The least popular national Mormon politician in America is….Harry Reid?

According to Rasmussen, Harry Reid, Senate Majority leader, has a 19 percent favorable rating.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is now viewed favorably by 19% of American voters and unfavorably by 45%. Just 3% have a Very Favorable opinion while 22% hold a Very Unfavorable views.

Harry loves to hate President Bush and VP Dick Cheney, but they have favorable ratings in the 30s, significantly better than Reid.

But Harry can rest easy. His favorable rating is tied with one public figure: Scooter Libby.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

52 thoughts on “The least popular national Mormon politician in America is….Harry Reid?

  1. Means nothing Geoff.

    Congress has always had an unpopular image. While Americans tend to view their own congressperson favorably, they usually have a negative image of congress.

    This is why it is usually so easy for a President to undermine the Constitutional powers and position of Congress (and no, I’m not just talking about the latest president). He’s typically more popular than the legislative branch.

    Harry Reid is a figurehead for a very unpopular (but vital) organization. I would expect his approval ratings to be low. I’d be surprised if they weren’t.

    Comparing his ratings to Bush and Cheney’s with the aim of comparing the individual politicians is a worthless exercise signifying nothing. The only use of comparing the ratings is to point out that, even when an executive is profoundly unpopular, they are often STILL more popular than the deadlocked and bickering legislative.

    To get a sense of Reid’s PERSONAL popularity, you’d be better served to compare his approval ratings with former Senate majority leaders.

    But even this is misleading, since those approval ratings will more reflect how happy Americans were with the current Senate, than their real feelings on the man himself.

  2. Seth R, I think you make some good points. I would agree with you that part of Harry Reid’s unpopularity is directly tied to the unpopularity of Congress. I also agree that comparing Harry Reid’s ratings to Bush and Cheney is not a completely “apples to apples” comparison.

    Having said that, I do think it is extraordinary that Harry Reid’s popularity is so low. Given the unpopularity of the war, and Harry’s central role in organizing the Senate to oppose the President, isn’t it noteworthy that he is still so unpopular?

    And is there another Mormon politician as unpopular as Harry Reid?

  3. Psshh I don’t know about this. Harry Reid has been strong against the current administration and has maintained strong. I admire him, and love to hear him stand strong and not flip-flop for political gain like others.

  4. Congress is getting it from both sides right now. Those who support the Bush administration don’t like Congress’s opposition to it. Those who don’t like the Bush administration are disappointed that Congress hasn’t been more effective in opposing it.

  5. As far as unpopular Mormon politicians go, Lance Malone joined Dario Herrera in federal prison last month. Actually they are in different prisons, Malone in Lompoc, California, and Herrera in Florence, Colorado.

  6. Felipe, #3, congratulations on putting in your papers to go on a mission. It is probably hard for you sometimes to be a relatively liberal member of a very conservative church. Just remember that the main point is that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. That is all that matters in the end. I disagree with your assessment of Harry Reid, but he is a good family man. His children went to BYU and on missions (at least some of them). I would be proud to have him in my ward. I don’t agree with him politically, but there are plenty of brothers and sisters I don’t agree with politically, and I still try to love them and fellowship them.

    John M, I agree Congress is getting it from both sides. I’ve never heard of Lance Malone and Dario Herrera. Are they national politicians?

    When I was discussing unpopular national politicians who are Mormon, I was thinking of the Udalls, Romney, Bennett, Orrin Hatch, Gordon Smith — those type of people.

  7. Harry [Reid] loves to hate President Bush and VP Dick Cheney….

    Geoff, do you have any evidence that Harry Reid hates Bush and Cheney? Or that he is passionate about that supposed hatred?

    Clearly Reid disagrees with many of Bush’s policies, but that is quite different than having personal hatred for him.

    This is the kind of nonsense that is frequently promulgated by the political right in today’s America: That people on the political left “hate” Republicans, religion, morality, etc. With the exception of a fringe minority (I’m thinking of the “Buck Fush” bumperstickers), this is simply not true. Please stop being party to the lie.

