Saturday, November 19, 2005

Rhymes with Witch

It never ceases to amaze me how low my own party can go at times. Look at these words from junior (in more ways than one) congresswoman Jean Schmidt, a Republican from Ohio addressed to Pennsylvania Congressman
John Murtha:

The fiery, emotional debate climaxed when Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, the most junior member of the House, told of a phone call she received from a Marine colonel.

``He asked me to send Congress a message - stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message - that cowards cut and run, Marines never do,'' Schmidt said.

Democrats booed and shouted her down - causing the House to come to a standstill.

Okay, so this newbie who has never been in conflict, had the gall to call a man who has severed in two wars has two Purple Hearts, and goes to visit wounded Iraq War veterans weekly, a coward?

There are words for women like her, but this is a family blog and I won't use those words.

You don't have to agree with an immediate withdrawl from Iraq-I don't. But you have to respect his words because he knows of what he speaks. Murtha is a Marine and knows war. If this guy who isn't a Michael Moore/MoveOn lefty, says that we should consider getting out of Iraq, maybe the Bushies should listen. Anyway, if the Bushies were paying attention, they would see Murtha wasn't saying we should totally cut and run:

Murtha offered a resolution that would force the president to withdraw the nearly 160,000 troops in Iraq ``at the earliest practicable date.'' It would establish a quick-reaction force and a nearby presence of Marines in the region. It also said the U.S. must pursue stability in Iraq through diplomacy.

Unlike a lot of leftists, Murtha isn't saying we should just leave Iraq to it's own fate. He seems to be saying we shouldn't be in the line of fire and stay close by just in case. Bush should have taken this up, even if he didn't agree with it. The current Bush Administration plan is not really a plan. What does it mean to stay the course? How long will we have to be there? What is the criteria that would tell us it is time to go? The Administration has no answer.

Instead, the President and his companions tar those who don't agree with them. It reminds me of some of the history I've heard about President Johnson who would go after those who disagreed with him on Vietnam.

The Administration should be creating a plan to gradually get us out over time. But to do that means "defeat" in their eyes, so the Bushies stay the course and keep handling the war badly and smear those who don't agree with them.

Monkeys could have handled this better.

Friday, November 18, 2005

On Science and Theology

And God stepped out on space,
And he looked around and said:
I'm lonely--
I'll make me a world.

So begins the poem "Creation" by James Weldon Johnson. This poem was Johnson's wonderfully intimate re-telling of biblical story of creation found in the book of Genesis. This past Sunday, the associate minister of another congregation I'm a part of did an interpretive dance to the poem as it was read by the pastor. It was a wonderful telling of how lonely God was and how God solved that by creating...well, creation.

As a Christian, I believe that God created the world. My concern for the environment stems from the fact that I believe this is God's world and all who consider themselves Christians, must take care of the earth. I can't prove that God created the world; since my belief is faith. That doesn't make it any less important-faith, whether it's faith in the Christian God or Allah, or Buddha or Vishnu. Faith isn't something that can be proven, but simply believed. What it doesn't make it is science.

Charles Krauthammer has a dead-on column in today's Washington Post about the latest battle concerning "intelligent design." Proponents of this "theory" conclude that the universe is so complex, that it had to be designed by an intelligent being. Hmmm, what could that being be?

In some way, all Christians believe in Intelligent Design, in that we believe God had a role in creation. But that isn't science, that's theology and the proponents know that. Christians are free to believe that God created the world. We live in a free country that allows us to believe whatever we want. But we don't have the right to force our beliefs on others and it is repulsive to disguise a theological viewpoint as science.

Believing in evolution isn't anti-Christian. It is a well proven theory that shows us how we came to be. However, evolution can't explain the why. That is where religion comes in. I know that humans evolved over time. That's science. Theology tells me we were created in the image of God and that we are loved by this God.

