George Will

     You say, ``I stood up and fought against Richard Nixon's war in Vietnam.'' Nixon's war? Did it start after John Kennedy put U.S. combat troops there, and after Lyndon Johnson increased the number to 500,000?

     The easily distressed abortion rights groups were distressed when you said that your faith teaches you what elementary biology teaches everyone: life begins at conception. But you say personhood does not. Fine. When does it? What are its defining attributes?  Does, say, an elderly person with dementia have it, and hence a right to life?

     You oppose, on federalism grounds, a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. You say marriage law is traditionally a state responsibility. But so was abortion law for the Republic's first 197 years, until 1973. What is the difference?

     When the Pope said Catholic legislators have a duty to oppose gay marriage, you said he had ``crossed the line'' because ``it is important not to have the Church instructing politicians.'' Have you felt that way even when the Church has instructed politicians take liberal positions regarding economic justice, race and other matters?

     Your platform says, ``The price of gas is at an all-time high.'' But it isn't as measured in constant (inflation-adjusted) dollars, or as a portion of Americans' purchasing power. Do you have some other way of justifying the platform's claim?

     You have often said -- e.g., in Algona, Iowa, last year, when your campaign was impoverished -- that ``there's too much money loose in the American political system.'' Now your campaign is awash with money. So are the 527 groups that are supporting your campaign -- but of course without even a smidgen of ``coordination'' with it, because that would be a crime under the new campaign finance law. Do you advocate new laws to discourage the kind of people who are choosing to participate in politics through financial contributions on your behalf?

     You and other supporters of increased government regulation of political spending say this does not abridge freedom of speech. What does most of your spending pay for?  

     Throwing caution to the wind, your platform insists that ``small towns are at the heart of America.'' Your sense of America's small-town heartbeat comes from where -- Sun Valley?


George Will

George F. Will is a 1976 Pulitzer Prize winner whose columns are syndicated in more than 400 magazines and newspapers worldwide.
 
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