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RS: Bush Like Me - Ten weeks undercover in the grass roots of the Republican Party
Rolling Stone ^ | (Posted Oct 06, 2004) | By MATT TAIBBI

Posted on 10/13/2004 11:34:04 AM PDT by weegee

I never felt any longing to go to Orlando, Florida. What I felt, in traveling south to volunteer for the campaign of George W. Bush, was an obligation. Let me explain by first saying something about the critics of our president. A great many of them like to laugh at George Bush for not reading books and for being uninterested in visiting other countries. But a lot of those same people are guilty of the opposite offense. They prefer to read books and travel abroad rather than actually getting to know their own country face to face.

These critics do a terrific job of mocking his mental deficiencies and dismissing his supporters as hapless morons, but they do not do a very good job of explaining the nature of his support. The few dissident commentators who bother trying to explain the Bush phenomenon seldom do more than reach for the nearest Marx-inspired academic cliche. They will tell you, for instance, that Republicans are a vast intellectual underclass cynically manipulated by the rich through a mesmerizing cocktail of yahoo enthusiasms, xenophobic fears and ancient superstitions -- and those same people will insist, if forced to offer an opinion on the subject, that one should feel sorry for most of them.

This is the wrong approach. As a professional misanthrope, I believe that if you are going to hate a person, you ought to do it properly. You should go and live in his shoes for a while and see at the end of it how much you hate yourself.

This was what I was doing down in Florida. The real challenge wasn't just trying to understand these Republicans. It was to become the best Republican I could be.

Republicans are everywhere, but everywhere is not a good place to look for them. For my purposes I wanted to try to catch them in their ideal habitat. That was why I chose Orlando. For me, it is hell on earth, the worst city on the planet, a place that would make me long for Kinshasa or Volokolamsk. But for Republicans, it is ideal: a scorching-hot paved inland archipelago of garish shopping malls and stadium-size steel-and-glass Baptist churches, a place with no nonhuman life apart from the caged animals at the theme parks, and an entire economy organized around monstrous temples to fake experience.

I arrived in early June, moved into a cheap hotel, called the local Republican office and offered to volunteer. They told me to come on by. So I went, arriving early on a Tuesday morning at their small strip-mall office on the east side of town.

My cover story was a travesty, an idiotic tissue of halfhearted lies. I said I was a New York City schoolteacher named Tom Hamill, in Orlando to spend a summer with a girlfriend who was from the area. It was the best thing I could come up with to explain my Northern accent, my lack of local connections and all that free time.

The story's only saving grace was that the truth was so much more unbelievable. Republicans are paranoid enough to expect a mole from the Kerry campaign, but I was far worse than that -- a dissolute, drug-abusing anarchist who reads the battle diaries of Vietnamese generals on rainy days, roots for Russia at the Olympics and once published an article titled "God Can Suck My D**k." I was, in short, the most offensive individual who could conceivably be planted in the campaign of George W. Bush. I was tempted to feel guilty about this. But in the end I figured that it was only fair. Since John Ashcroft has made it easy for FBI agents to infiltrate anti-war groups, it seemed to make sense that an anti-war journalist should infiltrate Ashcroft's party.

Orlando is the crucial city along a stretch of interstate called the I-4 corridor, a swath of central Florida running from Daytona Beach to Tampa. Home to 3.7 million of Florida's 9.3 million registered voters, it has the bulk of the state's undecided voters and is therefore the key to winning Florida's twenty-seven electoral votes. When I got there, I expected a teeming, ultramodern NORAD-style campaign headquarters, where I would have to work my way up a giant totem pole. But in fact what I found was -- nothing at all. For all intents and purposes, there was no campaign for George Bush in Orlando in early June. There was only one paid staffer, a central-Florida field director named Vienna Avelares, and a corner of a table at the local Orange County Republican Executive Committee. If the Republicans were building an electoral Death Star somewhere, it sure as hell wasn't in Florida.

The situation was completely disarming. Vienna, a gregarious Puerto Rican single mother who insisted on introducing herself as "Vienna -- like the sausage," seemed desperate. I had planned on doing a good job anyway, but after meeting her I had a genuine desire to help get things going.

After just a week of coming in every day like this, I became -- along with a young blond Sean Hannity fan named Ben Adrian, who also volunteered at that time -- one of the most important Bush people in all of central Florida. Within a few weeks, we would both be given keys to the office and offered full-time jobs.

Here I want to make a general observation about the social aspect of working for Bush. It's very different than it is working for a Democratic candidate. Corny as this sounds, it is much more egalitarian and brotherly than most Democratic campaigns. Almost every Democratic campaign I've seen has let itself be seduced by the Primary Colors paradigm -- the hip clique full of mildly sexually adventurous twentysomethings who have been working on their memoirs since high school and dream of that chance to wear Versace sport coats and crack jokes on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

If you've ever hung out with the Tricia Enrights and Joe Trippis of the world, you know that the operative vibe of the Democratic insider is wisecracking cool. It is not a reach to say that the ideological vision that mainstream Democratic politics has offered America since Clinton has been the supercool high school, the party of the popular kids. For all the talk about the Democrats being the party of inclusion, it really doesn't feel that way from the inside.

That's not true of all Democrats, of course. I thought it was very different, for instance, in the campaign of Dennis Kucinich. For the most part, these people were motivated by something other than ambition, and just being part of that campaign meant you were in a besieged minority, with the whole world out there laughing at you. Kucinich supporters stuck up for one another, because they had to.

