Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Ashley's Story

Here's a link to a new pro-Bush ad called Ashley's Story. It's a powerful piece. You might send it to some undecided voter if you know any such people.

One thought that impressed itself upon me as I watched it was how different it is in tone from so much of the Democratic stuff out there. The Kerry ads, or at least many of them, are trying to scare the bejabbers out of old folks, African-Americans, and young men with complete fabrications about social security, vote suppression, and the draft.

This ad doesn't resort to calumny or lies, it just shows George Bush as the kind of man one hopes our president would be. Watch the ad and try to imagine John Kerry doing this.

Thanks to Power Line for the tip.

The Terrorists' Candidate

Vladimir Putin notes that the terrorists have a definite preference as to who they want to see elected in November:

"I consider the activities of terrorists in Iraq are not as much aimed at coalition forces but more personally against President Bush," Putin said at a news conference after a regional summit in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe.

"International terrorism has as its goal to prevent the election of President Bush to a second term," he said. "If they achieve that goal, then that will give international terrorism a new impulse and extra power."

Pretty scary, especially when we reflect that this would make absolutely no difference to most of those who plan to vote for Mr. Kerry in November.

Senator Kerry's Record

George Bush claims that Senator Kerry, in twenty years of service to the taxpayers of Massachusetts and the nation, has authored only five bills which became law. Kerry testily replies that he has fifty six laws to his credit. Fact Check.org has done the heavy lifting and lets us know what's what.

Evidently, when Bush said Kerry passed five bills, he was counting only those measures Kerry authored which passed the Senate, the House, were signed by the president, and became law. That's technically accurate, but it omits six other pieces of Kerry legislation that have become law.

Kerry's twenty years in the Senate have, therefore, yielded the following legislative accomplishments:

A grant to fund small businesses run by women, a bill to name a federal building in Massachussetts after a WWII hero, a measure to limit the accidental taking of dolphins during commercial fishing operations, another to promote better understanding of coastal resources, and a bill to grant a visa and admission to the U.S. to one Kil Joon Yu Callahan.

The Bush campaign omitted mention of two other bills authored by Kerry which passed the Senate and later became law in a slightly different form approved by the House, under the same titles and mostly same substance. (This occurs when House and Senate versions differ so slightly that one house adopts the other's version rather than go to the trouble of a House-Senate conference to work out a compromise.) These were a bill to award Jackie Robinson a Congressional gold medal (posthumously), and another to increase research grants for small businesses.

Finally, there four "joint resolutions" that are not technically "bills" but which have the same force when passed by both houses and are signed into law by the president. All four created national events.

A resolution to make the week of Oct. 22 - Oct. 28, 1989 "World Population Awareness Week"; a resolution to renew "World Population Awareness Week" for 1991; a resolution to make Nov. 13, 1992 "Vietnam Veterans Memorial 10th Anniversary Day"; and a resolution to make Sept. 18, 1992 "National POW/MIA Recognition Day."

Even giving Kerry credit for eleven measures which became law rather than the five the president referred to his record amounts to a fraction more than one half piece of legislation per year served. The mediocrity of the accomplishment is matched only by the mediocrity of the laws themselves. It's little wonder that the Senator chose not to mention this lackluster narrative in his nomination acceptance speech.

Visit the Fact Check.org link above to see how Mr. Kerry arrived at the number fifty six. It reveals something dismaying about Senator Kerry's standard for legislative accomplishment. It's also a bit of a hoot.

What is there in the above tabulation that might lead anyone to believe that Senator Kerry has the qualifications to lead the United States through the difficult struggles that lie ahead? The times call for a leader, one who has demonstrated that he has what it takes to accomplish something significant. Viewpoint doesn't find much in the Kerry record in which to take comfort. In fact, it finds nothing in which to take comfort.

In Memorium: Jacques Derrida

Christianity Today's Books and Culture Corner has a eulogy to Jacques Derrida written by James Smith, associate professor of philosophy at Calvin College.

Smith seems to tell us more about himself than he does about Derrida, but there is one paragraph which reveals something important of the personal qualities of the man:

When I last saw Derrida, I was presenting a paper at the American Academy of Religion - a fairly blistering critique of his notion of hope, and Derrida was in the audience. We didn't have a chance to discuss the paper because he had to hurry off to a book-signing (he was such a rock star). While I stand by the critique, I'm disappointed we didn't have that conversation, and more disappointed by the asymmetry of my brashness and Derrida's graciousness. For what I always found most disarming about this intellectual giant was his personal humility-a kenotic humility that could put his Christian critics to shame. I've been plagued by a nagging sense that Derrida was somewhat hurt by the critique, and I had been hoping that Derrida: Live Theory could be a sign to him of my profound debts and respect.

Reading this paragraph makes one want to read more of Derrida, even if only out of admiration for one who can be so exalted by the academic establishment and yet so humble. There is something deeply attractive about the confluence of those two qualities.