They are poles apart, the conservatives and the liberals.
Whether the topic is the kind of friends they choose, their view of war, how to create a job, what to do when a life is created or even how to have a fun time at a political convention, the difference between conservatives and liberals could not possibly be more vivid. Or important.
Let's take a look.
* Friends of McCain and Obama:
McCain: Bud Day is a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel, frequently cited as the most decorated service member (over seventy decorations) in the American military since General Douglas MacArthur. Day, like McCain, was held as a prisoner of war in Hanoi for over five years, during which time he was beaten, tortured and starved. Colonel Day is a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Obama: William Ayers is a radical activist who was a co-founder of the violent radical group known as the Weather Underground. In 1969, Ayers helped plant a bomb at a statue honoring the police casualties of the 1886 Haymarket Riot, the bomb exploding almost 100 windows and blowing pieces of the statue onto a nearby expressway. Ayers has also admitted to participating in bombings of New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, of the Capitol building in 1971, and the Pentagon in 1972. Now a professor of education at the University of Illinois, Ayres told the New York Times in an interview published on September 11, 2001, that "I don't regret setting bombs" and "I feel we didn't do enough", and, when asked if he would "do it all again," replied, "I don't want to discount the possibility." Ayres has raised money for Obama when the latter ran for the Illinois State Senate and served on a board of a foundation with Obama.
McCain: "The surge has succeeded, and we are...winning this war."
Senator Harry Reid: "I believe that this war is lost, and this surge is not accomplishing anything.."
* When does life begin?
McCain: "At conception."
Obama: "It's above my pay grade."
* Women's right to vote -- the 19th Amendment to the Constitution:
Democrats: Opposed by President Woodrow Wilson. After repeated demonstrations by suffragettes outside the White House comparing Wilson to German leader Kaiser Wilhelm II, Wilson finally changed his mind in 1918. Wilson also opposed civil rights for blacks.
Republicans: Along with supporting civil rights for blacks, which Wilson and his fellow Democrats opposed, Republicans were strong supporters of a woman's right to vote: They said the following in their 1916 platform, putting the GOP on record for:
"1. Unrestricted and equal suffrage for men and women.
2. The immediate adoption of the so-called "Susan B.
Anthony amendment" to the Constitution of the United States granting the suffrage to women on equal terms with men."
* What is the right energy policy for America?
Conservatives: Drill in the U.S. and offshore right now. Build refineries and nuclear power plants, mine, drill for natural gas. Cut federal gas tax. Do everything.
Liberals: Block drilling, mining, building of refineries and nuclear power plants with lawsuits and legislation. Wait for alternative fuels to come online somewhere in the future. Hope that the price of gas goes up more to drive down consumption. Make sure to inflate tires properly.
* What counts as experience to be president of the United States?
Conservatives: serving as a fighter pilot in the US Navy.
Liberals: being a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago
* What do you do if you realize you are pregnant with a Down syndrome baby?
Sarah Palin: Without question, have the baby and love it.
Liberal feminist: Having the baby is a choice.
McCain: Dan Yeary, of the North Phoenix Baptist Church. Yeary is described in this report by Reuters reporter Ed Stoddard as "a folksy patriotic Southern Baptist who opposes abortion and believes homosexuality to be a biblical sin, but says Christians have an obligation to love such sinners."
Obama: Jeremiah Wright, of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, was Obama's pastor for twenty years until a falling out this year as Wright's controversial preachings received publicity. Among the more incendiary sermons was an admonition to "Goddamn America" and a description of America as "white America...the U.S. of KKKA" Wright faced accusations of racism and left-wing radicalism, the intensity of which, combined with Wright's unapologetic reaction, caused Obama to angrily leave his church. Wright had married the Obamas and baptized their children.
* Ideal Political Woman:
Republicans: Republican Vice Presidential nominee, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Mother of 5, including a Down syndrome baby. She is pro-life and a member of the National Rifle Association, a hunter with a lifetime of experience handling guns. As a high school student she was the head of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She has also been a beauty pageant contestant, a basketball and hockey player, a television sports commentator and she loves to fish. Her husband is a commercial fisherman who has never served as Governor or Senator from Alaska. He has never been impeached as president of the United States.
