
the time let someone else's magic be the civic consciousness of a nation.
"Hang in there citizens! When you vote Obama or Hillary into office, ONLY THEN can a responsible plan to stop the loss
can be worked out and implemented."
It will already be too late by then.
"Plans" that falsely justify a mean drunk staying in the house of the abused to wreak more havoc in the name
of moral responsibility is political spin. It's a spin that attempts to prey on assumed electoral gullibility.
At its manipulative best it only gets worse especially when never lessened by a media in need of money-generating pseudo-campaign
Even now we are not being guided to the moral or ethical high ground. Rather the sound bite nonsense-mongers lead us up
mere sand dunes where candidacies are too caught up in unnecessary strategy.
Voters in America are ready to rumble right now.
They are ready to generate harmonic tremors that will not fail to get the attention of those yearning to be the chosen
What is needed now is not more patience with the primary and presidental campaign process.
What is possible right here is not the mindless marching, chanting and banner-carrying protests that cause most to tune
There is in fact - right now - national arousal in terms of an unlit fuse is just waiting for ignition. It is palpable
in this country and you can feel it. Dissatisfaction and a sense of something being seriously wrong and rotten permeates the
mood of most whenever politics comes into discussion.
It would be much better if all candidates were campaigning fully aware of the magnitude of voters fed up with Iraq and
What can you do right now?
If you get polled, stick to those talking points the politicos are most nervous about. Express and emphasize unleashed
and unbridled indignation that reflects RIGHT NOW - not frustration, but genuine anger.
Delay is poor decision-making. Rather than waiting for a Tuesday in November to finally get mad, speak out now if
you are polled. And immediately start letter-writing and phone calls to those who are most nervous.
A national growl is sticking in our craws and begging release.
Don't send lazy emails that tempt your politicians to respond with cookie-cutter form letters. Write a real letter and
buy a stamp. Then pay a little more for a notification that the letter was received.
I did so recently and it cost me 65 cents. Is your feeling for your country worth a letter, a stamp and an exra 65 cents?
Or call them up.
If you'd ever heard my wife, Lietta Ruger, call her Senator or Representative you'd have heard her demand a specific response.
No form letter thank you! No aide calling back with vague promises. I have in fact listened while she demanded
a personal response from her representative.
Why not? What have you got to lose by communicating just how fed up you are?
The key is to reveal right away that we are an electorate genuinely pissed off enough to repudiate any candidate who proposes
a "plan" rather than vows to change things the very moment he/she is sworn in.
Repudiation is precisely the buzz-saw waiting for McCain and his self-absorbed assumption that America is pining
away for nothing more than another military president with no domestic or foreign policy agenda.
Newly-elected presidents need to arrive at inauguration scared, worried and nervous. They need to be sworn in fully aware
that something is expected NOW; that conditions are such that there is not going to be a 100-day honeymoon. There is no other
They will be motivated to take their hand off the Bible and immediately start giving orders to reflect a clear mandate
forced on them.
If the electorate can communicate that kind of impatience right now, a lot of muck and nonsense can be most easily
swept aside. We can narrow the range of focus in this election.
Iraq, the economy and the Bill of Rights pretty well covers it.
If whoever is elected is also running scared because the electorate has legitimately convinced the winner that now means
NOW, why would we listen to planners and political schemers and leave the door open to stall, delay and political manipulation?.
... tempting those we endorse to say to hell with what we expect.
... believing they can take just a little bit longer so they can have what they want?
Is that what you want?
Publisher, Willapa Magazine
The Most Significant Surge in America is Hope
This election is boiling down to the choice between the overdue taking of leadership by the dominant generations
versus denial; the inability to recognize the oncoming headlong rejection of the old ways of doing business.
Hillary's fading candidacy reminds me of one of the last scenes from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
in which Indy - hanging over a ledge above a chasm - finds himself barely inches from the Holy Grail.
Indy just can't quite grasp it.
Finally a voice of reason is heard from his father, played by Sean.
"Indiana .... let it go."
"But I just need to -"
"Let it go, Indiana."
In view of what has happened in an America suffering from the presidential incapacity - accurately described
by Mr. Maher last Friday night - of America's first retarded president, it might have been better had we passed
the baton back in 2000.
Speaking in fantasy, it also appears that had McCain somehow managed to avoid or overcome the total dishonesty
of the Bush campaign and managed to wrest the nomination in 2000, what would the result have been?