You get that same besieged fraternal feeling in a Republican campaign office. There is no M*A*S*H ensemble-cast repartee. Nobody wears T-shirts that mean something, and nobody looks cool. As I would later find out, most Republicans hate "cool" ("They all think they're so cool and artistic," griped one woman as she watched Fox coverage of Democratic delegates arriving in Boston). Many of the parent volunteers I met were especially bitter because they think that cool is what liberals use to lure their children away. Which they might very well be right about, of course.

In my first month on the campaign, I did not meet many people who came into the office with the serious intention of working hard for the president. I did, however, meet a great many very lonely people who came in because they knew the Bush offices were the one place where they could share certain deeply held ideas without being ridiculed.

Part of my job, I soon came to understand, was to be supportive when people like portly Tampa sheriff's deputy Ben Mills came in to share their very serious utopian ideas -- like the benefits of having a society guarded by a clone army. "We'd save a hell of a lot on benefits and medical expenses," he said. " 'Cause you know if they got wounded..."

"You could just shoot them," I said.

"Exactly -- pow! Just shoot 'em dead, right in the ground."

He went on.

"We'd just have a big breeding farm in Colorado," he said. "Course, it'd be a security problem if they got out, you know, if you had rogue clones running around. You'd have to have a special security force to maintain 'em."

"That's where folks like us would come in," I said.

"Exactly," he said.

Folks like us. I was getting the hang of it.

In my first six weeks on the campaign, I saw only one black person enter our offices. He was a recently released armed robber from Newark, New Jersey, who was the guest of a local female Republican politician. The ex-con was not particularly interested in Republican politics, although he did say something about wanting to hit Christine Todd Whitman in the face with a brick. I urged him to support the president, even though he couldn't vote. He didn't make any promises.

In mid-July a girlfriend came down from New York to visit me. I recruited her to help me with an idea I'd had to at least temporarily diversify my office environment. We decided that she would pose as a reporter for Vibe magazine, call our offices and ask whoever answered the phone if she could interview our "black volunteers."

"Penny" got my officemate Ben Adrian on the phone, and he instituted a frantic search that lasted several days. We thought at first that we might have a black professor from the University of Central Florida (sixteen miles away) on our volunteer list, but he turned out not to be available. Then Rhyan Metzler, the local Republican Party operative, gave us the number of an elderly man in Sarasota named Johnny Hunter.

As the chairman of the Federation of Black Republicans for the Republican Party of the State of Florida, Johnny was used to being called to this sort of duty. On the phone with "Penny," he explained that his job involved traveling around the state to meet people. "Wherever they need me," he said, "that's where I be rolling to." Finally, Ben came through with someone more local. He managed to persuade a thirty-seven-year-old Promise Keeper Christian named Lorin Jones, a phlegmatic fellow who was recovering from two brushes with congestive heart failure, to come in for an interview.

We scheduled it, but "Penny" never showed up. I wanted to be there for what I knew would be an excruciatingly awkward situation; the lone black volunteer, dragged into the office to show off to the media, surrounded by a bunch of nervously small-talking white Republicans waiting for the no-show journalist.

Exactly this situation materialized. The bespectacled Lorin sat surrounded by me, Ben and a few other folks from the campaign, and treated this anxious clock-watching crowd to a lesson in the vagaries of black urban existence: "My dad was a drinker," he said. "He cared about the bottle more than he loved us. But what my mom did was, she worked -- she was there in the afternoon; she wanted to see what we were doing in school.... "

"Gee," mumbled Ben. "I can't imagine the strength.... I'd like to meet her."

"I know what it's like to have a parent who'll put a belt on my butt," Lorin continued.

Nervous silence. Nods.

A few minutes later, "Penny" called to cancel, citing car trouble. Lorin hung in there for a few minutes. Our older volunteer coordinator, Don Madden, came over to chat; the two of them apparently went to neighboring schools in California. Don's school, Don said, was great at basketball, but, he said, winking at Lorin, "You were probably the only guys who could have beaten us."

Lorin laughed uncomfortably. "We were OK," he said. "We were pretty good. Our college was pretty good at basketball."

Then another staffer came over to say hi. He knew Lorin from past campaigns and asked if Lorin was planning on coming in to do phone banking. Lorin answered that he wasn't, that he was busy setting up a school-supplies giveaway charity event in his neighborhood. The staffer laughed.

"Oh, come on," he said jokingly. "I know how you people don't like to work." Lorin, who was halfway out the door, stopped at this. His smile disappeared. For a moment, he was genuinely pissed off. "We don't like to work?" he said. "That's all I do is work to make you white Republicans look good."

The staffer, a jovial guy who I normally liked quite a bit, said nothing and simply slapped Lorin on the back, laughed and helped him out the door.

"Good old Lorin," he said, going back to his office.

Vienna also chimed in after Lorin left. The two of them didn't like each other, having once disagreed at a community meeting.

"I don't like that guy," she said. Then she explained: "After that meeting, we really got into it. We were really shouting. He called me a spic. And so I said to him, 'Hey, I may be a spic, but at least I wasn't brought to this country as a slave. I was born here.' "

"Man," I thought, "We're just one big happy family."

I ended up getting to know Lorin Jones a little. He was an odd, sincere person who interested me largely because he was by far the most dedicated, effective and intellectually honest Republican volunteer the party had in the area, and yet the campaign more or less completely ignored him.

A devout Christian, Lorin supported Bush not only because of the social-religious issues, but because he sincerely believed that state financial aid had had a corrosive effect on the black community and that communities should support themselves through charity. He was the living incarnation of the "thousand points of light" idea. He ought to have been a poster child for Republican values.

