Clinton Backer Taylor Marsh Recycles Republican Talking Points Against Obama

Taylor Marsh has repeatedly been posting Clinton talking points against Obama for months, and does it yet again today. The Clinton campaign held a conference call with bloggers earlier in the week to push their latest line of attack against Obama based upon his “present” votes in the Illinois legislature. Today Marsh brings up a case where Obama voted present on a measure allowing victims of sexual abuse to have court records sealed to protect their privacy. She ignores the fact that Obama has explained that he voted present because there were questions as to whether the measure was Constitutional. It must be kept in mind that, as a former professor of Constitutional law, Obama would be more likely to recognize such Constitutional issues. Such devotion to the Constitution would be a welcome change.


Obama Voted Present On The Floor And In Committee On A Bill That Would Seal Sexual Assault Victims’ Court Records; Illinois Press Association And Obama Argued That The Bill Was Unconstitutional. Obama voted present on a bill to amend the Criminal Identification Act by allowing certain assault victims to petition to have their court records sealed, only to be opened for public inspection if good cause is shown. Under the bill the trials involving sex crimes would remain open, but upon a conviction, a victim of a sex crime could ask a state’s attorney to petition a judge to seal the records of the case. If the judge agreed, the public could not open those records unless someone petitioned the court and showed good cause. The State Journal-Register reported, “But the Illinois Press Association argued that the measure violates the First Amendment. The U.S. Constitution does not allow judges to seal the records of trials that have been held in open court, said association attorney Don Craven. Besides, Craven argued, the legislation does not allow defendants the same opportunity if they’re found not guilty. And there’s no indication what would happen to the case files if the verdict were appealed. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Chicago, agreed that the bill probably wouldn’t pass constitutional muster, although he said it’s not unusual for his colleagues to pass such measures to show political resolve.” [91st GA, HB 0854, 5/11/99, 3R P; 58-0-1; State Journal-Register, 4/28/99]

3 Of The 4 Democrats On The Judiciary Committee Voted Present On This Bill. In committee, Senators Shadid and Silverstein joined Obama in voting Present on HB 854. [91st GA, HB 854, Jud Committee, 7-0-3, 4/28/99]

When Similar Measures Were Passed In Other States Following A Scandal, The Press Raised Similar Constitutional Objections. The AP reported, “News executives in both states said the legislation was unnecessary and would hinder freedom of the press. ‘It’s another case where in order to achieve some possible good, legislatures are often willing to run right over basic constitutional rights,’ said J. Randolph Murray, editor of The Anchorage Times in Alaska. ‘We are against the thing because of the blanket restrictions it would impose,’ said Doug Crews, executive director of the Missouri Press Association. ‘Once a restriction such as this is made, where is the line drawn and where does it stop in the area of law enforcement records?'” [AP, 4/30/91]

You may agree or disagree with Obama voting present on this specific vote but it is hardly a matter of substance to question Obama’s qualifications to be president, as Marsh presents this. This is simply a repetition of a current Clinton talking point which as, The American Prospect has noted, is really a recycled Republican talking point.

Update: “We at Planned Parenthood view those as leadership votes.” More at Political Radar.

Update II: The New York Times describes the use of voting present in the Illinois Legislature. The Chicago Tribune writes “Disparagement of Obama votes doesn’t hold up.”

The Festivus Airing of Grievances

Today is Festivus, the nondenominational holiday made famous on Seinfeld. The Festivus celebration includes The Airing of Grievances in which each participant at the Festivus Dinner tells each other all the instances where they disappointed him or her that year. In past years I have done an blog version in which I aired my grievances about George Bush. As Bush is now a lame duck, it is time to move on to those who are seeking to replace him.

John McCain: My disagreements with you regarding your support for George Bush and the war, as well as your views on social issues, apply to most of the Republican candidates. In your case I will add one other grievance–your claim that the United States was founded as a Christian nation.

Mitt Romney: After governing in a blue state you had the opportunity to help bring this country together by stopping the pandering of the Republican Party to the religious right. Instead you flip-flopped on issue after issue, the result being that you are trusted or respected by neither the left or the right. I hope you have learned your lesson as the Republicans are rejecting you for your religious views while liberals couldn’t care less what religion you are as long as you are willing to respect our heritage of separation of church and state.

