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08/20/2002 - THE WAR OF THE WORDS


Dear Friends,

Apologies for the lateness of this week's column. Everything was on schedule, then I suddenly decided to be spontaneous and head up to Burning Man for the week. Now, even though I don't leave until Monday, I had to plan a bunch of things first. Oh, and of course buy things. It is, after all, the American way.

Hey, speaking of American, I was thinking, if the political situation were reversed and it was the Democrats in office who had all of these scandals - a botched election, a Supreme Court Presidential appointment, Enron, Halliburton, cocaine, insider trading and criminal-level greed, Iraq-building, Iran-building, oil-industry hand-holding, Osama bin Laden-supporting (in the early days, of course), corporations run amok, and more -- the Republicans would literally tear them to shreds. I'm not saying this in any partisan way, but if the Republicans could turn a few blowjobs into a near-impeachment situation, imagine what they could do with something like this! They are the champions of dirty pool, and it's just unfortunate that the Democrats aren't at least making a fair fight of it.

What the Democrats need is a few good writers.

Look, Republicans have long supported corporate freedom. In fact, it's the center of their economic platform. They say that if you give corporations freedom, the corporations will do the right thing for America. But it's quite obvious that if you give corporations freedom, many will take whatever they can get, and then more and more and more, until they're caught and stopped. Many will rip off, defraud, lay off, and generally abuse as many people as necessary in order to serve the bottom line, or line the pockets of stock-optioned executives. It's the nature of the game. So the Republican philosophy seems flawed at its core, and yet no Democrat - or hell, even an Independent - seems to be able to hammer the issue home in any incisive or concrete way. Again, it's my guess that if the Republicans were outside of the White House, and the Democrats were involved in similar situations, the Republicans would do a surgical job of spinning them right out of office.

As a writer, I admire the Republican Party's genius and ruthlessness in the war of words. I only wish that the people who defend things like universal health care, education funding, the environment, sensible gun control, and corporate responsibility had the chops to fight just as dirty every now and then.

I would volunteer for the job, but I'm entirely non-partisan.




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