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September 16, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-09-16

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4A - TheMichiganDaily- Thursday,_September_16,_2004

OPINION

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420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com

EDITED AND MANAGED BY
STUDENTS AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
SINCE 1890

JORDAN SCHRADER
Editor in Chief
JASON Z. PESICK
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of
the Daily's editorial board. All other pieces do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
His is the excuse
presidency: never
wrong, never
responsible, never to
blame."
- Democratic presidential candidate
John Kerry at the Detroit
Economic Club yesterday on his
opponent, President Bush, as reported
by The New York Times.

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A new way to pander
ZAC PESKOWITZ THE LOWER FREQUENCIES

9

T hey pander on
health care. They
pander on entitle-
ments. They pander on
jobs. They pander for-
eign policy. But there's
one type of pander that
consistently confuses
me. How do politicians
think they can get away
with pandering on one
of the most pressing matters to Joe and Jane
Voter - athletic loyalties?
While the pander is typically derided
as the most craven of all political maneu-
vers, there is actually genuine risk when
executing the pander. The doubts must
flash through every politician's cerebellum
the moment before they execute: What if I
get caught? How would this look splashed
across the front pages? Would I really
want every voter to think that I believe this
dreck?
Advances in communications technology
have made the pander a much riskier tool.
Even though we think we live in a pander
renaissance, we are actually far removed
from the high point of the pander. Traveling
hordes of political correspondents can beam
a politician's words across the breadth of
the globe in moments. Equally important,
more and more Americans get their politi-
cal news from national sources in lieu of
local publications that are more likely to
let the pander go unchallenged. As a result
of these changes, the pander has probably
migrated in proportion to the growth in the
power of the national media. Fewer pan-
ders pop up at campaign events in the open

air and more show up behind the safety of
securely closed doors.
Nonetheless, politicians are content to
broadcast their unremitting love for sports
teams that they clearly have no interest in.
Disastrous candidate for the Democratic
presidential nomination and retired Gen.
Wesley Clark was the most shameless when
he filmed a campaign spot for the New
Hampshire primary wearing a New Eng-
land Patriots sweater. This was after the
candidate had already told the Associated
Press that he "loves (the Green Bay Packer).
And I hope his thumb gets better." During
the campaign for the Democratic presiden-
tial nomination, Howard Dean proclaimed
his devotion to the Boston Red Sox as well
as the 1961 New York Yankees, and was
photographed wearing a Philadelphia Phil-
lies jersey. But the Kerry campaign has
distinguished itself for its sports-related
blunders. Teresa Heinz Kerry told a boo-
ing crowd in Cleveland that she was from
nearby Pittsburgh, home of the hated Steel-
ers. Candidate Kerry has stated that the
Green Bay Packers play their home games
at Lambert Field and - horror of horrors
- told a Michigan audience that "I just go
for Buckeye football." President Bush and
Dick Cheney seem to have formulated a
slightly better routine. Instead of slavish-
ly pronouncing their support for the local
team, they merely appear with the local
athletic hero and have the generic superstar
announce their support for the president and
his team. This trick has been done to great
effect with Hall of Fame football players
John Elway, Bart Starr and Lynn Swann.
So why do national candidates for office

continue this behavior despite all of the
drawbacks and opportunities for embar-
rassment? This type of a pander is a great
way to alienate supporters of rival teams
and make a politician look disingenuous.
In situations of utter desperation where a
candidate's political survival depends on
one election this brand of pandering might
be justifiable, but even then the gains are
likely to be miniscule. I think I have an
understanding of why politicians and their
image gurus play up the sports connection:
to transform egomaniacs into everyman
and to morph middle-aged men into gladi-
ators. The maudlin video presentation that
introduced President Bush at the Republi-
can National Convention was the archetyp-
al example. "Why should we re-elect you,
President Bush?" "Because I threw the ball
right down the middle of the plate before
the opening game of the 2001.World Series
and I was wearing a flak jacket to boot."
John Kerry had his own, albeit slightly
less successful appearance, on the pitcher's
mound. The Sunday before the Democrat-
ic National Convention in Boston, Kerry
made a surprise showing at Fenway Park
for a Red Sox-Yankees game. Kerry's pitch
flopped in the grass a good distance short
of home plate, but he said something that
almost qualified as refreshing. He pulled
no punches and professed his unequivocal
support of his hometown Red Sox against
the hated Yankees. But then I realized the
Yankees aren't from Ohio, Pennsylvania or
Florida.
Peskowitz can be at
zpeskowi@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