The problem is that those on the religious right who are pushing intelligent design aren't really so interested in the "how." They really aren't interested in science. And that's dangerous. Science can and has helped us combat deadly diseases and find ways for us to stop polluting our planet. Science helped created drugs that help me not succumb so easily to my clincial depression and helped my mother beat breast cancer so far. Science can do good and it is not against God. Simply focusing on the "why" and ignoring science can lead to disasterous results. For example, people who contract HIV/AIDS are viewed as being punished by God instead of seeing this as a result of unprotected sex and pursuing the need for safer methods.

In the end, I think Republicans would be wise to step away from this. Both President Bush and Senator John McCain have said that Intelligent Design should be taught to give kids "both sides." I think this is dangerous. As much as I like McCain, I hope when he runs again in 2008, he drops that promise. ID is fool's gold and in some cases, I think it is poison. It's time for the GOP to be the party of faith and science again. One can be a devout believer and a rigorous scientist. Kudos to Krauthammer for reminding us.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I'm Not Dead Yet

So, if you follow this blog, you've noticed that I've been quiet for almost a week. As my close friend and contributing blogger, Mark said in a post yesterday, I took sometime off to deal with some other issues in my life. You see, last Friday, I was let go of from my job. It was all rather sudden and let's just say it didn't start the weekend off on the right foot. Thankfully, I have a wonderful boyfriend who took care of me and friends who came around to support me. It's good to know that I am rich in friends.

So, for the past week I've been busy looking for a new job, filing for unemployment benefits and doing some volunteer work that I haven't had the time for. In the end, it was probably a good thing that I was let go. My prior employer and I had different objectives, so maybe it was the best. Anyway what I was doing was just a job, not my passion. My real loves are the church and writing, anyway. I think part of the reason that I'm not so despondent is that I work as a co-pastor of a new church start and I manage public relations for a local choral ensemble. Of course, since both are new, they don't pay, so I need to find a job that pays the bills. But I am getting a ton of experience.

If you know of someone that needs a good writer, let me know. I will be getting back to some blogging again. My parents raised a fighter, and fight I will. I might be down, but I am most certainly not out.

Friday, November 11, 2005

On Veteran's Day

For all those who have served our country....


Maybe Call It a Comeback

I really feel proud to be a moderate Republican these days.

Moderate Republicans in Congress, taking a cue from Tuesday's election results, the President's sagging approval numbers, and scandals plauging the House leadership, have decided now to strike back at the party's far right leaders. Fellow moderate elephant Jeremy over at Charging RINO gives a good summary of the "November Rebellion" by moderates and how they have singlehandedly been able to change the agenda.

Kudos must be given to these folks. In the House they were able to get the budget cutting bill proposed by House leadership pulled from consideration. This bill would have cut the budget, but on the backs of the most vulnerable. At the same time, plans were being made to pass yet another round of tax cuts that would only help the most affluent. I'm all for getting some fiscal sanity and I understand that there has to be some budget cuts. But it is morally wrong to ask the poor to bear the burden of these cuts, while the rich get another tax cut. You don't have to be a Marxist to see the unfairness in that.

Senate moderates are also getting into the act. It looks like an bill that would extend the first term tax cuts by one year (there was a plan to originally make them permanent, but that went nowhere) is not going anywhere and Ohio Senator George Voinovich couldn't be happier:

"It should go away," Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio) said of the tax package. "We ought not to be involved in it."

Voinovich said the budget rebellion reflects increasing voter unease about Republican priorities: "There's uncertainty. There's anxiety," he said. "It's the common sense of the American people looking in on us and questioning what we're doing. People say, 'This doesn't make sense to us.' "

And where does this leave the President, who campaigned as a centrist and then governed as a conservative? Pretty much out the picture, says

Washington Post columnist David Ignatius:

Where is President Bush in this shifting political landscape? The unfortunate reality for the White House is that it may not matter much. Bush has never seemed interested in trying to shape a new political center, focusing instead on his conservative base. Now that process is beginning to animate both parties, while the president broods over his troubles.

