ST: You're a self-described liberal. What causes do you currently support and why?
WW: I believe really strongly in civil liberties and equal rights for all people. There are a lot of causes that are demonized as liberal now, like it's a bad thing; they're actually pretty important, and taken for granted like the 40-hour work week and Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) standards. Environmental protection, higher standards for education. I believe very strongly in those causes. I support the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), and I'm a card-carrying member of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), and I really resent the implication that that somehow makes me a bad person. I feel a rant coming on, so your readers may want to skip to the next [section] if they don't like this sort of thing.
You know, I have always been pretty moderate. I'm socially liberal, but fiscally conservative ... until now. In the last three years, I have been radicalized by the Bush administration because I believe them to be incredibly dishonest and incredibly divisive, and acting not in the best interests of the vast majority of Americans. Remember "I'm a uniter, not a divider"? What ever happened to that? Bush has divided the country at every opportunity. It's just a modern updating of the old Nixonian "Southern Strategy". Look, to give these comments some context: I was not a huge supporter of the Clinton administration. That whole lying thing really bothered me. I don't care what it's about; I don't like to be lied to by my leaders, regardless of what party they're from. Truth has always been more important to me than anything else, and I resent it when politicians lie to us. I resent it even more when the media make them repeat their lies over and over again. Judith Miller at The New York Times, I'm looking in your direction.
I really think that history is going to remember George W. Bush and eventually Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld ... and the rest of the neo-conservatives (neocons) as the most corrupt, dishonest, dangerous and damaging group of people to hold the reins of American power in history.
I really try to be middle-of-the-road. But when the President of the United States uses his bully pulpit to call for an amending of the Constitution — a document that should be guaranteeing freedoms to the people, not taking them away — to deny basic rights to an entire class of people (in this case homosexuals) it makes me explode. Bush's call to amend it to deny homosexuals a right that heterosexual people take for granted was really the last straw for me, and now I am officially On The Left. The purpose of the Constitution as I understand it is to put limits on what the government can do, not who can get married to whom. These Republicans talk about smaller government, but that's such a lie! What they really mean is "smaller government programs to help out the less fortunate people in our country so we can get rich, and bigger government intrusion into your private lives so we can control you." It's such blatant pandering to intolerant religious extremists who are trying to force their mythology down the throats of the entire country. Guess what? That's not Democracy. That's Theocracy. Isn't that one of the major reasons we left England in the first place? The separation of Church and State was pretty goddamned important to the Founding Fathers, but the Bush administration is trying to shove a far-right, ultra-conservative, mythological Christian agenda on the rest of the country, and by extension, the rest of the world. I mean, it's like he's using Revelations to get his foreign policy!
You know what? In a rational world most of those guys in the Bush administration would not have jobs right now. Remember Bush smirking through the 2000 campaign, saying, "I will return honor and dignity to the White House" and "I will restore accountability"? Where's the fucking accountability?! Donald Rumsfeld should have resigned months ago because of the lies about Iraq. George W. Bush should be impeached for lying and deliberately misleading America and the world into an unnecessary, illegal war that violates the Geneva Convention, and goes against international law. He should be impeached. If Bill Clinton can be impeached for lying about sex — And it doesn't matter what he lied about: he was impeached for lying, okay? And that's not alright. It's not okay to lie under oath; that's perjury and he should have been held accountable for that. But if he can be impeached for that, if he can be investigated for something so stupid like Whitewater, where the fuck is the Congressional investigation of the Bush administration? My God! They've lied about everything, and thousands of human beings have died because of it!