"In my neighborhood, you can go up to anybody and ask where the black Republican lives," he said. "And they'll lead you right to my house. But they respect me because of what I've done."

And I saw this. At a function I would later attend in his neighborhood, I met several people who had been converted to Bush by Lorin. He was working round-the-clock for the president, but the campaign was just trying to turn him into another Johnny Hunter. "All they want me to do is start clubs," he said. "Tallahassee keeps calling and bugging me to start black clubs. And I hate that, because I think that puts us all in boxes. I think we should be going out into the community more."

Lorin believed that Republicans could win twenty percent of the black vote -- not the usual ten percent -- if they were smart about it. All they had to do, he said, was visit black churches and hand out fact sheets showing the Republican and Democratic stances on social and religious issues. "You wouldn't even have to campaign," he said. "You'd get an extra ten percent right there."

I must have heard him put forward that plan a half-dozen times, but no one did anything except smile and nod.

Some of the Republicans, however, were willing to help Lorin -- sort of. A smallish contingent of five YRs (Young Republicans) met Lorin in front of an Office Depot in a white suburban area one Saturday to man a booth for soliciting school-supply donations for kids in Lorin's neighborhood. They worked cheerfully throughout the afternoon, giving away hot dogs and helping Lorin get a good amount of stuff.

But when it came time a few days later to actually give away the stuff in Lorin's West Orlando neighborhood, none of the YRs showed up. I was the only white Republican who made it. It was a remarkable event. More than 200 people, mostly single mothers and their children, showed up at a funeral home called Gail and Wynn's to receive the book bags and notebooks Lorin had gathered to give away in one of the reception rooms.

I helped distribute bags to the children. "Vote for Bush," I managed to whisper a few times.

That day Lorin confided to me that this might be his last go-round with the Republicans. "I think this might be it," he said. "I think I might be done with these people."

During my time on the campaign, I noticed an unusual phenomenon. The more involved a person was with the campaign, the more likely he was to be politically moderate. Most of the core group of our office -- Vienna, Rhyan, Ben, Don -- were quietly pro-choice or socially liberal in some other respect. It was the casual volunteers and the people whose only involvement was a bumper sticker who were likely to rant about liberals being traitors and agents of Islamo-Fascism who should be exiled from the country or jailed, etc.

I saw this clearly one weekend at a local gun show, where we were manning a voter-registration booth. I rotated with Rhyan and Vienna that weekend, and all three of us were quietly freaking out at the sight of all these fat weirdos from the sticks buying huge assault rifles and Confederate bumper stickers with messages such as IF I'D KNOWN THIS WOULD HAPPEN, I'D HAVE PICKED MY OWN COTTON.

"Man, I'm glad I'm a socially liberal Republican," whispered Rhyan at one point, laughing.

It was late July, and a new recruit was talking in my ear -- let's call her Susie -- and she was an opinionated, middle-aged fundamentalist-Christian mother of five. Originally from West Virginia, she was working the phones for Bush and sounding off on humanity's declining morals and the agents of the international liberal conspiracy.

"Are you married, Tom?" she asked.

I squinted in apprehension, sensing a Jesus conversation on the way. "Uh, no," I said.

"My oldest," she began, "has a three-year-old and has been with the same girl for six years, and he will not marry her."

"Oh," I said, remembering to sound shocked. "That must really upset you."

"It kills me," she said.

"Does he not go to church?"

"Oh, occasionally," she said, sighing. "He will tell you right off.... He encourages her to go and to take their little daughter, and he tells you he's hopeful that God doesn't come, or nothing happens to him before he rededicates his life. But he's definitely not living a life that either honors God or is even pleasing to himself."

"You should give him those Left Behind books," I said solemnly.

I took a deep breath. Throwing out Left Behind -- that runaway best seller in which God comes to earth and literally yanks the believers to heaven, leaving piles of still-warm clothes and dentures behind with the condemned -- was like being a novice wizard and saying a spell for the first time. I wasn't sure it would actually work. It did.

"He won't read 'em," Susie answered seriously.

"He won't read them?" I cried, shocked.

"He won't read 'em," she repeated. "He doesn't like the way it makes him feel."

We talked for a little while longer, then Susie got up to go.

A half-hour later, the phone in the office rang. It was Susie, inviting me to dinner with her family. It was the act of a good Christian. I must have sounded lonely. "I'm making fettuccine Alfredo," she said.

I told her, "I love fettuccine Alfredo."

One of the great cliches of liberal criticism of the Christian right is the idea that these people are wrongheaded because they profess to know the will of God. H.L. Mencken put that one best, and perhaps first: "It is only the savage, whether of the African bush or the American gospel tent, who pretends to know the will and intent of God exactly and completely."

These criticisms sound like they make sense. But I think they are a little off-base. The problem not only with fundamentalist Christians but with Republicans in general is not that they act on blind faith, without thinking. The problem is that they are incorrigible doubters with an insatiable appetite for Evidence. What they get off on is not Believing, but in having their beliefs tested. That's why their conversations and their media are so completely dominated by implacable bogeymen: marrying gays, liberals, the ACLU, Sean Penn, Europeans and so on. Their faith both in God and in their political convictions is too weak to survive without an unceasing string of real and imaginary confrontations with those people -- and for those confrontations, they are constantly assembling evidence and facts to make their case.

But here's the twist. They are not looking for facts with which to defeat opponents. They are looking for facts that ensure them an ever-expanding roster of opponents. They can be correct facts, incorrect facts, irrelevant facts, it doesn't matter. The point is not to win the argument, the point is to make sure the argument never stops. Permanent war isn't a policy imposed from above; it's an emotional imperative that rises from the bottom. In a way, it actually helps if the fact is dubious or untrue (like the Swift-boat business), because that guarantees an argument. You're arguing the particulars, where you're right, while they're arguing the underlying generalities, where they are.