The President had a chance back in 2001 to govern from the center. Instead, he choose to please the far right base, ignoring the rest of the country. That might work in less turbulent times, but not now when there is war on, and people are concerned about rising energy prices.

Let's hope this November Rebellion by moderates continues. Keep up the good work, people!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Hello, You've Reached God. I Can't Come to the Phone Right Now, Since You Voted Me Out of Your Town.

From the stupid Republican files:

"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover. If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city. And don't wonder why He hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the case, don't ask for His help because he might not be there."

Guess who said this. Come on, it's not that hard. I'lll give you a hint: he wanted the US to play asassination tango with Venezuelan demogogue, Hugo Chavez.

You can view's this person's rant here.

Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan.

Don't Call It a Comeback...Yet

Jeremy over at Charging RINO wonders if Moderate Republicans are finally coming into their own after Tuesday's defeats. The moderates in the House were able to sucessfully strike a provision that would have allowed drilling in the Alaska Wildlife Refuge or ANWR.

It also looks like Senate Moderates are also acting up:

In the Senate, a similar showdown will occur today, as the Finance Committee moves on a five-year, $60 billion bill that would extend expiring tax cuts from President Bush's first term. Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) told Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) she would oppose the measure as fiscally unwise and an unfair boost to the affluent as Congress cuts programs for the poor.

Snowe's opposition would sink the bill. Even if she changes her position, the measure faces an uncertain future on the floor. Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio) announced his opposition Tuesday.

"I do not know how anyone can say with a straight face that when we voted to cut spending last week to help achieve deficit reductions we can now then turn around two weeks later to provide tax cuts that exceed the reduction in spending," he said. "That is beyond me, and I am sure the American people."

To moderates, this is good news and should be a sign to GOP leaders to steer towards the center and not towards the far right. However, moderate Republicans need to come up with a governing agenda. Just a centrist Democrats have worked for years to come up with sensible agenda in contrast to the far left, we moderates have to the same and now is as good a time as any. The current leadership is mired in scandal and increasingly out of favor. Events like Terri Schiavo scared the dickens out of average Americans. Ross Douthat & Reihan Salam write a wonderful blueprint on how the GOP could be a party of economic security. The ideas they suggest will not please the more libertarian-minded Republicans, but it will please the center and I think could transform the party. In my mind, moderates should sign on to this agenda and run with it. We now have an opening, however small, to steer the party away from the Grover Norquist/James Dobson trajectory and towards a more moderate path.

Let's keep fighting, moderates.

Christians Against Torture

Via Andrew Sullivan, Sojourners, the progressive evangelical organization (yes, they exist)has an easy way for persons of faith to write to House Speaker Dennis Hastert and your own representative to support the McCain Amendment against torture. Make your voice heard.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I Predict 2006?

After yesterday's wins in Vriginia and New Jersey, Democrats are celebrating. This story shows how some Democrats are acting like, well sore winners.

But what was yesterday all about? Does this mean that the Democrats will make some gains come 2006 as some are saying?

Well, probably maybe. I think the odds are about 70 percent in their favor. Why only 70 percent? Because anything can happen between now and November 2006. Political fortunes change on a dime. If you don't believe me, ask the President, who last year was talking about "political capital" and now is flat out of capital.

Second, Democrats have to focus on ideas over simply opposing Bush or Republicans. The lesson to be learned from Timothy Kaine's victory in Virginia to come up with some solid ideas like fixing the state's aging transport system. He also knew what works in "red America" and was honest about his faith. The Democrats who were rejoicing on the Hill are the same ones that seem not to have any idea other than saying Bush is bad and that won't work. If the Democrats in Congress want to win, they need to stop crowing and study this man's campaign.

Third, 2005 is not necessairly 1993, the year when the GOP won Virgina and New Jersey governorships. The Republicans of 1994 were hungry and prepared with ideas on how to govern. That was what brought them to taking the House in '94, not look at the wins in '93 as omens. Again, the Dems need to listen to what the public is saying, how someone like Kaine won and then craft ideas that will lead to a winning platform.