I just want to know where all these conservatives are who were so concerned about truth and honesty when Clinton was in office. Their silence about the outrageous lies of the Bush administration is deafening. Why did Bush try so hard to prevent the creation of the 9/11 Commission? Why did he put Henry Kissenger in charge of it, and fight it, and fight it, and fight it, every step of the way? Why did he try so hard to prevent us from finding out what happened? What's he afraid of? It's our fucking right as Americans to know what happened. This is our country. Those were our fellow citizens who were murdered on that day. He will gleefully stand on the ashes of the World Trade Center to make a campaign speech, but he won't give the 9/11 Commission everything they need to find out what happened? It shouldn't even be a question. The worst terrorist attack on American soil in history, he's exploiting our fear and our national outrage for political gain, and he is doing everything he can to hamstring the commission. Who is he protecting? Who does he care about? Does he care about his buddies in Saudi Arabia who are funding al-Qaeda? Or does he care about the Americans that he was allegedly elected to represent? Just — The fucking duplicitousness of this administration is so offensive to me and the cognitive dissonance that you have to have to support these people is stunning. Donald Rumsfeld goes on Face the Nation on Sunday and he says, "Nobody ever said it [Iraq] was an 'imminent threat.' We never said that." Well, we all know that's false. And thank God there was a reporter from The New York Times who said, "Well, as a matter of fact here, Secretary Rumsfeld, you said, 'They have the most lethal weapons presented ... They are an imminent threat.' It's right here! You said it. Answer that now." And Rumsfeld goes, "Um ... uh ... er ..." He said, "Well, what I meant was, um ... Well, he sort of, uh ... I mean, he — We're going to find it." And he got away with that! Where is the outrage? Paul Wolfowitz admitted that the neocons focused on WMDs to justify the war, and now we know that everyone except the Iraqi National Congress — who have been totally discredited as liars — told the Pentagon they just weren't there. The Secretary of Defense is caught repeatedly lying about the main justification for the war and Congress doesn't even flinch! Can you imagine what would have happened if that had been William Cohen? There would have been 50,000 Republican operatives marching on the Pentagon with pitchforks and torches, and you can bet your life that it's all we'd hear about from the so-called liberal media until he was forced to resign. It just drives me crazy. Until this administration, I was never a partisan. I always put principals before party — I mean, I'm registered as a non-partisan!
ST: You just vote with your heart.
WW: I vote with my conscience. I believe in the values I was told America stands for, and all my life I have loved America. "One man, one vote." "A nation of laws, not men." "Truth before all else" — that's just going to be a myth (if it isn't already) if we don't get these psychos out of power. I believe in equality. I believe in freedom of the press. I believe in the separation of church and state. I believe in protecting the minority from the tyranny of the majority. And these people ... are the most anti-American people to ever have power. Ever. The things this administration has done have gone totally against traditional American values. I wonder if the vast majority of Americans even know how virulently hated we are in the rest of the world now, because of the Bushies. I wonder if they even care. And you know what's awful? In some twisted way, conservatives take my criticism of the lies of the Bush administration and turn it into support for our enemies ... what a load of crap. I opposed the war in Iraq all along, and it's not because I love terrorists, you morons. I completely support our military. I honor and respect the men and women who took an oath to defend our country and my freedom. That is why I have always opposed, and continue to oppose, the war in Iraq, because it was unnecessary and took our focus away from stopping al-Qaeda. And the best argument war supporters can come up with is, "Well, isn't the world better with Saddam Hussein not in power?" You know what? Fuck Saddam Hussein. I don't care about Saddam Hussein, and the only reason he ever even had power in the first place is because he was funded and given weapons and intelligence information by the Reagan and Bush I administrations. He was created by the United States, just like the Taliban was. And don't take my word for it. Read [the book] House of Bush, House of Saud. Saddam Hussein was never a threat to the United States. Osama Bin Laden was, and is. If you think the world is better off without Saddam Hussein rattling his sword in the middle of the desert, try asking someone who has lost a family member in Iraq if they think it was worth it. Ask yourself if you feel safer getting on a plane now that they tore down that statue in Baghdad, but Osama is still running around.
You asked what causes I believe in, and care about, and I care about taking care of Americans in America. I am not worried about taking care of the rest of the world. That's not our problem! We can provide leadership, which we should do because we're currently the toughest guy on the block, but this idea that we can go out and engage in nation-building and shoving Democracy down the throats of people who don't want it — look, our economy is falling apart. People are losing their jobs and their homes, while CEOs buy more yachts. Some Americans may have gotten a few hundred dollars from the Bush tax cut, but their health care costs have soared by thousands. Gasoline is nearing three bucks a gallon, and we are facing the biggest outbreak of herpes since the 70s, because the Republicans won't let us teach safe sex to teenagers. Our country is in danger of collapsing under the weight of the hubris of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Pearle, Tom DeLay, and the rest of them. We are in serious trouble. You don't go cleaning up your neighbor's garage when your own house is falling apart. And during the 2000 campaign, Bush said, "America shouldn't be policing the world." Well, what are you doing then, you fucking liar? There was a time when I could honestly say, "I don't hate George W. Bush. I strongly disagree with him, but I don't hate him." Well, I sure hate him now. And with each soldier and innocent Iraqi civilian who is killed, because of his incompetence and hubris, I hate him a little bit more.