Ignoring the reality that Gore actually won that race, we can conclude that Mccain's apparent conscious-less
pandering in this campaign suggests how a McCain presidential campaign in 2000 would have required the same pandering to the
only political coalition that made the 2000 election close.
McCain would have needed the same kind of sleazy help actually provided to Bush in the 2000 election.
This political sleaziness constitutes the "same old same old" that politicians of my generation have
been enmeshed in for years. Only the most naive of my generation would insist that the government previously dominated by
Democrats was entirely ethically clean and free from corruption at the highest levels.
Having achieved majority status in Congress and with a haste borne of poor assumptions, elected Republicans
rushed to the pork troughs and the lobbyist all-you-can-take buffet.
They commenced their own version of "back-room deal making" with an abandon that reveals the immaturity of
their civic perceptions.
They behaved like junior high students acting out their own limited perceptions of how the government of Democrats
must have included widespread corruption, graft and opportunity. These apparently were perceived then as entitlements/spoils
of Republican victories.
It also reveals the shallow understanding of the consequences of dishonest Rovian-style Limbaugh-publicized
political discourse based on lies, distortions and hate.
The truth is that even in their most shameful moments of public stewardship, the Democratic Party - over all
those pre-1990's years of majority status - suffered much fewer embarrassments of civic failure and criminal conduct than
Republicans have managed to accomplish in their few years of recent Republican control.
These national Republicans were sustained and elected by their respective state party organizations, organizations
trained, coached and controlled by national RNC schemers.
Many of the newly elected arrived in D.C. either riding the coattails of the Bush victory based on deception
and dirty tricks, or heavily subsidized by the likes of Tom Delay-types (who then installed the lock-step device in their
That's the legacy of Republican experience.
It is this "same old same old" working environment from which and in which Hillary and McCain have
This is the ultimate weakness of Hillary's tactic of trumpeting her experience. It is perhaps an unconscious
admission on her part that business-as-usual is the only method of governing Hillary knows.
The same is true for McCain, but it involves a more gruesome and shameful truth with the Republican Party,
It's the Fear-Mongering, Stupid
McCain now has those discredited Republican minions and Bushco's economic management to thank for having to
limit himself to a Johnny One-Note campaign.
His primary selling point seems to be that he used to be in the military, that he has a Patton-like understanding
of what it means to be a commander-in-chief who presides over a nation of quivering cowards created by irresponsible and dishonest
... that he used to be a prisoner of war and therefore has an ex-prisoner's perspective against torture. Most
Americans understand that opposition to torture is an American Core Value. This ideal campaign tool has now been squandered
by expediencies of McCain's candidacy.
Problem is McCain must appeal to the same "conservative" Republican constituencies who will have been very
volatile, rigid and inconsistenlty unreliable supporters in the overall administration his presidency would entail beyond
That of course would be business as usual.
McCain's "same old same old" is worse than Hillary's.
But Hillary has the 8-year reputation of an ex-president husband who seems to have squandered much of his
own good will and popularity with his recent campaign behavior; who doesn't understand Obama's generation and doesn't know
when to shut up.
She also - when her experience is hi-lighted - has an unsuccessful attempt to reform health care 16 years
ago that collided headlong with lobbyist and Republican business-as-usual.
Including this experience, Hillary now proposes that she's learned how to fight dirty - but makes no mention
of asking citizens to help her achieve her goals without having to fight dirty.
She does not seem to be interested in cleaning house, merely sweeping out what's under the rug to make room
We boomers born in the late 40's and the 50's have had our chance with Clinton and most recently, Doofus,
who is our most recent legacy. If so, that means we muffed it when we had the chance.
The generations to whom Obama appeals OWN the future; have a right to it. These are the generations who have
gotten out TO vote, have gotten out THE vote and outnumber us older folks by tens of millions.
The foolish attempts by Hillary and McCain to cut Obama off at the knees by denigrating hope also diminish
They also expose the candidates, campaigns and party faithful who have lost a genuine hope themselves for
the pillars of what really holds this country together.
It's what's wrong when McCain and Hillary - with apparent personal arrogance - ignore the need to talk about
voters acting like citizens, who forget to mention how voters must take on-going action and personal responsibility.
You could make the case that failure to insist that post-election citizens take action causes experience-touting
candidates to seem to mimic other failures: historical leaders around the globe who've pretended to be father, mother or parent
of an entire nation.