So, what about Republicans? Well, first to Arnold. I think Mathew Pruitt says it best:

We have seen two Arnold's, the centrist who swept into office, and the typical Republican who took the advice of his consultants, opposed a law that would legalize gay marriage, and refused to compromise with the legislature while at the same time referring to teachers and nurses as "girlie men." Arnold the Conservative Republican has failed in enough time for Arnold the Centrist to re-emerge.

If the Democratic Party had any brains they would seize the day by proposing a positive agenda and stop Arnold from gaining any sort of traction. They have done in California what they have been best at for a while, which is to say "no," and now they will have to come up with some ideas of their own. If national trends are any indication, they will be unable to act without first sticking their finger in the air and seeing which way the wind blows, which will give Arnold plenty of opportunity to convince voters he is the independent moderate they voted for.

Scharzenegger was elected as a centrist, a Republican in a "blue state." Somewhere along the way, he forgot that and started to play hardball with the Democrats instead of working with them to find solutions together.

If he wants to win the governorship again next year, he needs to come back to the center and stop trying to take on Democratic strongholds like the public sector unions. I would agree with some of Arnold's views on them, but when you are a GOP governor in a very Democratic state, you have to pick your battles and Arnold picked the wrong one at the wrong time.

Finally, it seems like

moderate Republicans are becoming more emboldened in light of recent events:

House GOP leaders appear likely to drop a provision opening Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling and make other changes to win votes from reluctant moderates for the budget-savings bill set for floor action tomorrow.

Charles Bass, R-N.H., maintained that the drilling provision must come out of the bill (HR 4241) or it will fail. Although some leaders have floated raising fuel efficiency standards for motor vehicles instead of dropping the ANWR provision, Bass said that would not fly.

Michael N. Castle, R-Del., a leading moderate, said deletion of ANWR is only the “starting point” for negotiations with leadership. Moderates also want smaller spending cuts to social programs. “They are the usual suspects — food stamps, foster care, child support, all the things you’ve been writing about,” Castle said.

This bodes well for the moderates. A year ago, people were saying that moderate Republicans were dead, but now we see them flexing their muscle. Good for them.

Gay Marriage Is All About Values

One thing I've been thinking about was a letter to the editor that showed up in today's Minneapolis Star Tribune. It's an argument that I hear all the time concerning gay marriage. I used to agree with it, but I don't anymore. The impetus of this is a column written by the Strib's token conservative columnist, Katherine Kersten (being center-right in my politics, I like to see conservative writers, but I perfer ones with brains. Ms. Kersten doesn't have one. Or a heart for that matter) that talks about how Canada is sliding towards Gommorah because of it's support for gay marriage. Whenever people start talking about gay marriage, you will hear an argument from our side. Here's an example:

Katherine Kersten states that the proposal to preserve same-sex marriage will be one of the biggest issues of the next legislative session. If so, shame on us.

We have children without health care, traffic congestion, working parents unable to afford housing, and underfunded schools. If we allow ourselves to be diverted and avoid the real moral issues before our state, how can we kneel in prayer before the God who calls us to lives of justice and compassion?

Now, there was a time in my life that I would have agreed with this writer. But I don't anymore. Why? Because what this person is saying basically is that gay marriage doesn't matter. It isn't a moral issue. We have more important things do deal with than two guys getting hitched. The message this line of thinking sends is that gay marriage isn't important. If we are saying that to the general public, you know what happens? The general public will listen.

The fact is gay marriage does matter. It matters to millions of gay Americans who have or are intending to have a life partner, someone to share their lives with. It matters when one person in gay couple gets sick and the other person can't visit because he's not a legal relative in the eyes of the state. It happens when one partner can't get the other's social security benefits when the other one dies. It matters.

