Yeah, I have them. And relatives.
SOF and I had dinner with two of them last night. Well, one of them used to be a pretty hard core democrat. She has moved to the right. He is a pretty conservative guy, but can clearly articulate why.
Anyway, last night's dinner was instructive. I learned a little about how people outside Fox News defend (and don't) this administration.
on the gay marriage amendment, my conservative friend agrees that this is pure poltical pandering and he clearly resents the Bush attempt to curry favor with the Religious Right. He also blames that on Karl Rove.
on the Iraq invasion, he believes firmly that it was the right thing to do because, again in his view, the sanctions were not only not working, but breaking down and what control we had over Saddam would be going away. He did acknowledge that Bush sold the war differently to the American people.
he thinks that the Rummy bashing is misguided and agenda driven. As he put it, Rumsfeld and Franks did their job--they won the invasion. The problems that followed are political in his mind, and not military. I disagree and think that it is very hard to separate those two. The political problems have been sharply exacerbated by the lack of security. Security is a military problem in the aftermath of an invasion.
on the nsa wiretapping and torture, he also disagreed with me. On the NSA, he said that the volume of calls that these people were filtering precluded warrants and those should and are (according to him) after a suitable suspect is identified. On torture, he disagreed with my assertion that Bush sanctioned torture, but said that he tried to clearly define where Geneva conventions would not apply--ie, those things that specifically addressed a state, and would not apply to terrorists with no national or state allegiance. He also seemed, in my opinion, to hedge on the actual torture issue, and I believe followed the conservative party line in dismissing those actual torture events to rogue soldiers and CIA agents who "would be punished."
on John McCain, he (and his wife) see McCain as a political operative with no center. While I agree with that, they also think that Gore is a waste of a suit and that he whined after Florida. I don't see that. I decided not to bring up Kerry or the evidence of some tampering in Ohio. I am one of those who didn't really question the legitimacy of Bush after each election--even though I resented their actions during, so I understand the charge of whining. But if the GOP is actually stealing elections, that is a problem for all of us. And the GOP should be upset too. If they can steal an election, that means it can be stolen from them too. In the recent special election in San Diego, there are allegations that the elctronic voting machines were sent home with volunteer poll workers before the election. That isn't good.
Neither likes Hillary Clinton, nor Tom Delay, nor Bill Frist. But neither did they like anyone in the House or Senate. Both seem oddly interested in Mitt Romney, and he likes Newt. Sigh. Both are convinced that liberals are weak on terror. Sigh again.
All in all, it was a great evening and great discussion. On one hand, I hope like hell their assessment of Bush is correct--that he is mostly competent though often pulled in the wrong direction by people like Rove. On the other hand, I think they are largely way too trusting of people like Cheney and have completely bought the RNC talking point that the DNC is in complete disarray and "soft on terror."