  8. Mike,

    I guess I would respond that we simply see this issue very differently. There are logical, well-reasoned people who don’t support the president and VP, and then there are the people blinded by Bush hatred. I would agree that Harry Reid has a difficult situation — he has to keep the fringe happy while still appearing reasonable.

    His declaration that the Iraq war was “lost” is, in my opinion, treasonous and a sign that he was appealing to the “hate Bush” crowd. I know we won’t agree on this, but for the Senate Majorty Leader in a time of war to declare that an ongoing war is lost, which only emboldens the enemy is, I repeat, treason. I can see no reason for it except that Harry Reid either hates his country or hates the president or is cynically trying to appeal to the hate Bush crowd. I don’t think he hates his country, but he either hates the president or is being incredibly cynical. I personally think it is both — he hates the president and is being cynical. Neither of us knows what is in his heart, so there’s no use arguing the point — I think he hates Bush personally, but you see no evidence for it. Feel free to believe what you want, but I believe the evidence is there.

    As for Cheney, Reid recently claimed Cheney had a “9 percent approval rating,” which is of course a lie. Cheney’s approval is in the 30s. Such rhetoric shows again a personal animus that goes beyond simple politics. Is it personal hatred? I see it that way, but again you don’t. So there you have it.

    Mike, I will ask you as nicely as I can. I don’t think there’s any reason to get personal about my posts, calling them “nonsense” and telling me to “please stop being party to the lie,” implying that I am lying. I have been as truthful as I can be. I truly believe Harry Reid hates President Bush and VP Cheney. I have provided the evidence I see. You don’t see the evidence, and that’s OK. Please, can we agree to disagree without being disagreeable? Thanks.

  9. I think all this says is that Americans are deeply unhappy with everyone in Washington, D.C. I know I pretty much hate both parties equally right now.

    However, it should also mean Reid should stop referring to Bush’s low poll numbers as though they are proof his policies are any better.

  10. As someone who supported/supports impeachment for both Clinton and Bush (although I think the case is stronger for Bush, in that his contempt for the law is deeper and more systematic), I think that there has been a pretty comparable amount of hatred directed at both. When people are no longer willing to trust a politician’s motives or give him the benefit of the doubt, they become less inclined to be fair-minded. It is true however, that a great many people on both sides start from a default position of distrust, and nothing a politician actually does can overcome their pre-conceptions.

    To suggest that the hatred of Bush is somehow unprecedented is to forget most of history. LBJ and Nixon, to name only a couple, were the targets of vitriol the equal of anything we see today, much of it well-deserved. The main difference today is that the corporate media treats Bush, if anything, more with kid-gloves these days.

    Also please stop all this nonsense about treason and emboldening the enemy. The one who has emboldened the enemy the most is the hapless incompetent who has been running the war for the last four years (until he recently decided he needed a war czar, which, I guess is something like a commander -in-chief?) I gave him the benefit of the doubt for far longer than he deserved it.

    As far as unpopular Mormon politicians, setting aside Bybee and Sampson as second-tier has-beens, I nominate the appropriately-named John Doolittle, congressman from California’s fourth district and neck-deep in the Abramoff scandal. When I recently met Norm Shumway (he is in NYC on a church assignment to the UN) I diplomatically refrained from suggesting that maybe he shouldn’t have retired from his old congressional seat.

  11. People dislike politicians. Period. It doesn’t matter if they’re Democrat or Republican, Mormon or Athiest. Politicians are looked at as scumbags that are in it for their own gain or to push forward an agenda that leads to their gain.

    I agree with Ivan here. I don’t think these numbers mean much other than politicians should be so quick to point out poll numbers for their opponents*.

    *O.k. if a politician is in the 70’s or higher, it may be something to crow about, but how often does that happen?

  12. Bill, #11, agreed on Doolittle. Also, that wacky former AZ governor, Evan (?) Meachem. He was pretty unpopular and became infamous nationally. But Harry Reid may be the most unpopular national Mormon politicians since Smoot.

