The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas on September 20, 2002 · Page 6
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The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas · Page 6

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A6 • THE HAYS DAILY NEWS OPINION FRIDAY • SEPTEMBER 20,2002 Editorial Superficial Governor's endorsement meaningless, unnecessary in current campaign G ov. Bill Graves did about the best he could to explain how he finally, possibly could endorse Republican gubernatorial nominee Tim Shal- lenburger. Graves made it clear it was for the sake of party unity and did not in any way concede on the issues that separate the moderate governor from the conservative hopeful. Graves' finesse could not disguise the fact that his endorsement is a sham. Conservatives in the party who think like Shallenburger have been the source of immense frustration for Graves, maybe even more so than Democrats. This last legislative session, Graves called them obstructionists for their negativity. More specifically, Graves consistently has decried legislators who signed pledges not to raise taxes — not because he likes raising taxes but because such a pledge puts state government in an unnecessary, sometimes irresponsible position, robbing it of that option altogether. And, now, he endorses a candidate who is making that very same promise on the campaign trail? Too much is made of the governor's endorsement. He apparently agonized over it for six weeks since Shallenburger's victory in the August primary election. His non-endorsement was contrasted with quick endorsements by other party leaders such as U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts and U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran. The governor should not have to en- dorse a candidate. The governor should be allowed to endorse the candidate from the other party if he wants, just as people have the freedom to vote across party lines. But Graves caved. For those for whom party affiliation is all that matters, Graves falling into the fold surely is a big deal. For anyone else, the man with the principles is Lt. Gov. Gary Sherrer, who is not making an endorsement, saying "integrity comes before unity." Maybe his plainspokenness is the reason Sherrer, who called the GOP obstructionists "Cro-Magnon" neo-conservatives, chose not to run for governor. Maybe party mavericks don't stand much of a chance. Dress it up however, but Graves' endorsement will not mask the split in the Republican Party. And it won't help Shallenburger much. The latest poll shows Insurance Commissioner Kathleen Sebelius, the Democratic candidate, with a comfortable lead, which only can be possible in GOP- heavy Kansas with support of moderate Republicans. A "Republicans for Sebelius" group even has formed. Smart voters, whether registered Republicans or Democrats, don't always vote down party lines. Smart voters pick a person they respect, trust and believe is competent. They hope they pick someone with whom they agree. However, the best candidate is not always the one from one's own declared political party affiliation. That is why the governor's endorsement in this particular case is especially meaningless. It becomes terribly superficial when based only on political party loyalty. editorial by John D. Montgomery jmont@dallynews.net The editorials represent the opinion and institutional voice of The Hays Daily News but are signed by the author for the reader's information. Guest editorials are from other newspapers and do not necessarily represent the views of The Hays Daily News. Other content on this page represents the views of the Signed columnist or letter-writer. The Opinion Page is intended to be a community forum. Guest editorials and syndicated columnists are selected to present a variety of opinion. Letters Comments on immigrants a slap in the face to Kansas taxpayers In your great paper Tuesday, front page, both Tim Shallenburger and Kathleen Sebelius stated that they will support legalizing illegal criminal immigrants as a civic duty. Yeah right. If you believe that, you also will believe that abortion is not murder. Their statements show how ignorant they and other public servants think "We The People" are, when in effect they seek the votes and contributions from illegal criminal immigrants... period. America might have been a land of immigrants many years ago, but first and foremost it is a land of laws. What these two propose is in effect to reward criminals, then why not go to the jails, prisons, etc. and release all criminals? The legal immigrants stood in line, paid their dues and followed the laws of the land ... to reward illegal criminal immigrants (for votes and money) is a slap in the face to every Kansas taxpayer and law-abiding citizens of this great state. Too bad they did not make their views known prior to the primary election; no doubt they would not be in the race. Since the great immigration from Mexico, the crime statistics prove that "We The People" pay far more in law enforcement, jails, prisons, court costs, welfare and health costs because of illegal criminal immigrants. Crime, gangs, drugs, deaths, etc. are way up in those areas where illegal criminal immigrants settle. This is not to say that all illegal immigrants are doing crime, but if they will violate our laws by entering this country illegally, then obviously they have no respect for our laws. Perhaps Tim and Kathleen would consider positions in Mexico. It is said that Mexico is seeking a few bleeding hearts. Ron Ely Stockton Reader Forum policy A community is best served when residents are willing to discuss issues publicly. You can be part of the discussion by participating in the Reader Forum. Please limit your submissions