Tracey-Kay Caldwell is the Democratic Party Editor at BellaOnline. She sent me some questions for an online interview, with the purpose of introducing me as the new Republican Party Editor, and she has featured my answers on her site.
Thus, I am featuring Tracey-Kay’s answers to a set of interview questions. The following questions include her answers, which appear exactly as I received them:
1. Why are you a Democrat? Are other members of your family Democrats?
1) I am going to answer your first question in reverse order. My family is has both republicans and democrats in it. Holidays can lead to some interesting, robust and sometimes contentious political debates. What I can say about my family is that they all care deeply about their country and want what is best for it. We sometimes disagree about how to achieve that, but we all love our country.
I am democrat for a number of reasons. I believe our national interests are best served by being fiscally responsible. In our recent history, the greatest expansion of national spending and debt has occurred under republican presidents, Ronald Regan and our current president, George W. Bush. I did not see under both of these expansions of government spending, a pay-off of our investment in a more competent, efficient, and ethical government. Having a son in the military, currently serving in Iraq, I am particularly interested in our national defense, military, and veterans spending. Under republican administrations, defense spending is often focused on “toys for the sky” big-ticket defense programs and less on protecting our soldiers on the ground. The kind of threats we are facing from terrorism will require less missile defense systems and greater investment in the soldiers on the ground. Most battles in the war on terrorism will not be fighting nation states, but small diverse groups of terrorists. I think the failure to enact an excess profit taxes during this war in Iraq, as we have in previous wars, had led the defense industry to focus on producing items with the greatest profit margins rather than tooling up to produce the less profitable, but more urgently need armor for our troops on the ground. I am also concerned that much of the debt from this war is being bought, not by patriotic Americans or friendly western allies, but by the Chinese. I am concerned that our failure to develop a fiscal pan to pay for this war jeopardizes our national security. Another reason I am democrat has to do with taxes. While we would all like to not pay taxes, the reality is there are times we want government. We like our roads paved, and without potholes. Infrastructure may not be sexy, but we use it everyday in our homes and our businesses. When an emergency does occur, like Hurricane Katrina and we are sitting on our rooftops waiting to be rescued, we don’t want to negotiate a free market contract. We don’t want the helicopters over our head shouting down offers, “I take you off for a $1000”, “No, I will take you for five hundred.” It is at times like this we look for our government to help us, to be the safety net. It is at times like this that we want to be part of a community, a community that will share in the burdens that make everyone’s life better. I want that burden of government to be shared equitably. I am inclined to agree with William Pitt Fessenden, a prominent founder of the Republican Party who favored an income tax because “the burden will be more equalized on all classes of the community, especially on those who will be able to bear them.” I think readjustments do need to be made in our tax code so that all forms of income are taxed equitably and that we reward those who labor for their income rather than penalize them.
2. Explain why Harry Reid is a better Senate Majority leader than Bill Frist was.
2) The easy answer of course would be because he is a democrat and more likely to promote a democratic agenda to the floor. But the reality it is still too soon for me to tell if Harry Reid will be better at getting a democratic agenda passed than Bill Frist was at passing a republican agenda.
3. What journals do you regularly read? Other media?
3) I am a voracious reader, so I will read anything I can get my hands on. Two political journals I do like are The Democratic Strategist and Dissent. I always have a stack of books waiting to be read. I am currently reading Moving a Nation to Care by Ilona Meagher. I read most of the major newspapers, conservative and liberal blogs online. Air America is my favorite talk radio station and I listen to The Rachel Maddow Show daily. Saturday mornings I listen to the War News Radio podcast. I watch CSPAN, CNN, MSNBC, and sometimes, even Fox News. I watch Keith Olberman’s Countdown everyday on MSNBC and catch the Daily Show and Colbert Report on Comedy Central as often as I can.
4. Discuss any Democratic Party stances with which you disagree.
4) I don’t have a strong objection to a any of the stated position of the Democratic Party. If I do have a complaint about the Democratic Party it is that, it often fails to state its position in a clear, concise, simple message. They become bogged down in giving you all the details in a complex fashion.
5. Please offer your thoughts on the following individuals: Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Ward Churchill, Cynthia McKinney, Michael Moore, Howard Zinn
5) What the people you have named have in common is that they are at the extremes in their positions. Those who hold position that seem extreme are very important, whether they are on the far right or far left. They make us think about an issue. What are limits are on an issue? They force us to better define our own position. Politically they serve an important purpose. When the far left gets some airtime, and the mainstream looks at them and says they are really crazy, they allow those of us on the left to drift a little further to the left without looking crazy. Because in comparison we don’t look as crazy as they do. They allow the center, mainstream, to drift a little further to the left and still be “normal.”
6. Since you have been a writer for the Democratic Party site at BellaOnline.com, have you received any hate mail from Republicans or conservatives? If so, how do you respond?
6) I have gotten hate mail from both the far right and the far left. What all hate mail, both from the far right and the far left, has in common is they are about hate. When people respond to something I have said with hate, I recognize they are responding emotionally to an issue and probably haven’t thought it out logically. My goal in responding to them is to bring them back to a logical, more reasoned out position where they can accept that we can have different opinions and still respect each other. I usually start out by acknowledging something they are right about and then explain something they may have missed or another way of looking at the issue they may not have considered. Often they will write back again with a more respectful response clarifying their position. In addition to the Democratic Party column that I write for BellaOnline.com, I also write the Soldier Mom column at IraqSlogger.com. One of the things that surprised me was that most of the positive email I receive in response to my Soldier Mom column comes from republicans, even though my positions on the Iraq war are the same at both BellaOnline and IraqSlogger. I think in some ways a political column simply invites more hate mail.
Tracey-Kay’s articles are available at Democratic Party .