  13. Do you guys not allow URL’s in comments? I don’t know if you’re interested, but I posted a graph that’s in the Wall Street Journal showing popularity of the last eleven Presidents that I thought fit in nicely with the conversation. Feel free to dig my last comment out of the trash if you want to post it.

  14. jjohnsen, I would love to see that. We have problems with our software and in posting URLs sometimes. I don’t know how to go through our trash. E-mail it to me at and I will try to post it. Sorry. Someday our software will improve.

  15. JJohnsen, none of the U.S. presidents you cited got approval ratings as low as Harry Reid is now. 🙂 I know, I know, it’s not apples to apples. Just joshing.

    I think it’s interesting to compare Truman’s lack of popularity to W’s. Their presidencies are very similar in a lot of ways. I know this will dismay our liberal commenters and lurkers, but I think W will be just like Truman as well in the sense that he will be treated more kindly by historians in 20 years than he is treated by the media today.

    Anyway, thanks for sending that link — very interesting.

  16. Geoff #8:

    Claiming that “the Iraq war is lost” is not only not treasonous, it is the most patriotic thing Harry Reid could do. He is standing up to a president who has enormously overstepped his constitutional authority and caused the deaths of, at minimum, seventy thousand people under false pretenses. It is President Bush’s actions that are treasonous, not Harry Reid’s.

    We can agree to disagree on this, but it is you who made the first disagreeable comment, by inventing motivations for Harry Reid based on your idiosyncratic view of the Iraq war.

    I think you owe Senator Reid an apology.

  17. Like it or not, our soldiers are neck-deep in a military operation in Iraq. The statements that are made here in America by politicians do have an effect on their well-being and chance of success. Senator’s Reid’s statements have the effect of worsening the situation for our soldiers, definitely not a patriotic act:

    Senator Reid: When you say we’ve lost in Iraq, I don’t think you understand the effect of your words. The Iraqis I speak with are the good guys here, fighting to build a stable government. They hear what you say, but they don’t understand it. They don’t know about the political game, they don’t know about a Presidential veto, and they don’t know about party politics.

    But they do know that if they help us, they are noticed by terrorists and extremists. They decide to help us if they think we can protect them from those terrorists. They tell us where caches of weapons are hidden. They call and report small groups of men who are strangers to the neighborhood, men that look the same to us, but are obvious to them as a foreign suicide cell.

    To be brief, your words are killing us. Your statements make the Iraqis afraid to help us for fear we’ll leave them unprotected in the future. They don’t report a cache, and its weapons blow up my friends in a convoy. They don’t report a foreign fighter, and that fighter sends a mortar onto my base. Your statements are noticed, and they have an effect.

    Finally, you are mistaken when you say we are losing. We are winning, I see it every day. However, we will win with fewer casualties if you help us. Will you?


    LT Jason Nichols, USN
    MNF-I, Baghdad

  18. Wow, Mike, (#19), I had no idea Harry Reid was reading our blog! And I had no idea you had the kind of access to know Harry Reid is reading our blog. Wow, that’s what I call access!

    Well, since you’ve been able to discover that information, I’d like to direct this comment directly to Sen. Reid.

    Sen. Reid, I am proud of the fact that you are a member of the Church. From all I’ve read, you are a great family man and a loyal member. I would love to have you in High Priests and discuss gospel doctrine with you. I’d love to hear the HPGL talk to you about home teaching — yeah, I know it’s tough to go teach Sens Hatch and Bennett, but remember he did give you Gordon Smith, and he’s practically a Democrat. You can’t always have an easy list of people to home teach.

    Anyway, I’m really sorry about your low favorable ratings. One of the reasons your ratings are so low is that you declared the war “lost” while we are still fighting it, and when the commander-in-chief was in the middle of a surge to try to win the war. And, interestingly, this was right after you approved a new commander in Iraq. I mean, it doesn’t add up.

    Think of it this way: imagine you are a sergeant serving in Iraq. The most powerful elected Democrat in the U.S. is back home saying the war is “lost.” Does that help the morale of that sergeant? And the funny thing is that if the U.S. has lost the war, that means somebody else has “won.” Sen Reid, who exactly has won? Al Qaeda, the Sunni and Shiite militias? I don’t think those are the people we want to give in to. The last time a Democrat gave in to Al Qaeda we saw the twin towers and the Pentagon attacked.

