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The Rossi-McCain Party Knows Best?
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 business.
"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 theories.
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 all evil-doers:
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 Dream.
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 damage."
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 posse

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 or psychological?

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 cautiously

(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 easily misled

(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 in check

(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" is FEAR.

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 persons.

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 Rights.

State's Rights?

"No Child Left Behind" and the Abandonment of Common Sense?

Imperialist invasion and occupation supported significantly by National Guard and Reserves?

Limited Government?

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 substance.


The Chronicle OnLine: Governor Wants Levees First 

Politicizing the Process?

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 flawed.”

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 issue.”

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 to come.

The American Choice is to never again be casual nor shallow about why we support the election of specific leaders.

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 been action.

... 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 goes elsewhere.

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 ever ...

As having done the greatest global harm ever ...

As the American politicians most deserving of impeachment proceeds ...

... ever in our history.

Election & Campaigns Archives

"I'll never vote for another Democrat in my life!" (07/12/2007)

"You can't whack Democrats at Washblog." The hell I can't! 06/24/2007

Do you ever shout at the television set? (01/22/07)

Congress Critters: The Wisdom of Experience 01/15/07

Do progressives rally for a real progressive ...or play the coward again? (12/17/06)

Arthur's Thoughts Post-Election 2006

We clearly saw madmen at the wheel. (11/07/2006)

Want to know where to target the campaign? Where GWB has only 20% support.(08/07/2006)

Reichert not the author of minimum-wage wisdom (07/14/06)

and the Republicans want us to stay that course? (06/24/2006)

Building the Base? Are You Kidding? (06/06/06)

Urgency about death, dying, political failure and why suddenly I feel sheepish ... (05/21/06)

Sharpening the finger points ... if Maria loses .... (05/11/06)

The section says Pacific County and the topic says..."Building the base." (05/05/2006)

State Republican Party: When I want your opinion, I'll give it to you. (04/19/2006)

We are not lock-step republicans subordinate to someone else's talking points (04/08/2006)

Post Card Phonies (01/24/06)

McGavick and Civility ... his party's antics already making his talk cheap (01/22/06)


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 please!

There is no need for restraint right now - as if the Iraq problem can be reduced to an exercise in political and foreign policy patience.

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 issues.

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 one.

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 out.

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 our economy.

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 choice.

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?

Arthur Ruger

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 brains.)

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 their context.

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 fear-mongering.

... 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 national security.

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 for more.

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 expectations.

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 returns.

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 own people.

(Image is my own creation.)

Reference DLaw's diary on Mitt Romney, The Mormon Question

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 Eisenhower.

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 and foremost;

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 to preside.

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 the law.

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 church.

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.

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 president?

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 of Barbarella?

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 closed mind.

Dad, it was only 70 miles and you didn't go?

The silence and lack of an answer from me was always heavy.

Okay okay, back to Mitt and Me.   According to AP and Yahoo News,

"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.

Earlier this year I even posted a blog asking "Would you vote for a Mormon for President?  As compared to what?"

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 then.

- 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.  

Arthur & Lietta Ruger 2002-2008. The American Choice is a  political internet journal based in Bay Center, Washington. The views expressed not authored by Arthur or Lietta Ruger are the writers' own and do not necessarily reflect those of The American Choice or SwanDeer Productions. Permission of author required for reprinting original material, and only requests for reprinting a specific item are considered.