Thursday, July 8, 2004
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Don't rush me off the fence!!
As I've said before, my vote is still up for grabs this year. However, it's getting harder to maintain my Hamlet-like indecision.* A lot of people I respect make compelling arguments against pulling the elephant lever this year. Mickey Kaus -- who will never fall under the category of "Friends of Kerry" -- says he's not only voting for the Democrat -- he gave him money. Why?
Hell, even Peggy Noonan echoes point (a) of Mickey's logic in her last Wall Street Journal column:
I believe in the last component -- one reason why I'm still undecided -- but the first two make me think, "ewwwww."
Readers are welcomed to try and sway my vote in either direction.
UPDATE: Virginia Postrel's post does some decent swaying.
*Actually, it's not that hard -- the primary reason I'm still undecided is that the current domestic and international situations are both in extreme flux at the moment. There's no point in making a choice now if the state of the world is completely different three months -- in a way that makes one of the two principal candidates suddenly look really good or really bad. [Why not vote for a minor party candidate?--ed. Jacob Levy explains]posted by Dan on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM
This argument seems compelling, but is it anything but a glossy way of wavering? The same logic would have had McClellan replacing Lincoln and Roosevelt by Dewey. Dewey recieved received 44% of the vote btw, after famously describing the FDR adminstration as "tired and quarrelsome". Sound familiar?
Isn't Kaus's reason (b) enough to scare you away from Kerry? "try a solution and find out it doesn't work"?? You mean like Social Security or cumpulsory public education or the War on Drugs?
Try a doomed socialist solution to health care so that it can become entrenched and impossible to reform? Fabulous.
Don't vote for either one of them. Don't throw your vote away like that.posted by: Mark Nau on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
I'm with Mark, picking Kerry just because "History has been too dramatic in the last 3 1/2 years" is just about the *worst* reason I can think of for voting for him. A gobal conflict breaks out and we're supposed to vote for the guy who we think will spend the most time with his thumb up his butt?
Bush is not the reason history has been "dramatic" the last 3 and a half years, we have 9/11 to thank for that trigger. And, god-forbid, if we have another large terrorist strike in the US, its going to stay "dramatic".posted by: Ryan Frank on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
[W]hat is a "Bush Republican"? I think it has to be a combination of the social policy of the religious right (the FMA, bans on embryo research, government support for religious charities, etc),
The FMA is up to Congress and the State legislatures regardless of whether Bush or Kerry is President so it’s a non-factor. The moratorium on embryo research pertains to federal funding for new embryonic stem cell lines which is consistent with a libertarian/conservative limited government position (which is decidedly not Andrew Sullivan’s position) but trying to expand it to a ban on private and State-funded (which I would oppose) would require support from Congress to actually make it a law. As far as the “faith-based initiatives” go, what of it? The federal government shouldn’t be involved in providing welfare services, period but if it is, it doesn’t make sense to exclude private agencies of a religious nature from applying for those funds, particularly if they can do the job with better results (lower recidivism). Notably Sullivan forgot to mention that as part of Bush’s “social agenda” includes supporting the RTKBA and opposition to racial preferences. He has also offered some terrific judicial nominees which tend to take a more constructionist bent to interpretation which will be especially important for the next two SCOTUS nominees.
the fiscal policy of the Keynesian left (massive new domestic spending combined with "deficits don't matter"),
Yes the new non-defense/non-homeland security spending sucks – brought to you courtesy of a divided government that restored farm subsidies, massive new education spending, and (thanks to the Senate Democrats’ filibuster) bid up the Medicare prescription drug benefit from $300 to $534 Billion (and Kerry and Edwards still wanted the $700-900 Billion one instead). Everything Kerry has proposed indicates that wants about another $2.67 Trillion in new spending on top of that including a new $900 Billion health care entitlement (or rather insurance company bail out). Granted Kerry wants to raise taxes (or repeal some of the tax cuts) but (a) his proposed spending exceeds his tax increases and (b) the portions of the tax cut he would repeal are probably those most conducive to long-term economic growth which is how we got out of the last deficits. Moreover, Bush unlike Kerry has proposed reforming Social Security before the baby boom generation begins retiring which means it will probably be one of the top issues in the next Congress.
and the foreign policy of liberal moralism (democratization as a policy in the Middle East).
I agree, I would also add that Bush (unlike Kerry) favors using multilateral pressure to get North Korea to disarm rather than the failed bilateral approach by Clinton-Carter (and now Kerry) that got us into the mess in the first place. Despite a couple of tariffs (supported by Kerry and Edwards btw), Bush has been pretty good at pushing to open up more foreign markets (both of which are consistent with his 2000 campaign promises) while Kerry has retreated from his previous pro-trade position, even going so far as to voting to essentially gut trade promotion authority.
So yes Bush has some things which are objectionable particularly with spending but they are just as true if not more so than for Kerry. Bush does have the added advantage of being pro-entitlement reform, generally more pro-market and pro-results oriented when it comes to regulatory reform (particularly with regards to environmental issues and the FDA), and his economic policies are more geared towards long-term economic growth. I can see how a number of more pure conservative/libertarian voters are rightfully upset over some things he’s done but it is completely disingenuous and foolish to ignore the good things he’s done and consider voting for Kerry who is demonstrably worse.
posted by: Thorley Winston on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
And if history is going to be dramatic, do we want a player or a critic in the leading role?posted by: raf on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
Oh, for the love of Christ...
Snap out of it! Kerry isn't worthy of being elected dogcatcher. Voting for a Kerry/Edwards ticket on the basis of an Edwards VP choice is tantamount to hoping for an early and opportune assassination.
Bush is a poor politician, but this isn't about Bush or Kerry in isolation. It's a choice between a politician dedicated to democratic ideals, and a politician dedicated to his own consequence.
Between you, Sullivan, and Kaus, I'm ready to start boxing ears. Moderates have a purpose in political life. We are here to punish the centre-left and centre-right when they flirt with extremism. DO YOUR GODDAMN JOBS! There is a fragment of the American political scene which has lost its collective minds, and it isn't the right, for a change. The centre-left needs and deserves to be defeated in this election.
Vote in Democratic Representatives, of course. Gridlock is a good thing. Vote for Democratic Senators, sure - it isn't going to work, but go wild. But the long-term good of the country demands a second Bush Administration.
The prospect of a Kerry Administration fills me with forboding. Legislators can do minimal harm in this day and age, once the courts and the governing apparatus gets done with whatever the Congressional braintrust gins up next. I fear that the morally crippled technocrats which would slink into the executive branch under the shadow of a Kerry Administration would cause as much disaster as the inertia of American stability will allow.
I don't pretend to be an intellectual heavy weight like you, no pun intended. The reason I read you faithfully now is because of Andrew Sullivan, but I stopped reading him because shortly after President Bush took his stand on gay marriage Andrew went to disagreeing with everything the President said.
Maybe Iraq was the wrong thing to do in conjunction with 9-11, but I have to applaud President Bush for taking a firm stand to fix a festering problem instead of ignoring it. I read 7 or 8 Iraqi blogs and the people there are excited about their future and thankful for the American effort. The soldiers involved in the war are proud of what they accomplished and we should be to. I am a retired soldier and I am proud of their accomplishments.
With the selection of Sen Edwards for VP, the democrats have offered 2 people that have no experience leading and making decisions. As senators there jobs are to craft legislation for their constituents. Mayors, City Managers, Governors, Presidents lead people and make decisions. The closest we have with these 2 is Sen Kerry as Lt Governor.
Dull is OK and who knows if we had only gone into Afghanistan maybe everything would be OK, but after reading Plan of Attack I believe the President acted in what he believed to be the best interest in the US.
Now health care, we need to come up with a solution that is more market based and less government controlled. Sen Kerry will not even entertain a market based solution. So if that is Kraus's reason for voting for Sen Kerry, I think that is a very shallow reason.
Good luck with your decision.posted by: mm on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
This is all just a bunch of wishful thinking and smothering denial on the part of Sullivan and others. Do they really think we can stop the war on terror by digging our heads into the sand?
Kerry has stated explicitly that his plan is to go around the world begging for forgiveness from those who stabbed us in the back after professing great "good will," all for short-term economic motives. And he believes in the old way, namely propping up dictators in the name of stability, which it never has brought to begin with.
And beyond the entire topic of the war, the Democrats have promised to stop our current record growth with huge tax increases. When the patient is regaining his vigor, that's not when you start amputating his legs.
The topic that has turned Sullivan and others against Bush, to the point where they can pretend Kerry will not be a disaster, is their idea that Bush is pushing to "ban" gay marriage.
Not only is this not true, as a Constitutional amendment's purpose would be to protect states' rights, and allow each individual state to make their own decisions, and not allow activist judges to rewrite national law, but their belief that Kerry is some kind of savior of gay rights is a joke.
Please read his very statements. Read past the waffling, at least. He is not in favor of gay marriage. He just wants it both ways, like he does with every topic.
Many gays I know love Clinton, as much as they love Madonna. They call Madonna a feminist, and likewise say Clinton did great things for gay people. Like what, I might ask.
Well the Don't Ask/Don't Tell policy. Which they willingly forget was an absolute betrayal of his outright promise to eliminate the ban on gays in the military. DADT was simply a cementing of the status quo. You still get kicked out.
And who signed the so-called Defense of Marriage Act? Clinton.
Hearing one side of Kerry's statements (and every topic has two diametrically opposite sides for Kerry), and allowing this false promise to seduce you to ignore the peril this country faces, is selfish and gullible. The man is a liar.
As for the war, it has only reached the end of the beginning. There are much greater threats still out there than Bin Laden and Iraq. We face a very delicate situation with North Korea and Iran is getting more dangerous every day. There are other danger zones, too.
This is a war. It demands resolve. We are fortunate to have a man in office who can stick to his word, and not cave in to the latest poll. Without that, we will suffer through another Viet Nam after all, under the "which way should I go" brand of leadership that the Democrats are championing.posted by: Mick McMick on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
First, I openly question checking a conservative's credentials against Sullivan's voucher list.
Additinally, as I've pointed out before, Bush is not a conservative, much as the left likes to paint him as such; he's a centerist. The reason the picture for the right is not as clear as it is on the left is the GOP s working with a bigger tent... unlike the left, a lockstep is not required.
Final note; I tell you, the Democrat ticket is looking more liberal than Mondull/Ferraro. It amazes me that you could find such a ticket at all worth your consideration, Dan.posted by: Bithead on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
Vote in Democratic Representatives, of course. Gridlock is a good thing. Vote for Democratic Senators, sure - it isn't going to work, but go wild.I disagree most emphatically, we need to start reforming entitlement programs before the baby-boom generation begins retiring. There is a clear difference between the two parties in the Republicans want at least a partial reform to the two programs while Democrats do not want anything other than a tax increase. Gridlock only means that the problem is going to get worse the longer we put it off. Or worse, it could be like 1983 when we had a divided government try to “fix” Social Security and the result was a hike in the payroll tax and no meaningful reform to the program. The only way we’re going to get ourselves out of this mess is elect pro-reform candidates and so far (with notably few exceptions) they’re all pretty much Republicans. posted by: Thorley Winston on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
"Final note; I tell you, the Democrat ticket is looking more liberal than Mondull/Ferraro"
Thats an interesting point. People are projecting onto Kerry everything they want to see in him. The guy has been on so many sides of so many issues its easy to do. Want a candidate that will tow the line on democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan, but patch up our imagine in the world while still managing to fight terrorism? Sure thats exactly what Kerry is about (if you catch him on the right day in front of the right crowd). The man is silly putty, he can look like whatever you want him to look like.
