We who write political columns usually measure success by how many nastygrams we get. Readers respond to what they dislike more than what they favor. My LibDem radio co-host Tom Danehy thrives on them, ironically coming mainly from the far left. Tom really ticks them off, illustrating the big differences between old liberals and neo-Marxists.
Some publications give their writers the opportunity to respond directly to criticisms, but that requires space and is usually boring. The Explorer gives us the on-line response option. I've only used that once to answer complaints about one of my most controversial topics — opera. But I’ve accumulated some more that shouldn’t go unanswered.
Some approach incoherence. There was one rather addled gentleman who somehow found criticism of Governor Napolitano's inadequacies “character assassination.” Discussing the failings of any politician is hardly that, but I would ask him considering who he's aligned with, what he thought about the vicious political slop thrown at President Bush and Vice President Cheney? Many of those attacks go beyond character assassination and are simply filthy lying smears. Are you disturbed about that, too?
One recent writer used the hackneyed phrase "narrow, tired approach" to dispute several of my contentions. In response to repealing the idiotic restriction placed on the legislature to never, ever change anything the voters once passed via initiative, he asked why a conservative believes politicians know better than the voters who chose them. Fair question, simple answer. We believe in representative government as set by the founders, who rightfully rejected direct democracy. Worked pretty good over the years. While your representatives are there, let them decide. Don’t like what they do, un-elect them. Want a measure to be untouchable by them? Get more signatures and comply with stricter rules by making it a "constitutional amendment."
To restrict the politicians we choose from acting ultimately restricts ourselves. "Politician" has become a pejorative, in some cases rightfully, but I find it strange that we only use it to describe the ones we actually elect. Many politicians are bureaucrats, judges, and those who use the initiative process we never got to pick.
Opposition to taxing out-of-country cash transfers, and making those with foreign license plates post bond on traffic tickets, as "xenophobic" is ludicrous. Are having borders in the first place "xenophobic?" Claiming this would raise little money exhibits ignorance of how many folks from all over the world work here and use services. A simple 2 percent would raise hundreds of millions. Many states make those with out-of-state plates post similar bonds. Is Maryland xenophobic about Pennsylvania? How about lack of equal enforcement when foreigners can blow off the ticket?
I was pleased my request for naming a tax that wouldn't be affected by economic downturns was answered by the advocacy of increasing property taxes (sure hope Democrats sucker for that one) based on the egalitarian principle that those who have more should pay more. Uh, they already do. That recessions also lower property values disqualifies it from the original qualifications, making it totally regressive. Complaints about sales taxes being regressive ring hollow when observing that in almost every jurisdiction, state and local, where liberals are in charge sales taxes constantly rise. Note their popularity among Arizona liberals for initiatives about education and environmental items.
Most revealing is the basic clash in visions. Today's liberals are not interested in creating wealth, but distributing it. Personal freedom is trumped by equality. They are emotionally driven by pathological egalitariansm. This is the fundamental difference between them and folks like Grover Norquist, Ronald Reagan, many but not enough GOP leaders and most of my talk radio colleagues. We put freedom first. They don't.
Hear Emil Franzi and Tom Danehy Saturdays 1-4 p.m. on KVOI 690AM.