Once you grasp this fact, you're a long way to understanding what the Hannitys and Limbaughs figured out long ago: These people will swallow anything you feed them, so long as it leaves them with a demon to wrestle with in their dreams.

Which brings me back to Left Behind. Who gets left behind? Nobody, that's who. How could they leave us behind? They couldn't live without us. Even their most intimate family meals would seem lonely if we were missing.

At first, the vacationing New York schoolteacher Tom Hamill didn't say much at the dinner table. Speak when spoken to, help serve the fettuccine, pass the white bread and margarine. Ask politely about her son's senior year at high school, her twelve-year-old daughter's home schooling, the job her husband lost two years ago -- or maybe it was five. Smile in placid agreement as Susie compares Massachusetts Democrats (like Tom's real-life mother) to Al Qaeda. A cozy family dinner in Anytown, U.S.A.

Dinner started at about seven. John Kerry was set to accept the nomination at the FleetCenter in a few hours. Dinner Table wondered if the terrorists would strike. "No, no," Susie said. "The criminals wouldn't attack their own kind."

"Hear, hear," I said.

I concentrated on my food. Grace was easy: Just hang your head. But once they moved into politics and religion, I began to worry that my silence was becoming conspicuous. Susie was shooting me searching looks. I noticed her husband, the wiry gray-haired dad with the slow voice and the henpecked posture, was watching me whenever I chewed. Like he was checking to see if I would swallow. Finally the discussion switched to the high school one of her sons attended; he had a couple of crazy teachers there, a mean lady and a guy with man-boobs....

"We have a transvestite at our school," I whispered, suddenly inspired.

Susie's husband and older son were still talking about the man-boobs teacher. "Whaddya mean, which one?" the younger said to his dad.

"We have a transvestite at our school," I repeated.

Only Susie heard me. "No!" she screamed. "Did you hear what he said? A transvestite works at his school!" She turned to me in horror. "Is he allowed to dress like a woman?"

Now I had everyone's attention.

"Oh, yeah," I said. "Totally normal guy, except that at some point, he started reading all kinds of . . . "

"Books!" Susie guessed.

"It's called possession," her husband said.

"Yeah, books," I said. "It started . . . he was reading Agatha Christie books at first, then he got really into detectives. Next thing you know, he's reading Nietzsche. You know, the German philosopher."

"The weirdo German!" Susie exclaimed.

Everyone was staring at me in shock.

"And he comes up to me one day and says, you know, 'Well, since there's no God, I might as well be gay!' "

"Oh, my God," her husband whispered.

"And he starts talking like this, and his appearance got more and more strange. . . . He started coming into work in drag. . . . "

"Oh, my God," the husband repeated.

"And his boyfriend would come and pick him up at school. . . ." I went on.

"Oh!" Susie shrieked, scrunching her nose, as though smelling rotting cheese.

"The thing is, I'm the one who gets in trouble," I said. "Like, there was this one little girl. I caught her listening to 50 Cent -- you know, the rapper -- and I started telling her about the torments of hell, and how she'd pay in eternity and all of that. And the principal comes up to me, and he's like, 'Stop, you're scaring the children!' "

"Oh, yeah," Susie snorted.

"And I'm like, 'I'm scaring her? Are you crazy? This girl is seven years old. She needs to know about these things!'

"We have kids now, because they know you're a Christian, they go out of their way to make your life miserable," I said. "I know this one guy. They'll take his Bible from his classroom and snort cocaine off it, right in front of him!"

Susie put her hands over her heart.

"They'll get suspended for a week," I said. "But then they're right back in there."

The table fell silent. The kids slowly started to slip away. Soon the only ones left were me, Mom and Dad, and a nearly empty bowl of fettuccine. Forty minutes in, my fork was still scraping the plate.

"Now this is good fettuccine," I said.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2004electionbias; 2004electionfraud; anarchist; crime; criminalact; dirtytricks; dnctalkingpoints; doper; electionlaws; espionage; fec; feclaws; floidavoter; florida; floridavoters; fraud; goldmansachs; greatamericanbubble; hachetpiece; hadthekeystooffice; howtostealanelection; kerrycampaign; liberalbigot; matttaibbi; matttaibi; mediabias; megwhitman; moleinthecampaign; propaganda; racist; ratingopclothing; rollingstoned; smearcampaign; socialist; spy; taibbi; undercover; usedanalias; votefraud; voterfraud; watergate; yellowjournalism
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To: newheart
I dont know why, but this POS story makes me disgusted in a way nothing else this election cycle has.
Even if he made the whole thing up out of thin air, he decided to 'go after' people whose only 'crime' in his eyes was voting for, and working for the election of a politician.
Guess with all the voter fraud, campaign HQ attacks, sign destruction, debates, etc...
he could not find something better or less personal to specific individuals,
individuals who were not seeking anything for themselves, to 'write' about.
I rarely write to express an opinion against political abuse. But in this case, I did write to the RS 'rag' and told them basically what I've written here.
Not that they care about any opinions but those that reflect their own...And not that I was a subscriber that threatened to cancel
(never in 1K years would I pay for that bird cage liner)
but just that with everything going on, this 'journalist' cannot find a better target for his poison pen.
51 posted on 10/13/2004 12:40:30 PM PDT by 45semi (Man has only those rights he can defend...)
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To: Hemingway's Ghost

I remain a fly on the wall among my liberal friends. I never once chime in support or opposition to their bullsh!t. I will change the subject or walk away from the discussion at times.