A few weeks back, Log Cabin President Pat Guerriero was in town. My friend and fellow Republican, Mark, was able to get him on a local radio station that has a lot of conservative programming. He shared a story of two gay men in Vermont who have been partnered for 50 years. One served his country in war. The other was a teacher. They are both in their 80s. One is very ill and will die soon and as it stands now, the surviving spouse won't get the dying man's social security benefits.

That is a moral issue. These two men have given of themselves to help others and this is how society treats them.

The anti-gay crowd have one thing right about this issue. They know it matters and will do what it takes to stop gays from marrying and hopefully put us back in the closet. Why are we and our allies so scared to deal with this honestly and say this is about values and morals? How can one be moral and deny people things like seeing a sick partner?

Maybe it's easier for me because I'm somewhat more conservative, but values do matter. Not the one that the religious right spouts, but the values my parents taught me about being kind to people and tolerant of others.

I think we need to start talking about values. Getting married is a value. And it matter and it's important. We need to start acting like it is.

Stop Drilling in ANWR!

From Republicans for Environmental Protection:

Protect Arctic Refuge: Time to Act Is Now
Climactic Vote on Oil Drilling at Hand

There have been past votes to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, but never before has the threat been so high or the vote so final. On Nov. 3, drilling proponents won passage of a Senate budget bill that would open the refuge to oil drilling.

During the week of Nov. 7, the House will consider budget legislation that is even worse. The bill opens the Arctic Refuge to oil drilling, opens the door to expanded oil drilling off our coasts, and allows sale of national forest and other public lands to mining companies at garage sale prices.

The only way to stop these travesties is to persuade our representatives to vote against the budget bill. Please tell your representative to vote against the House budget bill.

Republicans for Environmental Protection has an easy way for you to contact your Representative, by penning a letter and sending it online. To do that, simply go here and click on the link that says "Protect Artic Refuge."

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Comment of the Day

Blogger Mike Bawden responds to my earlier post:


Great post.

As an American doing business with people from all around the world (most of whom are located in Europe) and as a student of European history, let me say that racism is alive and well in all of Europe - not just France. The problem is that American culture tends to bring the associated violence and struggle to the surface (through the media) more often than it does in Europe. The cultural clashes in this country also tend to be more visibly obvious (i.e. "black" versus "white"; "latin" versus "anglo") than in parts of Europe.

While it has been easy for many Europeans to look at race problems and civil rights struggles in the USA with disdain, they have too often ignored the tribal differences in their own cultures that underly their own problems with ethnicity, culture and religion.

Second generation Arabs living in France, for example, are expected to consider themselves to be "French" first and to lose their national identity or face osterization. The concept of "African-Germans" or "Arab-French" is difficult if not impossible for many Europeans to handle. The problem, of course, is that even for those ethnic minorities who adopt their new mother country, they're often still treated as "lesser equals" by society at-large. Germans of Turkish ancestry, for example, may speak the mother tounge (German), spend their entire lives in-country and be educated in German schools, yet still not even have the right to vote in German elections because they are considered "Turkish."

I foresee these problems becoming increasingly difficult for Europeans as the EU continues to develop and bring more opportunities to a wide variety of European ethnicities. Conservative elements will become more radicalized - nationalistic, even. Liberals will become more frustrated with an inability to find consensus in the "European" fashion (i.e. from the top down) while ethnic minorities continue to try and find their voice in government, media and business.

It's an exciting time in Europe. And if Americans want to do more than stand on the sidelines, we would be smart to study the lessons we've learned from our on-going civil rights struggles and offer to help all parties involved.

Mike Bawden

Mike makes a point here that I forgot to mention but have heard of. Racism is alive and well in Europe and I've seen stories of Turkish Germans that have lived in Germany all their lives and are still not seen as Germans. With all our problems, the United States has tried to create a multi-ethinic society. It might be that Europe is much slower on that mark.

Paris (and Normandy, and Toulouse) is Burning

As the Paris suburbs, heck as most of France, is awash in violence, I've been doing some thinking and listening. I believe that there are lessons for both liberals and conservatives in the wake of the recent fighting.