    There is certainly room to criticize the conduct of the war, but once the commander in chief — and the Senate including you (oh yeah, you did vote for war, didn’t you?) — authorize the war, well, the best thing to do is to see it through. For you to declare the war lost right in the middle is, well, sorry, treasonous. It is unprecedented. If the opposition leader said such a thing during WWII or the Civil War, he would have been thrown in jail.

    Now, let’s get to that “hatred” thing that has Mike Parker so worked up. Here’s the thing: nobody knows your heart, Sen. Reid. And goodness knows I would not want to be a Democratic leader right now with all of the crazies you have to keep happy. But your rhetoric toward the President and VP indicate to me that you really do hate them personally. I hope it’s not true, but that’s how I feel every time I see you discuss them. I’d suggest you take a serious look in your heart and try to get rid of that hatred. It’s a poisonous thing.

    Sen. Reid, the last thing I would like to do is discuss your friend Mike Parker. First of all, I have read his comments at Mormanity, and he is a great apologist for the Church. I love his comments there. I salute him for all of his good work. But I have also known a lot of Libertarians over the years. Yes, some of my best friends are Libertarians. One thing about Libertarians is they are really upset about the size of government, and they are definitely correct. It has totally gotten out of control. Jefferson warned us about this 200 years ago. But even Jefferson understood that one of the legitimate purposes of the federal government is to protect the United States. And defining how far that protection should extend is a tricky thing. Jefferson himself got the U.S. involved in its first U.S. intervention — against the Barbary Pirates — because they were threatening U.S. interests. And he was a small government fanatic, at least in theory!

    Anyway, libertarians are all up in arms about the growth of the government, and I agree with them (I know you certainly don’t Sen. Reid, but that’s another discussion). But they do tend to take themselves very seriously. Perhaps you could have a talk with Mike about renting a sense of humor?

    Anyway, all the best, your fellow Church member, Geoff B.

  19. There are big differences between Truman and Bush. The only similarity between the two is that both presided over unpopular wars and both had a few legal battles over the extent of executive power.

    But Truman was a political realist. Bush is a neoconservative.

    Unlike Bush, the primary criticism of Truman was that he refused to escalate the war, even in the face of enormous pressure to do so. Americans are very all-or-nothing about their wars. The concept of a necessary “limited war” is foreign to them. But that’s exactly what Truman was trying to do.

    Remember how MacArthur wanted to cross the Yalu River and start bombing Chinese industrial centers? Remember how Truman fired him? That was an extremely unpopular move back home.

    But thank God Truman did it. MacArthur basically wanted to start World War III. It would have been catastrophic.

    But MacArthur returned a war hero. He almost ran for president. You’ll still hear crusty old Korea vets grouse about how we should have been allowed to take the fight to China. Americans have always been overly idealistic and simplistic in their thinking about warfare. Fortunately for them, their politicians (of both political parties) have usually tended to be die-hard political realists.

    Bush, on the other hand, is every bit as naive and idealistic as the American population generally. A realist would have cut our losses and gotten out a long time ago. Actually, scratch that. A realist probably never would have escalated this whole thing beyond bombing Baghdad and various military sites.

    Bush isn’t unpopular because he’s yanking the chain of bloodthirsty generals or holding America back from the all-out fight it wants.

    He’s unpopular because he’s dragging half of America into a war it never wanted in the first place, and has no real desire to continue.

    That’s a big difference.

    Besides, Truman’s administration was not marked by the sort of easy political incompetence repeatedly demonstrated by this president. Seriously, there isn’t anything this administration can’t screw up.

    Finally, unlike Truman, Bush is going to lose Iraq.

    Sorry to break it to you, but the writing is on the wall.

  20. Seth- I think Bush will lose in Iraq, but the next president may not. The main reason we’re losing this war is because we’re fighting it half-a$$ed. We’re being politically correct about it. War is ugly. If you’re going to do it, do it. If not, pull out now.

