From USA Today:
Fewer than one in 10 adults say they would prefer a congressional candidate who is a Republican and who agrees with Bush on most major issues, according to a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday. Even among Republicans, seven of 10 are most likely to back a candidate who has at least some disagreements with the president.
A 53% majority say they trust what Bush says less than they trusted previous presidents while they were in office. In a specific comparison with President Clinton, those surveyed by 48%-36% say they trust Bush less.
A record high 60% say going to war in Iraq was "not worth it." In a finding consistent with previous polls, 54% say it was "a mistake" to send troops there.Have a nice visit to Asia, Mr. President. Don't hurry home. Americans are starting to realize they're better off without you.
In a change of subject, I read the following not long ago in Parker Palmer's Let Your Life Speak:
The God I was told about in church, and still hear about from time to time, runs about like an anxious schoolmaster measuring people's behavior with a moral yardstick. But the God I know is the source of reality rather than morality, the source of what is rather than what ought to be. This does not mean that God has nothing to do with morality: morality and its consequences are built into the God-given structure of reality itself. Moral norms are not something we have to stretch for, and moral consequences are not something we have to wait for: they are right here, right now, waiting for us to honor, or violate, the nature of self, other, world.
The attempt to live by the reality of our own nature, which means our limits as well as our potentials, is a profoundly moral regimen. John Middleton Murry put this truth into words that challenge the conventional concept of goodness to its core: "For a good man to realize that it is better to be whole than to be good is to enter on a strait and narrow path compared to which his previous rectitude was flowery license."
The God whom I know dwells quietly in the root system of the very nature of things. This is the God who, when asked by Moses for a name, responded, "I Am who I Am" (Exodus 3:14), an answer that has less to do with moral rules for which Moses made God famous than with elemental "isness" and selfhood. If, as I believe, we are all made in God's image, we could all give the same answer when asked who we are: "I Am who I Am." One dwells with God by being faithful to one's nature. One crosses God by trying to be something one is not. Reality including one's own is divine, to be not defied but honored.
Today was election day around the country: new Democratic governors of New Jersey and Virginia, apparently, and a return to office for Republican mayor Michael Bloomberg here in New York. I would have voted for Mayor Mike if I thought it was going to be a closer race but it wasn't going to be, and I decided finally on my way to the polls that Bloomberg would make a better deputy mayor (which we have several of here in New York City) than a mayor: good administrator, gets things done, but can't be relied on for the leadership issues, which let's face it as mayor of New York gets noticed. To wit: the West Side stadium (bad idea) and the treatment of protesters during the last RNC convention (bad policy). Not that Freddy Ferrer would have been a better mayor, but Mike Bloomberg didn't need to walk away with it. So, in my small way, I tried to keep him from doing so.
Senator John McCain was on local radio today (WNYC, AM820 and 93.9FM), on the Brian Lehrer Show. Brian is the Smartest Man in New YorkTM and a co-op neighbor, so I'm always interested to hear him interview guests, but today especially. John McCain was the last Republican I voted for for president: I had a paper ballot due to some registration issue in having moved up here a year or two before, and so I had the opportunity to write in a candidate. There were even instructions on the ballot, and having walked into the polling place with misgivings about Gore and dead set against Bush (and, boy, knowing what we know now, what I wouldn't give to have had a Gore adminstration on 9/11), I wrote in John McCain's name for president.
Of course, now it's five years later. John McCain has just published a book on character, with examples of actual people he thinks are worth knowing. (Interestingly among the list, for a Republican and potential once-again presidential candidate of his party, are Pat Tillman and Charles Darwin, neither of whom could be considered poster boys for the current crop of Republicans.) I tried to call in to today's radio show but couldn't get through. My only point to make was that I voted for McCain for president five years ago, but because, essentially, of issues of character, I'm no longer a Republican and I don't completely understand why he still is, either. I know he's a politician, and I know enough about politicians to know that even some of the very best always have at least one eye on their political futures. I'm not even sure he's one of the best anymore, but I think he would like to be.
So I wanted to ask: Why, if character is still important to him, is he still a member of that party?