First, the liberals. Those on the Left tend to look to Europe as some kind of heavenly realm where the government takes care of everything and there is no poverty or racism as there is in the United States. Some (not all) Europeans were quick to criticize the US after the chaos that erupted in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Both the leftists here and Europeans have looked at the United States as a nation with a broken social model that is dog-eat-dog.

I'm not here to say the US has a better system. We clearly have problems, as Katrina showed, but the fires in the French Republic show that, at least in France, there is still much work to do on social issues. The riots have revealed what was in our faces and especially white French faces all along: an underclass of persons of color who face very little opportunity for economic freedom.

It also revealed something conservatives have known for a long time: that government alone can't solve all the problems. This is from an editorial in today's Washington Post:

It's also too facile to say that French authorities have ignored the problems. Billions have been spent on urban renewal: High-rise projects have been torn down and enterprise zones created, much as in some American inner cities. As in the United States, interlinked problems of jobs, schools, crime and discrimination have not easily yielded to government solutions. Yet until now, many in France assumed that what they regard as a superior "social model" protected them from the eruptions of lawlessness that in recent years have touched Los Angeles, Miami and New Orleans.

This isn't to say that government has no role in alleviating poverty. But thinking that having "Big Government" as the French clearly do will solve it the problem is foolish. The size of government matters less than the effectiveness of it, and it seems that the French government hasn't done as well in that effect.

Now to Conservatives. When it comes to matters of race, conservatives want to believe in the concept of "colorblindness," meaning government should not consider race in government programs. Being a Republican, I resonate with that ideal. However, in reality, what works in theory doesn't work in practice. France has followed that model, basically saying everyone is French not regarding one's ethnic background. The results have not been pleasant. From the Post editorial:

[French Interior Minister] Mr. Sarkozy recently suggested that France abandon the pretense that all of its citizens -- including an estimated 5 million Muslims -- are treated equally, and adopt affirmative-action policies.

Conservatives here have wanted to role back Affirmative Action policies. I can understand that. As an African American, I've benefitted from these policies, but also resent that they exist since they put race right up front. But I think it is a pipe dream to think that Americans can just be, well Americans. For African Americans, we have had a history of racial discrimination that has presented itself in many ways, including employment and education. If we abandoned affirmative action tomorrow, I doubt that schools and workplaces would continue to be diverse and try to help disadvantaged populations. A fellow conservative friend of mine who is Asian American said it best: you have to correct a bias with a bias. American society can't just say to African Americans as well as other ethnic groups, "You're free," and the walk away. There is still the problem of inequality that has to be addressed. This is what has happened in France and we can see what happened.

Listen, I don't like affirmative action, but at least for now, we still need it. (I would mend it though to be more sensitive to help raise poor blacks and whites out of poverty, since now it seems to benefit minorities with means more.) Conservatives who think that everything will be rosy if affirmative action were to dissappear are kidding themselves.

It will be interesting to see how France works all this out. Let's hope for the best.

Monday, November 07, 2005

...And the Cheney Stands Alone (sort of)

The Washingoton Post has what can only be best described as a chilling piece about how Vice President Dick Cheney has waged a major offensive to stop Congress from imposing more restrictive rules regarding the handling of terror suspects. He has done this despite signs that Congress and even some in the Bush Administration such as Secretary of State Condi Rice are supporting some kind of restrictions.

The article shows Cheney employing tactics and showing power that one wouldn't expect from a Vice President. Cheney has tried to stop the McCain Amendment-which asks that the military follow the rules of the Army Field Manual-by using acts that are nothing short of sabotage. He has on many occasions pigeon-holed Senators and his staff has done their own "dirty tricks":

Beside personal pressure from the vice president, Cheney's staff is also engaged in resisting a policy change. Tactics included "trying to have meetings canceled ... to at least slow things down or gum up the works" or trying to conduct meetings on the subject without other key Cabinet members, one administration official said. The official said some internal memos and e-mail from the National Security Council staff to the national security adviser were automatically forwarded to the vice president's office -- in some cases without the knowledge of the authors.

