Thursday, September 21, 2006

Arizona CD-8: Kos, Graf, and the KKK

I am about to lose the last vestiges of my reputation as a Chicago-bred political street fighter: I think that the Lofty Donkey post on Kos is over the line.

Yeah, I know, TDP put up the link to Graf’s take-down on Comedy Central but the photo-shopped pic of Graf in KKK regalia seems of an entirely different order. Even admitted to, it’s dishonest; and it accuses Graf, through innuendo and implication, of racism and anti-Semitism of the nastiest possible kind.

I have no use for Duke, and I think Graf’s guns-in-bars trip was loony, but I think that implying that because Duke likes his stance on immigration Graf is somehow cut from the same racist bolt of cloth is wretched.

Who has endorsed whom? When I go to Duke’s web site I find a lot of anti-Semitic nastiness, but I don’t find any explicit endorsement. (If I’ve missed it I’m sure someone will point it out to me.) What I do find is a two page US News and World Report piece by Angie C Marek all about Graf, his elevation of border security to a major campaign theme, and a nod in the direction of Gabrielle Giffords.

Does this amount to an endorsement by the KKK? Is such an endorsement to be found? It’s all bull-pucky.

Lest I’m misunderstood let me assure you that I have every intention criticizing Graf and his political platform. Oh, yeah, I might also treat him as an object of chirping mirth from time to time—but only in the most loving way possible.


sirocco said...

Gotta agree ... Graf seems like many things, and I disagree with him on almost every position, but I don't believe he is racist.

He has no control over whom Duke links to from his web site.

x4mr said...

Frankly, I think it is rather cheap although I suppose standard political fare for the AZ democratic party to make a big deal out of the Duke link and imply it means something about Graf.

Which, of course, it doesn't.

It's a safe bet republicans would do the same thing if some nut linked to Giffords site. People are probably googling as we speak to see what they can find.

Regarding the photoshop image, I'm disgusted. This is the kind of crap I was hoping we could avoid.

I remember the 2000 presidential election when the internet was still somewhat new and people were posting all sorts of ridiculous images like bobbing heads and dancing candidates, etc..

A skilled person today with the right software can produce ANY image. I hope we can get to 11/7 without having to see.........

Chris said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chris said...

Here is what Giffords stands for.

Dogma said...

Very nice Chris,

Say, you don’t by chance have a Confederate flag hanging in your home anywhere next to your painting of Jesus just below your gun rack do you?

Just asking…

Dogma said...

Sorry Art… I know you encourage diverse views, but this hit and run was inappropriate!

x4mr said...


These are to be anticipated, and I predicted them at "ESD" (not sure if I like the acronym, but, hey, I'm a work in progress in every other aspect of life, so why not here too?).

Those truly supporting Graf and wanting him to win would be wise to leave abortion alone. Still, there will be those like Chris here.

Dogma said...


Yes, I read your prediction ;-) While I agree that Graf would be foolish to hit the abortion issue too hard, as 6 in 10 Amercian's nationally support a woman's right to choose.

I looked around for any polling in CD 8 on the issue, but couldn't find any... I did find a June 2006 statewide poll that suggested the breakout was in the vicinity of 41% pro-life and 54% pro-choice in Arizona as a whole, though the percentages of single-issue voters on this issue are only a portion of these overall figures....

sotto voce said...

This type of campaigning is why people have given up on voting any more. Links aren't official enorsements and photoshopped photos are just cheap shots.

While this post didn't start off as a thread on abortion, it is turning into one.

Gabby should stand up for a woman's right to control her body and she should stand up for the rights of those that are born into America. The US has one of the worst records in the developed world when it comes to infant mortality. We could do much to improve prenatal health and to assure ourselves that all children in American live beyond the age of 2.

People who are pro-life need to consider that life continues after the fetus is born.

We need to focus on the issues that are important in this country and rise above these contemptible political tactics.

Chris said...

sotto voce,

Could you please explain why life begins only after birth? What is your evidence?


What does it matter about flags and pictures? Are you so unwilling to discuss the slaughter of the unborn that you can only respond by criticizing the messenger and not the message?

x4mr said...


Concur with your remarks about the disgusting photoshop piece and silliness about the link, and yes it is a turn off. If you surf around, you’ll find widespread agreement. Elements of the democratic party just gave Graf more ammunition regarding cheap tactics, and he wasted no time posting them at his website.

Not sure what you are suggesting Giffords do that she has not done regarding a woman’s right to choose. Her credentials are solid and earned her the Emily’s list endorsement.

And absolutely, yes: We need to focus on the issues that are important in this country and rise above these contemptible political tactics.

If the primary is an indication, these blogs will be where the most volatile exchanges occur. Note, Sotto, that it was Chris who injected abortion into this thread. Now that we are into the general election, this was anticipated.

Frankly, I think the abortion conversation is a greater risk for Graf than Giffords.

Chris said...

