Thursday, October 30, 2003

Life on the Outside

One thing I enjoy: An electric tea kettle I got Kate for Christmas last year. Heating unit at the bottom, turns itself off when it boils. I've pretty much abandoned sodas except at meals and gone to tea.
One thing I miss: A T1 Line
One thing I will never understand: That Ashton Kutcher is the breakout star of "That 70s Show".


And speaking of "That 70s Show" (currently being syndicated ad nauseum), allow me to channel my inner Red Foreman [[For never watching the show, that's the father - his character is Richie Cunningham from "Happy Days" who grew up to become old and bitter. His big line is "I know what your problem is. You're a Dumbass."]]

One of our Senatorial Candidates is a Dumbass.

I really didn't think I would have to talk about Senatorial candidates yet - its a year away. The seat is currently held by Democrat Patty Murray. Running initially as a "little old lady in tennis shoes", Patty turned out OK in the governmental department, looking out for Washington State's interests. After casting about for a number of better candidates (who all said no), the State Repubs settled on Representitive George Nethercutt. Nethercutt is pretty forgetable as a legislator, known primarily for running on a platform of Term Limits when he first got elected, then breaking that vow when it came time for him to stand down.

Now Nethercutt said something recently that's gotten national press - at least a little more than normal. Here's his quote on the current situation in Iraq:
"So the story is better than we might be led to believe in the news. I'm indicting the news people. It's a bigger and better and more important story than losing a couple of soldiers every day, which, which, heaven forbid, is awful."

Now, that's a pretty stupid statement, but it follows the administration's current meme that "things are going swimmingly in Iraq, so don't look too hard." But the fact that the lights are going on in parts of Bagdad a bigger story than the fact we're losing people over there? That's the sort of willful callousness that is ticking folk off.

But that's not what makes him a dumbass. Politicians say stupid things all the time. Trent Lott is talking about "mowing them all down" in Iraq, which is a bigger wince to anyone looking for a solution. And Patty Murray, his opponent, a few years back, pointed out that Osama Bin Ladan was liked by some people overseas for building schools. The Repubs jumped all over her on that one - Nethercutt himself accused her of having "an unbalanced world view".

And no, adding "which heaven forbid, is awful," does not get you out of the fact that this was a stupid, callous, and insensitive statement. Janna over on her blog already chewed this boy out, so I won't get more into it, other than to say - she's right, he's wrong. You're in moron territory, George, but not quite a dumbass.

So after this blows up, Nethercutt complains about the media. Again, pretty typical on all sides of the political agenda. How dare the media reports what he says. They took it out of context. They took it out of an hour long discussion. They left out the "heaven forbid". They gave it an ugly spin. All those things were true for the Patty Murray comment that he so gleefully locked onto early. Its par for the course. No, complaining doesn't make him a dumbass.

What makes him a dumbass is he then takes out advertising in the Times and the P-I to complain about it. The Times ran it in the Sports section, which is a little weird (you say something stupid about young men dying, you might want to address their mothers with the explanation). So now he comes off as a whiner and a dumbass. He said something very, very stupid. He may even believe in this thing that he said, which is very, very stupid. But then after being caught saying it, he them proceeds to get into a public argument with the press. Which allows the press to rehash the entire issue, then show fortitude by "standing behind their reporters".

And even the advert itself is an odious piece of slime, slamming the media again and pushing his own merits as pro-war being on the Defense Appropriations Committee. Which sounds pretty good, until you look at a voting record - Patty Murry voted to raise the hazardous duty pay for our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Nethercutt, friend to soliders, voted against it.

As a public service, here's a list of cities in Washington State Nethercutt may want to shy away from for next few months - Mount Vernon, Fort Lewis, Concrete, Vancouver, Arlington, and Tacoma. All of these have lost local boys in Iraq. He might run into some people there who may take serious issue with his priorities. Serious issue.

Which, heaven forbid, would be awful.

OK, I'm done now.