SCALLOPS

Frank Nash: ‘You say, ‘Turn the scallops over and push ’em around a little.’ Don’t turn them over. Cook on one side only. The result is a splendid golden crust on one side and a much juicier scallop – no need to upend the pan to drink the juice, the juice remains in the scallops.’

Chacon a son gout. (I don’t speak French and spelled haricot vert wrong yesterday, but I keep trying.)

YES, BUSH CAN

It seems the YES, BUSH CAN folks I’ve referred to a couple of times here didn’t really start out as Bushies and convert – they were anti-Bush all along. Sorry not to have caught that. Click here for their exploits.

ARROGANCE

Katie: ‘Your column beautifully illustrates why the Dems lost. You arrogantly assume that the people who voted for Bush were uninformed. The arrogance of the elites is why you lost this election. The majority of Americans can and do examine the facts and decide for themselves. That they choose to ignore you and the Dems does NOT make them uniformed. It means they disagree. But until you and your party can figure out that you do not know what’s best for the rest of us, you will continue to lose national elections.

☞ If the surveys are right, 60% to 70% of Bush voters believe Iraq had a significant hand in attacking us. That’s just one of many examples, but not an unimportant one.

Thomas Jefferson said, ‘If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.’

My fear is two-fold. First, that our citizenry does an only so-so job of staying informed. Second, that we are served by an increasingly consolidated, increasingly intimidated press.

As to the arrogance of ‘knowing what’s best for the rest of us,’ there are places where, yes, we would intrude – for example, we wanted to extend the ban on the sale of assault weapons. But that’s an area where polls show most people agree with us.

At the same time, there are so many areas where your elites believe they ‘know what’s best for the rest of us.’ For example:

  • The Bush Administration says the people of California may not use medical marijuana to relieve their pain or reduce the nausea of chemotherapy – never mind the referendum by which they enacted this. The Bush Administration knows what’s best for them.
  • The Bush Administration says terminally ill Oregonians may not choose assisted suicide, even though the people of Oregon twice passed this by referendum. The Bush Administration knows what’s best for them.
  • The Bush team says abortion should be illegal. They know better than women and their doctors how to make this difficult choice – even though a majority of the country disagrees.
  • The Bush team says that Charles and I should be denied equal rights – perhaps even jailed (as per the Texas law that Governor Bush supported but that, to his dismay, the Court struck down) – because they know better than we do whom it is okay for us to love.
  • The Bush team says we cannot adopt, even if the trained social workers and family court judge believe it would be in the best interest of the child. The Bush Administration knows what’s best for the child.

So I think it maybe works both ways.

ONE FUNDAMENTALIST’S VIEW

From John Leonarz:

I write as a fundamentalist, born-again Christian, a Democrat and a strong Kerry supporter. I drove down to Jacksonville, FL, to give three days driving voters to the polls and do my bit to preclude a repeat of the debacle of 2000, when many thousands of votes (Dem.) were uncounted in Duval County. While at the Dem HQ a lady came in to ask for a bumper sticker which would say “Christians for Kerry.” There weren’t any. Apparently the campaign never made any of them up. The Black people I assisted were very strong Christians and had no difficulty seeing that God wanted them to support the Democratic Party.

Mr. Kerry was a red (blue?) flag to these people – “liberal”, Catholic, anti-Vietnam war, pro-abortion, pro-Gay, from Massachusetts, and “nuanced.” If we expect to win, ever again, we will have to meet these people at least half way with someone who is a recognizable, sincere, biblically-literate Christian. This person need not be a gay-basher, nor one who wants to re-criminalize abortion (mostly the right-wing does not want actually to recriminalize abortion). The candidate would have to begin with a simple, consistent, pro-American, pro-gun, pro-conventional-marriage base. Strong support for a proper health care system, strong defense, strong anti-terror program. The person should be a church-attending, credible veteran free of antiwar notoriety, a person with stature as a leader and politician, probably a Governor. The person must be well-vetted because the Republicans will take any incident out of context and make up stuff to discredit the person. The person must have a record of making good decisions and staying with them. Decisions should be informed, but not marked by long periods of study. Bush would have been vulnerable to a charge that he made snap decisions made on guesswork and then let himself become the prisoner of his ego. We never said that in so many words.

The gay marriage issue is answered for a concurrent majority of Christians by the appeal to fairness – i.e, advocacy of the civil union, together with the comment that “God knows who is married and who is not, and only God’s opinion counts.”

The gun issue is answered by taking the position that one will respect the opinions of law enforcement organizations, and that therefore gun-owning, public spirited citizens have nothing to fear from the Democratic party.

Christian voters abhor the idea of giving huge tax breaks to the wealthy, to be paid for by our children and grandchildren, but would not vote for Democrats because of the general fear of creating a massively secular, big-brotherly type of society, oriented to deterioration of the family and indulgent toward unconventional sexual mores.

Bush’s comment that the majority of the tax cut went to low income citizens, was misunderstood by most. What he apparently based it on was the number of persons in the categories who received tax cuts, which was unquestionably highest among those of low income. [OK, but if you gave a $5 cut to each of 100 million low-income households and a $1 million cut to the top 10,000, that would be $500 million for the people at the bottom and $10 billion to the people at the top. Wouldn’t it be purposely deceptive to deny that such a scheme gave most of the benefit to the wealthy, as Gore suggested, and state flatly, as Bush did, that “by far the vast majority” of the tax cut would go to people “at the bottom end of the economic ladder”? – A.T.]

Christian voters are not as stupid as many Democrats think they are. (Some of them, of course, are.) In general, Christians were greatly annoyed at the blatant lies put out by the Republicans, and appalled at the casual way in which they made stuff up as they went along. All things equal, a Christian will vote against that kind of tactic. In future we must adhere to a well-publicized effort toward truth and fair dealing in our campaign statements. When we slip from this standard we have to be prompt and full with our explanation and recognition of the truth, even apology, which can be even more devastating than any exaggeration we might have put forth.

We must recognize that Republicans are not interested in facts, only in values and impressions. If the world divides between the nerds and the jocks, they are the jocks, and the jocks are more numerous. Did it matter whether Iraq played a role in 9-11? No. Or that Bush is a heartless scoundrel (the Tucker case, the suppression of photos of the returning caskets)? No.

A decent regard for the heartland religion is key, because the heartland is where the electoral votes are. Karl Rove knows that, and that will still be true in 2008.

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