Rudy Giuliani: You could have also brought liberal social values to the Republican Party, but like Mitt you preferred to pander to the religious right. Your demagoguery on 9/11 and national security can only work for so long, and your lack of respect for civil liberties is even making some conservatives nervous.

Mike Huckabee: You don’t know much about foreign policy, and your tax ideas are somewhat weird also. You share the same problems with all the Republicans on foreign policy and social issues, but the manner in which you bring religion into politics even makes some conservatives like Peggy Noonan feel uncomfortable.

Fred Thompson: I’ll deal with you when you wake up from your nap.

Ron Paul: Unlike the other Republican candidates you are right on Iraq and civil liberties, but anyone who takes opposing the federal government as the default position on all issues is bound to be right quite often. Your defense of the Constitution would make more sense if you were defending the Constitution as the framers actually intended it as opposed to ignoring those aspects which you personally disagree with, such as separation of church and state. Denial of this basic principle, as well as your views on states rights could lead to less as opposed to more freedom in much of the country. Your denial of basic science seen in your uninformed comments on evolution, along with your belief in ridiculous conspiracy theories raises serious concerns about whether you are out of touch with reality. Your ethics are also questioned when you fail to understand why a contribution from a white supremacist should be returned. Your past writings about blacks being prone to violence and lacking sensible opinions only exacerbates these concerns, which are not relieved by your claims that your newsletter was actually authored by others.

Bill Richardson: I had much higher hopes for you earlier in the race but, barring a late miracle, it doesn’t look like your campaign is going anywhere. I had hoped you would bring a real debate to the race over economic policy but we had to settle for a simplistic push for a balanced budget amendment.

Hillary Clinton: During the CNN/You Tube debate you tried to distance yourself from the word “liberal.” Too often you often seem to want to distance yourself from liberal positions as well to make yourself more acceptable to conservative voters. The only form of liberalism you consistently practice is big government liberalism of the worst type as problems are only addressed by increased government management of people’s lives. This was most clearly seen in HillaryCare I, but remnants remain in HillaryCare II making me question if you learned anything from the first fiasco. Your foreign policy views are not reassuring either as what counts was knowing whether it made sense to go to war before it occurred, not to jump on the anti-war bandwagon years later.

John Edwards: I doubt that there has been a candidate in recent history who has shown such a chance of winning a major party nomination who is so poorly qualified. Bob Shrum got it right in calling you a “lightweight,” a “hyper-ambitious phoney” and “a Clinton who hadn’t read the books.” Your only real skill is an amazing ability, seen in your legal, business, and now political careers, to convince some that you have altruistic motives when your real goal is to increase your own wealth and power. There’s little difference between the junk science you used to win legal cases and the junk economics you now are using to try to win the Iowa caucus. Your commitment to liberal principles is even more suspect than Hillary Clinton’s between your relatively weak commitment to reversing the expanded power of the presidency to your health care plan which would make everything, including preventative care, mandatory.

Barack Obama: I am still waiting for more of the promised specifics of your plans. You do show an excellent ability to at least show consideration of all views, but I’m not yet certain if this is a matter of framing or ideology which will impact the final policy. My suspicion is that in a couple of years I will be writing a number of blog posts disagreeing with some of your actions as president, but things will be far better than if any of your major opponents were to win.

Candidate Views on Presidential Power

The media spends far too much time on the horse race as opposed to issues, and when it does look at issues they tend to concentrate on superficial articles about the issues chosen by the candidates to concentrate on. The Boston Globe has an excellent article where they researched the views of the candidates on an important issue which has received far too little attention–the views of limits on presidential power. Republicans support a much greater degree of power for the president with the exceptions of John McCain and Ron Paul. The Democrats show far more respect for the Constitution than the other Republicans but Clinton and Edwards do indicate less respect for limiting presidential powers than the other Democrats.

John McCain, despite my many disagreements with him on issues from the Iraq war to social issues, is increasingly looking like the sanest of the Republican candidates. In addition to being only one of two to show any respect for the Constitutional limitations on the power of the president, he has opposed torture, does not deny the scientific consensus on climate change, and he has tangled with the religious right in the past. Three Republicans, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, and Mike Huckabee refused to answer at all but Giuliani did provide this statement:

The President must be free to defend the nation. While the Congress has an essential constitutional role in our national defense, the Supreme Court has also recognized that the president has certain core constitutional responsibilities to ensure that our nation can defend itself and our fundamental liberties in times of emergency. Controversies on this question are as old as our Constitution, and have been faced by many of our most respected presidents, and they will not disappear even after we have succeeded in the war that terrorists have declared on our citizens and homeland. Our aim must be to strike a balance between order and liberty that addresses the challenges we face within the bounds of the Constitution.

