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Gunning for redneck votes

Remember Howard Dean's much-derided voting strategy of "guns, God and gays?" John Kerry didn't get the memo. The past two weeks have seen him pander shamelessly on all three fronts, but none so shamelessly as this.

But I've got a question. Does anybody actually think it's going to work? Can you imagine any self-respecting, gun-toting redneck watching this cheesy photo op and saying, "God Dawg, that French-lookin' feller shore can hunt! I b'lieve I'm gone vote for that sumbitch!"

Sorry, but it ain't gonna happen. I grew up with these people, and they're a lot harder to fool than that, at least when it comes to subjects like hunting. I graduated from a high school that was so rural it was in the middle of a cow pasture. Many students began the school day exhausted, because they'd already been out deer hunting since 4 AM that morning. Pre-school bell conversations often finished with, "I blew a hole in that sumbitch this big!" (around a mouthful of Red Man tobacco, holding hands very far apart.) These people are the real deal, and I can tell you they don't take kindly to Kerry-esque affectations. This ridiculous hunting stunt would never pass the Bubba smell test. Cameras were forbidden when Kerry actually fired his gun, and the senator let someone else carry the goose he supposedly bagged, because he was still "too giddy over the Red Sox."

NRA spokesman Chris Cox had what I believe to be the best line of the day: "Spending an hour in a goose blind doesn't make up for 20 years of voting against hunters."

No, if this stupid stunt has any effect at all, I predict it will be to alienate the anti-gun, animal rights wing of his base.


He was just keeping a campaign promise to hunt down and kill terrorists. Didn't you recognize that goose? That was the infamous Osama bin Gander!

Kerry can shoot a gun. Earlier in the year, he shot skeet and did well. Frankly, I don't know what you are complaining about. You want him to rise at 4am so he can catch the deer when they are most active?

Maybe your friends won't go for Kerry, but my sister and her husband are occasional hunters, each own guns, and both are voting for Kerry.

Maybe the hunters you grew up with are tougher than the hunters I grew up with. (As a kid, I used to load clay discs at the local shooting club.) I don't think that my sister gets up these days at 4am to go hunting before she goes to her day job -- so I guess she's not the real deal either.

PE, as I doubt you listen to Limbaugh, let me pass along something he focused on today that originally went right past me:

When Kerry (and the media) showed up in the Ohio store, Kerry asked 'Can I get [I]me[/I] a hunting license here?'

Now for a guy who went to the best schools, do you [I]really[/I] believe he speaks that way?

Of course not.

In essence, Kerry's deliberately poor grammar was a pathetic attempt to connect with the common guy - whom Kerry obviously doesn't believe is capable of proper usage.

If the store owner had been black, would Kerry have led with "Yo! Brutha Man!"

The Prince of Pander strikes again.

Check out the first debates that Bush did with Ann Richards. Back then, he spoke clearly, in long complete sentences. Later, he "learned" how to speak the way he does today.

Mal, I do listen to Rush Limbaugh. Although I do not get AM from my office, I am occasionally in my car during my lunch hour. I have caught him talk about his legal situation. As far as what Rush said about Kerry, well Rush thinks Kerry is a fraud. Each day, there is one of these little tidbits that highlight how liberals (such as myself) are so out of touch. Earlier in this week, I heard him say, even if Kerry does win the election, Democrats are doomed because we do not care for the common man. As if Bush himself is a common man. Riiiiiight.

Yes, Mal, Democrats can get out of touch. I was working for the Dinkins Administration when I essentially voted myself out of job by voting for Guilliani. I did so because the Dinkins people were doing nothing for the people in the projects with whom I worked, particularly in regards to security. There were volunteer patrols trying to do some good who were getting dissed by do nothing political appointees. So I voted for Guilliani to shake the Democrats out of power.

But Rush Limbaugh laughing at Kerry for being out of touch? I have listened to Kerry and I have listened to Bush and I think Kerry is the one who knows what is going on in this country.

Now it turns out that the Bush Team has been sending emails to reporters questioning whether Kerry is a real Red Sox fan!

The Sox have a chance of winning for the first time in 86 years. Give me a break.

PE, you went all the way up to Medicine Hat in your response but you never once addressed my point, did you?

Did Kerry pander by talking as he apparently views gun owners in Ohio (and elsewhere) talking?

The answer is yes, he did.

And we both know it.

Posted by PE:

Now it turns out that the Bush Team has been sending emails to reporters questioning whether Kerry is a real Red Sox fan!

The Sox have a chance of winning for the first time in 86 years. Give me a break.

