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Andrew Sevanian: Liberalize me: the association of political disassociation

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Posted: March 23, 2010 9:59 p.m.
Updated: March 24, 2010 4:55 a.m.
And now for my “question du jour.”

Since when did the word “liberal” become a derogatory comment?

Just watch the tit-for-tat mudslinging TV ads between California gubernatorial candidates Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner, and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

In one ad approved by Poizner, the word “liberal” precedes Whitman’s name, as if it serves as some sort of incendiary prefix brought on by kindergarten name-calling tactics.  

Needless to say, the approach in Poizner’s ad comes across as tacky and immature; two adjectives that are quite apropos when one is to describe election-time politics.

In another ad supported by Whitman, Poizner gets blasted as a fake conservative because he supposedly gave $10,000 in campaign contributions to Al Gore back in the 2000 presidential election. The ad goes on to snicker, “And you thought Steve was a Republican.”

My question is: So?

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or a political science professor) to figure out that things didn’t go too well after that “other guy” — George W. Bush — won the 2000 election. When you consider the Iraq War, no WMDs, Blackwater, waterboarding, “Mission Accomplished,” Bin Laden’s elusion from justice, Plamegate and the shaky, deregulated economic foundations that inevitably lead to the crumbling economy that followed the Bush Administration, you start to realize that — hey, maybe Poizner was onto something back in 2000.

Oddly enough, Whitman’s anti-Poizner ad disagrees, in that it seemingly displays as politically pathetic, and not prophetic, Poizner’s decision to (gasp) cross party lines and back Gore.

On the larger scale, Whitman’s anti-Poizner ad reiterates a polarizing mindset that still exists — and continually grows stronger — in this country. More often than not, commitment to party lines trumps commitment to country.

With that in mind, I beg the following question: In hindsight, would it have been better for Poizner to support Bush (or not support anyone not named Bush) back in 2000?

Try answering that question with a “yes” while keeping a straight face.

Basically, the point at issue between Whitman and Poizner (despite the fact that California is poorer than a VHS tape factory) is who is more liberal (or less conservative) than the other.

Watch out, it’s a liberal! The liberals are coming, with their universal health care, hybrid cars and independent films! Run!

And why is it that we need “rescuing from the liberal party” in the first place? Correct me if I’m wrong, but hasn’t a Republican run California for the past seven years? (I love you, Arnold. For what it’s worth, “Conan the Barbarian” was my favorite movie as a kid.)

Yes, I realize that Gov. Schwarzenegger isn’t exactly the most conservative face within the GOP. Sure, he believes in predominantly Democrat-supported issues such as stem-cell research, but the man hardly qualifies as a Democrat (he’s been a registered Republican about as long as I’ve been alive).

Long story short, we’ve become a nation of finger-pointers with a twisted interpretation of words like culpability and responsibility. It doesn’t matter if America is winning or losing, nor who is rightfully deserving of the praise or blame. Just so long as our party of choice is ahead on points, we’ll stay happy.

So I’ll ask my question again. Since when did the word “liberal” become a derogatory comment?

Keep in mind that, for the better part of the past decade, Republicans held office (in California and Washington, D.C.) when everything went down the tubes. On the other hand, the Democrats practically just took control of Washington (I even hear there’s still a few cowboy hats and Team Halliburton softball jerseys in the White House attic).

Come on, people. In the quest for fairness, shouldn’t the Democrats (aka, the “liberals”) also get eight years of ripe opportunity to screw everything up before we start ridiculing them as well?

I’m no mathematician, but one year does not equal eight.

Andrew Sevanian is a Saugus resident. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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