One Party's Better 

The other? ... well, they aren't worth messing with

Let me start by saying what a fine fella that jack-Democrat Andy Hedden-Nicely is. One of the fun people to be around, he. Not only is he smart, well-versed, creative, as frisky as a pup, genuine in his concerns, honest in his approach, committed in his passions, broad in his interests, ambitious in his ideas, dedicated in his friendships, intense in his discussions, enthusiastic in his pleasures and driven in his work, he's also a hoot.

And well-dressed, too. If Andy wins the first district Congressional seat come November, it won't be because he debased himself for a cheesy campaign ad by stomping around a corral in a cowboy costume. He has more class than that. He has more class than almost anyone I know. And his excellent wife, Debi, has even more class than he does, if you can imagine.

I could go on about what a great guy Hedden-Nicely is and what an outstanding congressman he would make were he elected. And I promise you, my testimonial is in no way related to the fact he's the person who hired me as a regular contributor to Boise Weekly in 1995. I have nothing to fear in the pink slip department from Andy, since Andy hasn't been my boss for a long time.

Nor do I have anything to gain by singing the praises of Andy. He might possibly treat me to a beer the next time I see him, but that would be the high end of any benefits I might get by extolling the virtues of the Unity Party's candidate for Congress. And besides, what I'm about to say next might very well cancel that beer, because for the rest of the page, I intend to show how wrong Andy is about the Democrats and why he should quit this United Party nonsense and get his well-dressed ass home where it belongs.

Three weeks ago, Andy's op-ed on why we need a Unity party appeared in BW. "Two-Party Gridlock" it was called, and in it, he laid out his position on why Democrats and Republicans are essentially the same: corrupted to the core by the stain of campaign money and influence from special interests.

He goes on to spread the blame equally on both parties for staggering deficits, the pathetic health care situation, a failing public education system, exorbitant gas prices, immigration chaos and the proto-fascist Patriot Act.

We've heard it all before. Ralph Nader made a mid-life career move out of declaring a pox on both their houses, and it's a sentiment that comes up often in bars: "Damn politicians! They're all alike! That's why I don't vote ... just encourages the bastards!"

I felt--still feel--Andy's charges should be answered, and even before his article appeared--as far back as when he announced he was running as a third-party candidate--I've felt obliged to compose a rebuttal to his accusations. My original intention was to argue how Democrats, even though they've wasted a few years reeling under the trauma of 9/11 and the surreal Bush Presidency, are finally shaking it off and becoming the opposition we so badly need. How the powerless minority cannot be blamed for the corruption and incompetence of the majority fools on the Hill. How even the Democrats' worst ideas benefit Middle America more than the Republicans' best ideas.

But we've heard all that before, too. And it's unnecessary. Frankly, nobody but third-party candidates and saloon cynics believe that Democrats and Republicans are the same, anyway. (And as to the barstool philosophers, I suspect they're just looking for an excuse for their own irresponsibility.)

Besides, in recent days, a variety of Republicans have offered up the most telling proof of the fundamental difference between parties, simply by opening their mouths and letting their ugliness spill out. Andy, my friend, I ask you: By any stretch of the imagination, can you picture Cecil Andrus, John Evans, or any Democratic governor you have ever heard of from any state in the union say something so stupid, so oozing with self-righteousness, so falsely macho, so oblivious to facts and ultimately, so racist, as , "Here in Idaho, we couldn't understand how people could sit around on the curbs waiting for the federal government to come and do something," in regards to the swamping of New Orleans? (The little big man who slopshot his way into a stint as Idaho's governor went on to compare the worst natural disaster in U.S. history to the collapse of the Teton Dam and the subsequent flooding of Rexburg. When his dumbness became public, he didn't deny he said it, preferring to blame the fact we heard he said it on the liberal media. How's that for personal accountability?)

Or Andy, can you even imagine a Democrat being so simple-minded, so childish, so uninformed and shallow as Georgia Rep. Charlie Norwood showed himself to be during the House debate over Bush's damnable war? "It's time to stand up and vote. Is it al-Qaeda, or is it America?" he said with passion, as though he'd actually said something. (And who but a Republican would vote for such a dunce?)

And Andy, have you ever in your life heard a high-profile Democrat ever utter anything so offensive, so vile and repugnant and vicious as, "How do we know their husbands weren't planning to divorce these harpies?" That, you will recognize, came from the sewage in Ann Coulter's mind and referred to four 9/11 widows who have criticized Bush's record on national security.

I could go on. Offensive, vile, simple-minded, vicious, childish, shallow, stupid--these are qualities we have come to expect from high-profile Republicans. Out of your two opponents, for instance, from which would you expect a Medieval-level medical opinion such as that abortions can cause breast cancer? Had not that exact opinion already been made public by one of them, I mean.

In the end, Andy, it's not about the policies or the party platforms or from whence comes the PAC money. Politics can only be as good as the people who involve themselves in it. And straight out, we Democrats have the better people. Smarter, kinder, classier ... better. It's nothing to be ashamed of. That's why I remain a Democrat and I suspect that's why you were one when I met you.

And as far as your "United Party" goes, pal ... unity my butt. Until Republicans have something other than beastliness to offer, this is one Democrat who thinks we would only debase ourselves by meeting them in the middle.

So come back, Andy. There's a hole in our heart with your name on it. And I'm ready for a beer anytime you are. I'll even buy ... if you insist.

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