I have heard incredibly ugly and violent things from their mouths and have never offered the slightest encouragement for them to continue along those lines. They are loudmouths and they know it.

This writer provoked situations and tried to create controversy. He is engaging in yellow journalism. "You provide the pictures, I'll provide the war".


52 posted on 10/13/2004 12:41:27 PM PDT by weegee (John Kerry: "I'm Oprah! EVERYONE gets a tax hike!")
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To: Slyfox

Someone should have told that reporter that Rolling Thunder endorsed President Bush at the White House on Memorial Day.

Then again, I don't know that they are the type of bikers who go for face piercings.


53 posted on 10/13/2004 12:43:38 PM PDT by weegee (John Kerry: "I'm Oprah! EVERYONE gets a tax hike!")
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To: weegee
Rolling Stone
Just another 'so called news publication' fit for the garbage can
Click the Pic

54 posted on 10/13/2004 12:48:17 PM PDT by Fiddlstix (This Tagline for sale. (Presented by TagLines R US))
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To: wideawake

"....One can assume that approximately 90% of this article is made up out of whole cloth and 100% of it is embellished."

Way too many cliche. Fat ignorant white trash cop wants disposible clone army. No black folks, in fact no real folks..ect.


55 posted on 10/13/2004 12:48:27 PM PDT by Dead Dog
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To: All

Anyone here work at the Orlando office? This guy could easily be exposed for a fraud.


56 posted on 10/13/2004 12:49:26 PM PDT by Dead Dog
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To: weegee

This scoundrel still could not overcome his biases enough to see the forest for the trees. He has this stereotype of the US Right as some latter day, bourgeois, steel and glass, suburban monstrosity. Yes, modernity is part of what makes up plain old Flyover America; and that modernity serves as a wonderful indicator of all the economic growth in the Red Counties which attracts growing families and hard working people some of whom are PhDs and others who simply were street smart and wanted to generate wealth. The Right, however, has its origins in the old .... in the very old. We are the Cathedrals of Europe, we are the ancient knightly orders, we are the core values of Western Civilization. Without us, there would have been no Rousseau, no Goethe, no Nietzche, and even, no Chomsky. The wonders of art, literature, music and great cities, were all made possible by the works and the resolve of the Right. This clown knows nothing about the Right. If only he would open the door to true knowledge.....


57 posted on 10/13/2004 12:52:37 PM PDT by GOP_1900AD (Stomping on "PC," destroying the Left, and smoking out faux "conservatives" - Right makes right!)
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To: weegee
Mr. Taibbi isn't as smart as he'd like you to believe. Had he done the minimum of investigating he would have known that Orlando is a Democrat town. Orlando is in Orange County where algore won in 2000.

And one can find stupid people everywhere, why I ran across one in Lakeland just after the 2000 election. While visiting my mother-in-law at the hospital I was checking in to stay overnight with her. The bloated woman guard just about frisked me and called upstairs to the nurse's desk to check me out. When I expressed that this was the first time anyone had so thoroughly screened me (I had stayed overnight at least 4 times before) she wanted to know who had only taken my name and given me a pass to get in and out. She was really angry that I hadn't been properly screened previously.

Well, I didn't take the guy's name down, I started and before I could get out that there had been 2 or 3 different guards she whispered, "bet he was the dark one, right?"

It took a second before her words finally sunk in. I was livid.

Where a smile had been on my face, now a look of disgust was present. No, he wasn't (although one of them had been a black man), he was white, big fat and ugly (I almost said, like you but I wanted to see my MIL). Does that help I asked sweetly.

That Gore/Lieberman button on her purse didn't surprize me in the least.

58 posted on 10/13/2004 12:56:54 PM PDT by BigWaveBetty (KEdwards vowed to hunt down al Qaeda wherever it is, unless wherever's in Iraq.)
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To: weegee
I have heard incredibly ugly and violent things from their mouths and have never offered the slightest encouragement for them to continue along those lines. They are loudmouths and they know it.

I do the same. And what's worse: because of where I live, people naturally assume you think the same way.

This writer provoked situations and tried to create controversy. He is engaging in yellow journalism. "You provide the pictures, I'll provide the war".

And he was largely uanble to create that controversy, despite his best "evil" intentions. That's what I took out of this piece, and it's truly a positive for what I'd say is our side.

59 posted on 10/13/2004 1:00:01 PM PDT by Hemingway's Ghost (Spirit of '75)
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To: weegee
Sent the following email to Ms. Alvelares:

Dear Ms. Avelares,

I just read this story and there is so much liberal stereotyping of Republicans that I don't believe it's true.

Can you confirm any of this story? If this is a fictionalized account, Mr. Taibbi deserves to be exposed as a fraud.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/_/id/6539082?rnd=1097697278020&has-player=true&version=6.0.12.1040

Thank you for your time,

XXXX XXXXXXX

I'll post any response on the thread.

60 posted on 10/13/2004 1:05:25 PM PDT by jellybean (Pssst...John Kerry wears frilly, lace underwear. That's why he walks so stiffly...Pass it on!)
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To: weegee
BTW, Rolling Stone has as much to do with music as Maxim or MTV do these days. And they certainly don't have any respect for GOOD music.

Rolling Stone is a magazine for the members of the 35-to-54-year-old demographic that can't accept that they're living in the past. The world has left them behind, both musically and politically, but Rolling Stone allows them to pretend they're still 18 and hip.

