Maintaining Optimism in the Face of Reality. Occasional observations on the state of the world, society, business and politics. Usually anchored by facts, always augmented by opinion.

And They Say the GOP Uses 'Politics of Fear'  | e-mail post

Many liberals and progressives claim the Bush campaign used the "politics of fear" to win: fear of terror, fear of gays, fear of who knows what else. I might give them fear of terror, but the argument can be made that this is not some sort of made-up boogeyman. Recent events demonstrate it is not an entirely remote risk. And, candidly, the idea of a guy like John Kerry running things is, to me, if not frightening, per se, certainly less than reassuring. I definitely can't agree that the GOP did or said anything to induce an actual "fear" of gays; as I have argued at length, I think Bush is far more gay neutral than he is often characterized.

What I found odd during the election, however, is how much the left regularly just would tell or spread outright lies about what a second Bush term would bring. The draft? A dismantled Social Security system? Please. (Honestly, I knew the draft thing must have taken sincere hold in some people's minds when I was at the grocery store earlier and the sacker asked the cashier (both were men/boys 16-18) if he thought there would be a draft. And it wasn't a political thing, they both seemed to have at least a mild concern about it.)

But it it hasn't stopped with the election either, Volokh Conspiracy reports on the Washington Post's Dana Milbank claiming on an interview with Diane Rehm that the new more-Republican congress would be considering the death penalty for abortionists. I shit you not. I had to hear this for myself, and I did. You can listen to the show from WAMU's website. His reply to the question starts 29:27 into the show:
We have a whole lot of legislative issues on abortion: parental consent, fetal pain legislation, some favor the death penalty for abortion providers, efforts to stamp out all abortions in the second trimester. These are legislative issues that are all much more near term than the eventual Roe v Wade decision.
Now, if you want to talk about fear, talking about the GOP pushing for the death penalty for abortionists seems just a tad bit fear-mongering compared to what the GOP might really do about the issue. (Although I really do wish this, like a host of other items on social conservatives' agendas, was not a GOP issue.) I can absolutely accept opposition to the pro-life movement, there are many in the Republican party who I wish would maintain a little more mainstream social agenda, but why not confine the criticism to the facts, not some fantastically extremist position? It makes their case so much more credible.

On the other hand, the lather so many conservatives have got themselves in about Arlen Specter just shows how the abortion issue can make the otherwise sane behavior less so. (I am personally in favor of Specter taking the chairmanship.)

e-mail post | Link Cosmos | [Permalink]  |  | Wednesday, November 10, 2004
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