Bithead is quote correct. Bush is a centrist rather than a conservative which is part of the problem but it’s also what we knew he was when he ran in 2000. Moreover why should any conservative or libertarian for the matter put any stock in Andrew Sullivan’s list? As I pointed out in my 07.08.04 at 01:11 PM post, there are quite issues (far more important than either the FMA or faith based initiatives IMO) that he doesn’t address as to do so makes Bush look good at least to those of us who actually do favor a more limited government. Frankly I’m surprised anyone is taking Sullivan seriously, he seems to be setting himself up as the David Brock of the blogosphere.
posted by: Thorley Winston on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
Thats an interesting point. People are projecting onto Kerry everything they want to see in him. The guy has been on so many sides of so many issues its easy to do.
I agree another thing I’ve noticed is that primary argument for a “conservative” to consider voting for Kerry seems to rest on the belief that he won’t actually do the things he’s done before or campaigning on (e.g. new spending, tax increases, trade protectionism, new entitlement programs, etc.) because either he (a) really doesn’t mean it or (b) he really won’t be able to do any of the things he says he wants to do because even though divided-government has a mixed record as best, gridlock will always save the day (unless of course a Democratic POTUS peals off the 4-5 liberal Republicans in the Senate). Frankly that sounds like a sucker bet to me.
posted by: Thorley Winston on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
So Dan, why should we waste any time trying to sway your vote one way or the other. Is Illinois a swing state now?
As for being 'undecided' if in fact, you actually are undecided and not playing games, then I have no sympathy. There are really only two kinds of undecided voters:
1. Those who are too ignorant, stupid, clueless or out of touch to actually discern which party and politician best serves their interests and beliefs. My own extended family is full of these types and I have no patience for them. It's like talking to jello.
2. Those voters who are generally loyal to one party or the other but who have become so alienated by the miserable failure of their own party that they have been pushed to the undecided column but haven't quite made the cognative leap all the way to the other side.
You hardly qualify as the former, so by claiming to be undecided what you are really saying is that in your opinion the Bush administration is a horrifying failure.
Vote for whoever you want, it's not going to make a difference in IL anyway.
Here's a more interesting question. How about the Senate? You going to vote for your U of Chicago collegue Obama or whoever the Republicans manage to dust off and put against him?posted by: Kent on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
Remember Bush the Bumbler!posted by: praktike on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
Micky makes sense if you assume the status quo will hold for the next 4 1/2 years. Sitting here in my Manhattan office, however, I worry about the "next big terror attack." For me the only questions are, (1) who do I think is most likely to forestall that and (2) who would I want to be President should that happen? Kerry has given no reason to consider his candidacy on either of those questions.posted by: DRW on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
I'm reminded of the stories I heard from grandparents, great aunts and uncles that voted for Thomas Dewey when the country was exiting the war era. They didn't know why they voted for Dewey other than the fact that they thought a change of scenery was for the better.
In the end they found Truman to be better equipped for the current challenges on the late 40s and ultimately regretted they didn't have the voting record that supported Truman.posted by: Brennan Stout on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
I'm going to vote my conscience this year and go Kerry -- President, GOP Nominee Senate. (My house rep has no opposition.)
External events are going to force our foreign policy. Either Iraq will collapse to an extent that our 140,000 troops won't be able to handle it, or it will slowly get better. Bush and Kerry will handle it the same way, and the consequences of Iraq will be the same in each case. I believe roughly the same thing on the War on Terror. It will be waged, because the terrorists will not ease up on us. I believe Kerry will have a better chance of getting more out of the Euros and Arab Nations than our current Mr. Polarization. As for Kyoto, Democrats are only for it when it's clear it will not pass. I don't worry about a new administration signing away our soccer mom's inalienable right to an SUV.
I'm not for change here, simply because Kerry will make the Euros feel better. I feel that Bush has fine aims. His execution has been singularly awful.
On domestic policy, the GOP President and Congress have been remarkably irresponsible. Social Security is running a major surplus right now, but we still have huge deficits. When social security begins paying out more than it takes in, think what the deficits would be, if we stayed on our current path. Last time the government ran a surplus, we had a GOP congress restraining the Dem on spending and a Dem president forcing the GOP to be somewhat sane on tax policy.
Also, I have real problems with the honesty of this administration. These guys like their secrecy, like to increase governmental power in the name of Homeland Security, and have been caught at least once in a lie to get a bill past:
I also believe that the torture in Iraq is on their hands -- not because Rumsfeld ordered it -- but because the chaotic understaffed War effort that was the direct result of their policy decisions made it possible.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
And the Democrats stand for what?
Against outsourcing and free trade. For cutting off the poorest from jobs by raising min wage. Placating the French who have openly stated that opposition to the US is the cornerstone of their foreign policy. Raising taxes.
Have you heard any Democrat articulate a single policy proposal that makes any sense at all on either the economy or foreign policy?posted by: stan on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
There are two groups of people voting for George Bush: (a) those who vote Republican blindly, and (b) those who think Bush is a good president.
Nobody, but nobody, should be voting for Bush the individual. the We've run pell-mell into incoherent policy idiocy in every major arena. I'd think this would concern you as a wonk. The Admin keeps pissing in the data pool (remember Scully threatening to fire the chief actuary if he gave Congress the drug benefit cost estimate info?), which I would think would concern you as an academic. If, looking at the last 3.5 years, you can't see that the lucky fan sitting in seat #45A would be a better President than this one, count yourself in Group A and stop playing at this.posted by: SomeCallMeTim on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
For me, the issue is an easy one. I always vote for the better man. He is the Republican.
Regular readers will not mistake me for a charter member of the Bush Family Fan Club. On the other hand my already low regard for John Kerry has sunk further this week. But at bottom my decision to support Bush is not based on a calculation that bad as he is Kerry would be worse, or even on specific substantive reasons Kerry's program (what we know of it, which isn't much) makes me nervous.
I believe in the principles of the Republican Party, and do not see what use that belief is if I support Republican candidates only when I think they are right or if I admire them personally. I would have greatly preferred other candidates in the pivotal campaigns of 1988 and 2000, but my side lost those fights. My response then and now has been to work for the winning Republican candidate even if he strays (and in Bush's case, strays a lot) from Republican principles against a Democratic candidate who rejects them outright.
It's not an ideal solution, but we don't live in an ideal world: a cliche that expresses an essential truth, as cliches generally do.posted by: Zathras on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
A vote for Kerry is a vote for the party and the base who took the day off in congress to go see "F911". It is to vote against democracy in the middle east, which is crucial to our national security. It is a vote to kiss and make up with Jacques Chiraq who is telling America to go fuck itself at every turn while being paid off by Saddam. It is a vote to forget about social security reform, ensuring higher taxes and a less and less meaningful benefit, instead of private accounts. It is a vote to raise taxes, and create more welfare. It is vote for nationalized health care.
Frankly, if that is the vote you want to cast, have fun pulling the donkey lever. But don't pretend you are doing ANY favors for the cause of liberty, here and abroad.posted by: Matthew Cromer on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
I've always found a good way to determine how I'll vote is to look at the country as a whole and decide if it's policies are leaning right or left at the moment and then voting the opposite. That way the country stays on a straight course.posted by: Robert McClelland on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
You might vote for Bush to bring democracy to the Middle East? It took a costly war to topple Saddam, and considering that the first move of a sovereign government there was, with no basis in law, to impose martial rule, would you bet Iraq in five or ten years will be a democracy? If full-scale war is of such dubious democratizing effect, why assume that anything short of war, any policies in the normal range so to speak, will have any but the most marginal effect on the emergence of democracy in other sovereign nations?
Kaus' comment about a "damaging, lifeling West vs. Islam clash" may have just convinced me to vote for Bush. I see things as being just that, and it wasn't Bush that started the clash. I'm no fan of Bush, but if a vote for Kerry means turning a blind eye to the massive scope of what we're dealing with (and up against), I have no choice but to vote against him.posted by: Justin (NC) on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
"Bush and Kerry will handle it the same way, and the consequences of Iraq will be the same in each "
Thats the crux of the Noonan argument, but why is that assumed to be true? Again, Kerry sometimes says that those are his positions (sometimes not), but what about his record and character leads you to that conclusion? The decisions approaching iraq are _not_ no brainers. In fact, the difficult part is yet to come. Remember, the UN is about to get back involved, and we _know_ how they like to handle these things (democracy is not number one on their priority list, probably doesnt crack the top 5). We are approaching a critical time in rebuilding Iraq, and Kerry has basically promised to bend over backwards for Kofi and Co, when just maybe a little Bush sternness is needed.
Why is everyone assuming Kerry is willing to fight this war at all?posted by: Mark Buehner on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
Taking Kaus seriously is a mstake. He is a gossip-columnist, and this latest pose will enable to bask Kerry from a higher-horse, thats all.
For those who realise how much American power (soft and hard) has been damaged by trying to get rid of Saddam - ultimately nothing more a defanged nuisance - the choice is obvious.
Andrew Sullivan: "the fiscal policy of the Keynesian left (massive new domestic spending combined with "deficits don't matter")..."
Ok, the massive domestic spending thing is arguably Keynesian, but the idea that deficits don't matter is entirely a supply-sider's delusion. The whole idea of Keynesian economics is that deficits do matter, in that they can affect the business cycle, which is why they can be a useful tool from time to time.posted by: Dave on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
I think one needs to step back and look at all that has been accomplished in the 3.5 years Bush has been in office. Starting with 9/11, Bush has overthrown two regimes successfully, got Libya to cough up its WMDs, broke up the AQ Khan blackmarket nuclear proliferation club, and has been on the whole successful at trying to instill democracies in places were it hasn't been before. And those are just foreign policy achievements. These have all been necessary post-9/11. Given the magnitude of the aims, one has to expect that there will be some pitfalls and mistakes made, especially in instilling democracy from scratch. So, I think we need to step back from the day to day details and cut the Bush administration a little slack there. Any huge project is going to entail making mistakes-look at post war Germany and compared to then we are years ahead of schedule. However, our efforts can still fail and given the pace we are at now, especially in Iraq, are more likely to fail if Bush is replaced and not allowed to finish what has been started. Bush's direction is the right one and Kerry in no way will be nearly as determined as Bush to see it through.
Kerry's aversion for speading democracy hasn't just started recently when he flirted with the stability over democracy in Iraq a few weeks ago. Since his days testifying before Congress after Viet Nam in the 1970s, he has said that democracy isn't always for everyone in the world and at that time said that communism wasn't worth fighting. He isn't going to change his mind now. That's what he believes. I think that says it all about him. His foreign policy would be a mix of Jimmy Carter (fall of the Shah and begining of worldwide terrorism) and GHWB (static realism).
Here's the question:
James Chalmers wrote:
You might vote for Bush to bring democracy to the Middle East? It took a costly war to topple Saddam, and considering that the first move of a sovereign government there was, with no basis in law, to impose martial rule, would you bet Iraq in five or ten years will be a democracy?
Yes unless you want to try and argue that declaring martial law was somehow overkill (I don’t know), there is nothing particularly ominous about using all of your available resources to deal with people who are trying to overthrow the interim government and prevent the elections next January. So far (given that there have already been a number of elections and the high public support reported for the Iraqi interim government) , I see nothing to suggest that they will not be holding elections as scheduled (or close to it) and creating the first sovereign democratically-elected national government that Iraq has had in over thirty-years.
