October 29, 2004

silhouette3.JPG From the desk of Jane Galt:

And the prestigious Jane Galt endorsement goes to . . .

What a long, agonising trip its been. Throughout the process, I've been subjected to approximately 8 zillion exhortations along the lines of "How on earth could you consider voting for that son-of-a-bitch?" People who bemoan the increasing partisanship of our society will be pleased to hear that both parties seem to be thoroughly united in the belief that anyone who is not voting their way is either a drooling moron or a venal hatemonger, out to destory All That Is Good and Fine in This Great Nation of Ours.

So before I give you my endorsement, I thought I'd run you through the metrics I've been using to weigh the election, and how I ultimately came out on them.

The Environment: Kerry wins by a hair here, but only a hair, because he supports moronic CAFE standards instead of sensible emissions taxes. He's made idiotic promises about getting to 20% of our energy from alternative fuels, a promise which is made as predictibly as the rising of the sun by presidential candidates, to little effect. Bush is better on nuclear energy, but not much. Kerry gets the bonus here because he cares more, though not a whole hell of a lot more, about the negative externalities of various economic activities, than does Bush. Warning to Dems, though: you almost lost this over his grovelling to the coal industry.

Education: Bush by a landslide. The Democrats are simply too hostage to the teacher's unions to be even marginally credible on education: any attempts to reform the system end up being captured by the unions, and do little more than funnel extra money into teachers' pockets. (An approach I'm all in favour of if it gets us better results, which so far it manifestly hasn't). I'd prefer that Bush go farther, with vouchers for example, but I've been pleasantly surprised by NCLB. As Gerard Baker said about Bush, NCLB has made all the right enemies.

Health Care: In a normal year, I'd look at Bush's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Medicare prescription drug plan, and be tempted to call it a wash. However, John Kerry has managed to scare the bejeesus out of me with his health care plan. Play semantic games all you want; when you've got a plan that would qualify half the families in America for Medicaid, that's what I call a government takeover of the healthcare system. I'm against it. Reallly really really against it. Bush easily gets my vote here.

Gay marriage: Kerry. I'm against the FMA; regardless of what you think about gay marriage, writing the damn thing into the constitution is, in the words of PJ O'Rourke, pinning a "kick me" sign on the backside of the majesty of the law. However, since the thing has not a snowball's chance in hell of passing the state legislatures, I can't say this swings my vote much one way or the other.

The Supreme Court: Bush. A number of commenters have tried to convince me not to vote for Bush by trying to scare me with dire tales about another Scalia or Thomas appointed to the bench. Folks, this is like trying to scare me with a free Porsche. I'd be in heaven with nine Clarence Thomases on the bench. Why am I supposed to be so scared, again? Oh, right, abortion. News flash: libertarian does not equal pro choice, and pro-choice does not equal pro-Roe. As it happens, I'm pro-choice (reluctantly), but I'm against Roe v. Wade; I think the matter should be decided at the state level, and NARAL can use all the money it raises to lobby to provide bus tickets and nice hotel rooms to women wanting abortions in states where it is illegal.

The Economy I don't think the president has much, if anything, to do with how the economy runs, unless he's one of those disastrous tinkerers, like FDR and Richard Nixon. Neither of the current candidates is such a lackwit, meaning that their impact on the economy will be minimal indeed. Neither candidate gets my vote here.

Trade George Bush. Yes, he did steel tariffs, but the way I look at it, he enacted something he knew was going to be overturned in order to get important concessions from congress, on fast-track, trade promotion authority, and the Free Trade Area of the Americas. Now we have freer trade and no steel tariffs. Trade is an area where the president is really important. There's a lot an unwilling president can do to scuttle trade, and there are big talks coming up at the WTO. Kerry's advisors are going around telling people he's lying about trade, and he may well be; his record in the senate seems to be pretty good. But George Bush's record seems to be pretty good as well, and he's not making anti-trade noises, or nominating a protectionist to his ticket.

Corporate Welfare Kerry. The recent tax bill, which was supposed to provide adjustment assistance to exporters who lost a subsidy that was ruled illegal by the WTO, turned into a shameless giveaway to every business interest with a lobby and a dream. Not that George Bush could stop congress from larding the bill up with anti-market tax favours, but he could veto the bill, which he won't. Kerry might; he gets my vote on this issue.