Anyone that needs proof of this need only take a look at the classified ads in the back of the magazine sometime. If Rolling Stone is being heavily read by young, hip people, then why is it full of ads for Viagra knockoffs and hair replacement services?

61 posted on 10/13/2004 1:07:56 PM PDT by Dont Mention the War (How important a Senator can you be if Dick Cheney's never told you to "go [bleep] yourself"?)
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To: BushisTheMan
He has to be GAY.

Five words is all it took to prove the author to be dead on.  Way to go.
62 posted on 10/13/2004 1:12:48 PM PDT by gcruse (http://gcruse.typepad.com/)
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To: weegee
I sometimes wish I were more eloquent. Something is profoundly disturbing about this article and its author, but I am not sure I can convey what it is. The self-righteous condescension, the air of superiority, like he is an exalted scientist observing lower-life forms with the goal of reinforcing only that he is observing lower life forms. This is the sense that I get from most people that consider themselves "progressive" -- they have already decided that anyone not like them is a sub-species, or stupid, or non-enlightened.

He manages to find every stereotype, every kooky reinforcer of his already decided opinions. And now he has delivered a story into the hive of people that already feel exactly like he does ... that the rest of us are beneath them, less educated, less intellectual than them, less aware than them, less worthy than they are to decide how to live, who to worship, what to think and do.

And what kind of person can spend weeks or months play acting in his stereotyped way just to attempt to ferret out a story that he could have easily written out of his own prejudice? Spending day-after-day with people that he judged inferior, pretending to be one of them, eating in their homes, meeting their kids, and all the while only spouting his own preconceived notions about what 'those people' were wanting to hear.

Some of the 9/11 terrorists lived here for years. They lived next door to us, they drove on our roads, shopped in our stores, saw us every day on the street. They experienced life here and the people here, and they still flew the planes into the buildings. So convinced were they of their superiority that nothing would change their minds.

Tiabbi is such a person. For all his capability at wordsmithing and propaganda creation he is nothing more than an ideologue driving the wedges between us, creating the conditions where their ultimate goals can be carried out and they will not have to feel bad about anything because they were, as always, right.
63 posted on 10/13/2004 1:20:27 PM PDT by spodefly (A torpid disinclination negates the inclusion of a tagline with this post.)
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To: weegee
The only point I agreed with was when he noted he loved fettuccine Alfredo....
mmmmm.... pasta......
64 posted on 10/13/2004 1:23:46 PM PDT by four more in O 4 (God Bless George Bush and God Bless YOU.)
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To: gcruse

No problem.

The article stereotyped Republicans so I returned the favor. However, based on the picture, I may be correct.


65 posted on 10/13/2004 1:28:28 PM PDT by BushisTheMan
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To: spodefly
You might find this article intersting...Al Qaeda's Fantasy Ideology. Although it's mostly talking about terrorists, it also explains the liberal mindset. It's long, but worth reading.
66 posted on 10/13/2004 1:34:13 PM PDT by jellybean (Pssst...John Kerry wears frilly, lace underwear. That's why he walks so stiffly...Pass it on!)
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To: weegee

This guy is lying through his teeth. The conversations he relays are obviously fabricated. I'm a southern Republican living in a very conservative area, and in my entire life I've never run across Republicans such as the ones he describes in that badly written work of fiction.


67 posted on 10/13/2004 1:40:02 PM PDT by alnick (America: Land of the Free BECAUSE of the Brave.)
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To: weegee; All
Here is the response I received from Vienna:

From: Vienna Avelares
Date: 10/13/04 15:34:54
To: Anne
Subject: RE: RollingStone.com: Politics - Bush Like Me

Hi Anne:

I can not explained in words how devastating this has been not only to me as Field Director but to my family and to my volunteers and counter parts who are part of this campaign. We open our hearts and our houses an help this man. We believed that he was homeless and we went out of our way to help him not only offering monetary help but even fixing his car and giving him money for lunch.

This shows you how low the other side can get to make us look back. Please believe when I say that none of what you read is true.

I have being praying to the Lord to give me the strenght to accept this and to move on. Lets pray for our President, imagine if they are capable of doing this harm to us as field directors and volunteers, imagine what they are trying to do to our President.

Anne God Bless you and thank you for your support if you have any questions call me at (I've removed the phone # so some skank DUer doesn't harrass her).

Vienna

What a POS this Taibbi is!!

68 posted on 10/13/2004 1:44:25 PM PDT by jellybean (Pssst...John Kerry wears frilly, lace underwear. That's why he walks so stiffly...Pass it on!)
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To: jellybean

I still wonder what sort of crimes he may have committed in the area of fraud when he submitted false information about his identity.

Additionally, I wonder if he may have broken any federal election laws.

As I say, he had keys to the office. Watergate was a break in. No need to break in when you have a plant on the inside. Additionally he sought to salt the ground and make trouble for Republicans with some ugly statements he admits to making at public encounters with voters.


69 posted on 10/13/2004 1:53:07 PM PDT by weegee (John Kerry: "I'm Oprah! EVERYONE gets a tax hike!")
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To: weegee

He is just a punk.


70 posted on 10/13/2004 2:00:24 PM PDT by badpacifist
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To: sinclair

If there is a civil war all of those idiot liberals have given their guns away. Bring it on. Firearms and truth always win in the end.


71 posted on 10/13/2004 2:01:30 PM PDT by satchmodog9 (Murder and weather are our only news)
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To: weegee

 


72 posted on 10/13/2004 2:07:45 PM PDT by Fintan (Oh...Am I supposed to read the article???)
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To: weegee
... but I was far worse than that -- a dissolute, drug-abusing anarchist who reads the battle diaries of Vietnamese generals on rainy days, roots for Russia at the Olympics and once published an article titled "God Can Suck My D**k."