If full-scale war is of such dubious democratizing effect, why assume that anything short of war, any policies in the normal range so to speak, will have any but the most marginal effect on the emergence of democracy in other sovereign nations?
Nice strawman but no one suggested the war itself was going to establish a democracy in Iraq. The purpose was to remove the dictatorship and then set up institutions so that the Iraqi people could form some sort of a democracy and chose their own constitution which appears to be happening. We’ve already had a number of successful local elections in which more moderate candidates generally are prevailing which indicates that there is not much support for establishing an Iranian-style theocracy. What the Iraqi people opt for in their first national government, we’ll have a better idea after the January elections.
posted by: Thorley Winston on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
Kerry in his foreign policy orientation seems to be "weary realist." He would not get us in any new foreign wars, but would not be inclined to allow America to take the International hit to its power and prestige that an early withdrawal from Iraq would entail.
Mark, I don't think Kerry is a good choice, and I expect the next four years will make me fairly miserable. But Bush makes me scared -- he is reckless, error prone, and his budget policies have not created disaster only because the Chinese keep buying our bonds to keep their currency low. Otherwise, we'd be heading for good ol' Jimmy Carter stagflation.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
"Kerry in his foreign policy orientation seems to be "weary realist."
I see nothing in his record indicating this to be the case. Only his presidential rhetoric. Anyone who voted against the first gulf war could hardly be defined as a realist. Kerry has consistantly legislated as a neo-pacifist of the European school. That scares me more than any amount of beligerance Bush could have. Better to err going forward.posted by: Mark Buehner on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
Just one quick point on Mickey's reasoning. He says, "We need to take a time out from Bush's strident public global terror war...".
Who's going to get elected in the Islamic Fundamentalist world who let's us take a timeout?
It's a war and getting winded and asking for a timeout is just going to get us hit again - and probably harder this time. The one thing we need Kerry/Edwards to commit to is that they won't ramp down the pressure. Kerry can barely commit himself to leaving the troops in Iraq long enough to help stabilize that country.
You, Mickey, and a lot of other good centrists - along with a lot of good conservatives and liberals who understand that this IS a war - can't forget what happened the last time we started to relax. I'm still a single-issue voter and until I'm satisfied that we're protected the false conservatism of Bush or the waffling liberalism of Kerry isn't going to make me change my vote. 9/11 might feel like it's already part of our past but it isn't.
RKposted by: RK on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
Heven't written in a while, but its interesting reading the comments above. Dan used to have a slight rightward tilt in the comments -it seems to have moved significantly to the right over the past few months.
The idea that Bush 43 is a centrist is breathtaking. Clinton was a policy centrist. Bush's only move to the "middle" is the new drug benefit pander/entitlement. What other policy initiatives by this president can be called centrist?
You may think his position is the "correct" one as well as the "rightwing" one, but I defy any of you define his position on these issues as centrest or to name as least two other "centrist" initiatives by this president.posted by: TexasToast on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
All Kerry's' 91 vote shows is that he does not want to commit US troops. Well, in Iraq, they are already committed. And if he wanted to bring 'em home, he could say so and be a lot more politically popular than he is now.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
No Child Left Behind
I apologize in advance for being so blunt:
Well, we have a lot of people here who have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA why they support Bush. Most of these posts are filled with circular logic, tired cliches, unsupported claims, and outright innaccuracies. Let's start at the top and work our way down:
To All: I've read both the Bush website and the Kerry website. They offer the same basic level of information on their positions. If you claim that Kerry is short on specifics, please provide where Bush has provided more specificity.
Mark Buehner: You seem to think that Bush is pursuing the right policies and, therefore, should stay in office. Fine, more power to you. The point that Dan, Sullivan, and Kaus are making is that they don't agree with his policies. Exactly how, then, does your stating (with no supporting evidence) that they are wrong supposed to change their minds? You really run into trouble, though, when you claim that Kerry has said nothing of substance and his plan is diametrically opposed to Bush's. We'll start out with the fact that you can't believe both - if he stands for nothing, how can you oppose what he stands for? Let's consider some of the concrete proposals Kerry has made, none of which are exactly sea changes from the Bush administration:
BTW, I'm happy to hear about any statements of substance that Bush has made in this campaign.
Mark Nau: Since Bush has no intention of getting rid of Social Security or compulsory public education, how is this an indictment of Bush? As far as Social Security goes, neither candidate has addressed the real problem, which is that the vast majority of Americans expect/demand SS and Medicare as a right. No matter what accounting gimmicks the candidates use, the liability is still the same, and the past few years haven't convinced me that throwing social security dollars into some mutual funds is going to be some sort of silver bullet. As for public education, Bush has merely pushed more of the funding burden onto states and localities and given some meaningless mandates based upon flawed "achievement tests."
Ryan Frank: "A gobal conflict breaks out and we're supposed to vote for the guy who we think will spend the most time with his thumb up his butt?" Perhaps you are imlying that this is what the writers were calling for, in which case, ok. If you are implying that John Kerry is somehow a wimp, I fail to understand where you get this from. The man has THREE Purple Hearts, George Bush called his Daddy to get him out of Vietnam. Read into the character of each what you will from this, but I think it speaks highly of John Kerry and poorly of George Bush. I remember my Dad's response to the Bill Clinton "draft-dodging" thing (in reality, his draft number was in the 300s and so he dropped out of ROTC while he still could). He could have cared less, because at least Clinton had the decency to admit he didn't think much of the war. Conversely, my father (no Democrat, mind you) has no patience for people like Bush and Cheney, who are more than happy to send someone else's sons and daughters off to war, all the while protecting their own hides. BTW, Kerry has never suggested pulling out of Iraq.
Moreover, much of Kerry's criticism of Bush's policy has been precisely that Bush has largely ignored the "global conflict" that was thrust upon him (terrorism, bin Laden, Afghanistan) and concentrated on an Iraq that has yet to yield any WMDs or anything more than peripheral links to Al Qaeda. I've asked it before, and I'll ask it again - WHERE IS OSAMA ANYWAY? Until Bush can catch him, I feel confident in saying that he has done a less than stellar job fighting terrorism.
Thorley Winston: You spend an awful lot of time explaining that you would vote for Bush against a Washington/Jefferson ticket, without saying anything of note.
Mitch H: "Morally crippled technocrats"? What exactly is Donald Rumsfeld? What about a VP's counsel who discusses whether the Geneva Convention "really applies" in Iraq and Afghanistan? Where exactly did morality figure into this White House's acquiescence to torture? I suggest you put down the Kool-Aid that Rummy gave you. As for Democratic ideals, I always assumed due process and open government were hallmarks of that, yet Cheney still claims to have "information" that the 9/11 commission hasn't been given. I guess we can't trust Mitch McConnell or Bob Kerrey, but we can trust Dick Cheney...
Kent: Nothing like sober, reasoned analysis that thinks deeply about issues rather than trading in cliches...
DRW: Considering that Bush has presided over an unprecedented number of terror attacks, why should you trust him to forestall more? Heck, they can't even count the number that actually happened with any accuracy!
Appalled Moderate: Thank you for acknowledging what so few want to, that we as a nation are cheapened by the torture that went on and someone must be accountable. Since Bush/Cheney refuse to demand that accountability, I hope that the electorate provides it. As for those who complain that "other countries are doing it", I don't live in those countries, and I don't want to. You may want to see America degenerate into just being one of the gang, but I want us to live our ideals through our foreign policy and our conduct in war.
stan: Card and Krueger actually wrote a great book some time ago testing the hypothesis that raising the minimum wage decreases employment, and found no link. Can't remember the name, sorry.
Zathras: Please re-read your post and explain to me how it makes any sort of sense. You say you always vote for the better man, but then say you always vote for the Republican. How do you reconcile these two statements? Are Republicans always better people? What about Nixon? In what ways, then, is Bush a "better man" than Kerry?posted by: Patrick Barnette on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
Kerry's votes on wars make no sense. For Gulf War I, where we had a huge coalition (something like over 60 countries) and the full backing of the UN, which he loves so much, he votes against it. Yet, for Gulf War II where we had a smaller coalition and no consensus in the UN, he votes for it. Huh? His votes aren't consist with his rhetoric at all. That's what makes him everything to everyone.
I'm still not sure that Bush is truly committed to establishing a democracy in Iraq. The record in Afghanistan (check OxBlog for details) is not particularly promising. I hope he is, because I still think he'll win.
What has Bush's North Korea policy accomplished? Is it different? Yes. Has it produced anything? Not that I can tell.
I think the "Bush fatigue" may have some credibility because he's such a polarizing figure around the world. America's policies are identified with him. It won't help with the truly committed terrorists, but all we can do with them is capture or kill them anyway. But I could definitely see it helping with the "hearts and minds" that we're trying to influence.
2 historical notes: In July 1864, things looked a lot more stagnant than they did in November 1864. There's no need to decide yet.
And what would Dewey have done differently than FDR? (I honestly don't know. WWII is not my strong suit.)posted by: Devin McCullen on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
All it would take is Kerry allowing French obstructionism to prevent us from keeping Iran out of the nuclear club. That's all it really takes to change the landscape, quite literally.
This isn't some joke. This isn't about stupid buzz phrases like gay marriage and the Kyoto treaty and Halliburton. It's about millions of us dying. It's about the possibility of nuclear attack by suicidal mullahs who are not affected by the concept of mutually assured destruction.
And Kerry being another weak-willed vacillator like Carter isn't exactly hard to imagine. Iran and North Korea are going to have to be dealt with in a permanent way, and Bush has shown he has what it takes to do that. Kerry has shown that he has no interest in the subject at all, and will find the quickest method of just getting the nagging issues out of his IN box.
It's almost as if somebody nagged him to get up to make speeches, interrupting his NY Times crossword puzzle.
He's more concerned with reiterating how he got three purple hearts from three paper cuts in his three months in Viet Nam (but not in those words).posted by: Mick McMick on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
AP, its an awfully dangerous assumption that a similiar situation such as the first gulf war wont emerge in the next 4 years, Iraq aside.
National survival is the threshold?
Face it Dan, Your vote doesn't matter. You live in Illinois. You are just as disenfranchised as the hundred million people who live in Texas, New York, California, Massachusetts, Georgia and Indiana.
Sad state of affairs. Seems like we could use a Democracy enhancement project right here in the US.
You should stick to talking about policy and what candidate you think will better implement policies that you believe in. That is where you can actually have an impact.
And maybe while doing that you can put to rest some of the myths, half-truths, and out-right lies that people seem to want to reach for in slamming Kerry. You already do quite a good job of that for Bush's foreign policy.
It is my view that our nation will be more prosperous, safer, and stronger with John Kerry in charge. I have a long list of reasons why I believe this, but at this point putting them up on a blog is either going to fall on deaf ears or will be preaching to the choir. Dan might be the last person who reads any blog (let alone write one) who even tries to pass himself off as undecided (although reading between the lines it sounds like he is decided, just not committed).posted by: Rich on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
The whole "issue" about stop-loss orders and the IRR is absurd. Both were used in GW #1, the IRR much more extensively than in GW2. It shows that the media is a stupid about the military as possible, and is unwilling to ask the military for help curing its stupidity.posted by: Matthew Cromer on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
Yes, Dan, your vote matters far less than your influence, and I think you should use your influence to call for a better electoral system so we aren't stuck with 2 bad choices, election after election.