... leaders who promised to protect citizens and fix everything needing fixing without citizen help. Few of
them are remembered as benevolent successes and most presided over failure and disaster.
We know that these "when I'm President I will ..." promises are not intended to rule out or exclude citizen
participation. However in talking in this manner, Hillary and McCain are failing to communicate any expectation or demand
of civic responsibility from voters.
Business as usual means that most of the country is purposefully left out of the action - which is what the
Republican Doofus adminstration of 2000-2008 has been all about.
Obama knows that. He is speaking to the generations that will call the shots.
America's core values are founded on hopes and expectations; attitudes that sustain or contrast actual reality.
It's a reality that may reveal the yet-to-be-corrected or something-needs-to-be-done issues that constitute life in this country.
That's why they are "core" values.
It is hope, courage and willingness to tinker with problems. It's in the attempt to change coupled with the
will to focus on equality and national security that might generate laudable civic successes.
The founding fathers were not primarily political veterans in their 50's and 60's who served based on experience
and age. The wisdom of the Constitution did not come about because 100 folks my age put the distillation of their life's experience
into the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.
That some my age contributed is true. But that the majority were of my age group is not true. They were closer
to the age of only one of the remaining leadership candidates.
But all of the founders, regardless of age, were significantly united in one of the most important attributes
demanded of leaders ... courage.
We olders owe America's youngers a greater demonstration of patriotism and the taking of responsibility for
our own governance beyond cowardly pretending that experience matters more than courage. We need to demonstrate a belief and
will to look for change when change is necessary.
We must recognize that Hillary's inability to appeal to the majority generational activism of her own party
cannot be explained away or ignored by an appeal to our fears of another "My Pet Goat president" if that moment tragically
A real leader can rise without need of a resume and only a lack of courage and will runs and hides from that
idea. (Or in the case of the election of 2000, when the stupid voted as a majority block, the exception proves the rule,)
We must recognize that McCain's inability to unite his party demonstrates a dangerous lack of leadership communication
skills. If he has to put on his commander's cap in response to another 911 moment, he'll need guidance in how to communicate
effectively. Or ... he'll have to rely purely on macho tough talk and we know where that last President to do that got us.
The greatest gift we can give our children and grand children is not our fear, not our timid caution in the
face of all the "what might be's" offered up by aging politicians who need us to be fearful so they can get power.
The greatest gift we can and should pass on to the generations that already own and deserve to run the future
is strongly epitomized by Mr. Murrow of my parents' generation.
"We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven into an age of unreason if we dig
deep into our history and remember we are not descended from fearful men."
That thinking is what makes a generation get remembered as the greatest generation.
a shallow willingness to be all things to all people and none to himself and his
and my own previous writing which includes then a certain amount of "credentials" as a male Mormon authority.
Dlaw asks in a poll at the end of his article: "Is Romney's Mormonism Fair Game?"
Well of course it is. Nobody forced Mitt to involuntarily become a candidate for the nation's highest office.
Mitt did that.
As does every candidate who throws their hat in the ring, Mitt is saying "Here I am. Send me."
... which means literally in the tradition of Job, "consider your servant Mitt. There is no one like him on
the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil."
It does not take Satan to be the single sceptic to open the door into Mitt's private world.
It takes civic-minded citizens who know that one who thrusts himself into the civic scene is automatically
subject to scrutiny.
Mitt is right in that the many who consider themselves "conservative" Christians but who are in effect fundamentalist
evangelical literalists are absolutely and foolishly wrong when they - like the late Jerry Falwell declared that "you are
a failure as a human being if you are not a born again Christian."
The five or six people who know me well will confirm to you that I am no longer a member who was an LDS literalist
guided by religious assumptions about reality, spiritual warfare, who sat on the fence in the pre-existence and therebye earned
a lesser quality of birth for being a fence-sitter.
They will also tell you that I am still without equivocation a cultural and spiritually-defined Mormon. This
in the same sense that a Native American raised within his culture by a family and community that holds to its traditions
does remain Native American while also engaged in the broader culture of his country.
In this case, when it comes to a "broader culture," that culture can be and usually is "wiser" about what's
best for country than someone defined from within a sub-culture.
Someone from within a sub-culture - and Romney is an excellent and classic example - takes upon one's self
an obligation to demonstrate a credible blend of the positive attributes of the sub-culture as it relates to, connects
with and influences the broader culture.
