Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Andersen Lets Achelpohl Speak for Himself

by Kyle Michaelis
In a strange gesture, aging conservative "journalist" Harold W. Andersen ran this bit of correspondence in his Sunday World-Herald column:
An interesting letter came my way recently from Steven E. Achelpohl, state chairman of the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party leader's letter, written after the Terri Schiavo affair but before the embryonic stem-cell controversy, said in part:

"Too many politicians have used religion to distract us from addressing important issues like globalization and what we can do to cope with it. Let's discuss how we finance educating our youth to compete in the global economy, how we bolster our manufacturing economy to compete with China, India and Japan, how we protect our intellectual property from pirating by foreign interests, what kind of tax policy we fashion which keeps the economy stimulated but affords a safety net for the poor and aged."

And finally, Achelpohl wrote, "When on Earth are we going to balance our trade and budget deficits and pay down our national debt?..."

Achelpohl had written me earlier, and I had written back to ask if I could quote him. His reply: "You certainly can quote me that many Democrats, including this Democrat, agree with the Omaha World-Herald editorials much more than your editors might think. To take one issue, your newspaper is committed to a healthy climate for job creation, which is essential to the growth of our local and state economy."
Not a whole lot to chew on there, but it's nice to see Achelpohl get the chance to raise some of the issues that the Republican Party fails to show any concern for at all. I do take issue, though, with his attempt to "make nice" with the World-Herald editorial board. Occasional fits of common sense do not even begin to justify their flimsy Republican apologetics and incessant liberal-baiting, a style perfected in Andersen's years as publisher.

Commitment to "a healthy climate for job creation" means nothing in and of itself - the true distinction of such an idea is in how it is achieved. On that, the World-Herald has sided with large corporations time after time at the expense of small business owners and common workingmen and women. They've similarly refused to write in good faith in all matters Republican and Democrat, hurting Nebraska and the democratic process by their failure to provide balance and a multitude of voices.

Achelpohl's letter followed a passage in Andersen's column in which he scolded President Bush for using an extremist religious agenda to hamper life-saving (and life-extending) medical advancements using embryonic stem cells that will otherwise be thrown away. Sounds like someone's mortality may have caught up with him. It's ironic to see that the uniting of "Christian" values with the Republican agenda falsely perpetuated by Andersen and his like over the years has been so successful as to now drive him from the party.

You reap what you sow. The problem here is that the whole country could be paying the price for a good long while. Alas, Andersen's case of buyer's remorse is likely far too little this late in the game.


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