Giuliani’s failure to respond to specific questions on the limits of executive power will only contribute to the view of him as an authoritarian, which is even shared by many conservatives who are concerned about civil liberties, as is seen in the cover graphic above.

Mitt Romney at least agreed to answer but he took positions quite similar to those of the Bush administration. His support for Bush’s misuse of executive power is seen when he responds to one question by writing, “The Bush Administration has kept the American people safe since 9/11. The Administration’s strong view on executive power may well have contributed to that fact.”

Among the Democratic candidates, Clinton and Edwards came out as the weakest. The Globe notes that “Among the Democrats, only former North Carolina senator John Edwards refused to say that he would be bound to obey a law limiting troop deployments.” On Clinton they note, “Clinton, a veteran of congressional investigations of her husband’s administration during the 1990’s, embraced a stronger view of a president’s power to use executive privilege to keep information secret from Congress than some rivals.”

Barack Obama’s experience as a professor of Constitutional law is reflected in the thoughtfulness of his answers, showing that there are factors beyond experience in government which matter. While most of the Democratic candidates would outright eliminate presidential signing statements, Obama best understood the issue as he responded:

Signing statements have been used by presidents of both parties, dating back to Andrew Jackson. While it is legitimate for a president to issue a signing statement to clarify his understanding of ambiguous provisions of statutes and to explain his view of how he intends to faithfully execute the law, it is a clear abuse of power to use such statements as a license to evade laws that the president does not like or as an end-run around provisions designed to foster accountability.

I will not use signing statements to nullify or undermine congressional instructions as enacted into law. The problem with this administration is that it has attached signing statements to legislation in an effort to change the meaning of the legislation, to avoid enforcing certain provisions of the legislation that the President does not like, and to raise implausible or dubious constitutional objections to the legislation. The fact that President Bush has issued signing statements to challenge over 1100 laws – more than any president in history – is a clear abuse of this prerogative. No one doubts that it is appropriate to use signing statements to protect a president’s constitutional prerogatives; unfortunately, the Bush Administration has gone much further than that.

In contrast to many such thoughtful statements by Obama, Edwards’ answers center around attacking George Bush as opposed to demonstrating real understanding of the issues or a real commitment to limiting executive power, as might be expected from one of the authors of the Patriot Act. Curiously Edwards did not even answer the question as to why it is important for presidential candidates to answer questions regarding the power of the presidency.

This question would seem to play to Ron Paul’s strengths, but in reading his answers compared to the answers of Obama and others we see that Paul is not an especially deep thinker. When he takes the default position on all issues that the federal government and virtually all of its actions are wrong he is bound to frequently be right. I’ve noted in previous posts that, despite his reputation for being a defender of the Constitution, he defends a version of the Constitution which is far different from what the founding fathers envisioned and he misinterprets it in a manner to support his personal views. Paul’s misconceptions about the Constitution, as well as many of his bizarre economic views, are more understandable in his response to the question to identify the campaign’s advisers for legal issues. Paul responded, “I don’t have specific advisers, whether it’s economic or foreign policy, we don’t assign advisers, nor have we hired anybody.” That certainly is apparent in many of his views.

Paul also had difficulty with another question:

Well, but the Constitution only has force on US soil, right, so the question is what happens when he is operating overseas? Do these other instruments bind him if the Senate has ratified them?

If he’s overseas and the treaty is in effect and would protect human rights — see I keep thinking well we shouldn’t be over there. So if we’re there — and I can’t see myself being over there – well, okay, the answer would be that he would have to obey the treaty.

While I agree with Paul with regards to Iraq, this is another case of Paul only being right because he opposes all foreign military action. Even most opponents of the Iraq war recognize that there are times when military action is justified, such as in World War II and in response to al Qaeda in Afghanistan following the 9/11 attack. Surprisingly Paul also differs from the Democratic candidates in disagreeing with the authority of Congress to place limits by statute on the president’s actions saying, “I do not like to vote for, and have voted against, micromanaging troop movements.”

