Monday, October 25, 2004

A Blue Stater Travels Through Red States ... The Story Continues

Dateline: Atlanta, Ga.

I know that Georgia is safely a Red State in the upcoming presidential election. But judging from the staff at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and at our downtown Atlanta hotel, one might have guessed we were in Kerry country.

Now, that might have been because this particular population was disproportionately African-American, and Kerry, if nothing else, scores well with "hyphenated Americans." Or it might have been because this particular population is paid an hourly wage, and may have realized Bushonomics hasn't helped them, or that millions recently lost their chance to earn overtime, possibly including them. Whatever the reason, Kerry-Edwards buttons were plainly in sight.


On the drive to suburban Roswell for a family barbeque, Bush-Cheney posters were prevalent, and it seemed there were as many "W" bumper stickers as there were 4X4s on Route 75. The local radio, as I've previously noted*, was well stocked with Rush Limbaugh and local wannabes.


The BBQ attendees were all in town for my cousin's wedding the next day, so this was hardly a local crowd. In fact, after a few hours of conversations and how-do-you-dos, it became clear that our group was slightly more Christian than Jewish, slightly more Southern than Northern, slightly more male than female, and surprisingly, slightly more Democrat than Republican.

It was actually kind of funny. You had a bunch of folks from Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland and Florida, who were clearly Democrats. You could hear it in the conversations. And, as the World Series was to start that night, it also appeared that the Democrats among us were universally rooting for the Red Sox.

Meanwhile, you had a cluster of apolitical partiers discussing college football, coming into the great room and asking to have the channel flipped to the Alabama-Tennessee or Florida State-Wake Forest games (I think the Georgia game had already finished by the time we'd all arrived). This group was decidedly more male, Southern and Christian ... and apparently uninterested in politics.

Now, I don't want you to get the wrong idea. I wasn't taking copious notes. I can't account for everyone in attendance. No polls were taken that night. Just observations and mental notes as I made my way about the party, stumbling upon the middle of one conversation or another. I didn't talk politics myself (possibly jet lag, or because my wife and I were busy watching our three-year-old), but over a four-hour period, it seemed as if the majority of attendees had on some level made their intentions clear.

And so, yes, maybe I'm stereotyping, and maybe no reasonable conclusions can be drawn from a single party in suburban Atlanta. But it sure did seem as if the Democrats among us were a lot more motivated by the news of the day than the (assumed) Republicans, who just wanted to watch football.


Earlier today, the morning after the wedding, I saw the first true-blue Bush fan in the crowd: my aunt's 16-year-old great nephew (no relation to my side of the family). He didn't really have much of a reason for supporting the president ... apparently he thinks Bush is cool.

He's from Florida. Sigh.

* To read the other eight parts of this series, go to the August and September archives.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's see. In recent weeks, JK has become a walking talking spin machine. GWB has been that for even longer. The VPs have become negative hacks. Each side jumps on minutia to try to insinuate some larger irrelevant point. People in certain states are so sick of ads it may actually disincentivize them to vote.

So, despite my own predisposition to discuss politics (i am not sure why anymore other than the fact i cant turn on the news and find anything else), i can certainly understand why someone would choose sports over politics. Sport events offer something new each and every time and you dont know the outcome but you know that, referee mistakes aside, the outcome is actually decided on the field of play. Compare to politics right now with the same old spin, rhetoric, false claims and plans by both sides...just disgusting. Thank the lord for college and pro football and the world series.

Lets hope, for the sake of this country, the world, and my own sanity, that this election is clearly decided on election day. And then the far left and far right can fade to black on the newsshows for awhile and maybe open a chance for some real progress in this country.

good thing that last i checked, even in florida, 16 year olds dont vote. unless they vote for bush, right? then somehow their vote will count.

9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, the only peace and sanctity can be found in pro and college football.
The nihilistic view of the above blogger is that both candidates are equally guilty of lies, falsehoods and distortion, so that pulling the lever on Nov. 2 is equivalent to spinning the roulette wheel at the casino.
Why bother?
I think it more constructive to apply facts and make a reasoned decision as to which candidate is the better choice.

10:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's clear that conservatives want a low turnout, because a big turnout can't possibly help their man.

So by default, anyone who hasn't signed a loyalty oath to this president is better off being distracted, by football or Ashlee Simpson or whatever.

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a nihilistic view to point out the depths of absurdity that has been achieved this election period? My point is not whether there are worthy debates as to whom to vote for. My point is noone is having such debates any longer. Today, the lies are basically equal and there are so many it is honestly a chore to sift through the crap to find the morsels of truth out there. I am not suggesting or arguing about who has made more or bigger lies over time. Hopefully, those in the voting public, have heard and seen enough to make up their minds by now. (I still stand by my view that there are not many undecideds out there other than those who are not sure whether they will vote or not. therefore, getting the people out to vote is primary). What I am saying is enough is enough. Both candidates are demeaning themselves now with all the BS (global test nonsense, draft starting in Jan, SS overhaul....bears, wolves ostriches, pigs that fly, pigs in blankets-ok i am hungry). Just annoying. Nothing new. Let's get it on already.

