Tuesday :: Oct 5, 2004

OK Corral II

by pessimist

Arizona - My New Favorite State. Arizona - home to uber-conservative and Reagan role model Barry Goldwater Arizona - Republican stronghold which seems to have had enough of George Wunderkind Bu$h and the PNAC Petroleum Pirate Posse.

Republicans all across the state are deciding this year that the health and well-being of the nation outweigh party affiliation - and will support John F. Kerry for President. The following articles are all dated prior to tonight's VP debate, so since John Edwards did his job and exposed our pRezdint of Vice for the slimy unpatriotic rat that he is (apologies to true rodents everywhere), I expect that this trend will continue - and maybe it won't remain constrained by the Arizona state lines.

Elect Kerry

President Bush had four years to prove himself and did poorly. It is time to elect a president with a broader understanding of international affairs and a greater concern for the welfare of those living on slender incomes. Elect John Kerry.
For many voters, unfortunately, the election is essentially a personality contest. People tend to regard the candidates the way they do celebrities. And while that is always a mistake, this year it would be a particularly egregious mistake to vote without examining closely the leadership qualities and philosophical underpinnings of each presidential hopeful.

Four years ago, George W. Bush became president of a thriving America. Not only had his predecessor eliminated the national deficit, he had left the new president a $236 billion budget surplus. Unemployment was at a record low of 4 percent. The nation was not at war.

In less than four years, President Bush, the avowed conservative, turned a record surplus into a record deficit, now estimated at $422 billion. During the same period, the unemployment rate rose to 6 percent and then improved a bit, but this summer, 5.4 percent of the work force was still unemployed.

The peace and prosperity of the Clinton administration evolved, under President Bush, to a falsely justified war and an economy that declined sharply and is barely staggering back to solvency - though even that faltering solvency is seriously jeopardized by impractical tax cuts for which our children will pay dearly. Economist Milton Friedman has observed, with considerable wisdom, "A tax cut that adds to the deficit today is just a tax hike on future taxpayers."

The current president's policies have had a negative impact on each of these areas. It is clear that a change is needed. What is needed now is not only a realistic strategy for addressing changes but a manager who can assemble a team to achieve them. Kerry's campaign has been working closely with former President Clinton and officials in his administration. Unlike President Bush, these are individuals with a proven track record of creating jobs, eradicating deficits and promoting prosperity in a peacetime economy.

We believe John Kerry can reverse that trend, and we endorse him for president.

Ex-key aide to McCain gives support to Kerry

A man who until last week was one of Sen. John McCain's top aides is endorsing John Kerry for president, asserting that President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have "waged an unprecedentedly cynical and divisive campaign." Led by Kerry, Democrats now can seize the opportunity to reach out to disaffected moderate Republicans and independents to build "a new political coalition of national unity," Marshall Wittmann writes in the upcoming edition of Blueprint Magazine, published by the Democratic Leadership Council. "I am an independent McCainiac who hopes to revive the Bull Moose tradition of Theodore Roosevelt, and I support the Kerry-Edwards agenda," Wittmann writes. "This unreconstructed Bull Moose will run with the donkey in November." Wittmann had been McCain's director of communications for the past two years. He left Wednesday to become a senior fellow at the DLC, a centrist or right-of-center Democratic group.

Wittmann said the point he is making is that the Bush administration has "betrayed" efforts to create a new politics of national greatness and unity in the aftermath of 9/11 through its divisive tax policies and the war in Iraq. Bush did not invent our enemies, Wittmann writes. "But, despite all his bravado and swagger, he has made it more difficult to build a domestic and international political coalition to ultimately prevail against our terrorist adversaries. He has bred distrust by driving a cynical partisan agenda that seeks to reward the wealthy, while branding his political adversaries as vaguely unpatriotic."

"Don't get me wrong - this Bull Moose is not completely in agreement with the Democratic donkey," Wittmann writes. If Kerry wins, "it remains to be seen whether his administration will be more willing to break with its ideological base than a Bush team that has been slavishly loyal to its corporate paymasters," he adds. "But there is no remaining shred of doubt that another four years of a Bush presidency would have a toxic effect on American politics. If George W. Bush is re-elected, unlimited corporate power, cynicism and division will ride high in the saddle."

Don't it make a red state blue
In Arizona, influential Republican women are increasingly coming out for John Kerry.

Judith Allen, longtime Arizonan and lifelong Republican, says her choice is clear. She is voting for John Kerry on Nov. 2 and says there's plenty more where she came from. Allen is not a lone voice, crying in the wilderness. She currently serves as a volunteer coordinator for the group, Republicans for Kerry, which believes in "putting aside partisan politics to do what is right for America." In spite of recent polls to the contrary, Allen says her fellow Republicans, turned off by the Bush administration's sharp turn to the right, are defecting in droves to the other side. "I've met and talked with numerous Republicans since I've been in this march for John Kerry," says Allen, now a senior adviser to Arizona's Kerry-Edwards campaign. "They have all echoed to me, 'I will vote for Kerry.'" She says that of the more than 700 cross-over Republicans she's spoken to in Arizona, many remain active in the GOP and reluctant to discuss their support for Kerry.

