Political parties seem to change sides

By David Stevens

Politics have always confused me. And this month’s events related to the U.S. presidential race have been particularly strange.
Why were the Democrats sitting on their hands and rolling their eyes Tuesday night for most of George W. Bush’s State of the Union speech? A lot of his plans (and past deeds) seem way more in line with the Democrats’ agendas than with what conservatives want. I thought Republicans were supposed to favor keeping government out of our personal lives. Yet President Bush was touting legislation that would have government define what is a legal marriage and require drug testing of our children.
I thought Republicans were supposed to favor local government over federal rule. But Bush promotes the No Child Left Behind Act, which has severely hampered local school boards’ abilities to set policy.
And aren’t Republicans the ones who trumpet personal responsibility? So how is it that Bush’s prescription drug plan for the elderly will cost taxpayers $40 billion a year? That sounds like something Al Gore would have tried if he hadn’t been hammered by the hanging chad judges of Florida and Washington, D.C.
I understand the Democrats and the Republicans are like the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins, competing against each other for victory. But if the Redskins ran the wrong way down the football field, would the Cowboys try to make them stop?
Seems to me the Democrats don’t have a candidate capable of beating Bush in November, so why shouldn’t they just get behind Bush since he already acts like a Democrat?
Maybe the answer is this: The Democrats secretly love President Bush, but roll their eyes when he speaks so Republicans won’t catch on that they love it?
All I know for sure is neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are working hard to earn my vote in November, which is frustrating since I only want one thing from my government: to be left alone.
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In case you’re not seeing enough news from New Mexico’s Legislature in the paper, try our Web site.
Beginning today, we’re providing additional stories from The Associated Press as well as from our sister papers in Tucumcari and Portales. The CNJ coverage is also included on the site.
The Web site address is:
www.cnjonline.com
Then find “Special Sections” on the left side of the home page. Click on “2004 New Mexico Legislature.”
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The CNJ receives literally hundreds of press releases weekly from around the country. Most go in the trash unless they prove local relevance in the first two or three sentences. But once in a while, a mass mailing catches an editor’s eye.
Such is the case with a recent release from an Albuquerque job-placement service. It listed about a dozen of the most imaginative reasons for employees taking time off. The list included:
• “I just got a new tattoo and need a few days to recover.”
• “I need a day off because it’s supposed to snow.”
• “My cat has hairballs.”
• “My garage door is broken.”
• “I’m going to be in a kick-boxing contest.”
• “Our church is having a bus trip.”
• “My partner and I need to practice for the square-dancing contest.”

David Stevens is editor for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. He can be contacted at 1-800-819-9925. His e-mail address is:
david_stevens@link.freedom.com