Blood Is Thicker Than Gravy

By MAUREEN DOWD

New York Times

November 28, 2004

WASHINGTON I've been surprised, out on the road, how often I get asked about my family. They're beyond red - more like crimson. My sister flew to West Virginia in October to work a phone bank for W.

People often wonder what our Thanksgiving is like.

It's lovely - if you enjoy hearing about how brilliant Ann Coulter is, how misguided The New York Times's editorial page is, and how valiant the president is as he tries to stop America's slide into paganism.

This year, my brothers were on the warpath about news reports that Maryland public schools did not teach about Thanksgiving from a religious perspective. "Who do they think the Pilgrims thanked?" demanded Martin. "God."

There are moments - when my brothers are sharing some snarky thing Rush Limbaugh said about me, or the latest bon mot from Pat Buchanan, with whom they grew up - that I'm tempted to stuff my ears with my mom's potato stuffing, or go off and read a book by David Sedaris about normal family life.

People often ask me why President Bush inspires such passionate support. My brother Kevin, a salesman who lives in Montgomery County, Md., can answer that; here is a recent e-mail message, trimmed for space, he sent to friends:

"Ladies and Gentlemen,

Now, just as four years ago, I breathe a huge sigh of relief and rejoice in the common sense of the American voting public. Congratulations to President Bush for winning re-election in a poker game played with a stacked deck. No candidate, including Richard Nixon, ever had to endure the biased and unfair tactics of our major media in their attempt to influence the outcome of an election. ... He never complained, just systematically set about delivering the same consistent message. You may remember that four years ago, I felt physically ill watching the Democrats try to legislate their way to the presidency. ...

A very big thank you to Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon, Rob Reiner, Bill Maher, Barbra Streisand, Alec Baldwin, Al Franken and Jon Stewart for your involvement. You certainly energized the base. Now, please have the courage of your convictions and leave the country.

To Bob Shrum - Cut your fee.

To Mike McCurry, Joe Lockhart and Paul Begala - You don't seem quite as smart without a great candidate.

To The New York Times and The Washington Post - If Bush and Reagan were so stupid, how did they both go four for four in elections involving two of our biggest states and the presidency without your endorsement?

We do not live in a secular country. There are all sorts of people of faith that place moral values over personal freedoms. They are not all 'wacky evangelicals.' They are people who don't like Howard Stern piping a hard porn show over the airwaves and wrapping himself in the freedom of the First Amendment. They don't like being told that a young girl does not have to seek her mother's counsel about an abortion. They don't like seeing an eight-month-old fetus having his head punctured and his brains sucked out. They don't like being told the Pledge of Allegiance, a moment of silent prayer and the words 'under God' are offensive to an enlightened few so nobody should be allowed to use them. ... My wife and I picked our sons' schools based on three criteria: 1) moral values 2) discipline 3) religious maintenance - in that order. We have spent an obscene amount of money doing this and never regretted a penny. Last week on the news, I heard that the Montgomery County school board voted to include a class with a 10th-grade girl demonstrating how to put a condom on a cucumber and a study of the homosexual lifestyle. The vote was 6-0. I feel better about the money all the time.

To Dan Rather - Good luck in your retirement.

To Gavin Newsom - Thanks for all of the great shots of the San Francisco couples embracing their mates at City Hall in direct defiance of the law.

To P. Diddy - 'Vote or Die' might need a little work.

To John Edwards - Thanks for being there.

To my friends - only 1,460 days until the next election. Stay vigilant. The Democrats, CBS, the NY Times and the Post may think Hillary is the perfect antidote for all those 'stupid' voters out there.

Best regards, Kevin"