Yawn.

If he wants to be a rebel, something truly out of the mainstream, he should go to a punk concert, which is to say an adolescent reactionary revival, and wear a T-shirt that says "I love Halliburton."

Now THAT'D take some real cajones and would be the mark of a true a rebel. This guy's attitude is yesterday's news.

73 posted on 10/13/2004 2:09:03 PM PDT by Catalonia
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To: jellybean

Thank you for that link: http://www.policyreview.org/AUG02/harris.html

Excellent article, very well written examination.


74 posted on 10/13/2004 2:09:41 PM PDT by spodefly (A torpid disinclination negates the inclusion of a tagline with this post.)
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To: weegee
... but I was far worse than that -- a dissolute, drug-abusing anarchist who reads the battle diaries of Vietnamese generals on rainy days, roots for Russia at the Olympics and once published an article titled "God Can Suck My D**k."

Yawn.

If he wants to be a rebel, something truly out of the mainstream, he should go to a punk concert, which is to say an adolescent reactionary revival, and wear a T-shirt that says "I love Halliburton."

Now THAT'D take some real cajones and would be the mark of a true a rebel. This guy's attitude is yesterday's news.

75 posted on 10/13/2004 2:12:19 PM PDT by Catalonia
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To: Catalonia

Actually, one of the older bands at the Warped Tour was The Vandals. They have been pretty open with their support for President Bush.

At one of the concerts, they reportedly said something from the stage like, "President Bush was one of the worst Presidents we ever had (dumb kids cheer on this attack), but his song is one of the BEST Presidents we've ever had (crowd realizes they've been duped)."

There were some concert fans who DID wear pro-Bush/Cheney shirts in that crowd (one had a shirt that said Bush is my President" and the band responded "He's my president too" at a meet and greet (such access is scheduled at the Warped Tour).

The majority of the Warped Tour was designed to be another "Rock against Bush" type event.

A true free spirit does not conform to the will of the masses to fit in. The left does not like the sheep to know this.


76 posted on 10/13/2004 2:19:51 PM PDT by weegee (John Kerry: "I'm Oprah! EVERYONE gets a tax hike!")
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To: Catalonia

If he really had want to take the same walk as the author of Black Like Me, he would have gone as a Republican into Berkley California. Stand with the Protest Warriors as they are outnumbered 100 to one. Spat upon and threatened with physical violence.

How much would he be willing to go along with the charade then? How much would he be willing to provoke a response from those around him?


77 posted on 10/13/2004 2:21:45 PM PDT by weegee (John Kerry: "I'm Oprah! EVERYONE gets a tax hike!")
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Comment #78 Removed by Moderator

To: weegee

Bomb Rolling Stone (please)


79 posted on 10/13/2004 2:35:18 PM PDT by t_skoz
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To: weegee

This is a thoughtless article, totally lacking in insight. Not even very clever -- just a dumb anarchist dissing Republicans and Christians. The writer had his mind made up in so many ways; no attempt whatsoever was made to really get inside someone's mind about the issues.

If he were on a mission to find the truth, which he is obviously not, he simply could have been up front with people and sat down for many weeks discussing their views.

It is obvious this person doesn't have the ability to do this.


80 posted on 10/13/2004 2:45:17 PM PDT by paulklenk (Blue Fairy, please make Dan Rather a real boy!)
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To: weegee

F* Mike Taibbi and the horse he rode in on.


81 posted on 10/13/2004 3:33:53 PM PDT by thegreatbeast (Quid lucrum istic mihi est?)
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To: weegee

Yep, that sounds just like me, a pro-life Christian-rght Republican who wants a Clone Army who can be killed with impunity!

You sure this isn't SATIRE?

Part of my job, I soon came to understand, was to be supportive when people like portly Tampa sheriff's deputy Ben Mills came in to share their very serious utopian ideas -- like the benefits of having a society guarded by a clone army. "We'd save a hell of a lot on benefits and medical expenses," he said. " 'Cause you know if they got wounded..."

"You could just shoot them," I said.

"Exactly -- pow! Just shoot 'em dead, right in the ground."


82 posted on 10/13/2004 4:50:23 PM PDT by GeorgiaYankee (We could make up the news on FR, but we'd RATHER not!)
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To: weegee
I talked to that reporter back in 1994. His opinion always stuck with me. The reason why the motorcycle gangs showed up was only for the helmut plank in the demo party platform.
83 posted on 10/13/2004 5:32:24 PM PDT by Slyfox
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To: weegee

I'd say bomb Matt Taibbi's e-mail with some kind words about his adventures in Florida, but for all the publications he writes for, he doesn't have an e-mail address for any of 'em!

what a coward...


84 posted on 10/14/2004 2:56:59 AM PDT by t_skoz
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To: spodefly
Some of the 9/11 terrorists lived here for years. They lived next door to us, they drove on our roads, shopped in our stores, saw us every day on the street. They experienced life here and the people here, and they still flew the planes into the buildings. So convinced were they of their superiority that nothing would change their minds.

I dunno, spodefly - I thought the way that you linked the 9/11 terrorists and the Democrats was eloquent beyond words.

85 posted on 10/14/2004 6:24:13 AM PDT by an amused spectator (Memo Depot: where trusted news anchors shop)
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To: jellybean; gcruse
We believed that he was homeless and we went out of our way to help him not only offering monetary help but even fixing his car and giving him money for lunch.