For that reason, [Secretary of State] Rice "wanted to be in all meetings," said a senior State Department official.

This is pretty shameful stuff. It's bad enough that we have an Administration that preaches freedom and democracy and yet turns a blind eye to torture, but then to have the administration strong arm Congress to not pass a bill restricting torture? Well, it just went from bad to worse. This not only looks bad, but it is bad. Does this administration care about how it is being percieved in the known world?

Former President Bill Clinton was in the Twin Cities over the weekend and he said something that pertains to this topic. When the Asian tsunami struck last year, the US sent aid to Indonesia, once the nations affected. As many know, Indonesia is the world's largest Muslim nation with 200 million adherents. Clinton said the view of the US became more favorable when we were helping the victims. Osama binLaden's view went down since he was percieved as doing nothing to help the victims. The overall picture is that when the US is seen as helping the Muslim world, we benefit because they Muslim street sees us as good guys and not the devils that binLaden and his ilk make us out to be. Senator McCain understands this. When we allow abuse of suspects we are basically giving Al Queda the "proof" that we are infadels that must be destroyed.

If we as Americans want to fight terror, then we must support the McCain amendment and denounce Cheney's tactics. What the Vice President is doing plays right into the hands of Al Queda. What he is doing is nothing more than aiding and abeting the terrorists, and he should be denounced.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Out of the Ashes

Slate has an interesting article by Jacob Wiesberg comparing Karl Rove to the turn of the last century political operative Mark Hanna. It says a lot of the usual about how Bush has governed from the right and how that hasn't lead to a sustainable governing strategy. What is fascinating is that like Hanna of old, Rove has an enemy that threatens to undo his strategy. Hanna didn't like Teddy Roosevelt and tried hard to keep him off the 1900 ticket. Rove doesn't like John McCain and helped shut down his presidential campaign in 2000. McCain admires, Roosevelt, the refromer and trustbusting president. There is still a lot of talk that McCain very well might be the 21st century version of the Bull Moose, who will pick up the mantle of a reform-minded Republicanism.

Rove thinks as did Hanna, that a majority can be built on the far right. But you can't build on successes by catering only to one part of the electorate. History shows that to win, you have to appeal to everyone, not just a few wingnuts.

A year ago at this time, people were bemoaning the proposed death of moderate Republicanism. Then a curious thing happened. People started speaking up and speaking out. People like former New Jersey Governor Christie Todd Whitman and former Senator John Danforth began speaking out and against the religious right's hold on the party. John McCain keeps plugging away at refromist measures like his recent work to get the militiary to actually follow its own rules regarding torture. Log Cabin President Patrick Guerriero wrote a passionate essay urging gay conservatives to come out and be counted.

This a roundabout way of saying that there is a movement for change in the GOP. We are not simply the far right. As a Republican, I am dissapointed by President Bush for many things, but I am proud of the many Republicans who toil day and night to bring the party back to the center-right, because only from that standpoint can the GOP be a viable party with a lasting majority.

Bull Moose has a similar post about this very issue this morning. He hopes for a Democrat that can appeal to the center. My hope is that it comes from the GOP, but in reality it would be great if both parties fielded candidates that are concerned about what is good for America and not just for their Focus on the Family/ bases.

Hopefully 2008 will be a year of substance.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

New Blogger

I want to introduce an occasional Blogger to the Moderate Republican. His name is Mark and he hails from Minneapolis. Look for his insights soon.