Democrats: U.S. Senator from New York Hillary Clinton. Mother of one. She is pro-abortion and has no idea how to handle a gun beyond limiting the Constitutional right to own one. As a college student she became radicalized, becoming a follower of left-wing activist Saul Alinsky, about whom she wrote her senior thesis. She graduated from Yale Law School, where she had worked with legal services. A lifelong activist for liberal causes, she began her Washington career working on the impeachment of President Nixon. She married fellow law student Bill Clinton and won election to her Senate seat while still serving as the president's wife. She insisted the impeachment of her husband was as a result of a "vast right wing conspiracy."
The McCains: eight houses, several owned for investment purposes by Cindy McCain, her dependent children, and the trusts and companies they control. The original funds come from the earnings of her father Jim Hensley's beer distributorship.
The Obamas: one house and adjoining land in Chicago purchased with the assistance of Antoin "Tony" Rezko, a convicted felon
* Job creation:
Mitt Romney: Served as co-founder of a Wall Street investment firm. Invested in a lone office supply store calling itself "Staples." Helped the store grow to almost 1,800 stores in the U.S. that provides 35,000 jobs, with more jobs in stores located in 21 countries.
Barack Obama: Turned down chances to work on Wall Street in favor of being a "community organizer" in Chicago. Spent his time teaching the unemployed to beg from large government bureaucracies, creating no jobs for anyone.
* Description of the Democrats and Republicans at their Conventions:
The Democrats, by Dana Milbank, reporter for the Washington Post.
"It was the start of a veritable carnival of new-age healing harmony..." Denver, writes Milbank, has become "a parade ground for the full panoply of liberal interest-group politics. Planned Parenthood hosted a dance party called 'Sex, Politics and Cocktails.' Code Pink put on a 'Make Out Not War' concert. Near the entrance to the convention grounds, representatives of Trojan condoms handed out samples and invited delegates to see how long it would take them to put a prophylactic on a banana."
Democrats turned their "convention into a display of politically correct exercises in planet saving," Milbank faithfully reports. "Democrats urged vendors to make sure 70 percent of the food served at convention events was organic or local and included 'at least three of the following five colors: red, green, yellow, blue/purple, and white (Garnishes not included).'"
The Republicans, by: Scott Gillespie, reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
With the Democrats already cavorting in beautiful Denver, it's not too early to look ahead to the upcoming McCain Fest in Minnesota. Along with the serious business of nominating a presidential ticket, there'll be plenty of entertainment possibilities.
We just checked out the party and event list compiled by The Hill in Washington, D.C., and there are highlights galore. First up is "A Very Minnesota Celebration" beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Not sure what that means, but a 9 a.m. start time certainly sounds right for a very Minnesota party. If that's too much excitement, consider the "American Demographics'' forum at 11 a.m. Sunday at the Science Museum. Then there's the "Rebuilding New Orleans Brunch'' at 9:30 a.m. Monday at the Hotel Minneapolis. (It's not clear if it's a kickoff event for the rebuilding effort.) And what convention would be complete without the Beach Boys? You can catch them at 7:30 p.m. Monday at International Market Square in Minneapolis.
SO LET'S SUM up, shall we?
For the liberals: Going into this election, as has more or less been the case since the Democrats nominated the far-left George McGovern in 1972, we have one party that finds nothing odd or unusual about having a terrorist as a personal friend, has become an active advocate of losing wars in which the United States is involved, has adopted the aborting of children as a high moral value and believes the best energy policy is to sue energy companies and inflate tires. It never blinks (until the camera lights go on) at a pastor who espouses vividly racist politics and honors a president who actively opposed the right of women to vote. They believe all women are pro-choice professionals, and if they are not they are somehow not women. This party believes that it's OK to purchase personal property through a convicted felon rather than a bank or with investments, celebrates the role of a "community organizer" who created not a single job and has the idea that wholesome entertainment at a political convention is to see how long it takes delegates to put a condom on a banana.
For the conservatives: The other party treasures a friend who won the Congressional Medal of Honor and was tortured repeatedly by a vicious American enemy. They celebrate the creation of life, especially the life of a disabled child, and believe strongly that the United States should win the wars it has committed to fighting. This party believes the way to make the nation energy independent is to drill here and drill now. They don't see anything odd about having a pastor who believes in marriage between a man and a woman. They believe women can be as intellectually diverse as any other group, and see nothing unusual much less wrong if a woman is pro-life. They understand how jobs should be created and actively do so. They also understand the need for banks and investments to buy personal property and to increase the net worth of a family. The thought of attending a concert by a hit rock band from the 1960's whose stock in trade is beach music makes them laugh and brings back good memories. It would never occur to spend their time at a political convention putting condoms on bananas.
Let the election begin.
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania.
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