And for those who imply that I am some conservative hoping that there is low turnout, or that conservatives are more easily drawn to sports these days rather than the election drivel....well, get a life. If you think the current election information is pertinent or even interesting, that is sad. I for one, hope we have record turnout.

And I am still pondering which has more significance right now, the candidate's garbage these days or whether Ashley Simpson can sing or not...

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suppose in your mind when Kerry points out information like the following, it should be discredited because it is nothing more than "spin and lies."
1. More than 1,000 soldiers have died in Iraq 2. Bush has repeatedly changed his story for his reasoning behind going to War. 3. WMD's have not been found, and no credible links have been found between Iraq and 9-11. 4. 380 tons of explosives were stolen (contrary to Bush spin after U.S. troops were in the country). 5. The insurgents have infiltrated the Iraq security police being trained by the U.S.., as evidenced by the murders of 49 newly-minted Iraq soldiers.
Here is my point, spin has a purpose when it is not a serious contortion of the facts.
Bush spin, on the other hand, regarding 1. Kerry's healthcare plan (that the government would take over healthcare ala Clinton). 2. That he has an undistinguished Senate record, that he would raise taxes, 3. That he would make the U.S. more vulnerable to terrorism, i.e. wolves in the forest, are rooted in facts that are shaky at best. The Bush spin, in contrast to that of Kerry, can often be easilly demonstrated as false or a complete distortion.
The level of distortion and lies has indeed NOT been equal on both sides.
Maybe that's why 126 newspapers, the so-called bastians of objective truth, are supporting Kerry, including at least 35 that had endorsed Bush in 2000, over only 96 for Bush. (From an ongoing tally by Editor & Publisher).
Only people skimping and scraping for a reason to support Bush resort to the kinds of argument above that the level of lies is evenly balanced on both sides.
Many do not want to resort to the reality that the Bush record on the economy Iraq and terrorism is almost indefensible.
For partial support, here is a quote from the Star Ledger editorial today: "The list of Bush administration failures in the war on terror and the war in Iraq -- from the Abu Gharib scandal to the weekend murder by insurgents of 49 newly minted Iraqi soldiers to the lost explosives is getting longer. It's difficult to justify, with logic or understanding, the failures of policy and execution that have characterized President Bush's performance in Iraq. A more dismal performance as commander in chief is hard to imagine."

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

point above was not whether one side has spun more but that right now, today, currently, the spin coming out of both sides is bordering on absurdity and is equally ridiculous. Is a voter really supposed to listen to this. Open your eyes. I agree with what you say about Bush's spin but have you listened to Kerry's recently? He is saying Bush will reinstate the draft although he knows that he wont. Pure political garbage. He continously intentionally mistates the job loss numbers (as if the truth isnt bad enough), he talks about Bush's SS plan as complete privatization when he knows that is not true. He knows his "plan" for changing the tax laws to prevent outsourcing or whatever he calls this will not work, will not pass and is absurd to anyone who understands international tax law. There are no saints in this race, period. So ,lets stop suggesting everything Bush says is spin and nothing Kerry says is. Pointing out in a blog the things that Kerry says that may be true with things that Bush says that are clearly spin is Michael Moorish - skews the message. And again, the above point is there is nothing really new here---all rhetoric, facts that have been stated and restated, some true, some not. Spin City.

5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't agree with the assessments of Kerry spin on job losses and a "hopeless" plan to change the tax laws to stop outsourcing (when several experts have said it could be done).
I point to the example of the social security. Kerry said that Bush wanted to privatize it. Bush fired back he did not. This was a lie. HE INDEED SAID during the second debate that he was seriously looking at the idea. And several within his own administration said Bush's intention was to pursue the privatization plan after the election.
This is an example of dishonest spin and Bush lies. He will say anything to get elected.
I agree Kerry bringing up the draft was not honest, since he apparantely based that info on claims from undisclosed sources within the legislative chambers. But he resorted to Bush-like scare tactics in recent weeks only - probably in response to the baseless garbage that he would make the world more suitable for terrorists, etc.
The most ridiculous argument I have heard this entire campaign season is that anyone who directs valid criticism against Bush policies in whatever form is "Michael Moorish."
For one the comparison to Moore here is neither fair nor accurate.
For two, even if it was, many like yourself, want to overlook the undisputed facts of Moore's film: not a single congress person voting for the War has sent their son or daughter to Iraq, Condi Rice's questionable statements in the spring of 2001 that Saadam was properly contained not in any way a threat to the U.S., the first exposure of Bush's in-context statement that he wasn't all-that concerned with finding Osama Bin Laden.
Although it is true that in some instances Moore played loose with the facts, it is indeed Bush spin that Moore should be immediately discredited as a left-wing lunatic.
Of course, Bushies forwarded the claim for one reason only: to disguise the valid criticisms Moore raised in his film. This all goes back to my original argument.

6:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you post an actual comment, from a transcript perhaps, where Kerry said there's going to be a draft? Frankly, I think this is an example of conservative bias.

Bush says all sorts of things about Kerry that aren't true, but they get repeated enough and suddenly, it's as if they were true. The notion that Kerry has SAID that Bush will have a draft is, I believe, one of these falsehoods.

Also, Kerry corrected himself on the cost of Iraq in the third debate. He has cited the private job loss, rather than factoring in the huge public sector growth (ironic. given the "conservative" administration). I've heard him state this both ways (incorrectly suggesting this is total job loss, vs. private sector job loss).

When was the last time Bush admitted a mistake? Oh yeah, when he said he was wrong to trade Sammy Sosa.

9:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To further elaborate on the statement of the above blogger: We learned in pre-school that one who doesn't acknowledge mistakes is doomed to repeat them. Reason enough not to elect Bush!
An alcoholic often fails to see his or her life flushing down the toilet because they repeatedly refuse to see their ways are in error. They live within their own little vacuum. So for years they continue falling down a slope until they ultimately hit rock bottom.
A similar analogy is found in Bush and his treatment of Iraq.
And why should we let him drag the country down along with him down this slope!
With Bush in office, we are riding in a speeding car down a canyon without brakes. Yet, the majority of the electorate shockingly enough just might have been duped enough by GOP spin to give him a second term.
I would prefer a thoughtful leader like Kerry who can change with circumstances as they arrive.
It may sound like a campaign commercial but it is what I believe as an observer of this election season.
Bush creates fear where Kerry builds pride.
Bush says I and Kerry says we.
Bush divides. Kerry brings people together.
Bush wants power. Kerry prefers goodwill.
Bush places blame while Kerry works to solve the problem.

7:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the point above which has now been twisted was that Kerry recently has resorted to similar spin tactics that Bush has been accused of, rightly so, for some time now. I guess it is the if you cant beat them, join them mentality at work.

Not sure where the Michael Moorish debate stems from but it seems the point above is that when you mix in facts with downright opinions or "loose" facts designed to frame something as truth that may not be, the public cannot decipher the difference and Moore knows this and plays to this. Anyone who does this would be Moorish, I expect. Those who level valid criticism are not Moorish; rather such a person would be admirable. Too bad none are running for president.

I do not disagree with the previous bloggers view as to Kerry and Bush and also as to why the public would want to give a failed leader another chance. However, I also agree with the postings above that Kerry, down the stretch, has shown himself to jump on any bandwagon that he is told will work politically, even those he knows are stretches of the imagination.

I am a Kerry supporter but the postings here make everything seem so black and white as not to be believable or reasonable.

Of note: I have seen more than one stump speech where Kerry himself states that Bush will and plans to have a draft. How have you not see this. Also, he has said personally that Bush will completely privatize social security, thereby risking everything on the hopes of the market conditions. Yet he knows that what Bush has talked about is partially doing so on an election basis. Not that this is a good idea but that is the "truth". Bloggers, this is election season and everything is spin--little to be believed any longer. Should be an interesting week next week.

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey wait a minute.
The postings here "make everything seem so black and white" that it is not reasonable?
You wonder why then Bush supporters criticize Kerry to for recognizing that everything is not so simple (or black and white), and for this reason important decisions on things like going to war require careful thought, deliberation and cooperation.
These Bushies twist this positive character attribute into showing lack of clarity, indecisiveness, flip-flopping, etc.

On another subject, Kerry has shown real skill of late in deflecting Bush distortions. Here are a few examples reported in the media yesterday:

1. A political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts is not a person you want as your commander in chief,” Bush told supporters Wednesday.
Kerry retorted on Thursday, “Mr. President, I agree with you.” He then recited a list of times he said Bush had been guilty of just that.

2. For the fourth consecutive day, Kerry assailed Bush over the disclosure that nearly 400 tons of explosives were missing in Iraq, and said the Republican president’s attempt to compare himself to John F. Kennedy was off the mark. “When the Bay of Pigs went sour, John Kennedy had the courage to look America in the eye and say, ‘I take responsibility, it’s my fault,” Kerry said, referring to a bungled invasion of Cuba in 1961. “John Kennedy knew how to take responsibility for the mistakes he made and Mr. President, it’s long since time for you to start taking responsibility for the mistakes you made.”

10:59 AM  

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