After reading through this article and the answers submitted by the candidates I was definitely most impressed by Barack Obama, the second tier Democratic candidates who once again show they deserve more consideration than they are receiving, by John McCain for at least distinguishing himself from the other major Republican candidates, and especially by The Boston Globe for addressing this important issue.

Clinton Foreign Policy Advisors and Obama

Barack Obama made a minor gaffe last week when he overestimated the number of Clinton foreign policy advisers supporting him as opposed to Hillary. He believed more supported him because of reading an article in The New York Times Magazine which I had also noted previously. The article said:

In mainstream foreign-policy circles, Barack Obama is seen as the true bearer of this vision. “There are maybe 200 people on the Democratic side who think about foreign policy for a living,” as one such figure, himself unaffiliated with a campaign, estimates. “The vast majority have thrown in their lot with Obama.” Hillary Clinton’s inner circle consists of the senior-most figures from her husband’s second term in office — the former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, the former national security adviser Sandy Berger and the former United Nations ambassador Richard Holbrooke. But drill down into one of Washington’s foreign-policy hives, whether the Carnegie Endowment or the Brookings Institution or Georgetown University, and you’re bound to hit Obama supporters. Most of them served in the Clinton administration, too, and thus might be expected to support Hillary Clinton. But many of these younger and generally more liberal figures have decamped to Obama. And they are ardent. As Ivo Daalder, a former National Security Council official under President Clinton who now heads up a team advising Obama on nonproliferation issues, puts it, “There’s a feeling that this is a guy who’s going to help us transform the way America deals with the world.” Ex-Clintonites in Obama’s inner circle also include the president’s former lawyer, Greg Craig, and Richard Danzig, his Navy secretary.

In reality there are still more old Clintonites backing Hillary Clinton than Obama. What is more important is the views of the two groups. Frank Rich reviewed some of them in today’s column:

Mr. Obama, like Mrs. Clinton, has indeed turned to former Clintonites for foreign-policy advice. But the Clinton players were not homogeneous, and who ended up with which ’08 candidate is instructive.

The principal foreign-policy Clinton alumni in Mr. Obama’s campaign include Susan Rice, a former assistant secretary of state, and Tony Lake, the former national security adviser and a prewar skeptic who said publicly in February 2003 that the Bush administration had not made the case that Saddam was an “imminent threat.” Ms. Rice, in an eloquent speech in November 2002, said that the Bush administration was “trying to change the subject to Iraq” from the war against Al Qaeda and warned that if it tried to fight both wars at once, “one, if not both, will suffer.” Her text now reads as a bookend to Mr. Obama’s senatorial campaign speech challenging the wisdom of the war only weeks earlier that same fall.

Mrs. Clinton’s current team was less prescient. Though it includes one of the earlier military critics of Bush policy, Gen. Wesley Clark, he is balanced by Gen. Jack Keane, an author of the Bush “surge.” The Clinton campaign’s foreign policy and national security director is a former Madeleine Albright aide, Lee Feinstein, who in November 2002 was gullible enough to say on CNBC that “we should take the president at his word, which is that he sees war as a last resort” — an argument anticipating the one Mrs. Clinton still uses to defend her vote on the Iraq war authorization.

In late April 2003, a week before “Mission Accomplished,” Mr. Feinstein could be found on CNN saying that he was “fairly confident” that W.M.D. would turn up in Iraq. Asked if the war would be a failure if no weapons were found, he said, “I don’t think that that’s a situation we’ll confront.” Forced to confront exactly that situation over the next year, he dug in deeper, co-writing an essay for Foreign Affairs (available on its Web site) arguing that “the biggest problem with the Bush pre-emption strategy may be that it does not go far enough.”

I’d rather have a smaller number of Clinton advisers as opposed to a longer list of foreign policy experts, who were hardly the best and the brightest, who thought that going into Iraq was a good idea.

Memories of Festivus Past

(This was originally written for Festivus 2005 but remains relevant for this year. Later, in celebration of this year’s Festivus holiday, I will post my grievances for this year, but the old grievances against George Bush remain worth repeating. Note that the Festivus Miracle I wrote about partially came true. We got a Democratic Congress, but they have not accomplished as much as I had hoped, which is my first grievance for this year.)