Odd that little Matty didn't mention the cadging, ain't it?

When I saw this small info tidbit in Vienna's reply, I went back and waded through the whole thing to see if Matt allowed that he was basically grifting.

It was a gagger, but the last bit was definitely pure fiction.

86 posted on 10/14/2004 6:34:30 AM PDT by an amused spectator (Memo Depot: where trusted news anchors shop)
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To: weegee

I stopped reading after he mentioned the title of an article he wrote (in the 1st or 2nd paragraph). I just don't want to get my hands dirty anymore with 'RAT crap. Mostly, I try to think of these people as brainwashed, lost and deluded; but increasingly I'm thinking that they knowingly make themselves vessels for use by the evil one. Maybe they're so far gone that they just can't see it anymore, but....it's difficult to have sympathy for that!

<><


87 posted on 10/14/2004 6:47:34 AM PDT by viaveritasvita (If MSM can't or won't get out the real news, we'll have to get it out ourselves. ~ Chuck Colson)
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To: an amused spectator
It was a gagger, but the last bit was definitely pure fiction.

Fake, but accurate?
88 posted on 10/14/2004 9:02:56 AM PDT by gcruse (http://gcruse.typepad.com/)
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To: an amused spectator
Odd that little Matty didn't mention the cadging, ain't it?

I think Matty is a typical democrat...he expects others to provide for his needs and wants. It's one of his basic human rights, so he has no obligation to show gratitude or even acknowledge others charity as an act of compassion. He's entitled to it. It brings to mind the old saying: "Bite the hand that feeds you."

Vienna is truly distressed by this article. She's a sweet lady and could really use some encouragement. Please send her a note of support.

89 posted on 10/14/2004 9:44:15 AM PDT by jellybean (Pssst...John Kerry wears frilly, lace underwear. That's why he walks so stiffly...Pass it on!)
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To: weegee

Wonder if this is the "genesis" of JFKerry and johnny edwards making Vice President Cheney's daughter topic A in two debates?????


90 posted on 10/14/2004 7:47:22 PM PDT by Just mythoughts
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To: EternalVigilance
I hope all liberals, and nobody else, believes that this is what the grassroots of the GOP looks like.

I have yet to read a liberal writer's description of a "normal Republican voter" that bears any resemblance to anybody I know.

I can only conclude that they are a.) visiting a parallel universe, b.) too blind to see us as we are or c.) making it all up.

91 posted on 10/14/2004 8:18:27 PM PDT by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: ARROGANCE & IGNORANCE ON PARADE)
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To: dandelion

Not sure of the exact name, but there are a couple "federated" Black Republican clubs in Florida, and I would assume, like most federated GOP clubs (e.g. the YRs), they have some sort of state organization.

Rhyan (yeah, with an "h") Metzler works at the Orlando HQ. I've had a few dealings with him over the years, and he certainly seems the type to call himself "socially liberal."

The Orange County YRs do a school item drive every year.

While I can't vouch for what was said over a private family dinner, most of the throw-away facts here ring true. Face it, the Orange County GOP got "punk'd." Sure this is a hit piece by a whiny northeast liberal (I know the type, I grew up in Connecticut before moving to Florida), but he does succeed in pointing out some of the party's faults. I'd rather see an intellignet discussion of the issues raised than knee-jerk claims that this is all false. What is this, DU?


92 posted on 10/14/2004 8:27:14 PM PDT by Schuck
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To: dandelion

That is a very good idea. We need to find Vienna.


93 posted on 10/14/2004 8:33:58 PM PDT by tiki (Win one against the Flipper)
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To: Schuck

As you can see, I'm not claiming it is all false. I'm claiming we should do a little fact checking and see if it is true. That in itself is intelligent, and if we find out it's true, we'll report it.

But seeing as how this guy has worked for the New York Times, and considering their culture of manufacturing stories, I'd have to say it's only intelligent to question this reporter's veracity...

Questions lead to answers.


94 posted on 10/14/2004 8:51:17 PM PDT by dandelion (http://johnkerryquestionfairy.blogspot.com/)
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To: dandelion

He started off pretty well, but then he fell more and more into the trap of liberal assumptions. My intuition smells fiction.


95 posted on 10/18/2004 1:36:58 PM PDT by WVNan
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To: weegee
My cover story was a travesty, an idiotic tissue of halfhearted lies.

A self-admitted liar. Then there's nothing to be gained by reading anything else he wrote.

96 posted on 10/18/2004 1:40:44 PM PDT by JCEccles
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To: dayton law dude

letters@rollingstone.com


97 posted on 10/18/2004 1:43:30 PM PDT by paltz
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To: weegee

I'll bet the bastard licked all the doors knobs on his way out the door.


98 posted on 10/18/2004 1:50:35 PM PDT by hope (The democrats are hellbent on destroying the electoral process.)
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To: weegee
I have lived in several Florida counties; I have volunteered many times for the Republican Party.

This article is a made-up hallucination from a self-confessed America-hating drug addict.

Disgusting beyond disgusting.

I feel sorry for the Republican men and women misquoted and mischaracterized in this hit piece. If any those great people attacked in this article happen to read my post, all I can say is to remember Jesus' words:

11"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
St Matthew 5


99 posted on 10/18/2004 2:13:23 PM PDT by george wythe
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To: TalonDJ
Change God to Liberal and I see a classic case of projection. This article is mostly fantasy, including the part about having a girl friend.
100 posted on 10/18/2004 2:20:57 PM PDT by mountainfolk (God bless President George Bush)
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