Romney has failed in that regard.
His most recent attempt to mimic the 1960 Kennedy speech was a dismal attempt and broad failure at mimicry.
That because you can mimic the speech but not the context.
What MADE Kennedy's speech was the second half of what was said, not his putting in place his Catholicism
and relationship to the Vatican. What struck the country in an exceedling wise and teaching way was his public and unchallenged
assertion of the separation between church and state.
Romney could not do that in today's social/political context.
Worse, Romney has an even more difficult problem in asserting the positive civic nature of Mormonism while
at the same time presenting an honest advocy of his religion.
Mitt needs to create honest and open apologetic discourse about himself as a loyal, wise and civic-minded
American citizen who is in fact as much American and he is Mormon.
In the early months of Romney's candidacy I toyed with supporting Mitt and connecting with his state
campaign to get involved. But I didn't because it did not take long before I saw Mitt demonstrate the same self-serving
behavior that more resembled Bill Fritts, Tom Delay, Bill O'Reilly and Flush Limbaugh. His candidacy is giving us a
supposedly more competitive "religious" version of Giuliani than he is Kennedy, Bob Dole or even the patriarchal image of
Mitt's Mormon patriarchal male "presidingship" image would hav been more consistent with Eisenhower's "presiding
elder" image than his toadying to religious right foolishness and its end-times literalness that belongs in Halloween-night
scary movies and nowhere else.
Instead, what we've gotten - whether Mormons like it or not - is ultimately one of the most transparently
shallow promise-anything-to-anyone candidates this country has seen.
Spiritually, in attempting to be wise as a serpent yet gentle as a dove, Mitt has been neither. He's behaved
in a slick and slimy way that suggests something more toady than serpent and more vulture than dove.
I think America could benefit from a genuine faith-based religious president who would be president first
who would demonstrate serpent wisdom and cunning while at the same time dove-like understanding he/she presides
over a multi-cultural and multi-spiritual nation ...
that citizens of the nation are not equivocators about their religions beliefs and do not need an equivicator
The last three of the Joseph Smith's 13 Articles of Faith read like this:
We claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience,
and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining
We believe in being honest, true, chaste,benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may
say that we follow the admonition of Paul--We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope
to be able to endure all things.
If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
Although no longer on the LDS membership list, I still accept those three declarations.
In his previous life prior to politics Mitt was a Mormon Bishop who later was called to be a Mormon Stake
President. These are patriarchal callings at the most significant and influential local levels. They include a mantle of all
that is deemed worthy of Biblical, Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenant portrayals of God-inspired leadership.
The LDS President of mine and Mitt's generation was David O. McKay. One of his repeated memes came out of
his own missionary experience where he came across a statement chiseled over a doorway or archway in a castle somewhere in
England, Ireland or Scotland. It reads,
"What e're thou art, act well thy part."
In my previous lifetime as an active and practicing Mormon patriarch, I remember many bishops and stake
presidents who acted well their part
from the grandfatherly first bishop I can actually remember,
to a much younger Bishop who - when I was about to turn 19 - called me out of my teenage rebellion against
the church and helped persuade me to accept a mission call that changed my life
to the sophisticated bishop my own age who - when I presided over my own growing family in Houston - demonstrated
an integrated spirituality that effectively portrayed what it means to be "in this world but not of this world."
These men would have received my support if they or Mormons like them who's wise attitude reflected
the same views ran for political office.
As I perceived them, none of those Mormon patriarchs would have said the things Mitt has said in the name
of political expediency.
None of them would have sought political support from the radical religious sources that in fact preach a
morality that does not belong in the same paragraph with the Sermon on the Mount, The Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son.
None of them would have advocated tripling Guantanamo with a slick half-smile using words meant for a very
limited listening audience.
From the literalist point of view Mormons need to understand that the scriptural leadership roles and preaching
models in the Book of Mormon do not demonstrate the lack of political courage demonstrated by Romney who has repeatedly slipped-up
and revealed a shallow willingness to be all things to all people and none to himself and his own people.
Mitt does not seem to want to be elected because he stands for something, but because he has a compromised
and conditional political support from too many civically diluted sources.
The blindly literalist religious "conservatives" who foolishly placed a politically incompentent and religiously
hypocritical candidate in the White House in 2000 and 2004 aren't there anymore.