After all, you're a PoliSci guy, right?posted by: fling93 on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
"The point that Dan, Sullivan, and Kaus are making is that they don't agree with his policies"
No. They arent. They are saying that he is not executing these policies vis-a-vis the war effectively, and/or that his polarizing personality has led to a counterproductive situation. The entire argument of this thread is that Kerry can more effectively carry out the vital goal of democratizing Iraq, reforming the middle east, and killing terrorists. My argument is that there is no evidence Kerry intends to carry out that program at all, or at least not proactively. There is no question (outside of the Moore fanclub) that Bush, if nothing else, will sink or swim with that program and hence is highly motivated to make it succeed. I have argued that Kerry is not so motivated and it is a mistake to think he will risk his presidency by taking up the challange, especially when his record suggests he scoffs at the entire enterprise.posted by: Mark Buehner on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
I plan to vote for him because I think a) we need to take a time out from Bush's strident public global terror war in order to prevent it from becoming a damaging, lifelong West vs. Islam clash--in order to "rebrand" America and digest the hard-won gains we've made in Iraq and Afghanistan (if they even remain gains by next January).
Anyone who thinks that, just because we - the West take a four year time-out from the West vs. Islam clash, that Islam will also take a four year time-out, is deluding themselves.
Tehran, 1979 - Americans held hostage for 444 days.
And of course, 9/11.
Go ahead and vote for Kerry, and hope to God almighty that the other side doesn't see it as a sign of weakness and decide to take advantage of our pullback, and move the WOT front here, instead of there, where we're fighting it now.posted by: Mike on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
No Child Left Behind
Sorry, NCLB without funding is a way to make vouchers an easier pill to swallow and stick it to the teachers’ unions. I’m all for accountability, but this is the worst of the worst example of an “unfunded mandate” - 0
Perhaps, but its also a rather clever way to prevent Hispanics from obtaining American citizenship. Its also one of those things, like MARS, that seem to have been proposed and then promptly forgotten 1/2
Gave more money for AIDS in Africa than any other president
Besides being an exponentially larger problem, (and someone please correct me if I am wrong), I don’t believe we have actually appropriated any money. 1/2
Increased spending in general (one example-the NEArts which conservatives DO NOT like
Since when is spending, in general, a centrist position? Clinton did do a heck of a lot better job on this front (I’ll grant you that), even without Iraq and its associated spending.)
So I’ll give you about one “centrist” initiative.
There is no evidence that Bush advocated torture in Iraq. None. After 9/11, we are in a different war against terrorists. We need to extract information from people by interrogation to prevent terrorist attacks. It would have been irresponsible for the administration to not have a comprehensive review of all interrogation techniques within the law, including at both the harsher and softer extremes to be used in gitmo. The terrorists do not fit the Geneva conventions. To say they do is to actually undermine that treaty's value. They chose interrogation techniques that were far from harsh. Do you really think switching hot food for cold food to eat and standing for 4 hours is torture? I'm a scientist and I stand 10-12hrs a day. Can I claim I'm being tortured at my job? The Iraqis were protected under the geneva convention and Bush gave orders to treat them as such.Did you read his memo about the terrorists that all were to be treated humanely and that he didn't condone torture? That he said torture was inconsistent with American ideals? There are still ungoing investigations into how high it went but even the judge for the MPs said that there was no evidence at all that those "torture memos" were in any way related to what happened at Abu Ghraib. Guess what, lack of supervision and poor discipline in the prison lead to a lot of this stuff. Taguba said there wasn't evidence that those soldiers were directly ordered to do what they did. If the final investigation says that Bush and Rumsfeld told those soldiers to fuck around in that prison then I'll change my opinion. But until then innocent until proven guilty. Unlike other countries that squawk, we air out our dirty laundry.
Kerry lied when he came back from VietNam and SLANDERED his fellow band of brothers and the entire US military by taking part in the winter soldier investigation which was later proven that some of the soldiers who testified about atrocities in vietnam weren't even soldiers at all or didn't actually witness anything. It was a fraud. They were anti-war and they lied to end the war while POW soldiers were being broadcast their testimonies as they were tortured in Nam by the VC. Ask John McCain.
Check out swiftvets if you want to find out how John Kerry's Chain of Command really felt about his service in Viet Nam. You might want to read his book The New Soldier, too if you get a chance. My two uncles were in Viet Nam and they say he's the reason soldiers returning from Nam were spit on and called baby killers.posted by: Karen on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
>"If we are to abandon the Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution, as well as the Equal Protection clause, to deny gay marriage, then why doesn't he just encourage a constitutional amendment repealing the clauses wholesale?"
The point here is that we need some protection from activist state judges, imposing new laws on the rest of the country. Are you telling me that we don't already have differences in such matters as drinking age, etc, across state lines? I support gay marriage, mind you. But by forcing the issue in this way, advocates for it are sabotaging the effort, and will set it back by many years.
These judges could just as easily make decisions that you don't support. And without some kind of Constitutional protection, your state will be forced to adapt it as law. Why should my state be ruled by state judges in Idaho?
>Exactly how was a full-scale mobilization, including a draft, a sign of some sort of wishy-washiness on the Democrats part in Vietnam?
The goal of Viet Nam was never to win the war. It was always to contain the North. If we actually had the guts to go ahead and win it, it would have been won. Kerry taking over Iraq will turn the situation into a political correctness gambit, and the terrorists know that their Blackhawk Down tactics would work with Kerry, as it did with Clinton. They were very surprised to learn that it didn't work with Bush.
>The problem with Iraq, is that it suffers from the same lack of purpose and goal (is it finding WMDs? Stopping Al Qaeda? Making the Middle East safe for Democracy? All three?) that plagued Vietnam.
All three and more. You see, your very glib treatment of the threat that Iraq posed reveals why Kerry and the Democrats must not gain control of the country. You are still living in La-La Land, where tyrants aren't really mean, and terrorists aren't serious when they threaten to nuke us.
When hasn't he? He seems to contradict himself within the same paragraph every time he speaks.
He has stated that he is NOT for gay marriage. He mumbles about not wanting an Amendment, but he wants to ban it state-by-state. Heck, maybe he doesn't say that today! It depends on his audience.
But those who tie their wagon to Kerry on the hope that he meant what he said at one point of the campaign are blinding themselves to what he says at other points. They are buying cheap promises written in beach sand during Hurricane Andrew.
By the way, talking about Kerry's Purple Hearts to show how "brave" he is makes me sick. These were phony injuries that got him sent home early so he could start his campaign of calling his "band of brothers" war criminals.
He would have pulled a Corporal Klinger, but looks even worse in a dress.posted by: Mick McMick on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
The idea that Bush 43 is a centrist is breathtaking. Clinton was a policy centrist.
Only if you look beyond the whole trying to nationalize one-seventh of the US economy thing. Or the far left position on social issues.
Bush's only move to the "middle" is the new drug benefit pander/entitlement.
Actually I would argue it’s pretty far to the Left to create a new Medicare entitlement program.
What other policy initiatives by this president can be called centrist?
Actually there is quite a few issues where he’s take the left-of-center position such as, at the behest of Democrats, he increase federal funding for education and farm subsidies (further proof that “divided government” doesn’t lead to “smaller government); he’s proposing a de facto amnesty for illegal aliens, signed McCain-Feingold into law, has sung the praises of the United Nations since day one, and has spent about $15 Billion of our tax dollars on AIDS. His administration has also taken steps to deal with the issue of prison rape which probably wasn’t on the radar screens of too many people on either the center or center-right.
Pretty much, he’s pushed for a multiple-use policy when it comes to federal lands (which is pretty much what Theodore Roosevelt advocated), got us out of Kyoto (which was opposed by over 90 US Senators), has signed a number of new air pollution standards (e.g. diesel regulations), and has pretty much taken a “results oriented” approach to environmental issues. Granted, it may not appease those who think that the purpose of environmental regulations is to “get tough” on business but for those who us who just want sensible laws that do the job at the best cause, we like his approach just fine.
Debatable. The rates are lower than they were under Clinton but higher than they were under the first President Bush.
More like right-of-center which is appropriate for defending the country. Unless you prefer the previous administration’s approach of bombing refugee caravans rather than taking the heat for the possibility of casualties.
Defense of marriage?
Absolutely. Polls show consistently that the overwhelming majority of Americans are opposed to trying to redefine marriage as anything other than a man and a woman. Herein the proponents of “same sex marriage” are the ones who are out of touch with the majority.
Establishment clause issues ("faith based" initiatives)?
Absolutely, most people either have no problem with or support including religious groups when it comes to providing social services.
Also supported by most people.
(Sadly) yes since most people (wrongly) support the War on Some Drugs including the Democratic nominee. It should also be pointed out that Bush has also tried to put more of a focus on education and treatment.
the "draft" via retention and calling back retired reservists?
Don’t have any data on this.
Pretty much split that decision down the middle by continuing federal funding of existing embryonic stem cell lines and adult stem cell research while leaving private and State funding alone.
posted by: Thorley Winston on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
Someone made the statement earlier in this thread that the GOP was the "big tent" party and that they Democrats marched "lock step" together. This doesn't seem correct. There is a split in the GOP between social conservatives and libertarians, but they agree on many things. If anything, the GOP mainstream is moving further to the right--away from moderates like Olympia Snow.
My guess is that the Democrats _seem_ more united now because they are out of power and can agree that Bush should not be President. In fact, the thing that probably hurts the deomcrats the most is that they haven't been able to come up with a couple of coherent themes that can unify their diverse constituency and apeal to swing voters. The only real theme that has emerged in the primaries or general campaign is that Gulf War II was a bad idea, which was probably motivated more by partisainship and the poor execution of the Bush Administration rather than a carefully thought out world-view.
In other words, I would contend that all of the major Dem. candidates are less liberal than George McGovern, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter or Hubert Humphrey while Bush is definetly to the right of Richard Nixon, Ford, or Eisenhower.posted by: catfish on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
You mistrust Kerry's instincts in a crisis. I mistrust Bush's more -- the man can make decisions -- but they are frequently rash -- and the implementation is terrible. I think we just agree to disagree here.
You do not have to specifically authorize torture to be responsible from it. You can simply be responsible for placing insufficient troops in Iraq. As you note:
"Guess what, lack of supervision and poor discipline in the prison lead to a lot of this stuff."
But why was there the lack of supervision and poor discipline? There were not enough people available to make sure the prison troops were adequately supervised. The fault for that resides with those who conned Bush into thinking this war would be quick n' easy,and Bush for not questioning the wisdom of his staff.
Lets' face it: Bush has had four years, two years with complete control of Congress to put in place an agenda. If you think he has done a good job with that power then you should vote for him.
But keep in mind several things:
1. Esteem of America around the world has never been lower. This is among our supposed friends, nations that have long history of Democracy. If any of our allies were deciding our President, Bush would not stand a chance. I think this says something about our policies
2. Our deficit is out of control. We are not collecting money that we used to and we are spending money that we don't have. Who is going to pay the bills? The people under the age of 30 who are not going to have Social Security after contributing for an entire career. I don't think this is good. Let's get some fiscal sanity in our government
3. No one is being held accountable for mistakes. We screwed the pooch on intelligence about Iraq. We thought they had WMD, they didn't. We thought we had enough troops, we didn't. We thought we could rebuild the nation, we could not. And for all these failures no one is held accountable. Congress has abdicated its oversight responsibilities in the face of a rhetoric-driven Presidency. I don't think this is good situation
The list goes on and on and on. When we have a chance to take a breath from the debates of the day and Conservatives are able to disassociate from Bush in the same way liberals are from Carter the agreement will be overwhelming: Bush has been the worst President our nation has ever seen.
