Thursday, June 5, 2008

Mom, You'd Better Read This One...

My Republican mother told me a few weeks back that she can't read my blog posts because they get her too riled up. Well, mom, I love you and forgive me if I'm a bit blunt here -- I'm really not trying to provoke you -- but in many ways getting riled up is a good thing. I read Republican blogs all the time, even though the views espoused on them can be abhorrent. Knowing what the other side is thinking helps me to formulate my own opinions.

Sometimes, oddly enough, I find myself agreeing with them in certain areas. Lowering taxes is a favorite of mine, and while most Republicans today wouldn't recognize sound fiscal policy if it bit them on the ass, I would say that they have done a good job of making Americans think that they are financially conservative. By the way, I'm not saying Dems are any better, but our former president, a Democrat, did manage to shrink the size of the federal government and balance the budget during his tenure. Makes one think. But that is not the reason I want my mom to read this particular post.

It is because of the recent hiring by her candidate, John McBush (yes, mom, I'm going there), of Michael Goldfarb to be his campaign's communications director. Goldfarb writes for The Weekly Standard, a right-wing propaganda rag edited by NY Times columnist Bill Kristol (a Bush cheerleader but an otherwise pugnacious writer himself). This nice Jewish man, whom contemporaries describe as "disarming, charming, and sincere," writes shit like this (emphasis mine):
[The framers of the Constitution] sought an energetic executive with near- dictatorial power in pursuing foreign policy and war. So no, the Constitution does not put Congress on an equal footing with the executive in matters of national security.
And this (again emphasis mine):
[I]f federal agents show up at a corporate headquarters for a major American company and urgently seek that company's officers for assistance in the war on terror, the companies damn well ought to give it as a matter of simple patriotism, whether the CIA wants a plane for some extraordinary rendition or help in tracking terrorists via email. . . . [T]o expect a company to resist a plea from the government for help in a time of war is ridiculous.

Hmmm. This is the man that Kristol says will go back to writing for the Weekly Standard, "unless McCain hires him to be his National Security Advisor."

Mom, Goldfarb's position on torture is about as far from McCain's as you are from the moon. This from Goldfarb last October (my bold):
The [New York] Times indicts the Bush administration for exposing terrorists captured abroad to "head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures." Boo hoo.

OK, I need to step away from the computer for a minute to vomit....

There, that feels better.

Mom, I hope that this summer you take the time to think, really think, about the kind of leader you want for this country today, who will play a large part in creating the kind of country you want your grandchildren to live in tomorrow:
  • Is it one where they have no choice but to allow some power-hungry person to seek "near-dictatorial" power in times of war? Or is it someone who listens to the will of the people who gave him his job?
  • Is it someone who will listen in on their phone conversations and snoop in their emails to see if they're terrorists (or eventually someone who's just too critical of him)? Or is it someone who puts his heart and soul into defending the Constitution and the liberties it guarantees?
  • Is it someone who would render "quaint and obsolete" an international treaty that protects American soldiers captured during wartime, while allowing extraordinary rendition of non-Americans? Or is it someone who believes that America stands for courage and honor, and defends humanity?
  • Is it someone who allows corporate profits to be the fuel for our national engine? Or is it someone who never forgets that ours is a country of people?
  • Is it someone who can't see past his campaign and personal bank accounts when it comes to our environment? Or is it someone who wants to leave the world better than he found it?
  • And finally (and here's the kicker, mom) is it someone who listens to completely self-serving medical, insurance, and pharmaceutical lobbies, and lets that failed, bloated, greedy marketplace decides who has access to adequate, affordable health care? Or is it someone who treats that access more as a basic human right than a privilege of the more affluent?
Critical times require critical thinking. Refusing to take the time to do some active listening to the views of those who do not agree with you, especially now, is just sad. It's downright frightening to me. And, ultimately, it's not really what being an American -- a patriot -- is all about. Go look up Mr. Goldfarb's writing at TWS. Go read the commentary about his writing. Some of it is here, here, and here.

OK, rant over....

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