Sunday, July 13, 2008

George Bush: The Great Avenger?

Man, this is going to be painful. But I'm trying to give respect where it's due.

Few people remember that former Indiana Congressman John Hostettler (R), who was defeated last election cycle by Brad Ellsworth (D) in Indiana's 8th District, was one of six Republicans who voted in 2002 against the original authorization for the Iraq War. In a flag-waving district, that was a courageous stand on principle and a vote that many Democrats now wish they had made.

Also, you have to tip your hat, even if grudgingly, to somebody who has a chance to score easy political points but doesn't because of his philosophy. In 2004, Hostettler introduced the Marriage Protection Act, which defined marriage federally as between a man and woman. But when the constitutional amendment was proposed in 2006, Hostettler said no because he does not believe the constitution should be amended easily. That's a principled man.

Of course, it bears mentioning that being "principled" is no compliment if the principles are terrifying, such as a tunnel-vision effort to inject one's personal theology into the public sphere.

Hostettler's greatest hits?

- The original MPA sponsorship

- Repealing D.C.'s extension of health coverage to employees' domestic partners

- Defeating abortion under any circumstance. This single-mindedness prompted Hostettler to adopt the belief that abortions cause cancer, which he astonishingly chose to share with some cancer survivors who came to his D.C. Congressional office. (That's kind of like hosting a group of blind kids and telling them they shouldn't have masturbated so much).

- Sponsoring legislation to deny the ACLU attorney's fees awards when they succeed in enforcing the 1st Amendment

- An effort to make Alexander Hamilton roll over in his grave by stripping the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals of its budget after it removed the 10 Comandments from a courthouse in Alabama. Hamilton, in Federalist 78 states: "The complete independence of the courts of justice is peculiarly essential in a limited constitution."

- Trying to repeal the portion of the IRS code that says religious groups and churches CAN'T engage in political activity without losing their tax-exempt status

Apparently, not happy with this level of notoriety, Hostettler authored a book, Nothing for the Nation: Who Got What Out of Iraq, which is shocking.

I haven't read it, but Hostettler apparently argues that we went to war in Iraq for two reasons.

First, President George W. Bush wanted to avenge a 1993 assassination attempt on his father by the Iraqi Intelligence Service. (I first heard this contention from Chris Rock in his comedy special, Never Scared, and my reaction was, "DUH!")

Second, we charged to war because a cabal of influential Jewish-Americans wanted us to take Saddam out to secure Israel's safety. Because of historical persecution of Jews and its offshooting conspiracy theories about media control by the Jews, many discussions about Israel have become taboo. This is another area where people fear facts, as I stated in a prior post.

Do I think Jews led to the war in Iraq? Absolutely not. I vote for war profiteering and the allure of low hanging fruit. I honestly think Bush's thought was, "If my daddy could smoke them easily in 1991, why can't I do it in 2002?"

But I'm honest enough to say that our support of Israel puts us at odds with quite a few countries. This is a fact. You know how we know? Because all of these countries tell us explicitly they are mad about our support for Israel.

Why are we so afraid to say that? Here. It's easy. Our support of Israel makes us hated! Wheee! Look at me! Now you try. See how easy that is.

And here's the thing. SAYING that our support makes our lives tougher doesn't mean you don't get to ask questions like, "Shouldn't we support the only democracy in the Middle East, even if it's tough?" "Shouldn't we be loyal to them because they've been loyal to us?" Or "Even if we quit supporting Israel, won't these other countries still be angry at us for other reasons, meaning we'd could 'Et Tu Brutus' Israel for no real geopolitical gain?!?"

And agreeing that some Jews in America clearly influence our foreign policy in the Middle East doesn't keep you from asking whether the Congressional Black Caucus influences how we treat Africa, or whether the Kennedys and other Boston pols have influenced policy regarding Ireland. I even heard "a rumor" about Cuban-Americans influencing our policy on Cuba.

(Actually, what I heard from a colleague who served as a field operative of a now defunct presidential campaign, was that Florida's electoral votes are being held hostage by a rabid anti-Castro enclave who will only give us back the part of Florida they turned into their personal Cuba when America gives them the REAL Cuba back. And until then, we can expect an unrelenting wave of rhumba and samba dancing).

I say this somewhat facetiously, but if we are all Americans first, which is what we all claim, NOBODY, regardless of what country you came from, should advocate anything that does not clearly advantage America first. Being an America first means you have to write your grandmother in the home country and tell her she's hosed because we need to build some roads in Sheboygan, Wisconsin before we can send humanitarian relief, or we need cheap gas for our SUVs, and we don't want to upset the delicate diplomatic balance we've struck with an oil-producing nation-state.

Seriously, if you are going to wring your hands over "influences" in America, don't single out the Jews just because Spielberg has more money to throw around. What about John Zogby, the famed pollster and head of the Arab-American Institute?!?! Maybe he uses his polling data for nefarious, anti-Israeli purposes!?!)

Please. There are no "conspiracies" here. Many Jews strongly support Israel. They write letters, they vote, and they contribute to elected officials to achieve that goal. And so do a lot of other ethnic and religious groups, including Christians from the 8th District. This is part of the American experiment called democracy. If you don't like it, organize, write letters, and contribute in opposition to the position or person that irks you. It often works, which is why John Hostettler is a "former" member of Congress. But don't act like it's some "secret conspiracy" when you can find all the evidence on-line at the Federal Election Commission.

Oh, I almost forgot. The “shocking news” part of the Hostettler book is that I didn't know until I heard about this book that he's literate.



Anonymous said...

News Tip:

Sometime in August Mayor Greg Ballard will be meet with a few local pastors to discuss funding programs dealing with crime fighting (prevention and intervention). Some of the discussion has already occurred with a list of FOB (Friends of Ballard) being created by Deputy Mayor Williams and the Front Porch Alliance Director. This list only include pastors who agree to the following:

1) Play nice during Black Expo (No criticism of the Mayor or his staff during Black Expo)

2) Distance themselves from Amos Brown and Radio One and if they do appear to speak non-negatively about the Ballard Administration.

3) Allow the Mayor and his staff access to their churches periodically during the remianing years to talk positively about the grant dollars given to them by Ballard, in support of their program.

4) Embrace the "Peace in the Streets" program and coordinate all crime fighting efforts supported by the grants with the Christamore House to assure a consistant message. No a bad plan really.

So if you want to get on the list talk to Deputy Mayor Olgen Williams, but you need to be sly about it because officially the list doesn't exist.

Anonymous said...

1. Perhaps someone ghost wrote the book for Hostetler. I still have questions about his literacy.

2. Mayor Ballard already has the answer for our out of control crime wave. YARD SIGNS. I guess the theory is that with lots of yard signs that the criminals will be scared and leave.

iPOPA said...

Anon 5:20:

If you have a news tip, send it to me at Don't hijack my comment board again, or I'm bouncing you. If it's newsworthy, I'll write about it.