Friday, October 27, 2006

Change the course

On next Tuesday, I will vote -- as should you. While most people think of me as a dyed-in-the-wool liberal Democrat, I vote for candidates from either party. (Although, I admit, my lifelong vote tally is predominantly Democratic.) As an example of my open-mindedness, this time around I'll be voting, once again, for Indiana Senator Richard Lugar. He's done an okay job, for a Republican apologist, and I especially like his efforts to contain loose nukes from the former Soviet republics. So he gets my vote, in spite of party affiliation.

For other offices, I vote Democratic even though the Democrats have no chance in hell of winning in my particular district. For example, I have to vote against Representative Dan Burton, one of the biggest slimeballs in Congress today (and that's saying a lot), even though he doesn't even have a viable candidate running against him. That's the peril of living in one of the most solidly Republican districts in the country -- an area so Republican that some offices don't even have Democrats listed on the ballot. It's not that the area is hyper-conservative; my neighbors engage in more than their share of drink and illicit sex, thank you very much. No, the district is extremely wealthy, and apparently well-off people vote Republican for financial considerations. So be it.

For lesser offices, where I have no idea who's even running (voting uninformed is one of the major shortfalls of democracy), I always vote against the incumbent. My take is that, more often than not, whoever got voted into office is probably corrupt, so I'll take whatever alternative is available. Retain judge so and so? Nope. Re-elect incumbent whomever? Not a chance. I always vote for change, as it were.

Speaking of change, this election is the best chance we have to express our discontent with the current resident of the White House. I know King George isn't up for re-election, but we can kick out his faithful and irresponsible toadies. That means voting against Republican incumbents, wherever you can. Stay the course? Not this election. This time, the election is all about changing the course -- and bringing some modicum of responsibility back to Washington.

But that's just my opinion; the important thing is that you vote, for whichever side.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


So the Bush administration says that it is no longer using the phrase "stay the course" when speaking about the Iraq war. Notice that they didn't say they were changing their strategy. They're just changing their slogan. It's not the same thing.

The Bushies have no clear goal for getting out of Iraq. They have no plan. They have no timetable. In my mind, if you're not getting out, you're staying -- the course, that is.

And if they were getting out, wouldn't that be the same sort of "cut and run" strategy they accuse their detractors of? I mean, if you're not staying, you're running. And if cutting and running is so bad, then so must be not staying, shouldn't it?

To make matters worse, Bush goes to the Orwellian extreme of denying that "stay the course" was never their strategy in the first place. Press secretary Tony Snow recently stated that "The idea that we're staying the course is just wrong," even though until very recently Bush uttered that phrase regularly and repetitively. The administration seems to think that they can erase memories just by saying the opposite of something. Maybe memories can be erased, but videotape can't. It's not quite 1984 yet -- even though they're trying.

This administration believes that appearances matter more than reality. Thus the changing of the slogan while maintaining the same strategy. As a public, we shouldn't much care what the Bushies call something. We should care about their actions, not their words. And their actions are dangerous and disastrous. It doesn't matter what you call it, invading Iraq and then refusing to exit the resulting killing field is calamitous. Call it staying the course, call it whatever you like, it's stupidity bordering on criminality.

So, come next Tuesday, let's make a public effort to not stay the course. Vote the incumbents out of office, and give our democracy a fresh start -- and the Bush administration something new to worry about for the next two years.

But that's just my opinion; reasonable minds may disagree.