    I want a president elected that will- forgive the juvenile language- crap or get off the pot.

    Bush has lost in Iraq already. That doesn’t mean the next president hast to.

    Oh, and I think it really is hate. Not a “I want him dead” kind of hate. More of a hate that originates in a person’s policies/behavior but bleeds onto them personally. I think it’s perfectly plausible to hate somebody, while still loving them as a brother. I hated Clinton during Monica-gate. I hated Gore during the Florida recount. I think Reid hates Bush, just like I think a lot of you do. And if Bush succeeds in ramming this amnesty bullcrap down our throats, I’ll probably join you.

  21. The only way we’ll win in Iraq is if the next President is a Democrat so the congress can’t do it’s typical bit.

  22. Tossman, I am honestly interested: what do you think should happen with the “amnesty” immigration bill? Bush has proposed $4.4 billion in border security. What else is needed?

    I’m not trying to be difficult — I’d really like your honest opinion.

    I’m guessing your big problem is the Z visa scheme.

    What do you think we should do with the 12 million-plus illegals who are here? You can’t deport them all, or do you really think we could do that?

    Please be as specific as you can be — I’m not going to bust your chops. I am curious how you think we can resolve this issue in a way that is better than the proposed law.

  23. 1. Build the fence that was signed into law back in October. Then pass laws to fence off the rest. People on your side of the argument say a fence won’t work. Really? Seems like the fence in the San Diego area works pretty darn good. Seal the border. THEN, we’ll talk.

    2. Repeal the anchor baby law. This and the fence will do a lot to reduce the current flow of illegals across the border.

    AFTER that, and only AFTER that:

    1. Reform current immigration policy to make it fair and feasible for people of every nation- not just those close enough to walk across the border.

    2. We can’t, nor do we want to deport 12 million people (my sneaking suspicion is that 12 mill is a modest estimate). But document them and deport anybody ever convicted of a crime. Any crime. And that means anybody who has ever used a stolen social security number.

    3. Legalize the rest, but only them. Not their whole extended family.

    The fact that Bush has done nothing on the 700 mile fence that’s already law, the fact that we don’t really deport anybody now, the fact that we put our own border guards in jail for doing their job– none of this gives me any reason to believe anything will come out of that $4.4 billion.

    The American people don’t want this. They don’t. We worked hard to convince congressional repubs to stop this last week. But here it comes again.

    I’m all for compassion, but when it comes to our borders, I’d rather give preference to those who want to be Americans first, who will learn English. I’m in the heart of the storm here in Salt Lake. I am a minority at work. These people open up to me, probably because my Polynesian blood gives me a brown complexion. They do not want to become Americans. They do not respect our country. They do not want to integrate or learn English. It’s not all kum-bah-ya like you see in the news.

    With all due respect, Geoff, you live in Miami. The situation is a little different there. Come spend some time in SoCal or on the streets of Salt Lake and you may start getting my point on this.

  24. Tossman, I think you’ve thought this through carefully. Your position is respectable as an “immigration restrictionist.” What I mean by that, is that it’s well thought out and logical.

    You and I will never agree on this issue because I am an open borders guy, meaning I truly believe that any potential immigrant who wants to come here should be able to come.

    Just a reminder of what my position is:

    1)Give the 12 million (or whatever the number is) amnesty.
    2)At the same time, build the fence but with the cooperation of Mexican law enforcement. I have no problem with a fence completely across the Mexican border.
    3)At the same time, set up mini Ellis Island-type immigration operations along the border and in Miami, NY, SF and LA.
    4)At the same time, start a national ID card that you would need to get any job. This card should use the latest technology and involve some kind of check to a Homeland Security on-line database to make sure it is valid. (You would go to the web page and put in the number).
    5)Improve the immigration process so you can get a visa in a month, residency after being here for a year and citizenship after 5 years (based on not being a criminal, etc).
    6)Invite anybody who wants to come to the U.S. to come

    So, we are unlikely to agree on this issue. But I understand your point of view and respect it. It is certainly the POV of most conservatives right now, and I am a conservative, so I appreciate it. You have stated it well and honestly. No reason to argue about it — nobody’s going to change anybody’s mind.

