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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

More reading material for you.

Normally, I find David Brooks' insights about as compelling as Ann Landers', but here he makes a good case for why the Republicans have alientated so many people, and what they can do to move the party back to its roots - or back to what Alexander Hamiliton, the original compassionate conservative, had in mind. As Brooks says, Hamilton walked the walk, and today's GOP is not following suit. (Brooks foolishly argues that Bush is taking the party in a progressive/conservative direction; I have neither the bandwidth nor the typing strength to point out the gazillion reasons he's wrong.)

Like most Americans, I'm not watching the GOP convention either. It's funny that they're rolling out their token moderates (Giuliani, Ahnold, and McCain) to give the big speeches - when in fact the platform is clearly leaning to the far right (a near-fascist statement of support for the Iraq war, condemning equal rights for gays, and of course the "overturn Roe v. Wade" stance). It's all about the bait-and-switch. Which begs the question - who is their intended audience? Given that no opposing, or even on-the-fence, minds are likely to be swayed, it stands to reason that Ed Gillespie & Co. are trying to keep the fences propped up. The conventions are meant to be pep rallies, but this one has a different feel to it. The spectre of 9/11 is being raised to remind people of Dubya's decisiveness during the attacks and in the days following, but there's a bit of desparation to it all.

Bush is taking a lot of flak for flip-flopping on this comment made yesterday during an interview on the Today Show, referring to the war on terror: "I don't think you can win it....But I think you can create conditions so that those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world." Today, of course, he reversed himself and tried to explain away the comment.

The thing is, he's absolutely right. As long as someone is willing to die for a cause, and doesn't care who he or she takes with him, there will be terrorism. It's delusional to think that by destroying the Taliban, or Saddam, or even bin Laden, we'll stamp out terrorism. We've conveniently forgotten that the most devastating terrorist attack on U.S. soil prior to 9/11 was carried out by Americans in Oklahoma City. Terrorism is a mindset, not an organization or a country. How do you defeat that?

Tonight I lace up the boots; returning to rugby practice for the first time since I twisted my knee. Full report tomorrow.


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