to 600 words. They will be edited for length and clarity. They must be signed and include a name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. We reserve the right not to print a submission. We do not accept for publication on the editorial page poems, consumer complaints, business testimonials or group letters. Mail them to Reader Forum, The Hays Daily News, 507 Main, Hays KS 67601 .You also can send them by e-mail at letters@dailynews.net. Please include an address and daytime telephone number. Where to write President George W. Bush, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington DC 20500. (202) 456-1414. Fax: (202) 456-2461. www.white house.gov. President Bush can be reached at president@whitehouse.gov. U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, 302 Hart Office Building, Washington DC 20510. (202) 2244774. pat_roberts@roberts.senate.gov U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, 303 Hart Office Building, Washington DC 20510. (202) 224-6521. To e-mail, go to brownback. senate.gov/CMEmailMe.htm U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran, 1st District, 1519 Longworth Office Building, Washington DC 20515. (202) 225-2715. Hays constituent office, (785) 628-6401. jerry. moranCa)mail.house.gov Gov. Bill Graves, 2nd Floor, State Capitol, Topeka KS 66612. (785) 296-3232. governor@ink.org Your Kansas senator or representative, State Capitol, Topeka KS 66612. (785) 296-0111. Legislative information hot line (800) 432-3924. For e-mail addresses go to www.accesskansas.org/government/ state-representatives.html Smoking gun or mushroom cloud? WASHINGTON — A contemporary said of Chief Justice John Marshall — the most consequential American never to be president — that "he hit the Constitution much as the Lord hit the chaos, at a time when everything needed creating." George W. Bush is struggling to do something comparably ambitious in international affairs. One reason it is such a struggle is that new technologies of menace are in the hands of regimes that can — as Iraq is doing with its letter proposing renewed weapons inspections — manipulate the United Nations. The dominant thought of the "international community" — wishful thinking — invests the United Nations with responsibility for coping with the menace. The president touched that tar baby, the United Nations, in November when he improvidently proposed the return of UN. weapons inspectors, and he was not unstuck from the tar baby by Vice President Dick Cheney's recent insistence that inspectors could provide only "false comfort." There is a domestic constituency that favors staying stuck. It favors it for various reasons, but one has a particularly long pedigree. Marshall, a great definer of American nationhood, was opposed by Jeffersoni- ans, with their anti-nationalist vision of the nation as only a confederation produced by a compact (implicitly revocable; see 1861) among states. Today Bush's defense of American national autonomy is opposed, among Americans, mainly by members of the party that traces its lineage to Jefferson. Many Democrats have more than a merely banal political reason — they believe they prosper when focusing on domestic matters — for pushing this nation deeper into the tar baby's embrace. Their desire is to avoid having to George F. Will COMMENTARY assert what many of them believe: that the use of U.S. force in pre-emptive self- defense requires permission from the not-altogether-savory collection of regimes that is misnamed the United Nations. It is perverse, and profoundly dangerous, that the United Nations is being encouraged to place upon its own brow a garland of laurels it has woven for itself as the sole legitimizer of force in international affairs. Even NATO, an alliance of democracies, is said to be morally bound to defer. The United Nations' overweening vanity is made possible by the acquiescence of formerly formidable European nations. They now are eager to disguise decadence as a moral gesture, that of sloughing off sovereignty — and with it, responsibilities. The United Nations' prestige is at an apogee and its performance is at a nadir. The composition of its Security Council is anachronistic — a historical accident. If the United Nations were being founded today, France would not be a permanent member of the Security Council, and India would be. India's population is 17 times that of France and three times that of all 15 members of the European Union; India will account for one-fifth of the world's population growth this year and by 2050 will have a population almost as large as the world had in 1900. No wonder France celebrates deference to the United Nations, which is a mirror with a frozen reflection of the world in 1945. That is why another shadow of a great power, Russia, with a GDP of $300 billion (smaller than the Netherlands') is a permanent member of the Security Council, and Japan, with a GDP of $2.9 trillion, is not. In Iraq, the United Nations is meeting its Abyssinia. That is what Ethiopia was called in October 1935 when Mussolini's Italy invaded it and the United Nations' predecessor, the League of Nations, proved to be impotent as an instrument of international order. When the president told the United Nations that Iraq's race for weapons of mass destruction is a "grave and gathering danger," he echoed the title of the first volume of Churchill's history of the Second World War, "The Gathering Storm." The president's substitution of the phrase "grave and gathering danger" for the common phrase "clear and present danger" is freighted with significance. Some critics seem to say that in order for the president to "make the case" for proving that the danger is present, its presence must be evidenced by a "smoking gun." But that means America cannot