01

MSA's emphasis on Moore
seems a bit 'ridiculous'
TO THE DAILY:
I think we can all agree: The most ridicu-
lous item of the day yesterday was the Michi-
gan Student Assembly resolution that, if
passed, would allocate $12,000 to bringing
Michael Moore to campus (MSA offers to pay
for Moore visit, 09/15/04). Why so ridiculous?
Three reasons:
One: The MSA budget is formed from a
fee that is levied on every single student -
MSA should think long and hard about using
this money for such an overtly political
event. Further, MSA plans on further charg-
ing students at the door! Come on, MSA - if
you're going to fund the sloppiest man in a
Sparty hat this side of Lansing, make it free
for students to attend.
Two: Yet again, MSA is sidetracked by an
overtly political agenda. This is a clear and
obvious ploy to take advantage of a huge sum
of student money in order to get someone's
favorite liberal to espouse his rhetoric on cam-
pus. Common sense and responsibility dictates
that an effort of this kind should only be con-
sidered if "fair and balanced."
Three: Not only is the Moore plot absurdly
costly and left-leaning but this type of pro-
gramming isn't really what MSA should be
focusing on! MSA was created to represent
students - getting a fall break passed, assisting
students eager to register to vote, etc. - and
is not a programming body.
Mironov and the rest of the assembly prob-
ably have good intentions, but should leave
this type of effort to the College Democrats or
other left-leaning groups - where it probably
developed in the first place. I urge you to prove
that MSA doesn't think of its student-funded
budget as a liberal slush fund.
JESSICA CASH
Alum
Former MSA vice president
MSA should spare 'U' a
visit from Moore
~Tn -ruipATY 1

Moore has become the de facto representative
of a trend in thought that holds that the embar-
rassment of the other side is more valuable than
debate (according to his popularity, seemingly
more effective as well). This is a trend that leads
to viewing all Palestinians as terrorists or all
Israelis as oppressive hate-mongers. It is a trend
that sees the war in Iraq in all respects wrong
or in all respects honorable. It is a trend that
supports the shaking of heads when your best
friend talks about abortion or gun control. It is
Moore's prerogative to support a trend that turns
friends into head-shakers and walk-awayers.
Yet, how much more dangerous is such a trend
when you personally do not know the other side?
I do not support the premise that a university can
be acting in its academic responsibility when it
uses funds to support a man who clearly values
discourse only insofar as it is inflammatory in
character. Moore's polarization of political and
moral issues clearly indicate that he is neither an
academic nor an individual that typifies values
that are consistent with a university promoting
the integrity of thoughtful and respectful discus-
sion. It is our responsibility in academia to pro-
mote the exchange, analysis and integration or
demurring of ideas, and not just free speech.
DILLON KUEHN
Law School
Daily confused, sending
mixed messages, to readers
To THE DAILY:
You both applaud free speech restrictions
and decry them. In the first editorial (Big Broth-
er in class, 09/14/04), the Daily opposes the
establishment of an advisory board overseeing
universities, and rightly so. It correctly points
out that such an advisory board would inevita-
bly lead to restrictions on class content and the
development of government-approved material.
In this editorial, the Daily makes the case that
government oversight and regulation thereof is
detrimental to free speech.
However, in the second editorial, (527 Freedom,
09/14/04), the Daily applauds the free speech
restrictions inherent in the McCain-Feingold cam-
paign finance bill. The Daily states that McCain-
Feingold has succeeded in "restoring a sense of

ulty. It seems as though the Daily editorial staff
is content to restrict the freedom of wealthy
political contributors, but will not stand for said
restrictions when they reach campus.
Andrew Moyl an
LSA senior
Chairman, College Libertarians
Bush lacks much-needed
'moral clarity'
TO THE DAILY:
Mike Saltsman's interpretation of George W.
Bush having "moral clarity" (Bush is the candi-
date of 'moral clarity,' 9/15/04) in his opposi-
tion to stem cell research because "the life of a
human being is still being terminated," is lacking
serious consideration. What happened to Bush's
"moral clarity" while he was governor of Texas
and refused to grant clemency for even one of
the 152 death row sentences that came across his
desk during his entire term, setting the record
for the most killing governor in the history of the
United States? Are these not also human lives?
And where is Bush's "moral clarity" when send-
ing our troops to Iraq to fight and die in an unjust
war of his own making, for reasons he had to
lie about in order to get some people to agree to
it? Are these not also human lives? Is it "moral
clarity" to lie in order to push an agenda that will
enrich defense contractors and oil companies, at
the expense of the lives of soldiers and civilians?
Or, as Saltsman quips, "does the value of human
change simply by changing their size, location,
development or level of dependency?"
JULIE HERRADA
Senior Associate Librarian, Special
Collections Library

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