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|The Play’s Not the Thing|
|Commentary/Politics - Letters to the Editor|
|Tuesday, 26 September 2006 22:45|
Mike Schulz should take his own advice. For someone who rags on authors so much, he sure missed the point of his article "The Playwright Did It." (See River Cities' Reader Issue 599, September 20-26, 2006.) It's a play review, not a playwright review. While he spent seven-eighths of his time harping on the writing, he spent little time critiquing the production itself, save for a few passing lines. Of course, I'm glad no one in the cast got raked across the coals as much as the author was. Hopefully he keeps his eye on the ball next time.
A "Smart" President
Six years ago, the Democrats vetted two lawyers for president and vice president, and America said "no." Why didn't people like Kerry? Most couldn't really explain themselves. "I just don't like him." The shifty, equivocal answers. Always taking the long way around a question. Never said anything straight. His answers had a little of this, a little of that. Gives people the impression you are uncertain. When you talk like that, it makes people think you lack backbone. Journalists ask a politician a question, and the public wants a short, to-the-point answer. "When thus-and-so happens, what exactly will you do?" They don't want that politician to frame the issues, to provide some long-winded background, or a glimpse into their overall views regarding an issue. Just tell us what you'll do, so we can hold you accountable later.
Now even though America is the only remaining superpower, we live in a world where nations cannot act independently. Not even us. Our foreign policies and economies are intertwined with other nations'. How America acts on the world stage depends greatly on factors that are beyond even our control. As the public, we understand this, but oh, how we hate it when a politician responds to a question with "if ... but ... which is not to say ... understanding that ... unless, of course." We don't like that at all. We assume the shifty fellow is trying not to be pinned down to a true answer.
That's probably not the case. Most often, the candidate has a grain of intelligence, is trying to be thorough and honest, and hopes the people in this country understand that in today's world, you can't be Clint Eastwood. You can't point your gun, say a catchy phrase, and call it policy. A leader on the world stage has to analyze, consult, think things through, and then act.
Ah, you say. By that time, the terrorists will be all the way to Nebraska, by the time these weak, lily-livered Democrats get done with their analyzing, why, we'll all be speaking Arabic and wearing turbans. Yes, that's how the thinking goes. In reality, though, we need a leader who knows how to honestly weigh the merits of various scenarios, give each policy option a thorough hearing with an open mind, then chose the option, and if it doesn't work, try another option. That's what the smarter politician is trying to tell you. That's how major corporations make policy decisions. They don't just jump out and invade a competitor's territory because the president wants to look strong. As a company, you'd lose your shirt if you acted like that.
Like we have. Like America has. So let's send these cowboys home and this season, why not vote for someone with a little gray matter upstairs? It won't hurt. I promise.
Experts in Mud-Fighting and Lying?
As co-president of the Iowa Senate, I work with everyone, regardless of party. In the legislature, your word is your bond. If people don't trust you, you don't get much done.
I'm concerned that the Iowa legislature's ability to get things done may be crippled by this fall's extremely negative, dishonest campaigns. That's what's already happened in Washington, D.C. We don't want that to happen in Iowa.
Here are some examples of what I'm talking about. Republican mailings attacked two Democratic lawmakers for voting "no" on a bill when they actually voted "yes." It went on to criticize them for votes taken before the Democrats were even in office!
In southern Iowa, legislative candidate Kevin Wiskus made national news when dishonest campaigning led him to quit the Republican Party. Wiskus became an independent after Iowa's Republican Party attacked his Democratic opponent with a mailing that Wiskus called "shocking and tasteless."
We don't want Iowa's next legislature to be elected by experts in mud-fighting and lying.
Other states may tolerate this kind of behavior, but we don't want it to become business-as-usual in Iowa. If you get a mailing or see a commercial that makes outlandish charges, please contact the candidate to ask if it is true.
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