Please don't argue with this now, it is a prediction of what we will see in 25 years. Wait until then and then you can tell me I was wrong.posted by: Rich on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
In what important ways might Kerry act differently from Bush?
"Bush has been the worst President our nation has ever seen."
Heh. Lot of people said that about Reagan, and for many of the same reasons. I really dont see any knock on Bush that every republican isnt tagged with, starving old people, killing trees, kicking puppies, etc. This is a one issue election, war. Iraq is going far better than most of the hand wringers realize, no thanks to the media. 15 months ago, almost everyone would agree that if you stacked up all the disasters predicted by the anti-war crowd, the ones we've encountered have actual been minimal, temporal, and far less costly in blood and treasure than predicted, for Iraqis and Americans. My prediction is 20 years from now history wont have much at all to say about this insurgency, at best a footnote on the way to describing the renaissance of the middle east.
>Lets' face it: Bush has had four years, two years with complete control of Congress to put in place an agenda.
That's absurd. If that were true, Bush would be able to get judges confirmed.
>We screwed the pooch on intelligence about Iraq. We thought they had WMD, they didn't.
First of all, yes they most certainly did. Where they went is the question. But he definitely had them. And even if we were wrong about that, how can you lay the blame on Bush, when previous administrations, as well as other foreign governments and the UN all knew he had WMD? They just didn't want to act on it, but they equally believed it.
>Please don't argue with this now, it is a prediction of what we will see in 25 years. Wait until then and then you can tell me I was wrong.
Gee, but Bush could say the same thing, but that doesn't stop you.
We won't need twenty five years to prove you wrong. The success in Iraq makes our successes in Japan and Germany look like dismal failures by comparison. Come the Iraqi elections, there will be a solid foothold for democracy and stability, not just stability, which Kerry finds preferable.
Our own democracy took longer to form than those now forming in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I also long for the boring years before 2001. But there's no going back. To think that even for a second is to live in denial.posted by: Mick McMick on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
We sure as hell don't want a West vs Islam War.
Unfortunately that is not the important question. The question is how do our enemies see the war. And are they capable of framing the war in their terms.
This is a very long war. If Kerry gets in the logic of it will drive him or he will lose his job.
So far as we know America has never had a confessed war criminal as President. This election will be interesting.posted by: M. Simon on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
The best way to shrink the defict is to stop the growth of government and increase the growth of the economy.
Our problem is we keep trying to grow the government faster than the economy.posted by: M, Simon on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
The general in charge of the prison had her clock cleaned by Taguba because she didn't tend to the prison and many of her lower level soldiers weren't properly disciplined. All it takes is one bad supervisor and a lot can go wrong, ask any soldier. Discipline is incredibly important in a unit. And this unit lacked it.
I don't think Bush was conned into anything. He said repeatedly that it was going to be a long hard slog. He even mentioned it in his Mission Accomplished speech. Maybe how terrible the conditions were in Iraq and how much was really needed to fix them was underestimated.
Given some things that have come to light, say Vlad Putin called Bush and said hey Saddam is planning terrorists attacks against the US and its interests (he said so), and then Tony Blair called Bush and said hey, we know Saddam is buying uranium from niger (check the financial times-the uranium claim was true according to British intelligence) and we had intelligence on Saddam's WMDS/programs and he had connections with Al-Qeada in the past, what would you want Bush to do? Pre-emption doctrine post 9/11, right? I would say his instincts would be pretty good, wouldn't you? We know what Bush would do. What would Kerry do? Bilateral talks like with NK like we tried in the 90s were they were cheating behind our back?posted by: Karen on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
Sorry-when reconstruction was *not* going quickly in the beginningposted by: karen on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
The question you have to ask yourself is: if we were actually winning the war who would be the first to exaggerate the difficulties and suggest we cut and run?
Which candidate has actually done this before? At the cost of the lives of millions. Which candidate has never acknowledged those millions?
In warfare it is better to make bad decisions at once and correct them. What you must avoid is changing policy before it gets a fair chance. What you must avoid is the "I was for it yesterday, against it today, and who knows tomorrow" syndrome.
So far the Bush admin seems to be adjusting OK. The Iraqis are running their own country - pretty much. Elections are expected to come off on schedule.
The death rate for Americans is declining.
In war the cheapest way to win is to win fast. A reduced tempo is not in order. If any thing tempo ought to be increased.
Follow the early campaigns against Lee vs Grant's campaign against him. Tempo was the key. High sustained tempo.posted by: M. Simon on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
Vote for Kerry.
He is boring and dull, but in the end, he'll be stuck fighting Islamic fascism / terrorism even if he doesn't want to. The reason to vote for him is that it will make the War on Terror "America's War on Terror" not "Bush's War on Terror".
For whatever reason this whole conflict is very tightly wrapped in the person of George W. Bush. It needs to be a much more broad-based effort, and I think that's impossible with Bush as President. (Yes the press and the Left has been unfair, but I still think that's the way it is.)
Kerry will be stuck fighting the war, and the Left will be stuck confronted with the reality that it isn't all Dubya's fault.
'By the way, talking about Kerry's Purple Hearts to show how "brave" he is makes me sick. These were phony injuries that got him sent home early so he could start his campaign of calling his "band of brothers" war criminals.'
Well, if I spouted lies like you did, I would be sick too -- mentally sick.
Even those who cast doubt on Kerry's purple hearts do not doubt that his 2nd and third purple hearts were genuine -- injuries sustained in combat (which is the only criterion for the Purple heart). Kerry has posted his complete records on the web. The only one about which any doubt was raised was the first purple heart (and even that was never subtantiated, Kerry has some medical records for that), so calling all phony injuries just reveals you to be either singularly uninformed, or a liar or both.
In any case, purple hearts are routine decorations. Kerry obtained his real medals, the Bronze Star and the Silver Star, and in that case at least there is no doubt that he displayed extreme courage under fire, and saved the lives of his crewmen.
All told, Kerry served for 2 tours of duty, totalling around 9-10 months. He volunteered for the army, volunteered for PT-boat service and acquited himself very honorably there. Of all of his 10 PT-boat members, only one is negative on Kerry, the others are positive (even though some are Republicans).
I may or may not agree with kerry's positions, but the shameful way in which the likes of you tryr to slander him tell me where I should vote.
>>>Kerry lied when he came back from VietNam and SLANDERED his fellow band of brothers and the entire US military by taking part in the winter soldier investigation which was later proven that some of the soldiers who testified about atrocities in vietnam weren't even soldiers at all or didn't actually witness anything. It was a fraud. They were anti-war and they lied to end the war while POW soldiers were being broadcast their testimonies as they were tortured in Nam by the VC. Ask John McCain.
>>>Check out swiftvets if you want to find out how John Kerry's Chain of Command really felt about his service in Viet Nam. You might want to read his book The New Soldier, too if you get a chance. My two uncles were in Viet Nam and they say he's the reason soldiers returning from Nam were spit on and called baby killers.
Finally, stick by Bush if you want, but I don’t care whether they condoned torture or merely created the environment through mismanagement – they are responsible. What happened to “the Buck Stops Here”? My point was that his office should have never even entertained the idea of using torture. Gross mismanagement or immoral behavior, a devil’s bargain don’t you think?
The point is that there are laws on the books. They demand that all citizens be treated equally under the law and that states recognize the authority of other states. What you object to is that the judges interpreted the law (in keeping with their constitutionally-mandated role) to mean that if straights are allowed to marry, then gays should be too. It’s fine to oppose gay marriage, just don’t try to dress it up as some sort of principled defense of states’ rights, until you are ready to shout your opposition to both the equal protection and full faith and credit statutes.
As for calling Kerry a coward and questioning the legitimacy of his injuries, they don’t hand them out as party favors. Have you no shame? For the record, “Kerry received a Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V, and three awards of the Purple Heart for his service in combat.” Unfortunately, your ridiculous and baseless charges can find a good home in the Republican Party, where they questioned the patriotism of a man who lost both legs and an arm in Vietnam.
I've never voted before. I considered myself apolitical, and although I fall into a bracket that will probably see taxes raised under Kerry, I will vote for Kerry. I care little about abortion, gay marriage, health care, the environment, outsourcing or any other issue. My reason to vote against Bush is:
I think the Iraq war has been a disaster in many ways for the US throughout the world. And Abu Gharib has made our task at rebuilding the ME 10 times harder. Yes, Bush wasn't responsible for Abu Gharib, yes the Arab media is hypocritical to ignore Sudan and to be so concerned about Abu Gharib, but that is how it is.
To combat Al Qaeda, 90% of our work is going to be intelligence work to track down cells, finances etc. This is something for which we most definitly need allies, and Bush has made it hard for us to get allies anywhere in the world. When
I think the current steps the administration is taking in Iraq are actually exactly right, and Kerry will do little differently. But that does not compensate for the mistakes made in the post-war period. I intend to vote against Bush to drive home the point that an administration must be driven by reason and logic, not ideology when formulating policy. The lunatic fringe of the neocons, the Michael Ledeens who want us to invade Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia are just too dangerous to be kept near a President.
If Kerry were to surround himself with equally lunatic pacifists, I would vote against him. But his foreign policy advisers are pretty establishment folks.
I believe the goal of liberalizing and secularizing the ME is great, I also believe that administration went about it in a really bad way. To really democratize the ME, we need friends and allies -- Europe (except feckless France), Japan, India, Russia, even China. We need to approach this in a slow incremental fashion, with grass-roots building of democracy. We still need to destroy and kill Al Qaeda, but we do not want to be sucked into the dangerous path of a Holy War with Islam (yes, I know Bush has no such intention, but his policies have brought us closer). We could win such a war easily, but the consequences would be catastrophic.
I've little confidence that Kerry will do better with foreign policy. But he can scarcely do worse.posted by: Jon Juzlak on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
'Which candidate has actually done this before?'
Done what ? Given lip support to a war, while taking a comfy berth in the National Guard, and even then having some trouble maintaing attendance ?
Kerry's record in the war is exceptional. Like some other vets, Kerry came back from Vietnam with a great deal of anger. IN his case, Kerry channelized his anger into protesting the policies of Nixon (and condemning those of McNamara, Johnson et al). Even McNamara has acknowledged in the Fog of War, that the battle was probably all but unwinnable. Johnson though that as earlt as 1967-1968
Kerry's anger was the anger of a man who genuinely felt betrayed by his government. Kerry's later life has indeed been marked by wishy-washines and flip-flops, but his actions post War (and half of Americans opposed the war at that point) were probably the most genuine actions of his life.
And the basic premise on the basis of which the war was fought (the domino theory) was doubtful in itself. Even more doubtful was Nixon's decision to bomb Cambodia, which almost certainly paved the way for the growth of the Khmer Rouge.
Incidentally, something almost forgotten is the devastating effect that Vietnam had on the draft army. It took years for the army to rebuild its professional junior officer cadre.
One more point -- there are 4 other Vietnam combat vets who served recently with Kerry in the Senate (Bob Kerrey, John McCain, Chuck Hagel, Max Clelland). Cleland has endorsed Kerry, so has Kerrey. Hagel and McCain are good friends of Kerry. [ Its possible that Hagel may be offered a cabinet position in a new Kerry administration].
