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Editorial: Hayes doctrine: Open mouth, insert ideology

Taking his lead from Sarah Palin and her stump speeches about pro-American states ó as opposed to anti-American states, one guesses ó U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes took the next rhetorical step last Saturday at a John McCain rally in Concord and denounced liberals.
Republican Hayes said “liberals hate real Americans that work and accomplish and achieve and believe in God.” God-fearing liberals must have objected, because Hayes has since apologized, saying he misspoke. But you can bet the Concord crowd cheered his words. Hayes said exactly what many conservatives believe ó that “liberal” is an epithet carrying every negative connotation in the political dictionary and several from the Bible, too. And they equate “liberal” with “Democrat.”
Next to his promise to vote against CAFTA ó right before voting for it ó this may be the most memorable thing Robin Hayes has said as a member of Congress.
So he thinks liberals hate real Americans who work and achieve and believe in God? Thousands of millworkers who used to toil in Cannon plants owned by Hayes’ family might have something to say about that. Many are conservative. Others moderate or liberal. Yet virtually all can speak from experience about hard work and strong faith, regardless of their politics.
It would be a mistake to lump all conservatives together, just as it’s wrong to paint all liberals with the same broad brush. Degrees of difference spread across the spectrum, and the majority of the nation sits somewhere near the middle. But a vocal branch of conservatism clearly believes it has cornered the market on patriotism and faith, a belief that is sorely misguided. Ideological blinders prevent them from seeing that loyal, patriotic Americans ó Christians among them ó reside all along the political spectrum and do not march in lock step.
Hayes has backed away from his words, but denial cannot erase the gist of his message. You know where he stands. In fact, voters in the 8th District have known where he stands for a long time and very nearly replaced him two years ago.
The election is less than two weeks away, and emotions are running high. Regardless of who wins the White House, life will go on after the election ó albeit in rocky fashion. The economy is in a scary state of instability, and the nation is still at war. We have polarized ourselves into paralysis at the very time we need wise action the most. Liberals, conservatives and moderates will have to work together to surmount the formidable challenges that stand before this country. God help us all.

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