Today is Festivus, the nondenominational holiday made famous on Seinfeld. The Festivus celebration includes The Airing of Grievances in which each participant at the Festivus Dinner tells each other all the instances where they disappointed him or her that year. In the spirit of George Lakoff’s “strict father” model for Republican leadership style, for Festivus this year I rant to one and all about all the ways in which George Bush has disappointed me:

George, you twice took an oath to preserve and protect the Constitution and you claim to support judges who look to the intentions of its framers. Yet you take executive powers, and the powers of the commander in chief, far beyond what the framers ever intended. Emergency powers are intended to allow for immediate response to a crisis, not to allow for an indefinite expansion of your powers without legislative approval or judicial review.

You failed in the most important duties of your office, protecting the country when under attack. You ignored the warnings about al Qaeda from your predecessor upon taking office. You ignored warnings in your own intelligence briefings that terrorists planned an attack involving hijacked airplanes, and then on the day of the actual attack you sat down to read a book, possibly for the first time in your life. I hope you enjoyed The Pet Goat. Now if you would only read a few books explaining the background to the problems you have been mishandling.

After failing to take action to protect us from an imminent attack, you totally screw up in retaliating against the wrong country. Your failure to settle matters in Afghanistan before attacking Iraq allowed Bin Laden to escape at Tora Bora when he could have been captured.

Who has your foreign policy helped? You sure helped al Qaeda grow, as Saudi and Israeli studies showed that it was opposition to the war which radicalized those fighting American troops. The other big winner has been Iran as you have spread our military too thin to respond to problems beyond Iraq.

You even considered bombing al-Jazeera. Listen, if you really wanted to get rid of a bunch of religious fanatics and political extremists who were using biased news reports to prop up a corrupt government and reduce freedom you should have gone after Fox News. If Pravda had been as effective in deceiving the public as Fox News and the rest of the right wing noise machine is, the Soviet Union would probably still exist.

Then there’s this Medicare plan of yours. Those in Medicaid programs had their prescriptions paid for at negotiated discount prices, but your plan prevents such discounts in the Medicare programs providing a financial windfall to the pharmaceutical industry at the expense of the taxpayers. What a great deal for the pharmaceutical companies who donated fortunes to you–plus you gave them a great excuse to eliminate their patient assistance programs. Of course don’t forget the insurance industry, which also makes out great thanks to the subsidies you are providing for Medicare managed care plans–plans which have historically been so inefficient that insurance companies will only get involved if they receive such subsidies, again at taxpayer’s expense.

You sure are great for your friends in the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. Then there’s the oil companies. How much did they stand to gain if you got away with the ANWR drilling? I’m sure they would have gotten a better deal than the consumers who would have save a whole one cent per gallon at the pump.

Besides undermining our national security and harming the environment, you have run up record deficits to undermine our financial futures while giving huge tax cuts which primarily benefit the rich. You have undermined important parts of the Constitution as you have engaged in illegal surveillance of American citizens, worked to destroy the checks and balances which have so far saved us tyranny, and you have harmed the separation of church and state which is so important to guarantee that everyone can practice (or not practice) religion in the manner they desire.

Your disdain for the democratic process was especially seen in your campaign for reelection. You both avoided contact with all but firm supporters, and avoided discussing any real issues. You were too afraid of a real discussion of the issues, knowing in such a situation you would be rejected, so instead you based your campaign upon distorting the positions and record of your opponent. I don’t think you ever commented on a single position actually held by John Kerry.

You were even so far off the wall as to suggest that intelligent design be taught in schools as an alternative to evolution. At least you aren’t flip flopping this time (which is something you and not John Kerry has been guilty of). Supporting such superstition over science is consistent with your overall disregard for science. Calling intelligent design a valid alternative to evolution to explain the development of life is as nonsensical as promoting the belief that earth quakes occur because the gods are angry as a valid alternative to geology.

Traditionally, at the Festivus dinner we have the The Feats of Strength. This year I propose that we show our strength by working to remove from Congress those who have collaborated with you and replace them with new members who are willing to vote for your censure or impeachment and restore Constitutional rule as intended by the Founding Fathers. You already have the distinction of being the first President to admit to an impeachable offense in your illegal surveillance, and your lying us into war was an even worse crime. Both are certainly more deserving of impeachment than a private sexual affair and creative uses of cigars.