At least other Senate Viet vets don't seem to feel that Kerry maligned them. And Kerry actually defended Bob Kerrey when he was accused of war crimes in Vietnam a few years back.
Why in the hell would I want to "try and sway" anything you have Mr. Drezner, much less your mind in a voting booth?
This entire statement "Readers are welcomed to try and sway my vote in either direction." is a prime example of Kerry position statement. It's what the man is made of, "trying and swaying", not DOING.
For those here that equate Abu Gharib, to anything the TERRORISTS have accomplished over 30 years or so, are either fools or 'useful idiots'.posted by: El Cid on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
'Anyone who thinks that, just because we - the West take a four year time-out from the West vs. Islam clash, that Islam will also take a four year time-out, is deluding themselves.'
Time-out in this context does not mean not fighting Al Qaeda, it does not mean retreating from Iraq or Afghanistan, it does not mean stopping pressing Iran, it does not mean stopping hunting for Osama. It just means a pause while we rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan, and not taking on any more grandiose half-baked neocon ideas until we've completed the job in Iraq and Afghanistan (or unless Iranian actions force our hand). It means also bolstering internal and port security, continuing to track down foreign Al Qaeda cells.
After an intervention that was unnecessary, uncalled for, and in which no strategic interests of the US were at stake. We got into the brutal fratricidal war in Lebanon (shelling miltia strongholds). Incidentally, we retaliated to that murderous attack. The CIA tried to kill the head of Hezbollah a number of times, once with a car bomb that killed 70 plus people, but failed to get him. Its not like we didn't try and track him down.
'Lockerbie, 1988 - Pan-Am 103 blown up.'
Well, we did seem to reach some sort of cease fire with Gadaffi over that, and he gave us no more trouble for 15 years, till we finally forgave him.
Here's something important to remember. the perpetatrator of all these later atrocities were (except Khobar perhaps) were actually not part of the grand West vs. Islam war you present, but actually part of a group that we had originally trained and equipped to fight the Soviets. In short, these was not the result of some sort of timeout, it was the result of a policy that brought the Soviets to their knees, but had the effect of radicalizing some Islamic elements even more.
'and hope to God almighty that the other side doesn't see it as a sign of weakness and decide to take advantage of our pullback, and move the WOT front here, instead of there, where we're fighting it now.'
Except Al Zarqawi (whose actual influence in the Iraqi insurrection is probably being overblown), the war in iraq had little or nothing to do with the broader war in terror. Unfortunately, we're probably stuck in Iraq, beause we can't retreat for the reasons you cite. This is one of the reasons both Nam and Beirut should have taught us, but that Bush did not seem to learn.posted by: Jon Juzlak on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
"It just means a pause while we rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan, and not taking on any more grandiose half-baked neocon ideas until we've completed the job in Iraq and Afghanistan (or unless Iranian actions force our hand). It means also bolstering internal and port security, continuing to track down foreign Al Qaeda cells."
I hope our enemies know that's what it means. Wouldnt want them doing something clever like breaking up more of our alliances vis-a-vis Spain or blowing up the capital of our most reliable ally in the region like almost happened to Amman. With luck they wont be busy cooking up new plots in Syria and Iran. With a lot of luck all that VX that almost reigned down in Jordan was the end and not the tip of the iceberg. With a mountain of luck Iran wont develop a nuke and North Korea wont go full throttle into the nuke selling biz.
Wow Patrick, I guess you didn't read my post. I mentioned My Lai so yes, I have heard of it.
Bush has started an alliance to prevent the spread of nuclear material. Even Russia has signed up. This has all been done outside the UN. I think this has been underreported. The alliances that were strained were over the Iraq war in particular but that hasn't affected global terrorist cell info sharing or even working together about Iran/NK. The US has alliances with countries outside the body of the UN which might actually be the best way to accomplish things more quickly.posted by: Karen on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
I've argued that expecting John Kerry to be a hawkish yet prudent diplomat, willing to meet our enemies head on is a fever dream of wavering hearts. Here's a good reason why: what the man proposes sounds great, but is complete nonsense.
Look, Europe is not capable, nor inclined to dispatch thousands more troops to Afghanistan or Iraq or anywhere else in the world. They cant and wont do it, not for Bush, not for Kerry, not for Clinton, not if FDR rose from the grave and begged them to. They dont have the budgets, they dont have the logistics, they dont have the training, and they dont have the will. Even if they could, which they cant, or they would, which they wont, they wouldnt be out patrolling the streets of Fallujah anyway, theyd be tucked into guarded compounds with high walls and barbed wire which is what peacekeeping means to UN and European forces anyway. So Kerry's main plank on Iraq is rubbish.
If electing Kerry will make Iraq/WoT "America's War"instead of "Bush's War", then electing Nixon must have made "Johnson's War" into Americas's War, right? Kerry's base will paralyze him, just as Clinton was paralyzed. If he resists, he will be demonized like Johnson was. Johnson was destroyed by his own party, not by the Republicans. And that was before the McGovernites drove the Jacksonites out.posted by: raf on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
“Kerry's base will paralyze him, just as Clinton was paralyzed. If he resists, he will be demonized like Johnson was. Johnson was destroyed by his own party, not by the Republicans. And that was before the McGovernites drove the Jacksonites out.”
Yup, John Kerry’s base most certainly will paralyze him. It is ridiculously foolish to believe that the Howard Dean fanatics can be marginalized into political impotence. These people simply do not believe in “imposing” the values of Western Civilization onto the reactionary Muslim world. They are multiculturalists to the core, no society is supposedly better than another. President Bush can ignore them---but Kerry cannot.posted by: David Thomson on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
“As for calling Kerry a coward and questioning the legitimacy of his injuries, they don’t hand them out as party favors. Have you no shame? For the record, ‘Kerry received a Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V, and three awards of the Purple Heart for his service in combat.’”
John Kerry is physically a very brave man. I have little doubt about that. One could even plausible argue that during the Vietnam era, he was an immature and callow youth. However, Kerry was a full grown adult when he hindered Ronal Reagan’s fight against the former Soviet Union. We can fairly assert one important thing concerning the Massachusetts senator: he has a solidly established record as a foreign policy wimp! In his heart of hearts, Kerry is an appeaser.
The fact that John Kerry might point to a number of sensible policy advisors is simply not sufficient. Our constitution gives the president the final authority to either accept or reject the advice of those surrounding him. Kerry’s basic instincts are to appease our country’s enemies. We already have all the evidence required to reach this conclusion.posted by: David Thomson on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
“Look, Europe is not capable, nor inclined to dispatch thousands more troops to Afghanistan or Iraq or anywhere else in the world. They cant and wont do it, not for Bush, not for Kerry, not for Clinton, not if FDR rose from the grave and begged them to.”
I strongly advise everyone to read Mark Buehner well thought out post. Indeed, “The man (John Kerry) isnt anything close to a realist, he's the dimwitted embodiment of the modern 'progressive' movement. He's a new Jimmy Carter, and a master cynic like Jaques Chirac is going to eat him for breakfast.”posted by: David Thomson on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
If Osama Bin Laden had a vote, who would he vote for in November? Given the strategy, tactics, and execution of US policy over the last 3 years, he would surely be voting for Gearge W Bush.posted by: charlene on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
I have just visited Instapundit. Glenn Reynolds posted a very insightful letter by one of his readers, Karl Bade. Here is the link:
Bade rightfully points out that John Kerry apparently perceives “the War on Terror is Job Five.” I couldn’t say it any better myself. Please read Bade’s entire letter.posted by: David Thomson on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
I found something else which is germane to this discussion:
“This is what I can't stand about Democratic candidates, chiefly. They won't run Honest Injun; they get all artful and calculating and masking. They spend months trying to fool the booboisie, so as to get in and then be themselves.
You won't have this problem with George W. Bush. He can't be other than himself. He couldn't be obscure if he tried. Sure, he's a politician, and not without some political artfulness — but, pretty much, what you see is what you get. No surprises. Take 'im or leave 'im.
Advice like Jonathan Rauch's makes me sick to my stomach, and sours me on the American political system. John Kerry is a Massachusetts liberal who hated Reagan, hated the hawks, and who said — you know this is my favorite quote — that the Grenada invasion "represented a bully's show of force against a weak Third World nation."
Let Reagan be Reagan, Let Poland be Poland, Let Kerry be Kerry, Let Rauch be Rauch . . .”
---Jay Nordlingerposted by: David Thomson on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
Like it or not, ready or not, there's a good chance we'll have to use military force to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
You can bitch all you want about the way Iraq turned out, but if Iran turns out the exact same way, that's still a hell of a lot better than Iran's current head honchos getting their hands on nuclear weapons.
There's at least an even chance that Bush will do what's needed to keep Iran non-nuclear. Kerry? Not a chance in Hell.
And I'm not the least bit happy about Bush's prolifigate spending. But Kerry would spend even more than Bush's outrageous spending.
Bush failed to convince France to go to war against their own business partners. Whoop-de-do. If you think Kerry would have been able to say "pretty please with cherries on top" and get them on board, you're delusional.
More good reasons to vote for Bush:
"In what important ways might Kerry act differently from Bush?
Another reason to keep Kerry out. Kerry's health care plan will make things worse. The only "health care plan" that will actually improve things is to ditch the tax incentive for Company Store health insurance, reduce or eliminate delays in the approval of new medicines, increase the number of medical licenses, and generally find things to deregulate. Neither candidate proposes this. At least Bush won't actively make things worse in this area.
"2. He won't propose to privatize a sixth or so of Social Security, and Bush probably will."
Another point in favor of Bush. I'd rather he just reduce FICA collection and promised future benefits, though. Still, it's a good starting point.
"3. Deficits loom larger and larger. Kerry is likely to propose a Clinton-like tax increase on high incomes to reduce them. Bush, unlike Reagan and Bush I, seems committed to tolerating deficits rather than raising taxes. (I assume the deficits have grown so large that Bush won't/wouldn't propose further tax cuts. Might he propose to replace the income tax with a consumption tax?)"
Kerry proposes even higher spending than Bush. Which means that even taking the current deficit into account, Kerry's presidency will be more expensive over the long term than Bush's.
"4. Not that putting the issue into state legislatures is necessarily a bad thing, but Bush might well make Supreme Court appointments that would result in an overruling of Roe v. Wade."
Whoop-de-do. As long as at least one state legalized abortion, people can still get legal abortions.
"5. The war in Iraq in has gone so badly awry that Bush probably can't launch another one elsewhere. All the adventure seems to have gone out of our foreign policy. That is to suggest, looking forward foreign-policy differences may be of less importance than domestic differences."
Bush is being a bit cautious before the election. Hopefully that will change if Iran or someplace else needs dealing with, as it probably will. With Kerry, there isn't much reason to hope for anything but a continuation of operations already in progress.
"6. Given another four years, Bush will probably be able to open up a good deal of more or less pristine federal land to exploitation. "
Excellent. It would be better still if he would just sell some of it. Some states have half their land area in the hands of the Feds. That's just nuts.posted by: Ken on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
There is a word -- "pith" -- that ought to be a lot more fashionable than it is. The value of unexpressed thoughts ought to be higher as well.
Why anyone would think that a post on a board like this one that goes on for days in laundry-list fashion or six posts in a row on essentially the same theme, are the best or most persuasive writing he can do is a little beyond me.posted by: Zathras on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
I've always wondered why some people expect complex arguments predicated on history and human nature to be dumb-downable to sound-byte form.posted by: Mark Buehner on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
Because, as VDH points out this morning, sometimes the answers really ARE that simple. And, I would add, that added complexity is often added by people trying to obscure the real answer for their own purposes.
