Newsletter - April 2015

Location: Yacht Club Broiler. Speaker – Denise Frey, Executive Director of the YWCA. Please bring non-perishable items for the Food Bank. 
NO RSVP required.

by Jo Fox Burr

As I’ve said before, George Lakoff’s book “Moral Politics” was pivotal to me in explaining how both sides of the political divide can hold seemingly divergent political stances within each of their overall political philosophies. How can one side be pro-life for the unborn while adamantly supporting the death penalty? Conversely, how can our side be pro-choice for women and so opposed to the death penalty? To simplify Lakoff, it is the difference between one side looking at politics from the authoritarian father angle and our side taking a more nurturing perspective. Still I am left confused about how to draw a straight line between recent events within the Missouri Republican State Party and this current Republican adulation of Netanyahu – except that they are both unconscionable.

On February 26th, Tom Schweich, a leading GOP candidate for Governor of Missouri committed suicide. While shocking in itself, his apparent motivation disturbed me to the core. Schweich, who as the State Auditor saw how major contributors influenced legislative spending, campaigned for cleaning up politics and took direct aim at the biggest contributors to both parties. These targets retaliated by contributing heavily to his GOP Primary opponent, Catherine Hanaway, and produced a TV ad which made fun of his appearance. While this bothered Schweich, he was evidently far more bothered by a rumor he heard that the State Party Chair, John Hancock, was telling people that Schweich was Jewish. While Schweich had Jewish ancestors, he himself was Episcopalian. Whether this rumor was true is unclear, though Hancock admitted he may have said something about Schweich being Jewish at a Catholic event for Hanaway. He claims if he did, he did not mean it maliciously. Yeah! Then why say it, there of all places? Was Hancock trying to stir up anti-Semitism among Catholics and also perhaps among Evangelical Christians? This can probably never be proved. However, it appears Schweich committed suicide because he was enraged that anti-Semitism was being used to sway an election and he felt powerless to stop it.

As I was born at the end of World War II, I have no personal memory of Hitler. However, I grew up with close family friends who escaped his tyranny leaving behind family members who were likely incinerated. The horror of that sends chills down my spine and knowing that some people in this country are still anti-Semitic astounds me. What is more horrific, though, is the thought that a state leader of one of our major political parties might actually have used this sentiment to curry votes for a candidate.

So while this Missouri saga continues – and there is more to it than I can address here – Boehner invites Netanyahu to speak to Congress in opposition to Obama’s negotiations with Iran. This is followed by the subversive letter from 47 Republican Senators sent to Iran in an attempt to undermine these negotiations. When a tentative deal which far exceeded predicted expectations was announced, many Republican Senators decried it as not being sufficient! Despite the fact that at least one of Netanyahu’s major concerns was dealt with in this deal, he is still claiming it will be the ruination of Israel and these Republicans bow down in adoration to him. I think Israel’s demise is far more likely should this deal not go through.

So Republicans may be using anti-Semitism in an attempt to win an election, while they disrespect our country’s President in favor of Israel’s Prime Minister. What is the straight line between these two divergent views? Is it just that they will do anything to defeat an opponent, be it Schweich who threatens their contributor base, or Obama whose sin seems mostly to be that he is a black Democrat? Perhaps they think the ends justify the means, once again ignoring any inconsistencies. Yet what are their ends? It all seems self-destructive. The Missouri GOP Party is now very fractured. And should the Republicans succeed in killing this Iran deal, we would likely end up going to war, putting Israel in greater jeopardy. Meanwhile the Republicans would incur the wrath of war weary US voters which could lead to some real losses for them in the next election. Will the Republican Party ever be a responsible contributor to society again?

Kitsap County Democratic Women
Date: Apr 22th (Wednesday)
Time: 11:30 am lunch; 12:30 pm mtg
Place: Yacht Club Broiler
Speaker: Denise Frey,
Executive Director, YWCA

Kitsap County Dem. Central Com.
Date: Apr 20th (Monday)
Time: 6:30 pm Desserts; 7:00 pm mtg.
Place: Eagles Nest

23rd Legislative District Democrats
Date: May 19th (Tuesday)
Time: 6:30 p.m. social; 7:00 p.m. mtg.
Place: Poulsbo Library

26th Legislative District Democrats
Date: May 1st (Thursday)
Time: 7-9 pm
Place: Kitsap Rm, Givens Center
1026 Sidney Rd, Pt. Orch.

35th Legislative District Democrats
Date: June 15th (Sunday)
Time: 10 am – 12:30 pm
Place: N. Mason Sch. Adm Bldg
Speaker: Russ Hartman on State
Budget & Taxes

Date: Apr 25th (Saturday)
Time: 6:00 pm
Place: Olympic Coll. Bremer Ctr
Speaker: Yoram Bauman, Economist
Buy Tickets - $60 per person
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Mail check: PO Box 27, Silverdale, 98383

Our annual picnic will be July 18th. More details to follow, but save the date now!

“There is no mystery as to why politicians conduct themselves this way. It works. They test how well it works in focus groups and opinion polls. It wins elections, and that is their objective. …. It’s all about winning, winning at any cost to the opponent or to any sense of common decency. The campaign that led to the death of Tom Schweich was the low point of politics, and now it’s time to turn this around. …Let’s decide that what may have been clever politics last week will work no longer. It will backfire. It will lose elections, not win them.” – at the funeral for Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich who committed suicide likely due to political slander.