    Thanks for coming to this blog. I enjoy your comments.

  25. Thanks Geoff. I have one more point to add but the software isn’t liking something. Not sure which word(s) it’s denying me for.

  26. I give up. Heaven forbid the software tell me which word it doesn’t like.

  27. …[S]tart a national ID card that you would need to get any job. This card should use the latest technology and involve some kind of check to a Homeland Security on-line database to make sure it is valid.

    “Your papers, please.”

    That sound you just heard was the founding fathers and every dead WW2 vet collectively rolling in their graves.

  28. Geoff,

    I suspect that quite a few conservatives would be willing to support amnesty for a large bulk of the current illegal aliens AFTER the border is secure and the illegal flow is stopped. The problem is that there is a complete lack of trust that this or any other administration will actually follow through on their promises of border security. So we want the border security first, then talk to us later about amnesty for those that are already here. But don’t ask us to trust that it’ll happen because it’s in the current bill, it’s been in the past bills too…

  29. Mike, I understand all of the concerns about a national ID card. I just don’t agree with them. I’ve lived in countries with national ID cards, and frankly it’s not a big deal. We’re asked for our driver’s licenses all the time now — at the airport, if we get stopped for speeding, when we vote, when we use a credit card and on and on. People who want to remain off the grid can only do it today if they don’t vote, don’t travel by air and don’t use credit cards (and hope they never get stopped for speeding or another traffic violation).

    We have a national social security card (no picture), passports (pictures) and driver’s licenses. Why not have on central card with your id that can work for everything?

  30. Btw, I think the brief immigration discussion here is pertinent because at least part of Harry Reid’s unpopularity is due to his role in pushing — or not pushing, depending on your perspective — the immigration bill.

    In that case, Sen. Reid is in a no-win situation. As he has said, it’s not his bill, it’s the White House’s bill done in consultation with some Democrats and some Republicans. No matter what he does, he will be unpopular, so it’s fair, as many people have said here, to consider that his unpopularity is partly due to Congress’ overall unpopularity and is not personal.

  31. I think Reid has a hopeless task. Obviously, Republicans aren’t going to be looking kindly on him. And while he leads the majority party in the Senate, he doesn’t have the 60 votes needed to do much of anything substantive. I’m a Democrat, and I’m not happy with the way Congress is functioning at all, but I see the problems are being partly insitutional, partly the lack of courage on the part of many Democrats (and Republicans, too, for that matter).

    And as to Reid’s the-war-is-lost comment: I don’t see what’s traitorous about speaking the truth. Unfortuntately, I don’t know what the best thing to do at this point is either.

  32. Geoff, I know plenty of people who don’t vote, don’t travel by air, and don’t use credit cards. “Don’t vote” didn’t have to be on the list till a few months ago in my state, and at that time, I hadn’t traveled by air in two years (twice in the four years before that) and hadn’t had a credit card since 1999. I encourage people to not have credit cards.

    As to the ID card thing more generally: a) state-issued operators’ licenses as universal identification is as much a twisting and liberty-infringing transformation as every federal agency and employer demanding my Social Security Number. And b) they’re not “nationalized” with a tracking system (you know they’ll stick RFID and anything else they can on a national ID card) and they cannot be easily modified to let me put that number into a website and pull up any other bit of information on you I want. Are you married? Did you pay your taxes last year? Did you flag a religious affiliation? Are you an organ donor? What car do you drive, complete with description (and are you current on your insurance)? What’s your blood type?

    I can come up with trivial and easy-to-argue reasons for websites where someone could check all of those things, and all I hear in response is “hey, unlike all those other things we promised wouldn’t happen that did happen, this time when we promise you that won’t happen, we really really mean it.” And we have within-living-memory examples of identification documents being turned into really hateful tools of malice — stamping a gigantic “JUDE” on the front page of identity papers was, as far as I know, a later invention than the papers themselves.