"KING: News of the day, Tom Ridge warned today about al Qaeda plans of a large-scale attack on the United States. Didn't increase the -- you see any politics in this? What's your reaction?
KERRY: Well, I haven't been briefed yet, Larry. They have offered to brief me. I just haven't had time."
Fever dreams folks, fever dreams.
So Kerry is honest about not having been briefed (rather than just giving his opinion based on incomplete information) and this somehow reflects badly on him? What difference does it make whether he, who has no government function at the moment, gets briefed yesterday evening or this morning? Is the Bush administration waiting for his advice on what to do about these terror threats? Huh?
I would urge anybody who hasn't made up their mind about the election yet to read (or re-read) chapters 10 and 11 of Eric Alterman's book "What Liberal Media?" Those well-researched chapters are a much more powerful indictment of this administration and the incompetent press than anything that's in, say, Moore's latest movie. Bush won the election based on a bunch of lies, distortions, and abuse of the legal and democratic process.
And he has continued in that fashion over the last 3 1/2 years. In fact, preparations are underway to influence this year's election - see today's editorial http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/09/opinion/09FRI1.html and several other articles in the NY Times series "Making Votes Count".
How can we even discuss "exporting democracy" when our own democracy is being turned into a farce by the people in power?
As I said, just read those two chapters of Alterman's book. If you can tell me afterwards with a straight face that Bush deserved to win the 2000 election, then I admire you.
Oops: "who has no government function at the moment".
I meant "no function within the administration", of course.
(But yes, Kerry has been neglecting has Senator responsibilities. But you were really talking about Kerry the candidate, not Kerry the Senator, weren't you?)
"What difference does it make whether he, who has no government function at the moment, gets briefed yesterday evening or this morning?"
Rofl. You gotta be kidding me. The guy asking for our votes as the guy to protect us from terrorist destruction _turns down_ a briefing on a major national security issue to go to a fund raiser? Whats the difference? Well Kerry, for one, will never know if there was a difference or not, because he wasnt there.
"I would urge anybody who hasn't made up their mind about the election yet to read (or re-read) chapters 10 and 11 of Eric Alterman's book "What Liberal Media?"
Rofl again. If Bush was asked yesterday about the Ridge warning, and he said he skipped the brief to go to a fundraiser, it would be front page, lead in news, on every media outlet in the country. This Kerry debacle wont get a mention in most places outside the drudge report. What liberal media?
"If you can tell me afterwards with a straight face that Bush deserved to win the 2000 election, then I admire you."
If you can read every independant recount that showed Bush won Florida and still whine about 2000, I pity you. Bottom line is despite his best efforts Gore didnt get enough military votes thrown out to swing the state.posted by: Mark Buehner on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
"But yes, Kerry has been neglecting has Senator responsibilities. But you were really talking about Kerry the candidate, not Kerry the Senator, weren't you?)"
Kerry was cloned at some point? It doesnt worry you a bit that Kerry has been neglecting his national security duties as a senior senator, quite aside from the fact that presidential nominees are specifically briefed on national security for a very good reason, so that they have a clue whats going on in the country? Its the same man, he blew off both duties. All i'm saying is it points to just how seriously he takes this war, despite what his spin doctors would like to make us think.posted by: Mark Buehner on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
No matter what the terrorists do or are prepared to do, John Kerry will not have the responsibility for orchestrating the response until January 20, 2005. His failure to go to a briefing on Tom Ridge's press conference in the last couple of days does not -- from a substantive standpoint -- mean anything. Those briefings are given to keep a candidate from putting his foot in it on the campaign trail.
Kerry has not done briefing, so he chose not to comment, and was honest about it. That actually is the course of a person who is serious. It would have been very easy to zing out with a cynical sound bite to appeal to the Michael Moore crowd.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
It prevented him from making a substantative comment on national television on the Larry King show. Voters have no idea what his opinion on the matter are, because he is uninformed, meanwhile it was and is being discussed on every news and debate show in the country. That is nothing?posted by: Mark Buehner on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
This is a war. It demands resolve. We are fortunate to have a man in office who can stick to his word, and not cave in to the latest poll. Without that, we will suffer through another Viet Nam after all, under the "which way should I go" brand of leadership that the Democrats are championing.
I like the passion of this discussion -- the fact that it matters to all of us. I will also say up front that I'm not a Kerry partisan and am unlikely to pull the lever for either side this year. I'm disgusted with both.
I sense, however, that a lot of folks are reading into the Bush era something more than is actually there. The notion is that Bush shows great steadiness and resolve on foreign policy issues is exaggerated, in my opinion.
Look at our Iraq policy. It's been pointed out many times that we were unprepared for the reconstruction -- with too few troops to establish a secure environment. I think that is undisputably true, even if you've heard it so many times that you're sick of it.
Does a steady leader prepare for the aftermath of the war he is about to initiate? Bush's father was quite careful prior to Gulf War I to estimate the likely costs, to put a range of scenarios in front of the American people, and to let us know what might happen. Some of those estimates had as many as 10,000 soldiers dying.
He sent his people to testify to that fact before Congress. We all knew what we were getting into. And meanwhile, he put together an overwhelming force that made it less likely the bad scenario would happen.
This is steady, measured, thoughtful leadership.
Think about some of the things that happened in Iraq this past year. The administration initially refused to set timetables either for elections or an ultimate U.S. withdrawal. The notion was that we would stay until the job was done -- whatever it took.
Then, in November, we experienced our first large-scale losses of troops -- a series of incidents with significant loss of life. In the midst of all that, the administration chose to announce timetables for both a transfer of authority and drawdown of U.S. troops.
We went from no schedule to a fairly quick schedule -- and it happened during our first significant troop losses.
Steady? No. Looks pretty jittery, to me. And it was interpreted over there as a sign that we would not stick around if things got tough.
In my opinion, both the initial policy and the switch were wrong. We should have set timetables early on for achieving various steps in the reconstruction, and we should have done everything possible to make sure we met the first few milestones.
Those milestones should not have included a troop drawdown. Tell them we will transfer authority. Tell them we'll leave it up to them to decide when we leave. But don't tell them -- in the midst of a violence spike -- that we'll be removing half our troops in the coming months.
Steady? No. I don't think this sequence of events is comprehensible without including our domestic political calendar in the equation.
There are of course a number of other parts of our Iraq policy to consider. Some of them reflect favorably on the president. Some don't. Some are solid. Others pretty shaky. I just object to this overall, simple theme that we have the "unwavering" war-time president versus his typically waffling Democratic opponent.
George Bush has a good bit of waffle in him. He probably listens a little too often to Karl Rove.posted by: William Swann on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
Does Kerry take the WOT seriously? Draw your own conclusions.
I will. I hope others will, too. Maybe they will even pause to think that the person who didn't put all effort into going after and apprehending Osama bin Laden is the one who doesn't seem to take the WOT seriously enough and who should be held responsible for any further attacks on America hatched by the main terrorist whom he let get away while he was otherwise occupied lying to the nation about the allegedly urgent need to wage war in Iraq.
If you can read every independant recount that showed Bush won Florida and still whine about 2000, I pity you. Bottom line is despite his best efforts Gore didnt get enough military votes thrown out to swing the state.
Well, there you have it. You believe several lies about the Florida debacle (a debacle for democracy, that is). You are basking in your ignorance and you are evidently unwilling to read Alterman's well-researched account, because it might threaten your cherished beliefs.
Alterman's account is actually not so much about vote (re-)counting, as it is about the many lies, tricks and deceptions employed by the Bush campaign to legitimize their victory. And about the media's willingness to play along.
As for the recount itself, that's all online in various places. Your assertion that every independent recount shows a Bush win is simply wrong. A good analysis is at http://democrats.com/display.cfm?id=181%20. Before you say that this site is obviously not "independent" - that's true, but the recounts they are referring to are.
The "liberal media" have access to the same data, but somehow decided to put a different spin on the results, i.e. "Bush still wins". That's quite amazing when you look at the data. Yes, it's truly mind-boggling. Maybe they just read (the equivalent of) the second paragraph of http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~gpomper/FloridaRecount.doc and then lost interest. But when you read on, it becomes clear that Gore did indeed receive more votes in all of Florida than Bush - under "any uniform standard" of counting the votes (i.e. without having to include any illegal overvotes)!
Gore won the 2000 election. Bush stole it. It's a fact. I'm sorry if this bores people, and it's true that it seems kind of late to bring it up. It would have been the media's task to bring it up sooner. It would have been the vote counters' task to make sure everything was counted properly. The Republicans stopped the recounts. They even staged riots to do this (and then blamed the riots on the Democrats! - incredible, but true). The Republicans didn't want the will of the people to become known.
That's what you call democracy? And you want to export this model of democracy? At what point does this stop being funny?
If you run out of tinfoil before november, ill send you some more. Oh, btw, Bush would have won Florida handilly if the networks hadnt annonced Florida for Gore an hour before the polls closed in the panhandle.posted by: Mark Buehner on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
Mark, I admire your amazing ability to process a whole bunch of new information AND a write a reply in all of three minutes. I couldn't do that.
For bonus points you even managed to include another lie about the 2000 election. The first network to call Florida for Gore was NBC at 7:49:40 pm Eastern Time (http://members.surfbest.net/mikehammer/tables.htm). The polls in the panhandle were open for another 10 minutes and 20 seconds, not another hour. Frankly, I have trouble imagining voters sitting in front of their TVs waiting for this call to be made in order to decide whether to go to the polling place, which would literally have to be next door, in the next ten minutes. In fact, if they watched ABC, they wouldn't have known until 8:02 pm - too late to change their minds.
(Apart from that, who is to say an equal number of Democrats or people who were reluctantly willing to support Gore, but hoped not having to vote, wouldn't have refrained from voting after hearing that Gore won anyway? Oh yeah, I just said that - they wouldn't have had time to change their minds either.)
The other thing is that the networks' calling Florida for Gore pretty clearly indicates that they had very good reason to believe that Gore had won Florida. Exit polls evidently showed that many more people _believed_ they had voted for Gore than for Bush. And yet this wasn't what the count ended up showing. Strange, isn't it? But no, keep your head in the sand and don't think about this - either.
So the early networks' calls, regrettable as they may indeed be for the democratic process (in principle, no calls should be made until the last polls in Hawaii or Alaska close!), actually provide further evidence that something was deeply wrong in the state of Florida. And yet, amazingly, you manage to turn and twist it into an argument for your side. Admirable.
Wow, now thats some incrediable spin.
I mispoke, Gore was indeed called for Florida only 10 minutes before the polls closed in the panhandle. Far more seriously, the networks announced that the polls in Florida were closed an hour early however, which is arguably worse.
"Affidavits from 42 poll workers or inspectors were presented at a hearing chaired by Sens. Fred Thompson and Joe Lieberman yesterday. They all indicated that they saw a decline in the number of voters beginning at 6 p.m. CST, when ordinarily the voting traffic increases"
How many people in the panhandle got in their cars after work, turned on the radio, and heard Dan Rather say the polls were closed in florida? There is no question this cost Bush votes, no telling how many but a phone poll by a non-partisan polling firm (John McLaughlin & Associates) estimated the number of votes lost to Bush in the thousands. Not the most scientific technique I agree, but well in line with the flummery and wild assumptions you are pointing too. Regardless, if it had happened in Palm Beach you and your cohorts would be screaming bloody murder to this day and you know it.posted by: Mark Buehner on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
First decision element: Since politicians' words are notoriously slippery, we need to go by the examples of their actions. Given the voting records and executive decisions/directions of the two, would you rather have Bush or Kerry?
