Moore and the partisan myth

By Brett Berry
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, September 27, 2004

Last week, ASUA announced that Michael Moore will come to speak at the UA next month. This announcement gave the UA College Republicans a chance to exercise a university-level version of political "rapid response," with attacks on both Moore and on the fact that he is being allowed to speak on campus released almost immediately.

UA College Republicans President Danielle Roberts voiced her disapproval of the Moore announcement, saying "Michael Moore is blatantly partisan, and it is only fair that we should have a conservative speaker to balance the spectrum."

To begin with, kudos to Ms. Roberts for refraining from resorting to the typical conservative response to any mention of Moore: calling him a lying, fat pig who hates America. Her statement about Moore was measured and civil. That being said, Roberts's statements, though restrained, are still based on misinformed arguments similar to most conservative attacks on Moore - they're both biased and ignorant.

First of all, it kills me when Moore is called "partisan." For the life of me, I cannot understand how an obviously partisan person such as the president of the College Republicans can call another person "blatantly partisan" and imply a criticism of that person's credibility. It's like listening to one kettle calling another kettle black. The only people who should be able to use the term "partisan" in a derogatory manner are independent, nonpartisan people.

That being said, before you start implying that Moore is the face of the Democratic Party, maybe you should actually look into what the man has said in his work. In nearly all of his political works, Moore has repeatedly attacked the Democrats just as he does the Republicans. He attacks them for being too weak - or "girlie men," if you will - in their reaction to important issues and to Republican attacks. In regard to many of their policies, Moore has labeled plenty of Democrats as being "Republican-light." It's not as if he goes out and speaks on Democratic talking points the way that people like Sean Hannity do with Republican talking points.

If people actually looked at his work, they would know this. However, that would require most of haters out there to actually see something before they criticize it. Moore is not a Democrat, so don't imply he is one. He is a liberal-minded person who dislikes the Bush administration a great deal, and he wants Bush out of office.

As for critiquing his movies, that's completely fair. It's quite clear that Moore occasionally uses creative edits and quotes out of context to make his arguments for him. I'm not going to argue that. It just amazes me that so many people can only see these practices when Michael Moore does it. After all, nearly every one of the attacks on John Kerry thus far has been just as bad, if not worse.

How many times has Bush or the Swifties taken a Kerry quote out of context and used it against him? I lost count sometime back in July. Maybe the Moore-haters should remove their Republican-colored glasses and look at both sides honestly. Their outrage for misrepresentation could be well used to cut through the collective campaign crap.

At the end of the day, Ms. Roberts is correct to say that there is a need for balance in the political speakers that come to campus. The only problem is that the invitations to speak on campus seem to have been given out fairly and equally.

Republican Rep. Jim Kolbe will speak here next month - so will author/Moore-hater David Hardy. That seems to give some balance to the equation, but maybe it doesn't. Roberts suggests inviting an equally recognizable conservative speaker such as Sean Hannity to balance the political banter on campus. If I recall, a certain powerful Republican was invited to speak at graduation last year, but he declined.

Even if President Bush had agreed to speak at graduation last year, that still probably wouldn't have balanced the political debate on this liberal-infested campus. After all, the College Republicans just want a voice in the important debate of national issues. And it's awfully hard to make your conservative voice heard in this country in these times, when Republicans only control the presidency, the Senate, the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court. I mean, geez, can't these guys get a voice?

Brett Berry is a nonpartisan regional development junior. Send him hate mail at