Sorry, PE. I am a complete baseball junkie. I can tell you the names of every starter on the 1930 St. Louis Cardinals. I still have baseball card sets from 1955 and 1956.

I am younger than John Kerry and did not start to cheer for the Red Sox until my freshman year at Northeastern in 1965.

I remember Eddie Yost well.

Eddie Yost was claimed by Kerry to have been his favorite Red Sox player.

Eddie Yost never played for the Red Sox.

When Kerry showed up for the Red Sox/Yankee game in July, he had to ask who the manager of the Red Sox was while flying to Boston.

He then compounded his ignorance by not knowing Manny Ramirez' name.

Could he tell you what was remarkable about the 1950 Red Sox? That they were the last team to hit .300? And they finished 3rd!

Peter Gammons, probably the most knowledgable and respected baseball writer, a fellow Bostonian and Democrat, was livid when Kerry trotted out the Yost comment.

Those of us who love the game cannot stand politicos of either side pretending they love our game for purposes of trying to secure votes and/or appearing as 'regular guys'.

Your candidate should stick to the sport he knows.

Wind surfing.

Mal, I have gone to many a baseball game and at one point had memorized every player at every position on every team. However, my memory isn't what it used to be and I don't have times to go to games as I did. Recently, I mistook one name for another, placing a ballplayer on the wrong team. Am I not now a baseball fan?

George Bush got the good citizens of Arlington, Texas to raise taxes to fund a baseball stadium that made him and his friends rich. Then he traded Sammy Sosa.

I guess George Bush is not an elitist because he's a NASCAR fan who wouldn't be caught dead doing that horror of horror sport.. the proof in the pudding that you are elitist.. oh my God.. dare I say it.. windsurfing.

Oh, we can't put a windsurfer in the White House, now can we? (I'm glad that I now truly understand the gravity of the stakes here.)

Mal, I appreciate you're a baseball fan, but there is such a thing as a casual baseball fan. Not every Yankee fan knows the history like Rudolph Guilliani and generally we let our politicians get behind the local team or the local zoo or whatever without forcing them to pass a test.

PE, the point was that Kerry intentionally used sloppy grammar because he thought it made him sound more like a regular guy.

The act was both insulting and condescending.

It was not about my knowledge or yours of baseball.

You continue to avoid addressing the grammar issue.

Will you now?

It seems as if PE misses the point of many a post on this site. The actions of Kerry are not being questioned over his gun ownership, as you took it to mean, but whether or not he hunts period. There's a big difference between skeet shooting and hunting wild game. It's not whether he's a marksman, but why he's trying to convince people he's a hunter. However, I don't know why anyone is really shocked. Republicans and Democrats BOTH pull this kind of a stunt all the time. People should stop being suprised at photo-ops like this one. It's called P-O-L-I-T-I-C-S.

I don't think that I have missed the points you have made at all.

First, from what I have heard, Kerry does know how to handle a gun and has hunted. Look, when Mo Udall was running for President, they were constantly putting a bowling ball in his hand because he bowled. Did it have anything to do with being President? No, but his handlers thought it humanized him.

Second, regarding Kerry's grammar, I made the point that Bush's speaking style evolved towards the everyday folksy as he got ahead in politics. Should Kerry have used the word "myself" instead of "me"? I guess so, but Bush uses all kinds of folksy phrases and he went to Harvard/Yale.

Heaven forbid, however, that you or Rush Limbaugh criticize George Bush for pretending to be a man of the people. Yes, these photo-ops are POLITICS, but it is no different than George Bush holding up a fake Turkey for the cameras or Ronald Reagan acting like he is lifting weights for physical fitness day (when the weights turned out to be weightless.)

John Kerry is a politician and all polticians do this stuff. So what. The fact is that he can shoot a gun, he does fish, as well as windsurf and snowboard. Bush likes to clear brush and often makes sure the cameras are there when he does.

What I am not buying is somehow George Bush is a true man of the people as Rush Limbaugh keeps repeating every day while John Kerry is some kind of fraud -- when the fact is that they both are highly educated, rich guys reaching out to people less affluent and less educated than themselves.

Frankly, I see John Kerry here trying to reach out to the kind of gun owner my sister is (who occasionally hunts deer with her husband,) I don't know if it was successful, but the fact that it didn't convince Rush Limbaugh isn't that big of deal because Rush hates Kerry anyway.

Furthermore, Mal, I don't know that Kerry pandered by using "me" instead of "myself," Having just read the report, I do not know that he was making fun of the man at all.