WaPo on Abuse

The Washington Post has a great op-ed about the Bush Administration's apparent approval of the abuse of detainees. Please read it, but I want to focus on the last paragraph. The editorial talks about the work of people like Senator John McCain and some in the military who are trying to restore the Geneva convention guidelines. However, one group is missing:

There is no more important issue before the country or Congress. Yet the advocates of decency and common sense seem to have meager support from the Democratic Party. Senate Democrats staged a legislative stunt on Tuesday intended to reopen -- once again -- the debate on prewar intelligence about Iraq. They have taken no such dramatic stand against the CIA's abuses of foreign prisoners; on a conference committee considering Mr. McCain's amendment, Democratic support has been faltering. While Democrats grandstand about a war debate that took place three years ago, the Bush administration's champions of torture are quietly working to preserve policies whose reversal ought to be an urgent priority.

I have to agree. I fear that the Dems taking the wrong track. There are many on the left that are fixated with some idea that the Bushies lied about getting us into the Iraq (remember all the hub-bub about the Downing Street memo). It seems to me that this horse has already left the barn, but there are those that think there is some sort of dark conspiracy to get us into war. We have examples of this Adminstration allowing abuse of detainees and yet the Democrats seem uninterested. I think part of this is the whole "Bush hatred" of some on the left who are trying to play "Gotcha" with the Republicans and the Bush Administration. But I think what is more important is the issue of torture and abuse. This travesty has far reaching implications that could affect us all. The Dems and many on the left say they believe in human rights, something I believe in as well. It should be a no-brainer that there should be some kind of grand coalition to force the administration to change its ways.

Again, it seems as if the Democrats are losing a rare opportunity.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Not Welcomed

Church, religion and God have always played an important aspect in my life. When I came to an understanding that I was gay, I did a lot of thinking and praying. Throughout the process, I always knew God loved me regardless. It gave me comfort during some hard times. I decided to become a pastor regardless of my sexual orientation because I felt called by God to be a minister. And God didn't say anything to me about my being gay as a problem.

If only some of God's people were more accepting.

The highest judicial body in the United Methodist Church defrocked a lesbian minister who was in a committed relationship with another woman. To add insult to injury, the court also reinstated, with back pay, mind you, a minister who refused a gay man to join his church even though higher-ups urged him to do so.

So, we have another church body that not only excludes gay people from ministry as well as churches in general, but praises bigots who cast people out of church for being gay.

On some level I can understand some churches still needing to come to terms with gay ministers. As much as I would like to see more gay ministers in the pulpits, I know that there is still a lot of struggling that has to take place on that issue. But I can't understand not permitting a person to join a church simply because they are gay. Jesus accepted outcasts and welcomed them. It's a shame that people who talk about Jesus so much can't stand to have someone in the church simply because they have affections for someone of the same sex.

It seems like those on the far right are already celebrating:

Even the United Methodists can get things right sometimes. And as always, to those who don't like Christianity's stance on homosexuality: find yourselves another religion.

I don't usually affected by the words of bigots, but this bothers me. It angers me. I was baptized into the faith and told that I was a child of God. I believe that I am sinner that has been saved through faith in Jesus Christ. This is my faith, damnit, I will not let some hateful person run me out of the church.

I weep for the United Methodists. God, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

In Other News...

Today, I am going to get my flu shot. Also today, President Bush has asked Congress to put up $7.1 billion to prepare for Avian Flu, should it become a pandemic. Here are the details:

—$1.2 billion for the government to buy enough doses of the vaccine against the current strain of bird flu to protect 20 million Americans;

—$1 billion to stockpile more anti-viral drugs that lessen the severity of the flu symptoms;

—$2.8 billion to speed the development of vaccines as new strains emerge, a process that now takes months;

—$583 million for states and local governments to prepare emergency plans to respond to an outbreak.

The President is also calling for some tort reform for vaccine makers:

The president also said the United States must approve liability protection for the makers of lifesaving vaccines.

A good idea, since it will get more drug companies involved in making vaccines.

I've said in the past that we are getting into a frenzy about bird flu. I still think that's true, but I also have said we do need to prepare. President Bush's call isn't about hype, but prudence. We need to prepare, not just for bird flu, but whenever a pandemic strikes.

I would urge people to contact the Representatives and Senators today and ask them to tackle this issue without delay.

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