    And the number of uses to which national ID card schemes are put to (or are being proposed for) in Europe do scare me. I don’t want an organ donor registration/bus pass/operator license/insurance card/passport/citizenship verification/credit card/address record/etc. card. It’d be even less safe than just using thumb prints to access dozens of (unconnected) databases. Just because you got used to it doesn’t mean it’s less scary — to me that makes it sound even more pernicious. Not all threats to liberty are as instantly uncomfortable as tattoos on a forearm or “evacuations” to a more easily guarded (and forgotten about) interior territory.

    (BTW, that blocking thing really is a pill. This is my fifth try. Oh, and I liked Harry Reid a while ago, but at some point he became significantly more annoying to me than anyone else in the Senate or Congress. It may be his visibility plus his specific comments, but if you’d asked me six months ago, I would have been far more likely to be down on Nancy Pelosi.)

  33. Sarah, I think you make some interesting arguments. There are a lot of things to think about regarding the national ID issue.

    I would guess desire for a national ID card will change significantly after the next Al Qaeda attack on U.S. soil — especially if it comes from people who infiltrated from Mexico and remained here illegally. Not that I think that desire will necessarily be justified — but the political situation will change significantly under those circumstances.

    Yeah, the software is a killer. Someday it will be fixed.

  34. Geoff,

    9/11 was a failure of government to see obvious signs. People working in various levels of federal bureaucracy didn’t share important information with each other because of silly “turf” issues. And the President himself was warned about possible attempts to hijack airplanes and use them as guided missiles, but he chose to ignore them.

    These are the same people you want to give power to run vast national databases with information on every individual, information that can be illicitly used, hacked into, lost, and messed up.

    Giving the federal government more power over our personal lives won’t prevent another 9/11. Adopting a more modest foreign policy will go much further toward achieving that goal. Contrary to what the President believes, radical Muslims don’t hate us for our freedom, they hate us because we occupy their soil.

    (I have more to say on the folly of national ID cards, but the blog software isn’t accepting those comments for some reason.)

  35. Mike, sorry about our software problems. You and Sarah have pushed me from pro-ID to unsure on the issue. So, thanks for your input. I have also done some reading on the issue. Here are the two best articles on both sides I could find:

    Against a national ID: (one of the few things worth reading that the ACLU has recently put out)

    In favor of a national DNA-based ID card:

    A discussion of the issue on slashdot:

  36. Contrary to what the President believes, radical Muslims don’t hate us for our freedom, they hate us because we occupy their soil.

    Mike- I’m sorry, but you are absolutely wrong. They hated us before we occupied their soil and they’ll hate us long after we’ve gone. The occupation of the soil thing is their justification.

    I’m not saying they hate us for our freedom. I don’t think they care about that. They hate us because we are the infidel. They hate us because it’s been pounded into their heads from birth. If we weren’t “occupying their soil” they’d find another reason to hate us. It’s a jihad against anything non-Muslim. The age of tech has taken that jihad global, and we’re a ripe target.

    We’ve been told forever that they hate Israel because they “occupied their lands.” So Israel thinks “let’s give them the Gaza strip. Let’s cede to them the most disputed lands. Palestine still hates Israel and Gaza has become nothing more than a launch base for Palestinian rockets. That and a civil war between the two factions. But I’m sure you’ll find a reason to blame that on us too.

  37. That top paragraph should be in quotes from Mike Parker. It wouldn’t let me publish until I took that quote code out.

  38. When I wrote “radical Muslims…hate us because we occupy their soil,” I should have been more specific. Osama bin Laden and his al-Quaeda followers hate us because we have military bases and personnel in Saudi Arabia, home of Mecca, the holiest Muslim city. Bin Laden has publicly stated that is his primary beef with the U.S., and the reason for the 9/11 attacks.

    In addition to our presence in Saudi Arabia, the United States is fantastically wealthy, fantastically powerful militarily, and fantastically influential on the world political scene. Yet we are also extremely decadent. To the radical Muslim, the only way for us to be so powerful and yet so immoral is that we are evil. Hence the Iranian term for us, “the Great Satan.”

