In defense of Kyl

Not even a week has passed in the semester and already a student has opined on the burning question that occupies the time and thoughts of UA students the voting record of U.S. Rep. Jon Kyl. Douglas H. Allsworth's Aug. 29 editorial "Voters beware; what you see is not what you may get" ends by saying that if "voters don't take a closer look at his record" they may unknowingly elect someone with whom they actually disagree. Allsworth clearly assumes that he alone knows more than the rest of Arizona's voters.

Allsworth decries Kyl's consverative voting record in Congress. Perhaps he hasn't noticed, but Arizona happens to be a relatively conservative state and Kyl represents those voters who elect him. Therefore, Allsworth's complaint is more with Arizona voters than the member of Congress they have elected four times to represent them. And if that is the case (which it is), Allsworth is merely another Democrat out of step with Arizona politics and whose ostensibly liberal politics puts him out of step with the state's voters. At any rate, most of Arizona's conservatives would raise an eyebrow at Allsworth's labelling of Kyl as "one of the most right-wing members of Congress" just one week after Kyl joined moderate House Republicans in supporting the not-so-conservative Clinton Administration's Crime Bill.

Allsworth mentions the so-called "1991 Civil Rights Bill." I say "so-called" because in 1991 I was a Congressional staffer in Washington D.C., and remember how this bill was one of the worst examples of political correctness. It masqueraded under the name of civil rights legislation, equating gay rights with the struggle against racism and mandating quotas as America's solution to discrimination.

As for abortion, federal funding for which Jon Kyl and many other representatives (including Democrats) oppose, this is certainly nothing Kyl hasn't reiterated time and again when asked. Allsworth appears to have looked into Kyl's voting record (or has he- we will ask in a moment), but writes "surprise, surprise" as though he has uncovered something no one else knew! Surprise indeed he must be the last one in Arizona to find out that Kyl opposes forcing taxpayers to pay for abortion.

Speaking of surprises, Allsworth must be the only one in Arizona who believes that environmental groups which lobby members of Congress are really "nonpartisan." A poll of the leadership of these groups would, I believe, reveal them to be about as "nonpartisan" as the far-left National Abortion Rights Action League, the benignly-labeled but extremely liberal Children's Defense Fund and the Human Rights Campaign Fund just some of the issue-extremists cited by Allsworth as reliable standards by which one may judge an individual member's fitness for office. It is easy, but inaccurate, to label an opponent an "extremist," if one chooses only the most extremist groups as the norm. This sort of reverse-McCarthyism is clearly not a problem for Allsworth.

Allsworth complains that Kyl's campaign will spend $4 million on his Senate campaign. Make no mistake Kyl's Democratic counterparts are fundraising just as aggressively. Does Allsworth really believe that Kyl's opponents wouldn't prefer that their campaigns have more money than Kyl's campaign? I called their offices Sam Coppersmith's office told me,"We will spend as much money as we can raise." Candidate Dick Mahoney didn't return my phone call. I'm sure both candidates believe contributions are evidence of popularity among voters. Allsworth stands logic on its head by telling us Kyl's contributions bear no relation to his voter support.

The bottom line is that the liberal counterpart to the right-wing straw man constructed by Allsworth has no hope of being elected to the Senate. Allsworth's editorial offers us neither a solution nor an alternative. He admits that Kyl "may be independent and have some integrity" and that he could be "a good husband and good father." But when he dismisses these qualities as secondary to vote ratings by extremist Washington political groups, it becomes clear who the "extremist" and "ideologue" really is.

C.David Graham is a M.A. student in Russian literature. He worked in Washington D.C. for Rep. John J. Rhodes and plays rugby for UA.

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