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October 15, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-10-15

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 15, 2004



SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

44'You know, there's
a mainstream in
American politics and
you sit right on the far
left bank. "


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.

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ea- 4i- ss ca\Ke t,
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and s+i 11 lose.

- President Bush, addressing Sen. John
Kerry, during Wednesday's presidential debate
at Arizona State University.


'That's kind of one of those ... exaggerations'

always warned
me about guys
who talk a good game, often
sounding too good to be
true. "A smooth-talking guy
. s will say whatever he has to
in order to get my goodies,"
she often lectured. After
watching the presidential
debates the other night, Grammie's sweet words
came to mind. John Kerry will say just about any-
thing, feasible or not, just to get my vote.
As much as it pains me to admit, Kerry won
the debates. A polished debater, Kerry gracefully
rambled off numbers, catchphrases and policy
details, convincing me that Bill Gates installed a
Microsoft chip into Kerry's cranium. Out-debat-
ing Bush on almost every issue, the Democratic
candidate unraveled the weak and indecisive
characterization that has plagued him throughout
the majority of his campaign.
Despite winning the debates and making the
president look more like a Michigan State drop-
out than a Yale man, Bush will reap the greatest
advantage from the debates. Bush struggled to
give answers to the questions actually asked, and
often carried the look of a nervous school boy,
yet he made a key power move in exposing how
unrealistic Kerry's promises and policies are.
Kerry's fuzzy math just doesn't add up. Pre-
senting outlandish proposals, Kerry fails to
bridge the gap between what the people want and
what the country can realistically afford. With
intentions to fully fund No Child Left Behind,
invest more money into the troops and military
equipment and a robust plan to fully insure every
American, he leaves many with good reason
to ask "with what money?" Despite criticiz-
ing the president for financial discrepancies on
a proposed social security plan, Kerry failed to
mention how he intended to finance his forever-
lasting list of promises, all to be fulfilled without

raising taxes on the nonrich.
His "pay as you go" response does not answer
where the money is going to come from. At
best, this is a method that responsible govern-
ments need to have in place in order to avoid
deficits. But now that we're already in the red,
Kerry needs to be straightforward about how he
intends to fulfill his promise to reduce the defi-
cit. With the majority of his promises consisting
of increasing funding to social programs, there
must be some talk on where the funds will come
from to accomplish all of these massive plans.
As Michiganders, we should be especially crit-
ical of Kerry because Michigan is experiencing a
very similar situation. John Engler, the former
Republican governor, left a sizeable deficit that
Gov.Jennifer Granholm pledged to overcome. In
order to accomplish this goal, an overwhelming
number of cuts have been made to reduce spend-
ing, and a variety of taxes, such as the regressive
cigarette tax, have come into being. Granholm's
efforts to balance the budget have resulted in col-
lege tuition hikes all across the state, including
here at the University. This makes me even more
skeptical of Kerry and all of his promises.
With yet another promise, Kerry plans to alle-
viate outsourcing by ending corporate loopholes
that he claims reward companies for outsourcing
jobs. Most people do not like to see the rich get
richer simply because they are rich. Unfortunate-
ly, one of the realities of society is that the rich
have power and control over a variety of entities,
including jobs. As a business, most corporations
are concerned with profit and means of increas-
ing it and necessarily how many babies are being
fed off of their payrolls. Consequently, if a large
company is not satisfied with its profits, it turns to
options such as job termination and outsourcing,
which result in American job loss.
From a practical perspective, closing corpo-
rate loopholes can not logically solve the problem
of outsourcing. Companies are concerned with
profit and oftentimes are not willing to jeopar-

dize their gains in order to alleviate societal
problems such as a lack of jobs. Closing down
a plant resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs,
is simply business strategy for a company like
Ford. But to the thousands that lose their jobs, it
means financial turmoil. For this reason, corpo-
rate welfare exists. Unfortunately, the rich have
to have some incentive to keep factories open in
the states, when it is obviously more profitable to
have more locations abroad.
Hence, corporate welfare. The voice of
money can be heard all around the world, but
unfortunately the voice of a single worker often
goes unheard. This is the sad reality of capi-
talism, and if this weren't the case, there would
be no need for labor unions or tax incentives
to coerce companies to maintain high environ-
mental standards or provide decent health care
coverage to their employees. This plan to end
outsourcing is optimistic, yet it will only make
the foreign market look more appealing, jeop-
ardizing additional jobs.
Kerry's going to win Michigan, but in order
to win this election he's going to have to make
his platform at least appear feasible. If Kerry's
numbers don't even work on paper, I'd hate to
see what's going to happen when he tries to get
his agenda through a conservative Congress.
This smooth-talking senator from Massa-
chusetts must be held to the same standards as
the president. Just as laughter fills the air when-
ever the president stumbles over three-syllable
words or pretends that certain pertaining prob-
lems don't exist, this same criticism should be
applied toward Kerry. Sure he sounds good
and can properly pronounce nuclear, but that
in no way means he can implement all if any
of these policies. So beware, don't let Kerry
simply talk you out of your goodies. Make him
work for it.
Clair can be reached at