Next year, when we have a Congress willing to take action against you and to reestablish the form of government envisioned by the Founding Fathers, we can call it a Festivus Miracle.

Now, in the spirit of Festivus, I invite you all gather around an aluminum pole to air your grievances or perform a feat of strength.

Edwards and Romney: Two Candidates, Two Views of Wealth, Two Phonies

The business section of The New York Times features a comparison of two candidates and their two different views of wealth, looking at John Edwards and Mitt Romney. While the far left won’t get it (as they’ve failed to understand why Democrats have been out of power for so many years), the differences ultimately show why nominating John Edwards will lead to a return to power by the Republicans. Most Americans strive to earn their own fortune, regardless of whether this is realistic, as opposed to wanting to place the government in charge of every aspect of their lives. Far more Americans want to be part of the successful business world than want to tear it down and realize that a growing economy is the only way to really reduce poverty.Most voters will understand that while reforms might be necessary, John Edwards’ ideas are not the solution.

I’ve often noted a similarity between the junk science Edwards used to amass a fortune as a trial lawyer with the junk economics he now basis his campaign on. The article also acknowledges the limited support for Edwards among economists:

His populist bent helps explain why only one high-profile economist — James K. Galbraith of the University of Texas, the son of John Kenneth Galbraith — has joined the campaign. Some economists have been especially dismayed by Mr. Edwards’s negative talk about trade.

The article talks of two candidates, two fortunes, and two views of wealth. They could also have added “two phonies.” Mitt’s flip-flopping from the days when he ran as a social liberal in Massachusetts is well known. I’ve also shown ways in which Edwards is a phony in past posts and am reminded of another by the picture in the article of Edwards in front of his childhood home. Edwards has claimed, “I was brought home to a two-room house in a mill village.” While that is true, he leaves out the fact that “within a year his family moved to a better house as his father, a mill worker, began a rise that eventually made him a supervisor.”

Update: James Joyner sums up the differences between the two (perhaps attributing too much entrepreneurial skill to Romney than he deserves but is also softer on Edwards than I would be):

Getting a cut from exploiting tragedies and convincing juries to award massive damage amounts is markedly different from building businesses and putting people to work. It’s not hard to see why the latter would feel his money was more deserved than the former. Or why the latter would see the virtues of a free market while the former would emphasize the contributions of others.

Climate Change and Infection

In Guns, Germs and Steele, Jarod Diamond argued that European nations became dominant because of advantages of geography. As is obvious from the title, infections played a role. Diamond believes that Europeans weren’t as successful in colonizing tropical areas as areas in temperate climates because Europeans lacked immunity to tropical germs. His work came to mind when I read this report in The New York Times of an example of human activity which altered nature. Partially because of global warming, a village in Italy has had an outbreak of a virus previously only seen in the tropics:

Aided by global warming and globalization, Castiglione di Cervia has the dubious distinction of playing host to the first outbreak in modern Europe of a disease that had previously been seen only in the tropics.

“By the time we got back the name and surname of the virus, our outbreak was over,” said Dr. Rafaella Angelini, director of the regional public health department in Ravenna. “When they told us it was chikungunya, it was not a problem for Ravenna any more. But I thought: this is a big problem for Europe.”

The epidemic proved that tropical viruses are now able to spread in new areas, far north of their previous range. The tiger mosquito, which first arrived in Ravenna three years ago, is thriving across southern Europe and even in France and Switzerland.

And if chikungunya can spread to Castiglione — “a place not special in any way,” Dr. Angelini said — there is no reason why it cannot go to other Italian villages. There is no reason why dengue, an even more debilitating tropical disease, cannot as well.

“This is the first case of an epidemic of a tropical disease in a developed, European country,” said Dr. Roberto Bertollini, director of the World Health Organization’s Health and Environment program. “Climate change creates conditions that make it easier for this mosquito to survive and it opens the door to diseases that didn’t exist here previously. This is a real issue. Now, today. It is not something a crazy environmentalist is warning about.”

Climate change creates the potential for areas outside of the tropics to face new infectious diseases. At least, should we be faced with new infections in the United States, conservatives who do not believe in global warming should have nothing to worry about–just as conservatives who do not believe in evolution have no need to receive a new influenza vaccine each year as the flu virus evolves to become resistant to the previous year’s vaccine.