They are not going to make the same mistake three times regardless of what Mike Huckabee - who is more in
tune with the politically-religious breeze than is Mitt - manages to accomplish.
If Republican literalist Christians again choose to vote as a block with a candidate who reflects their limited
world view, it is not Mitt who represents that view, but Huckabee. It would also have been Brownback, but not Romney.
That leaves Mitt in an image and style contest with Giuliani, but not with McCain who is far more presidential
material than either of them,
or Fred Thompson who has done nothing but come across as the sleepy, ancient and lazy pontificator who would
wake up to his reponsibilities only after the crisis had passed and someone else had saved the country.
Which - by the way - suggests a comment about the old-timers who are the Lord's appointed leaders of the LDS
They are left in circumstance that does not mesh well with the political ambitions of their more prominent
or notorious members.
The primary reason being that in most areas of Mormon life (exemplified by the teachings and sermons of Apostle
Packer), independence and critical thinking are not encouraged. Members who do so are likely to discover the hole in the corral
fence and wander off into the real world where they might discover equally green pastures out there.
These critical thinkers then become a danger to shallowly literalist Mormons in their own congregations
who would be tempted by reason and logic to start thinking critically themselves - and maybe start doubting.
The old Apostle patriarchs are not the commanders nor demanders of lock-step behavior that Mormon critics
make them out to be. They are not going to tell Mitt what to do and when to do it.
They don't have to. Lock step thinking is enforced at the local level with far greater power and influence
than anything coming out of Salt Lake City. There is nothing like social conformity to get folks to act or even move against
there own self interest.
Kansas? Doesn't compare at all to the Wasatch Front, particulary Provo and Orem.
Romney's speech was not misleading when he declared his independence from Salt Lake.
The question that remains would be what would Mitt do if an LDS prophet/president were to announce an event
much more politically dramatic and demanding than even that of (1978) giving equal opportunity and membership to all races?
Would Mormons behave like political Republican Catholics who advocated no communion for John Kerry because
he was liberal and Democrat?
Would they do that?
What would rank and file literalist Mormon supporters of Romney do to exert political pressure on their Brother
In such a scenario, a moment would come when a President Romney might have to turn his back on his most devout
block of support.
Would Mitt be forced to choose between the LDS patriarchal version of God and the multi-layered diversity
of his native country?
Could he do that? Would he do that?
Hell, I don't know.
Mitt doesn't seem to have made a legitimately firm and truthful declaration of importance since he opened
his public mouth.
Mitt and Me: Mormon Children of the 60's
Mitt Romney and I are the same age (60), grew up in the same church, served as Mormon Missionaries in the
same years, and were given draft deferrals as "ministers and/or divinity students" through Mormon Church political agreement with the feds and selective service.
But our "stuff in common" seems to kind of stop there.
"When Mitt's deferments ended and he became eligible for military service in 1970, he drew a high number in the annual lottery that
determined which young men were drafted. His high number ensured he was not drafted into the military."
My deferments ended in December, 1968, when I enlisted in the USAF. That first lottery - had I not signed
up - would have delivered a number in the 340's to me which probably meant Mitt would have been called up before me. But by
then it was too late.
My grades were too damned low at Texas A & I Univ. (now Texas A & M Kingsville) and I knew I was squandering
my college time. However, in 1968 while most of the smart kids my age were desperately trying to end Kenny Rogers' "Crazy
Asian War," I was oblivious to all that liberal crap and still a devout and conservative Rocky Mountain Mormon.
So, guilty about poor grades and raised by member of the American Legion, I enlisted in the Air Force.
In 1969 Uncle Sam's Flying Service sent me to Syracuse University to study Russian.
1969 ... you remember ... Woodstock took place only 70 miles from Syracuse.
Me ... the True Blue Rocky Mountain Mormon who was mad at Jane Fonda - not because of Hanoi - but because
I refused to go to Woodstock, counting it a patriotic virtue worthy of the highest righteousness to which
a returned Mormon missionary could aspire.
Which did not satisfy my hep kids - now my adult adult children - who are still astonished at my youthful
Dad, it was only 70 miles and you didn't go?
The silence and lack of an
answer from me was always heavy.
"Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on Wednesday defended his five sons' decision not to enlist in
the military, saying they're showing their support for the country by "helping me get elected."