You may know it, but I don't. How come when Bush makes grammatical errors he is being himself, but when Kerry does it he is automatically a fraud. I don't know the reason for that either.

First off, PE, I didn't say he was pandering to the guy, per se. Since he had the camera crews with him, I felt it was a rather heavy-handed attempt to connect with the gun guys, grammar and all.

As for Bush, does he use his folksy terms for effect. Sure.

And you guys beat him over the head about how stupid he is, how he mangles his words, how he got a gentleman's C from Yale and Harvard only because of his Daddy's name. You know the drill, PE. We saw it often enough on the Bey Board.

You might say you folks go nucular over it.

The difference is this: W is not as cogent as Kerry. He doesn't try to be. Kerry is awkward at hell at dumbing-down and it appeared contrived and calculating.

As to Kerry as the gun owner, ask the NRA about his votes during his 20 years in congress. Owning a gun doesn't necessarily mean you think like most owners.

Kerry said last week that he wil do nothing to damage the 2nd amendment.

Two thoughts:

Again, he already has, if one believes the NRA, on a number of votes.

Also, that cannot sit well with the majority of Democrats who are all for curtailing the amendment.

Hobson's choice, PE!

(1) I have personally never said that Bush is stupid. In fact, I think he is politically very smart. Sometimes I question his desire to seek a wider range of information or people with a wider range of views/experience that might call into question the decisions he makes, but that is different than saying he is stupid. Politically, in fact, I think he is very smart. Here, I don't think that he is a ball of clay that Karl Rove has molded and, if one criticized him for getting by on his daddy's name, then one would have to criticize Al Gore (and many others) as well. I think George Bush is a savvy politician who has learned how to build a coalition that can win elections. There are many different types of personal intelligence. George Bush has political smarts and discipline. He also has definite ideas of how an executive operates and how that executive can instill loyalty and unified direction in his staff. My disagreement with Bush is in his policies and his approach to decision making. Others have called him stupid. I haven't. (Others have called him derogatory names. I haven't there as well.)

(2) I greatly respect the second amendment if, for no other reason, than it is part of the constitution and I respect the constitution. I agree with the wariness of the NRA in regards to gun registration because I think if the government had complete records of all guns then it could take them away. This and the existance of local police does protect us from potential tyranny. Furthermore, I believe that local laws in some cities of this country are too restrictive as I believe that there are many instances where law abiding citizens, especially shop owners in bad neighborhoods, would benefit by being able to own guns. That said, while I am for rifles and guns that could be used for hunting or personal defense, I am opposed to semi-automatic weapons that could be used to kill a large number of people in a small duration of time. Here, I believe that the Supreme Court has consistantly backed up limitations of the types of guns, specifically guns that could be used as weapons of mass murder. Now, Barry questions the helpfulness of the bill that was recently allowed to expire and here I am willing to talk about whether the bill was effective in limiting "semi-automatic" guns. I believe, however, that the principle of limiting certain types of guns does not conflict with the second amendment and here I will take decades of decisions from the Supreme Court over the NRA.

To me, the NRA represents purists regarding the second amendment just as the ACLU represent purists regarding the first. While I respect the ACLU and admire them for standing up for Rush Limbaugh in his court case, I feel that I can disagree with the ACLU and still stand for the first amendment. In regards to the second amendment, like Kerry, I am for guns for hunters and for personal protection, but I favor legislation like the "assault weapons ban" that placed some restrictions on the types of guns that could be available to potential mass murderers or terrorists. We can debate the details, but I don't see hypocrisy or contradiction in that stand.

Thanks, PE, for a good and honest post. It is a pleasure to debate a Democrat who doesn't fall into the 'Bush is an idiot manipulated by Rove and Cheney' mantra.

I basically agree with your points about guns and the NRA.

Let me give you my take on why they remain so intransigent.

Do you recall how the current state of smoking laws started?

It was with travel on short-term domestic flights.

The argument was 'can't you just hold yourself for a lousy two hours?'.

Well, we all said 'sure'.

The problem is when you allow even a toe inside the door, the antis of anything will continue to push.

The ban was extended to all domestic flights.

Then to foreign flights entering into this country.

Then to the airports.

Then to the resturants in the airports.

Finally, the bars in the airports fell as well.

Now before you start in on the health issues involved, understand this, there is a strong contingent of individuals who do not believe ownership of guns is a right. And these are the ones who, given that proverbial toe, would lean their shoulders against the door looking to increase restrictions just as the anti-smoking groups did.

I never understood why the NRA was so adamant until I saw what happened with a simple ban on flights of less than two hours.

Now I understand.

Hope this is not too convoluted.

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