If what these Arizonans want is any indication, Bush may well be in trouble. Since Arizona earned statehood in 1912, no Republican has been elected president without carrying the state. Arizona is one of those pesky "purple" states. It has a Republican-leaning, albeit largely independent electorate that has been known to swing toward unpredictable places. Bill Clinton was the first Democrat to win Arizona since Harry S. Truman in 1948, and the GOP has a 120,000-voter advantage in party registration over the Democrats. Yet Arizona has a pool of about 600,000 registered Independents.

Don't be fooled. The Clantons and McLowrys - er, the Bu$he$ and the Cheneys - aren't out of ammo and running for the hills just yet. In fact, they are trying their darnedest to keep the Earps and Doc Holliday - er, John Kerry and John Edwards, from gaining additional allies:

Feds quiz Ariz. Muslims before election

With the final presidential debate in Tempe less than two weeks away, the FBI is increasing efforts to interview Phoenix-area residents, including Muslims, as part of a nationwide plan to prevent a terrorist attack before the Nov. 2 election, agents said.

Susan Herskovits, the FBI's spokeswoman in Phoenix, said this latest push aimed to increase intelligence by contacting as many people as possible - not just Muslims. "We're worried about an attack on American soil," Herskovits told the East Valley Tribune. "It isn't really targeting any group."

Deedra Abboud, executive director of the local chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, disagreed, saying Muslims obviously are a focus of the FBI effort. She was called by the FBI earlier this week. "They are contacting Muslims they've already contacted, and contacting ones they haven't met," Abboud said. "They tell us they are not using ethnic profiling - we tend to disagree, but we won't deny they are interviewing other people."

She said the FBI told her they had no knowledge of any terror plans for Arizona "but they can't be too sure."

Abboud said while the agent's tone was congenial, a visit or phone call from the FBI can still be disconcerting. "You tend to wonder if you're on a list - why they are at your door," she said. "You feel like you're under investigation even if you're not."

But while the ghost of J. Edgar Hoover still roams the land involving itself in seriously unconstitutional activities, the Clantons and McLowrys - er, the Bu$he$ and the Cheneys (It just seems to fit them!) haven't been watching their backs - and those they trusted with that duty have their own issues.

Conservative group targets Bush over immigration

Fed up with what they say is the Bush administration's failure to address a growing illegal immigration problem, a small group of conservatives has launched a series of radio ads seeking to convince voters to oust President Bush from office. Last week, a group called Friends of the Border Patrol began a series of ads on KABC-AM in Los Angeles blasting Bush for "playing politics with national security." The group is upset with the president for his support of a guest-worker program that would allow foreign citizens to come to the United States for temporary work, an idea touted in the Bush campaign platform. The guest-worker program would also allow illegal immigrants already in the country to sign up.

A former campaign consultant to Reagan said he believes that Bush is not coming down harder on illegal immigrants out of a need to satisfy big-business interests. "They want more cheap labor. All they are interested in is their profits," he said. The ads pound the same point: "We believe the president wants illegal immigration. Why? Because illegals work cheap; that's the bottom line."

The group plans on running the same ads in Arizona starting this week, before the Oct. 13 presidential debate in Phoenix, and in the following weeks in Nevada and New Mexico, a spokesman for the group said. They know their efforts are costing them support and friends in Republican political circles, but that they feel so strongly about the immigration issue they are willing to help elect Kerry to get their message across to the Republican Party leadership.

Ron Prince, best-known as the co-author of 1994's Proposition 187 [CA] - an initiative that would have denied public benefits to illegal immigrants, said he has raised about $20,000 of the estimated $25,000 cost of the radio advertising campaign he plans to run in Arizona before the Oct. 13 Phoenix debate. He plans to spend another $25,000 for advertising in Arizona between the debate and Election Day, as well as about $10,000 in both Nevada and New Mexico.

Prince said that voter resentment in those states toward Bush and his immigration policies could provide Kerry with just enough votes to make the difference and cost Bush re-election. "With this contest, where both Kerry and Bush are standing on the edge of the cliff, just one little push could make the difference," Prince said. While he doesn't anticipate the radio ads will have an effect in California, he said he believes they could affect the election in states such as Arizona and Nevada. And in a tight race, he said, it might even affect the outcome of the election.

If Kerry were to win all the states won by Al Gore in 2000 and carry either Arizona or Nevada, which went to Bush in 2000, Kerry would win the election. Arizona has 10 electoral votes, while Nevada has five. New Mexico, with five electoral votes, is being included in the ad push, they say, because it is a border state and considered "in play," even though polls show it to be leaning toward Kerry. Gore won it in 2000 by just 303 votes.

The guns are loaded, the hammers are cocked, and the principals are in place. All that's left is to draw, aim, and pull the voting triggers.

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pessimist :: 11:33 PM :: Comments (9) :: Digg It!