"The good news is that we have a volunteer Army and that's the way we're going to keep it," Romney told some 200 people gathered
in an abbey near the Mississippi River that had been converted into a hotel. "My sons are all adults and they've made decisions
about their careers and they've chosen not to serve in the military and active duty and I respect their decision in that regard."
He added: "One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected because they
think I'd be a great president."
Romney's five sons range in age from 37 to 26 and have worked as real estate developers, sports marketers
and advertising executives. They are now actively campaigning for their father and have a "Five Brothers" blog on Romney's
campaign Web site.
Romney noted that his middle son, 36-year-old Josh, was completing a recreational vehicle tour of all 99 Iowa
counties on Wednesday and said, "I respect that and respect all those and the way they serve this great country."
Now what kind of cheap and shallow answer is that?
As a chickenhawk, Mitt needs more Republican/Cheney/Rove posture training.
You see, chickenhawks are never going to get much mileage as brave, courageous and bold Republicans in the
tradition of Ike or even Bob Dole. The best thing for them to do is keep as quiet and low-key as possible so their absence
of traditional male virtues doesn't get broadcast too extensively.
And certainly you do not make public speeches justifying not only your own lack of military service, but somehow
glossing over the absence of traditional male virtues in your sons and other Republican allies who - in the grandest tradition
of Yellow Elephants - cruise around campaigning to be the leader of a country that for the most part was forged by war.
The Mormon Church and I parted ways eventually. For my part it was an ugly divorce full of my multitudinous
recriminations against literal fundamental religion.
The Church, however, had no need to defend itself from the likes of me so they just ignored me.
Eventually I cooled down and now the Church and I are amiable; almost friends. My dentist is the local Bishop.
Most of the rest of my family in Utah and Idaho talk to me.
The young LDS missionaries even come to my house when ward members forget to tell them about the apostate
living in that corner house. When they come knocking at the door, my wife usually lets them in, brings them to me and then
goes somewhere else.
I usually josh around with them until it becomes obvious that I know the music and the words to the recruiting
song they want to sing.
Most recently, after I listened to them praise our Christian in the White House and joke about Adam and Eve
- not Adam and Steve, I gave them a dose of my liberal stuff about electing cheats and liars. One of them young guys asked,
"So, brother Ruger, what do you think of Hillary?"
I told him I hadn't yet made up my mind.
"I'm against her!", his voice sounding like a chant.
I told him that as a Bush supporter, he hadn't struck me as one who'd ever vote for Hillary anyway. When I
asked him why he was against her, he again seemed to chant,
" Because she wants to bring back the draft!" he said. ;
I asked him what would be wrong with that if he supported Bush and Bush's war.
"Yeah, but I don't want to go over to Iraq and fight!"
Well, neither do the sons of Mitt Romney, the man who as commander in chief would "triple Guantanamo" which
means more of the Abu Ghraib stuff that has endeared Alberto, Dick and George to most Americans. .
So now I've seen and listened to Candidate Romney several times.
As someone bitterly disappointed by the last two presidential elections and who has doubts about ever again
voting even for a Republican candidate in my own county, I nevertheless thought I might be tempted by my background and heritage-based
assumptions to support Mitt as the most morally predictable of all candidates of both parties.
But now I've seen and heard enough.
Back in the day (oh ... say 15 years or more) I would have uncritically campaigned and voted for Ole Mitt
without hesitation. As many Mormons I'm sure today believe that Mitt as an active Mormon, a former Mormon Bishop and Stake
President is several cuts above the rest of the morally challenged candidates in both parties, I would have voted for him
- but not now.
He not only comes across as shallow and slick - possessing the substance and ethical sense of a highly skilled
ladies shoe salesman in Macy's - but has compromised himself and his own image of integrity by the same shallow obeisance
to Dobson-the-Hut and company that McCain proferred.
Recent performances reveal that Mitt IS ultra-sensitive and self-conscious about his religion. His simultaneous
distancing from and defending Mormonism reveals him as someone afraid to acknowledge the fundamental Christianity of his beliefs
which is a virtue and attribute quite laudable.
But then his church is likewise ultra sensitive, self-conscious to a fault and way too obsessed with image
to appreciate the essential spiritual indifference of most Americans who really do not care which church is your church.
Politically, Mitt seems to be trying to paint himself and his sons as all-American Civic-Minded Patriots who
admittedly are chickenhawks; but that chickenhawks are the reason why America enjoys the global reputation it has today.
Well, the Romneys have it right on at least that count.