Tax policy: George Bush. Not because I'm one of those super-gung-ho supply siders who are committed to Bush's rate reductions with their dying breath. I'm in favour of the rate reductions, but it's not one of my primary issues. Lucky for George, he hit one of my primary issues: mitigating the adverse affects of the tax code on capital formation. I'm hugely in favour of equalising the treatment of cap gains and dividends; definitely in favour of lowering the tax rate on cap gains (at least until we eliminate the corporate income tax); and pretty much in favour of getting rid of the estate tax.

Poverty policy Liberals will scream, but George Bush gets this one. Kerry has one plan I like--increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit--but the rest of his programme is just standard Democratic same-old, same-old. I think raising the minimum wage is a moderately bad idea, and will have at best a trivial effect on welfare policy (most former welfare mothers already make above what John Kerry is proposing to raise the minimum to; the hike will disproportionately benefit middle class teenagers.) I wrote a piece on poverty recently, and what struck me is how excited the Republicans were about eradicating poverty, compared to the Democrats; Republicans are actually trying to change the environment in which poor kids grow up, rather than just raising the amount of money they spend. Education is a major piece of this, and there also George Bush has won my heart.

Entitlements George Bush. For all the hysteria, Bush's plans for Social Security and Medicare are excessively modest. But he's a dynamic go-getter compared to Kerry, whose plan for Social Security is to stand there watching while it collapses around our ears, and who wants to make Medicare more insolvent. Democrats are screaming that Bush's plan will be expensive, but of course, if we actually showed the country's current liabilities, rather than keeping the country's books on the weird, not-quite-cash-basis our government uses, privatising would come out as at worst neutral. Meanwhile, it would keep the government from making more promises to people it can't fulfill . . . people who will be badly hurt when the system goes bust. And it would take money from the government, which spends it on things that are at best economically neutral, and redirect that money into investments that will increase future productivity, helping us to bear the burden of an older population.

Civil Liberties Neither. I used to think that Janet Reno was the embodiment of all evil, after she helped gut the fourth amendment and pioneered the use of the paramilitary force to resolve child custody issues. Now I think that whoever becomes attorney general is driven mad by dreams of all the good they could do if only they had a lot more power. Both sides endorse the execrable drug war, which has done more to destroy civil liberties than any post-9/11 moves.

The Budget I'm against running deficits, not because of the economic effects, which I think are pretty small, but because we shouldn't buy things for ourselves by writing IOU's for our children to pay. But both candidates are pretty much equally bad on this measure; the deficits they're promising are within a couple hundred billion of eachother over ten years, depending on which party you believe. I suspect that if Kerry passes his plan that number will be higher, because health care plans always seem to cost many times what they were promised to cost. But I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, and call it even-steven.

Foriegn policyHere it is: the big ticket. Which way do I go?

Let me outline what I think about the way the administration approached Iraq.

I think we chose to go to Iraq, we didn't have to. But I'm okay with that, unlike a lot of libertarians.

I think that the decision to invade Iraq had a lot of reasons behind it, of which only a few were discussed with America. And I'm also okay with that, unlike a lot of libertarians. The government, unfortunately, can't have a secret closed-door meeting with the entire country in which it tells us what it is thinking. It has to conduct its discussion by press release. Imagine how much information you'd get from your family and friends, much less your boss, if the only way they could talk to you was to broadcast their words to a world listening with bated breath. Make the negotiations on the house you're buying a little complicated, hmmm? Think your boss would give you the quarterly sales numbers, what with the competition breathing down your neck?

I think that there were people in the administration who were obsessed with Iraq, and that that drove the decision-making to some extent. That doesn't mean the invasion was a bad idea, but it does worry me about the administration's decision making.

I think that Iraq was not necessary to the war on terror, but I still think it's possible that it could be a successful battle in it. A democratic Iraq would be a major victory in the region. Even an Iraq run by a Mubarrak would help, by making the region more stable, and denying terrorists a base; and it would be much better for the people of Iraq. It gets US troops off Saudi soil, which can only help.

I'm unconvinced by anti-war people screaming about screw-ups in the early weeks of the war, including the latest explosives flap. As a project manager, I know too well that when you operate in a tight time frame, no matter how much you plan, nothing goes according to plan. Something comes out of left field and makes half your planning obsolete, and the other half irrelevant.

