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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


Grog: "A Tale of Three Republicans"

Three: different, yet alike

Thanks to Grog for this great first post - THANKS G!

Or "Why have they voted for Democrats since 2004 and how might they vote
in 2008".

I have three friends, I've known one since 1979, one since around 1992,
the third since 1995. Since 2004, they've voted for Democrats, to
varying degrees. Recently, I was able to sit down and talk to them
about their votes, why they've changed them and how they see 2008
playing out.

What they say might surprise you.

First, what do these three have in common? All characterize themselves
as stereotypical late Boomer Republicans in that they are socially
liberal, fiscally conservative. All three are white, college educated
and are associated with the federal government either as employees or
are working for contractors who are defacto gubmint subsidiaries. All
three have children. All three live in lily white suburbs, albeit in
vastly different locations and all have children in grade school. All
are between 45-51. And all voted for Republican Presidential candidates
since the first was eligible to vote in 1976, with some exceptions which
I'll outline below.

And all three regret the day they voted for the Worst President Ever.
And all three rue the fact that the Republican Party that they tended to
vote with all their adult lives is not what they want it to be.

Lemme start with the most recent friend. He lives in a lily white St
Louis suburb (aren't they all) and is a typical pointy-haired,
mid-manager type at Boeing. Unlike the other two, he's also a "pro-gun"
person but not out there on the fringes. He owns guns, likes to target
shoot with them but isn't one of these "we all need the right to bear
bazooka" types. Recently on a car ride back east with him and another
friend (who is a DFH like me), he floored us by asking "can you believe
that 30% of this country still supports that moron in the White House?"
I was floored. He went onto say that last year in the MO Senate
campaign, he voted for McCaskill! By now I was glad I was sitting down.
And this from a guy who had voted for No-Talent when that craptacular
piece of party hackdom was his Congressman. But my friend was appalled
not only by No-Talent's unceasing loyalty to a White House run by crooks
and incompetents, but also by his hard move to the right wing
Christopath side of the Party. And this from a guy who voted for the
Worst President Ever both times! And voted Republican for Preznit back
to 1980.

Next up, the middle friend. He's retired Army and during his last tour
of duty, worked in Darth Cheney's office! Yup, the stories he can tell.
Every bad thing you've heard about cherry picking intelligence, having a
policy set in place and the facts be damned and a woeful ignorance of
the world as it existed in 2003, well, he'll confirm it. He lives in
the DC area and works for a contractor. In 2000, he states he made the
biggest voting mistake of his life by voting for Nader. He at least saw
thru the Dry Drunk but couldn't bring himself to vote for Gore,
primarily because of how Gore campaigned. So, he voted for Nader.
Oops. He voted for Kerry in 04 and obviously voted for Webb for Senate
in 06. He's seen first hand what the neocons have wrought, not only on
this country, but the world and his party. And like the first friend,
he's scared to death by the Christopaths and crooks running the party.

Finally, the last, and oldest friend. He's a Marine reservist who works intelligence agency. Like the middle friend, he bemoans the
total lack of talent and skill that's being "recruited" into his agency.
No longer are people prized for their analytical skills, instead, they
hire lots of journalism majors and tell them to mostly just compile
"facts" into reports. Just like the Washington Stenographer Corps has
been doing for the better part of a decade now. This friend voted Repub
until 1992 when he voted for Perot. But he voted for Dole in 96 and
Dumya in 2000. I don't think he voted for a Presidential candidate in
04, that's how irked he was with both sides of the equation. He voted
for Webb in 06 and still apologizes to me for voting for the Worst
President Ever. He never imagined things would get this bad.

There you have it. Three very disgruntled voters who tend to vote
Republican. But when asked about how they'll vote in the Presidential
election next year, the answers surprised me.

All three consider the current Republican candidates not worth voting
for. They have various reasons from how many of them represent the
Reich Wing of the party, sorry, they've seen how that group has fucked
things up here for the last six years. McCain is viewed as too old and
too pandering. Ghouliani is well, Ghouliani, in other words, they
recognize him for the nutcase that he is. The rest? Waaaaay too
socially conservative for their tastes. None brings even a glimmer of
liking from these guys.

But what they have to say about the current field of Dems was

Friend #1, the one who didn't really bail on the party until last year,
is probably the most open-minded of the three. He'd consider voting for
Clinton and is willing to give her, and everybody else on the Democratic
side, a fair shake. An amazing reaction given how Clinton is viewed by
many people and the media spin that continues to fuel that perception.

Friend #2 wants "the adults to come in and take over". He's become a
big Gore fan over the last couple of years and truely hopes Gore ver 2.0
enters the race soon since he sees Gore as the only "adult" on the stage
who could provide the leadership and training needed to drag this
country out of the mess this regime has put us in. If not, Edwards is
his current pick of the Dems. What he has to say about Clinton is not
kind. Many of us will fight her tooth and nail in the primaries but in
the end, will hold our nose and vote for her. Not Friend #2. He simply
won't vote. Or find a third party candidate, remember, he voted for
Nader in 00.

Friend #3 also wouldn't vote for Clinton under any circumstances. Like
Friend #2, he's got just enough of an independent streak in him to not
vote the party line just like he did in 92 when he voted for Perot.
Aside from that, like Friend #1, he's giving the rest of the Dem field a
good look and feels there are some good candidates in there.

Although at first glance these three might look like what Kos terms
"Libertarian Democrats", they really aren't. Friends #2 and #3 have
decidely non-libertarian and certain non-neocon views of US foreign
policy, probably due to their backgrounds whereas Friend #1 doesn't
really care that much. And their domestic policy leanings are far from
even soft libertarians. Yeah, they view a lot of government as bloated,
pointless and counter-productive but they also see that government has a
vital role to play across society and value competently run government
programs and agencies as being beneficial to society as a whole. And
unlike most self-professed libertarians I've met who've used that
ideaology as mostly an excuse to trying to cut their tax payments, these
guys don't mind paying taxes if they feel what their putting into the
system is managed wisely.

So, where does this leave us? Assume for a moment that this country is
divided into 3rds, 1/3 True Believers on the Right, 1/3 like us, and 1/3
somewhere in between. My 3 friends fall into the latter group but
obviously the latter group is much more diverse than 3 white guys living
in the suburbs.

But, if Clinton is nominated, we might just lose 2/3s of that
demographic of the vote. These guys aren't looking for someone centrist
or more to the right on certain issues, they're looking for someone who
they feel will provide the leadership and vision this country needs over
the next decade and both don't see Clinton providing that. These guys
have a strong conservative streak in them and yet, they detest DLC-style
campaigns that were alledgedly designed to woo voters just like them.

Argh, I hate the whole "electability" perspective but that's just what
I'm lurching into with this diary not to mention coming right up the
line line in terms of Hillary bashing. And clearly, 3 data points do
not a trend make! Nonetheless, my three friends provide an insight as
to how a certain conservative-leaning demographic can
easily vote for a bold Democrat in 08. Two of them are
holding their breath but have also watched the Democratic Party time and
time again over their voting lifetimes end up choosing the "wrong"

- posted by Grog

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