    If we were more judicious in how we exercised our military and political influence, and cleaned up our moral situation, much of the Islamic hatred for the U.S. would go away.

  39. D’oh. I forgot to close the [italic] tag after “al-Quaeda followers” in comment #41.

  40. Hey Geoff comment #6. Thanks for the props. And no I don’t see why it would be hard to have different political opinions while been an LDS. The only place I talk politics with fellow members its here 🙂 . At the end of the day it’s just politics and people see different ideologies non that the church has any influence over. Yes it is quite obvious of the preference of Mormon voters, but what I’ve come to learn is that much of the voting is in a big part traditional. I’m more like a conservative centrist, big conservative spender, conservative on lots of things. I’ve liked past Republican presidents and the likes, and by not agreeing with a lot lot of what the Republican party stands for today I don’t think it makes me less of a ” Conservative ” then you. Maybe because I’ve lived a great deal of time outside the U.S. I’ve gotten a different perspective and flavor on certain dynamics and ways of handling diplomacy, spending, and environment. Maybe? :-/

  41. Leaving Senator Reid’s religion entirely out of it, I thought his comment that “the war is lost”, sounded as if he has joined in partisan rhetoric, and forgotten that our enemies and our soldiers are both listening. At best, this announcement was premature. Latest reports from Iraq (if you look past the number of American deaths) give the impression that we are winning.

    More recently, his recent leadership on the immigration bill leaves somthing of a stench. Trying to shoving a complex and controversial immigration bill through the Senate with a minimum of debate, rewriting a rewriting a 370+ page set of amendments in back rooms and only presenting it to Senators just in time for a vote is not how things are supposed to be done in the US Congress. This week alone, he flunked high-school civics.

  42. I don’t care if our soldiers are listening.

    They’re soldiers. They’ll do what they’re told. If we tell them to retreat, they retreat. If we tell them to fight, they fight. If we tell them to die, they die. What’s their opinion got to do with anything anyway?

  43. Confutus, I welcome any opportunity to bash Harry Reid for his politics, but unfortunately it’s not fair to blame it all on him. Yes, he is the majority leader, but I have to say that the whole way this immigration bill was cooked up and presented goes way beyond Harry Reid. The president probably owns at least as much responsibility as Harry does, if not more.

    I am an “open borders conservative.” I think this bill was, for the most part, very positive. If I had been in Congress, I would have voted for it.

    But Congress and the president handled this in an extremely arrogant manner. They should have avoided the “comprehensive” solution and tried to continue to handle border security first. I know they tried that last year and it failed but our political leaders made a huge miscalculation on this issue.

  44. Harry Reid looks like a man who is suffocating after a night time swim with Teddy Kennedy. I hope it was as good for Harry as it must have been for Teddy.

  45. The Immigration failure was pretty sad. I still don’t understand where’s the Christ-like compassion from all the religious right on this type of issues 🙁

  46. Look, I’m left-leaning.

    But honestly, this isn’t an issue I’m hugely concerned with.

    If the GOP wants to try border and law enforcement for another 5 years, fine by me. Let’s see how it goes.

    Then when it doesn’t solve all the problems, we can have another go at the “guest worker” thing.

    I’d rather see stricter regulation of the lending industry and health care reform.

  47. I’m LDS, have been for 53 yrs. With Reid it has nothing to do with politics. He espouses programs and spews out lies contrary to the doctrine of the Church, period. Many people disagree with LDS views (duh) but we are unchangeable because we know the source. Reid wants to serve two masters; sorry, it can’t be done.

  48. TLT, I think Harry Reid’s behavior on the Iraq war is treasonous, as I said several times above. I disagree with him about 90 percent of the time. But with the exception of his opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment, I can’t see any area where he “espouses programs and spews out lies contrary to the doctrine of the Church.” Political leaders are allowed to vote as they see fit. If he were voting against the Restoration and against Jesus Christ as the Savior, I would agree with you. But that is not the case, and in fact by all accounts he is a loyal Church member. Let’s criticize him where he deserves to be criticized, and not exaggerate.

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