I think that the administration drastically underestimated the popular resistance to our invasion. This allowed the insurgency to grow, which in turn has steadily eroded our popularity, as we are blamed for the sabotage-induced decline in infrastructure, and the growing insecurity. I think the administration failed to act decisvely against the insurgency, betraying a stubborn unwillingness to admit when they are wrong, or change plans even when the plans are clearly failing. I am deeply troubled by this. I think the administration was unwilling to take the political risk of asking for more troops, and have thus brought greater political risk upon themselves. This is my biggest concern with the administration.

I think that the administration's plans worked very well on state actors: Libya, Syria, and Pakistan, to name a few, seem to be more cooperative now that they know we really might invade. Iran and North Korea are working on nuclear weapons, but they've been working on nuclear weapons since long before we invaded Iraq. I think they have had the opposite effect on non-state actors: I'm pretty sure we're making terrorist recruiting easier.

But I'm not as sure as anti-war types that this makes us less secure. The biggest threat we face is nuclear or biological terrorism, and that's the kind of terrorism that requires cooperation from state actors. Moreover, right now at least, all the new recruits are fighting soldiers in Iraq and not civilians in America. That could change, of course, but the only existential threat we face is nuclear terrorism. And nuclear terrorism is constrained not by the supply of recruits, but the supply of nukes, which terrorists wanted long before 9/11. The administration's actions certainly haven't increased the supply of nukes, and they may have decreased them. But I would like to see the administration pay more attention to non-state actors.

I think Abu Ghraib was a disgrace to the name of America, and Don Rumsfeld should have resigned. I don't think that he caused it in any way, but I do think that when something this bad happens, high heads have to roll to show how deeply we regret the stain on our honor.

I think that retreating from Iraq would be a disaster. Even if it turns into a quagmire, I would far rather see us stay too long than bug out before we have to.

I think that George Bush has cost us a lot of goodwill in Europe. I am less convinced that Europe's governments left us much choice.

I think that the greatest revelation of the Iraq war has been that we lack the military force to invade a smallish country with terrain that provides easy surveillence and movement. That's a big problem; whether or not we should have invaded Iraq, I think it's pretty important that the world's last superpower should be able to, if it needs to. I also think that neither candidate has credibly addressed this issue, the administration because it doesn't want to admit failure, and the Kerry team because they're still wallowing in some fantasy where the UN sends us troops it doesn't have and wouldn't commit if it did.

What about Kerry? He's been on the wrong side of pretty much every foriegn policy issue he addressed before he began running for president, from nuclear freeze to the first Iraq war. He's been a borderline incompetent as a senator. I like Joe Biden, who is advising him on foreign policy, but that's about all he has going for him. His votes since 9/11 have been so coldly opportunistic that I, the ultimate political cynic, actually feel a little tinge of disgust. So though liberals keep telling me that 9/11 changed everything, I have no way of knowing whether they changed John Kerry. Columns telling me to listen to what he's saying elicit only a hollow laugh, since John Kerry has already made it abundantly clear that he'll say pretty much anything to get elected. Not that this is exactly surprising behaviour in a politician.

Does it matter? There's a pretty compelling argument to be made that the Bush administration has screwed up so badly that it's practically impossible that the Kerry team could be worse. I have two problems with this argument. The first is that the people who've been making it to me mostly hated Bush before Iraq, before 9/11, and indeed before he got the Republican Party's 2000 nomination. Bush could have been running the greatest foreign policy since Machiavelli, and they would still be arguing for me to take Kerry's prospects on blind faith. And second, I'm not sure it's true. Pulling out of Iraq would be worse than leaving a blundering administration there, and as Mickey Kaus said of The Economist's Kerry endorsement "it's always a shaky moment in these non-peacenik endorsements when the writer tries to convince himself or herself that Kerry won't bail out on Iraq prematurely, isn't it? (Kerry has been 'forthright about the need to win in Iraq,' but do you trust him and if so why? Because Andrew Sullivan's blogging will keep him honest?)" Still, the administration has screwed up in some major ways, leaving me wrestling with the question: how bad could Kerry be?

In the end, it comes down to how much risk the candidates will take. The Democratic policy on foriegn policy risk has been pretty much the same since McGovern: they won't take any. They bug out at the first sign of casualties, and go in only when the foe is so tiny that we can smash them without committing ground troops.

The Republicans take risk. Bush took on a lot of it -- and with it, the possibility that something could go wrong.