Crying wolf and meaning it

t happened in '96,
when, in a desperate
effort to draw atten-
tion to the Clinton admin-
4 ; istration's left-leaning roster
of judicial appointments,
GOP leadership kicked and
screamed until the elec-
tion-time media spotlight
turned toward the health of
the U.S. Supreme Court jus-
tices. Then it happened in 2000, this time from the
opposite end zone, when the near certainty of a seat
opening roused the long-sleeping pro-choice vote
and carried the future composition of the Supreme
Court to the foregrounds of the Gore campaign.
And sure enough, the media cried wolf again in
2004, bringing the dire judicial implications of the
upcoming election back into the fold, but this time
with one snag - no one bothered to listen. After
two election cycles, 10 years and countless false
alarms, the nine justices remain stock-still, and the
voting public has gradually grown complacent.
As I am sure you've gathered by now, in spite
of speculation to the contrary, neither Clinton in
his second term, nor Bush in his first was given
the opportunity to fill a Supreme Court vacancy.
Accordingly, the American public, now weary
of court-packing alarmism, seems to have rel-
egated the issue to the depths of its voting plat-
form - slating its relevance somewhere between
national park conservation and the Federal Click
it-or-Ticket campaign.
With the judicial branch effectively shadowed
by public indifference, the White House has had
little trouble marking its territory within the fed-
eral court system. In terms of appointments, with
201, President Bush has already topped his father
and is well on his way to outpacing both Clinton

and Reagan. While some of the country's most
divisive social issues ascend the judicial hierarchy
clothed in class-action suits and amicus briefs,
moderate federal courts are being inundated
with right-wing purebreds - religious absolutists
determined to use the bench as a platform to cul-
tivate moral sanctity. And if you think I've gone
over the top here, how do you explain William
H. Pryor - a fanatical recess appointment Bush
quietly slipped on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals last year? Pryor, an Alabama native, is
well known in legal circles for his rather uncon-
ventional interpretation of the bench, once pro-
claiming, "God has chosen, through his son Jesus
Christ, this time and this place for all Christians
... to save our country and save our courts." And
when a slot opened on a district court in Arkan-
sas this passed summer, Bush had his pick of the
litter again, this time selecting Leon Holmes, the
president of Arkansas Right to Life and one of
the staunchest legal scholars below the Mason-
Dixon. This is a man who has publicly expounded
his belief that "the wife is to subordinate herself
to the husband" and on numerous occasions, has
flippantly equated the probability of rape-induced
conception with "snowfall in Miami."
Even more frightening than the idea of the reli-
gious Right capturing the federal court system
however, is the public's uncanny ability to remain
completely aloof. The truth of the matter is the
temperate 5-4 climate of the Rehnquist court,
while comforting, is hardly sustainable. And if the
bench tips, will the electorate actually be prepared
for the consequences? A People for the American
Way study found that a one- or two-vote swing
would have reversed the outcome of more than
100 of the sitting court's precedents. Included in
those 100 decisions, by the way, are Planned Par-
enthood v. Casey and Stenberg v. Carhart - two

cases that challenged the fundamental precepts set
forth in Roe v. Wade. In any other setting, given
the issues at stake, the appointment of partisan
firebrands like Pryor and Holmes would usually
agitate the electorate, but here, 10 years removed
from a Supreme Court bench shakeup, the pub-
lic continues to flout the media's all-too-familiar
Nevertheless, it wouldn't be fair to hold the
media completely culpable for its miscalculations
and second-rate climaxing. Come to think of it,
you couldn't find a sports book in Vegas four years
ago that would have laid down odds on the bench
coming out of Bush's term completely intact. The
sitting court, to be certain, is by no stretch of the
imagination a sprightly crowd. Eight of the nine
justices are on Medicare, two have survived can-
cer and one (Rehnquist) has been donning the robe
since the Nixon administration. Clarence Thomas,
at a youthful 65, represents the high court's most
junior associate, and Justice John Paul Stevens,
the court's liberal flagship and a relic of the Ford
years, celebrates his 85th next April. But despite a
laudable display of endurance, vacancy whispers
have surfaced yet again, and this time, insiders
are convinced they're authentic. The speculative
departure list (which looks more like a blueprint
for a partisan power vacuum) includes Rehnquist
on the right, Stevens from the left and Sandra Day
O'Connor - the distinguished swing voter. If we
choose to believe the inner-beltway gossip, that the
next president will have the capacity to seat one-
third of the U.S. Supreme Court, then the national
electorate has an obligation to look past the media
that cried wolf and start seriously considering the
safety of the flock.


Singer can be reached at


Armstrong bracelets are a
fad with a cause

he and his foundation were this in the Daily
(When (and why) will it end?, 10/14/04).
In 1996, Lance was given a very low
chance of survival after it was found that he

cancer research on Capitol Hill and also
researches themselves.
Zac Peskowitz could be right. Maybe
people are wearing them just to make a

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