Top 10 Letters
The 2002 election, Hawaii, New Jersey, Democrats, porn, and more.
11:00 PM, Nov 10, 2002
Winner: The RNC. What a tremendous job they did.
Winner: The Republican justices who have been continually obstructed by Patrick Leahy.
Loser: The future of the Democratic party. When push came to shove and the Democrats needed last minute candidates they chose 76- and 78-year-old men.
Loser: Terry McAuliffe. How this man still has a job is beyond me.
As a continually frustrated Jersey republican, I can tell Victorino Matus that it will be difficult for any republican to win here (Who Lost New Jersey?). It seems that the only things New Jersey voters care about are abortion rights and keeping minorities out of suburban schools (see Brett Schundler's loss). Even a moderate, pro-choice Doug Forrester was attacked as being against abortion. Our state deserves the high taxes and lack of federal dollars from Washington--we vote for it.
Reading Victorino Matus's review of the Bob Crane movie "Auto Focus" reminded me of a recent news story (Rack Focus: In Provo, Utah, a 26-year-old student was just arrested after confessing to three failed attempts to poison his wife. He said that he was addicted to pornography and felt that he couldn't live the lifestyle he wanted while being married to her.
Porn does strange things to people.
--Allen S. Thorpe
David Skinner does Linda Lingle a grave injustice when he says that conservatives have little to cheer about in Hawaii. The simple fact is that Lingle single-handily rebuilt a dead Republican party up to the point where there is a chance Republican will control the lower house in Hawaii, and a very good chance for the governorship.
This type of leadership is to be applauded no matter what her stand is on abortion and other social issues. After all, a pro-choice mayor, with many non-conservative views is now the most popular Republican in the country and the party's biggest fundraiser.
On native-Hawaiian issues, let me simply state that no outsider can really understand the politics behind it. After attending two Republican state conventions, I can say that there are many card-carrying Hawaiian conservatives who would support virtually every plank of the party but still support most native-Hawaiian issues. Personally, I have moved from being dead set against most proposals to keeping an open mind.
Besides, Lingle is passionate about one conservative principal--pushing government to the local level. It is absurd that Hawaii has a state highway department or that water issues in the Big Island are decided in Honolulu. On these and many similar issues, Lingle strongly advocates returning power and accountability to the local officials. In this way, I find her a true conservative, and I'm sure Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan would both agree.
Everyone, including David Brooks, is discussing the 2002 election as indicative of some sort of national trend (This Is Serious). But roughly half the voting-age population didn't have a Senate race to vote in, the House result wasn't very dramatic, and this particular Senate cycle is disproportionately Southern and small-state. If California and New York had voted and gone Republican, maybe we could talk national trend. But to have the deep South reaffirm its allegiance to the Republican right isn't particularly shocking. Finally, the candidates for this election were picked about a year ago, and a lot of good ones decided not to run due to Bush's massive post-September 11 popularity, so the Democratic candidate pool was pretty weak.
I'm a New Republic liberal who thinks the Democratic party needs some sort of real New Labor-type reform and better focus both domestically and abroad. Granted, Minnesota, Colorado, and New Hampshire were serious and worrisome defeats. The Maryland gubernatorial loss was also bad (though more the result of a dumb candidate than anything else). The left and right of the party will be battling it out for a while--probably in a bloody and embarrassing fashion.
But to hear Republicans tell it, George W. Bush is FDR meets Ronald Reagan when it comes to vote-getting--with a dose of Washington and Jefferson thrown in for good measure. Give me a break. When the Democrats field their best candidates in a regionally balanced election, we'll see what happens.