What does the country need now? Someone risk averse, to shepherd us through, or someone who will take bold action and possibly land us in a disaster? I think a lot of people have concluded, from the fact that Bush's risky move has gone wrong, that risk aversion is therefore the superior strategy. But that doesn't follow. Jimmy Carter running right now would to my mind be inarguably worse than George Bush for all his screw ups. On the other hand, Bush I would certainly be preferable to Bush II.

Unfortunately, I have neither Bush I nor Mr Carter on the stump to make my choice easy. I have the choices I have: between someone whose foriegn policy has been so risky as to be foolhardy, or someone who will not take the political risk of voting his conscience (whatever that may be) on the war; between someone whose commanding ability to chart a course and stick to it veers into pigheaded refusal to admit he's wrong, and someone who takes four weeks to decide on a campaign bumper sticker design. Above all, I have to guess how Mr Kerry will be in office, because the president doesn't have the luxuries of a senator or a campaigner; he has to decide what to do without the other senators to hide behind, and he cannot just go out and talk about his never-never plans when action is required. He doesn't get to skip a vote, and dithering could be fatal to a lot more than his political career. When something goes badly wrong in Iraq, will Kerry stay the course, because it's important, or will he take counsel of his fears, and his party's left wing, and cut and run as soon as he decently can? Daniel Drezner advocates a minimax strategy, but it's not clear to me that Kery represents a win.

Then there's the question of what message electing Kerry would send. Does it make the world love us, because we got rid of the president they hate, or does it make them despise us, because we've just held a referendum on the Iraq war, and Bush lost?

Ultimately, I've decided to take the advice of a friend's grandmother, who told me, on her wedding day, that I should never, ever marry a man thinking he'd change. "If you can't live with him exactly the way he is," she told me, "then don't marry him, because he'll say he's going to change, and he might even try to change, but it's one in a million that he actually will."

Kerry's record for the first fifteen years in the senate, before he knew what he needed to say in order to get elected, is not the record of anyone I want within spitting distance of the White House war room. Combine that with his deficits on domestic policy -- Kerry's health care plan would, in my opinon, kill far more people, and cost more, than the Iraq war ever will -- and it's finally clear. For all the administration's screw -ups -- and there have been many -- I'm sticking with the devil I know. George Bush in 2004.

Posted by Jane Galt at October 29, 2004 02:14 AM | TrackBack | Technorati inbound links
Comments

Yea! One New York vote for Bush.

Posted by: Ed on October 29, 2004 12:39 PM

I pretty much agree with you all the way down the line. And I don't like Libertarians, what's happening to me? :)

I think you have done a good job of cutting through all the spin to look at what is really true here, as far as those of us not residing inside Bush or Kerry's brain can know.

To me it seems like over the last 15-20 years the Democrats have increasingly gotten farther and farther out there twisting facts into spin and then lies, and after a while the GOP started working hard to catch up, unfortunately.

Now we have gotten to the point where the Dems say, Bush lied about WMD, while Gore, Kerry, both Clintons, etc, all say the same thing, they thought Saddam had them too. Yet incredibly,the Dems can just ignore that part and accuse Bush of lying. It is like the Emperor has no clothes with all this Democratic lying.

So the major job now is not just figuring out policy implications, it is figuring out what is real behind the spin, and again I congratulate you on a good job of doing that.

Posted by: napablogger on October 29, 2004 12:42 PM

Well done Jane! Glad to see you came to the right decision, even though I disagree with you on one or two (minor) points. I'm planning on writing my own endorsement of Bush at Tacitus and I think I'll use your issue outline although I tend to have a bit more details on why Bush is better on trade, health care, and the environment.

Posted by: Thorley Winston on October 29, 2004 12:47 PM

Yes, though they strike us down, we become incremently more powerful!

Posted by: Roger L. Simon (with a hat) on October 29, 2004 12:50 PM

Same here. I too am sticking with the devil I know as well and going with Bush. I live in Wisconsin so my vote is being sought heavily.

The bottom line is I just really, at a gut level, don't trust Kerry.....

Posted by: Jeanne on October 29, 2004 12:51 PM

Glad to see how much time and effort you put into that decision, irrespective of what the actual decision is (though I think its the right one and agree with your line of thought). Now, if every voter would be this careful ...


apex

Posted by: apex on October 29, 2004 12:52 PM

Good lord, it's as if you reached into my brain and expressed so much of what I've thought, only more eloquently than I ever could.

Very well written!