Ah, Mark, so now we are getting deeper into the territory of votes that weren't cast, but should have been.
Well, well, then I'm sure you will also want to count the votes of those "felons" who were purged from the voter rolls, just because they had the same (or even just similar) name as that of a real felon. You will want to count votes of people who showed up at the polling booths without ID, even though there was supposedly a mechanism in place to allow these people to vote. You will certainly be concerned about reports that Blacks were not allowed to vote without ID while Whites were. From http://www.commondreams.org/views/120600-106.htm:
"Registered black college students at Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach and Tallahassee's Florida A&M University said they were turned away from the polls even though they had signed up in fall registration drives," Marian Dozier of Knight Ridder reported.
So, yes, let's count all those people who wanted to vote, but for some reason or other were told they couldn't (or shouldn't) vote. I will gladly grant you your few thousand extra Republican votes in the panhandle for those who were confused by the incompetent media about the poll closing times. Gladly. Under this standard, Gore would have won by a much wider margin than in any of the recounts. (And this doesn't even take into account his wide lead if those butterfly overvotes for Gore/Buchanan had been counted...)
So what now? Back to double standards - only too stupid to know about their poll closing times disenfranchised Republican voters matter? But too stupid to know about their rights Democratic voters don't matter?
As I pointed out before, Gore won the statewide recount, if all of these voters are ignored. As is clear from reports as the one above, Gore would have won by an even wider margin if all of those voters had been included. Either way Gore won. Bush stole the election. Get over it. (Yes, you, not me.)
"Bush stole the election. Get over it. (Yes, you, not me.)"
Lol. First, elections arent decided by the number of people who 'intended' to vote. Its decided by how people did vote, if they screwed it up thats their own affair. Bush won 2 mechanical recounts and none of this was an issue until subjective manual recounts prone to fraud, bias, and error began. Not to mention that all the recounting necessarilly changed the physical status of the ballots, which is the reason the numbers kept changing. It is utterly subjective to consider a manual recont more accurate than mechanical.
More importantly, a statewide hand recount was never on the table, so that scenario is preposterous. For one thing Florida law dictates that only counties can be asked for recounts, and they must have some definitive reason for the recount other than not liking the result. Tough sell for every county in Florida. Of course the FLSC never met a Florida law it didnt feel free to rip up, so I grant you if every other scenario the biased court attempted failed to give Gore the victory, eventually they may have tossed out that law as well, probably sometime in May of 01. Fortunately the USSC ended that nonsense.
First, elections arent decided by the number of people who 'intended' to vote. Its decided by how people did vote, if they screwed it up thats their own affair.
Well, as I was saying - we can happily exclude all of those, but that would include (i.e. exclude!) your panhandle Republicans who didn't know when their polls closed.
Not to mention that all the recounting necessarilly changed the physical status of the ballots, which is the reason the numbers kept changing.
Well, that's an interesting explanation. Which you, no doubt, just made up on the fly.
(A much more likely explanation would be that people at first used varying standards how to count votes and also were less careful about the whole business because a few mistakes here and there surely wouldn't matter.)
More importantly, a statewide hand recount was never on the table, so that scenario is preposterous.
It's preposterous to demand a recount of all the votes in a state where the outcome is so close?
It was admittedly stupid of Gore not to demand it straight away. He did say, though, he would support it, if Bush requested it, which he almost certainly would have done if he had been unable to stop the recount in the "Gore counties".
So there is really absolutely nothing preposterous about this idea.
As for Florida law, yes, recounts would have to be requested in each county individually, but surely an extremely narrow state-wide result would be sufficient reason to do just that.
What happened after the election and the lies and distortions you and other Republicans are engaging in about it until the present day is utterly despicable.
Why not Wisconsin and New Mexico as well?
The Republicans were actively discussing recounts in those states and also Oregon while at the same time bitterly fighting Gore's requests for Florida recounts. This is one of the conveniently underreported stories of the 2000 election. When it became evident that recounts in the other states were unlikely to yield a change of result, the recount requests were dropped in order to have more sway with the Supreme Court to block the Florida recount.
Also, only New Mexico was as close as Florida in terms of the absolute vote difference (while Florida's difference was much smaller in relative terms), and its 5 electoral votes wouldn't have mattered, if Florida had been correctly identified as having voted for Gore. In fact, Bush would have had to win ALL of New Mexico, Wisonsin and Oregon in order to win the election, if Gore had gotten Florida's 25 votes. With those recount odds against them the Bush campaign was indeed wise to focus on its public "all recounts are evil" strategy and drop its secret "but recounts are good in states where we are behind" strategy.
Please, just for a second do a thought experiment. Imagine in a country that we don't like much a candidate we really don't like wins an election by a tiny margin and proceeds to block any attempts at recounts. Wouldn't you be one of the first to speak out against this?
Why the double standards?
'I hope our enemies know that's what it means.'
Well, our enemies seem to know the best way to tie us down already when Bush is in power. Just launch a terror attack and Bush will go and invade another country that had nothing to do with that attack, tying down blood and treasure.
'Wouldnt want them doing something clever like breaking up more of our alliances vis-a-vis Spain '
Yes, I see how Bush's policies have earned us all the new friends in Spain for him and his buddy Aznar. What broke up our alliance with Spain (only over Iraq, not over the WoT) was Aznar's insistence in taking his coutnry to a war 90% of the people opposed. Al Qeada's murderous attack simply exploited this.
'or blowing up the capital of our most reliable ally in the region like almost happened to Amman. With luck they wont be busy cooking up new plots in Syria and Iran. With a lot of luck all that VX that almost reigned down in Jordan was the end and not the tip of the iceberg. With a mountain of luck Iran wont develop a nuke and North Korea wont go full throttle into the nuke selling biz.
This is a clear example of deliberately lying and mis-stating the opponents position. A "time-out", as Kaus calls it emphatically does not mean stopping the process of tracking down Al Qaeda. It does not mean stopping our actions wrt Iran and North Korea. It certainly does not mean not alerting alies about terrorist threats,
What it does mean is completing the job in Afghanistan and Iraq and making sure those 2 states don't degenerate into lawlessness. What it means is not giving in to Neocon dreams and idiocy about some grand remaking of the ME. What it means is recognizing when to use our power (as in Fghanistan), and when not to use it. It requires good judgement, not fancy rhetoric.
And we've seen the Bush reaction to North Korea
Stage 1: CLinton did it all wrong we're not going to do that. we have this line in the sand, which we dare you to cross.
Stage 3: Well, here's another red line
Stage n: Okay, will you accept the Clinton deal ? Pretty Please ?
"Just launch a terror attack and Bush will go and invade another country that had nothing to do with that attack, tying down blood and treasure. "
You've got it exactly backwards because you dont understand war. We have tied our enemies down, not vice-versa. They have been forced to fight as Iraq as their #1 priority (see Madrid). Had we not been in Iraq, our enemy would be free to choose targets they want, like perhaps Boston or Las Vegas instead of Fallujah and Baghdad.
"Al Qeada's murderous attack simply exploited this. "
Where would those bombs have gone off if we didnt go into Iraq? And please dont say those bombers would be peaceably home smoking their hookas. The answer is no-one knows, and that is scary.
Again, all this rhetoric about 'tracking down' and 'stabalizing' is meaningless, and Kerry cant or wont give details. Does tracking down mean invading Pakistan with Special Forces? Now theres some unilateralism. Without details it sounds an awful lot like sitting around hoping something turns up, or waiting to respond to the next attack. What Bush has done is _force_ AQ and terrorists everywhere to respond to us, and that is always a major goal in war, lest your enemies get to choose a target they would prefer.
Join the darkside.posted by: Carleton on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
Some quick hitters here.
The votes were recounted, remember? By machine at first, and later by hand. The contention of the Bush campaign is that a swing of 537 votes was not possible without jockeying the rules or the ballots. As the number of disputed ballots was relatively small, there were excellent mathematical reasons for maintaining this. Voting machines were found in trunks of Democratic staffers, boxes of ballots were mishandled, Republicans were not being allowed to observe some recounting. This was precisely the sort of chicanery that could swing 537 votes. The possibility of such a swing by counting the ballots by hand in an even-up situation was statistically so remote as to be negligible. The eventual hand recount confirmed that there was only a small swing of votes.
The SCOTUS ruled 7-2 in favor of Bush on the merits and 5-4 on a narrower question of whether there would have been enough time. The only agreement Gore got from any court on any of his points was a 4-3 decision by the Florida Supreme Court, which was 6-1 Democrat appointees and whose decision included a scathing minority opinion by its Chief Justice.
The Panhandle voters went home because the state had been called for Gore, not because they didn't know when the polls closed.
Deteriorating condition of the ballots was one of the main concerns in a recount, and was not "made up on the fly" for this conversation. The rough handling and intentional dropping of boxes of ballots in heavily Democratic counties was a specific complaint.
gw is mind-reading when he claims the New Mexico and Wisconsin recounts were not pursued in order to somehow strengthen the Florida case. He doesn't know, so he assumes a motive convenient to his argument.
Additionally, the votes were later counted and Bush had more of them. The commission investigating the reports of black voters being discouraged found that none of them were credible.
There was indeed solid evidence of stolen votes in the 2004 election: in Philadelphia, in St. Louis, in Kansas City, and in Detroit. All by Democrats. Democrats believe in the election cheating by Bush because they believe people are likely to act that way. They then provide the only evidence that people actually do act that way.
As to Mr. Juzlak's post, I confess I don't follow it.posted by: Assistant Village Idiot on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
"Florida Supreme Court, which was 6-1 Democrat appointees and whose decision included a scathing minority opinion by its Chief Justice."
Hey dumbass, while your at it why don't you acknowlegde the ideological slant in SCOTUS.
>Here's something important to remember. the perpetatrator of all these later atrocities were (except Khobar perhaps) were actually not part of the grand West vs. Islam war you present, but actually part of a group that we had originally trained and equipped to fight the Soviets.
And that makes it all OK.
P.S. It isn't true any way. We did support Afghan resistance. We did not fund Bin Laden. Nor did we fund Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the other half of what became al qaeda. The Taliban came in via Pakistan well after the Soviets had already been kicked out.
But beyond the facts, which you obviously don't care for if they get in the way, to claim that hints of past affiliation somehow negate the relevance of these terrorist attacks is disgusting.
It's also tired. This is the argument you guys have used since 9/11. It was used to make excuses for Saddam as well. But using this lie in an argument to "pause" the war reveals the danger in such a stupid concept.
Iran is next. Everybody knows this. They are on the brink of getting nukes. Real nukes. And does anybody in their right mind think Kerry will have the balls to stand up to them? After all his noise about "unilateralism"? With his love of French obstructionism and UN corruption?
With his deceitful condemnation of the Patriot Act, and promises to dismantle it?
To claim he would pursue the war as vigorously as Bush is a joke. Anybody who believes it is either stupid or just willing to deceive themselves that the danger isn't real. That there never was a so-called World Trade Center at the foot of Manhattan.posted by: Mick McMick on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
Notice how the consensus seems to be that both suck really, really bad and that the choice is which is the lesser of two real big evils?posted by: Clark on 07.08.04 at 12:38 PM [permalink]
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