You would not know it is a winner for Gabby by going to her web site. She does not use the word abortion or discuss the legal right to have your unborn baby sucked out of the womb limb by limb. She says she wants to “protect a woman’s right to choose.” I am always confused when politicians use that phrase. Is that code for unrestricted access to abortion on demand? Then why not just say that? Is it possible that this is not a winning issue for candidates?

Graf is pretty clear on his web site. “I believe that the life of a human being begins at conception and that the Supreme Court’s decision Roe v Wade was a tragic event.” No code there, just plain English. He continues “I will support legislation that protects the unborn.”

Dogma said...


You are fooling yourself. There is absolutely no ambiguity in Giffords position. She is Pro-Choice. Your incendiary/inflammatory descriptions are cheap, and your line of thinking that somehow Pro-Choice candidates must use the same incendiary/inflammatory language to describe their own position is intellectually bankrupt and childish.

Like one’s own religious beliefs, the abortion issue isn’t debatable. For whatever personal reasons, people believe in one position or the other; and nothings going to change that… This debate has divided America for more than 40 years, and that’s not changing anytime soon.

You are also mistaken if you think that there are enough single-issue voters on this issue to make a significant difference either way in CD 8. The majority of people in Arizona (54%) believe in a woman’s right to choose. 41% describe themselves as pro-life, and only a fraction of that percentage vote solely based on this issue. There are some, but not many.

Graf’s view that a woman who becomes pregnant as a consequence of rape or incest should be forced to carry to term is extreme and repugnant, even to many pro-lifers…

If you’re a right-to-lifer, fine. But you’re not going to change anyone’s mind on the subject here.

Art Jacobson said...


Let me shoulder in for a moment. I suspect that Dogma is right, that the debate is probably unresolvable.

Let me take it a step further and suggest that it is systematically unresovable because there is not really one argument going on here, but two. We tend to conflate them.

One argument is about whether a woman has the ultimate right over control of her body. Another argument is about whether life begins at conception and wehether abortion is immoral.

These are two different arguments, not two branches of the same argument. How we settle one probably has no force in the settlement of the other.

The one thing we could argue about and decide would be the question of the social utility of banning abortion.Socio-political consequences, costs, effects of family structure, effect on children who were allowed to come to term unwanted, and so forth.

This is rushed because I have to get to work. Possibly more later.

To those for whom it is appropriate,
Happy New Year.


Liza said...

Abortion seems to be the issue that most people do not want to discuss unless they have strong opinions either for or against it. So, you never resolve anything with these discussions because the moderates opt out.

Chris, I would just say that a great many people think that abortion is tragic, but would not go so far as to agree that it should be against the law. No one wants to go back to the times when women died or nearly died from botched, illegal abortions, and that is exactly what would happen.

Part of this tragedy, Chris, is that abortion could become very close to a non-issue in the United States if we allowed children to be properly educated about the consequences of extramarital sex and also, if EVERYONE HAD GUARANTEED ACCESS TO PREVENTATIVE HEALTHCARE.

Those are the issues, my friend. Most people do not use abortion as their preferred method of birth control. Wouldn't it be better, Chris, if we worked together to minimize the tragedy of abortion and to create the educational, social, and healthcare systems needed to prevent unwanted pregnancies? This is possible, this can be done if we are willing to be realistic about human behaviour.

Dogma said...

Art & Liza,

All very good points! I had never broken the issue down, as Art suggests, in my own mind personally; but I do believe it’s a valid perspective and something I’ll have to give more thought. Lisa makes a string of excellent points too. I don’t think anyone thinks abortion is a good thing. Since we’re not going to resolve the moral aspects of the issue probably in our lifetimes, Lisa is absolutely right that we need realistic public policies that minimize unwanted pregnancies that drive the phenomenon.

SonoranDesertRat said...

This kind of crap is what the hell is wrong with politics anyway. A discussion on a subject, and then someone has to yell "ABORTION!" It could have just as easily been "GAY MARRIAGE!" or any of the other wedge issues that are thrown in out there. I have my own views on the subject, but I'll reserve them for the appropriate thread. These are the things that prevent us from making real progress in America; the wedge issues may energize voters and make for some interesting headlines, but they take away from the important issues that we should be discussing.

Art, I do agree with you on this posting. I certainly have no love for Graf, but it's these kinds of cheap shots and villianization that take all legitimacy out of the debate and change things into a "you're pure evil" "No, you are the evil one" shouting match.

x4mr said...

This thread really set me off, but rather than rant here, I used my own blog.

For the CD 8 election, this issue only helps Giffords because Graf's position is so severe.

Tad said...

FWIW, there is no issue to debate here regarding abortion. The Supreme Court removed the issue from debate in finding heretofore undiscovered "rights" in the Consitution in the Roe v Wade ruling.

If this case were to be overturned, does that mean abortion would become illegal leading to all the dreaded 'back-alley' abortions? No. The reversal of Roe v Wade would simply send the issue back to the States - where it rightly belongs - to set their own policies.

The Supreme Court had no business in removing this volatile issue from the hands and votes of millions of Americans with their over-reaching power grab.