act against Iraq until acting is much more dangerous, when Iraq has nuclear weapons. With America's political culture increasingly colored by the legal culture, and with Democrats increasingly the party of trial lawyers, there is a growing tendency to treat foreign policy crises as episodes of "Law & Order," crises to be discussed in television- courtroom patois, such as "smoking gun." As Condoleezza Rice has said, let us hope the smoking gun is not a mushroom cloud. George F. Will is a columnist for The Washington Post, DOESNT SOUND PS Iraq situation isn't a debate "What's so interesting is that he's given in at the ideal moment: really early, when it messes us up." — Kenneth Pollack, an Iraq expert at the Brookings Institute, on Saddam Hussein's agreeing to weapons inspections as quoted in The New York Times. AUSTIN, Texas — Don't you just hate it when the bad guys agree to do what we want them to? If that's not a good reason to go in and take out Saddam, name one. But our Fearless Leader, not one to be deterred from war merely by getting what he wants, promptly moved the goalposts and issued a new list of demands Iraq must meet, including paying reparations to Kuwait. If you step back and look at this debate, it just gets stranger and stranger. For one thing, all the evidence is that the administration already has made up its mind and we're going into Iraq this winter. President Bush went to the United Nations and demanded they back him, he's going to Congress to demand they back him, and there it is. This is not a debate, it's Bush in his "You're either with us or against us" mode. It is not a discussion of whether invading Iraq is either necessary or wise. If you add up all the reasons the administration has advanced for going after Saddam, the only thing left to say — "Damn right, we need to take out Pervez Musharraf right now!" Musharraf has destroyed democracy in his country, he's backing terrorists in India, our democratic ally, his CIA was hand-in- glove with al-Qaida, his military is riddled with militant Islamists, his madrasas teach hatred of the West, his heroes are Napoleon and Hitler, and he not only has nukes, he's threatened to use them. Whereas the Islamists hate Saddam, there's no evidence he's connected to al- Qaida, he's broke and his army is one- fifth the size it was the last time we beat him in a couple of days. True, we COMMENTARY know he has biological weapons because we gave them to him (see the depressing report in the current Newsweek: "How We Helped Create Saddam?") and probably chemical weapons, as well. The one thing sure to make him use them is an invasion, and frankly he's likely to lob them at Israel. Do we have a right to make them hostages? The man is certainly a repellent specimen, but there are lots of those around. It must be acknowledged that this is not a situation of moral clarity. Pretending that there's no moral ambiguity here is a profound disservice to both truth and reason. We have done real harm in our past dealings with Saddam — among other things, we have now double-crossed the Kurds three times (a sextuple-cross?) Not a pretty record. The downside to taking on Saddamis not so much getting him out as what happens next. Diplomacy is often likened to chess — you have to be able to think several moves ahead. There's no evidence the administration has thought past Step One. Texas Congressman Ron Paul, a Republican libertarian, has come up with an impressive list of 35 questions that need to be considered. As several commentators have noted, one irony of this situation is that the only real discussion of this campaign is among Republicans (with apologies to Rep. Denis Kucinich and Sen. John Kerry, gutless Democrats abound). Reducing the discussion to sound bites of "chicken hawks" and "appeasers" is of no help at all. A post-Saddam Iraq will be a mess (Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites fighting), and adding that much more instability to the Middle East is not smart. Bush claims he wants to further democracy in the region, but every indication is that friendly regimes would be replaced by Is- lamists after a revolution. The old problem, of course — the root of the resentment — is what Israel is doing to the Palestinians. We are held to be just as responsible as they are by the Arab world. The smart way to go after Saddam is to wait at least until an Arab-Israeli settlement is reached, and that is a do-able deal. Instead, we've let Ariel Sharon inflame the situation — more settlements on the West Bank, now there's a genius move. (Naturally, equal credit to the suicide bombers.) Saddam is notoriously tricky when it comes to weapons inspection. By agreeing to the return of inspectors, he has effectively agreed to Security Council resolution 1248, from 1999, which sets a lower threshold for weapons inspections, including delays and complications. Seems to me the first step should be to get the Security Council to beef up that resolution, even if the French won't accept an "and if you don't..." clause. Bush is the "if you don't." The most unpleasant and unhelpful aspect of this "debate" is the implication that anyone who expresses serious doubts about this venture is unpatriotic — and it often comes from the same people who spent eight years eaten alive with Clinton hatred. Being patriotic doesn't mean agreeing with the government. The most fundamental American right is to not agree with the government and to raise hell about it. I've always liked Sen. Carl Schurz's definition of patriotism at the turn of the 18th century: "My country right or wrong. When right, to keep right; when wrong, to put right." Molly Ivins Is a columnist for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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