Posted by: bosplanner on October 29, 2004 12:52 PM

No doubt you will get a lot of grief from folks who won't stop to realize that they need not get so worked up, as Bush has no chance of carrying New York. I just want to say that your analysis was a lot more thoughtful than some of those who supposedly do this kind of thing for a living. It's the sort of thing that should be able to go without saying, but this year, it's worth noting.

Posted by: Karl on October 29, 2004 12:55 PM


It is amazing I agree with 95% of what you say, but come to a different conclusion on how I'm voting. I think that says something about how you've cut to the truth of the matter, and let thinking men and women disagree on the conclusions.

Posted by: Bill Hyatt on October 29, 2004 12:56 PM

Jane: right decision for the right reasons.

Posted by: Rip Rowan on October 29, 2004 12:56 PM

Hey, how did I miss that you were over on Instapundit.

Nice analysis, btw, well written.

Posted by: John on October 29, 2004 12:57 PM

Jane,
If everyone took the time to analyze for whom they vote as you did, we would not need 10,000 lawyers standing by and $500 million dollars in negative advertising, because no matter who you voted for, you would be respected for your choice. Thank you.

Posted by: Steven Haynes on October 29, 2004 01:01 PM

Megan, it's so nice to see an actual evaluation of the merits of the vote from someone before they vote. I don't agree with all you say, but my own libertarian leanings agree with much of it. I once was a liberal advocate (didn't Churchill say you should be one when you are young?) but I really began to question the entire Democratic thrust once I saw how absolutely inept and frozen that Carter was. To my surprise, I realized that it was almost entirely emotional appeal. One wants to "feel good" about one's own motives etc. and the Democratic appeal was to "helping those who can't" etc. What they hid in that was the basic humanity of motivating and helping people to HELP THEMSELVES, as opposed to just lengthening the lines of willing participants with their hands held out for the latest largesse from Washington.

John Kerry seems to be the perfect candidate for what the Democratic party has morphed into. First, he is a TRAITOR. No other word fits, for his disgusting behavior following his return from the Vietnam theater. Meeting with the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese in Paris (multiple times) WHILE STILL AN OFFICER IN THE NAVY, is nothing but TREASON. Second, he is a serial liar and fabulist. The number of items displaying this are too numerous to recount here. Just think about how he used the comment that was "seared" in his memory about being in Cambodia under Nixon, and then ignored it when it was proven to be a lie. He once claimed that a mine went off under his boat and with such force that the dog that his group had as a pet was literally blown up into the air and landed on another nearby Swift Boat. How ridiculous is that? He reminds me of a pre-teen boy who no one pays attention to, making ever more ridiculous and outrageous claims so someone will listen.

Someone who displays such obvious disdain for the truth, and thinks that he can get away with it makes him someone to run screaming AWAY from.

Anyway, it's never perfect but the choice is clear and it makes me happy to read that one of my favorite bloggers agrees with my sentiments.

Posted by: webrider44 on October 29, 2004 01:02 PM

My goodness. How do you complete a trip to the grocery store? So many choices, so many close calls.

But you came to the right conclusion nonetheless.

Posted by: Jeff on October 29, 2004 01:03 PM

Wow! Great piece.

Posted by: Opinionated Bastard on October 29, 2004 01:03 PM

Bravo.

Posted by: Laura M. Hagan on October 29, 2004 01:05 PM

All I can say is: Jane Galt for President!

Posted by: MarkJ on October 29, 2004 01:06 PM

Outstanding analysis.

This type of analysis is what we should be seeing on the MSM, instead of the crisis, horserace status, or sob story of the day.

Keep up the good work, but make sure you have fun doing it!

Posted by: Tim Gannon on October 29, 2004 01:06 PM

Well thought out! Nice writing. Hope it's influential.

Posted by: Mark on October 29, 2004 01:07 PM

I think that the greatest revelation of the Iraq war has been that we lack the military force to invade a smallish country with terrain that provides easy surveillence and movement. That's a big problem; whether or not we should have invaded Iraq, I think it's pretty important that the world's last superpower should be able to, if it needs to.

Wisest thing I've read in a while - I get tried of hearing the "only superpower in the world" What if we really had to fight (conventionally) Iran, North Korea, or Pakistan?

Posted by: dan kearns on October 29, 2004 01:07 PM

Sure alot of agonizing there. For me, none of those issues make a whole lot of difference if we're getting killed. I guess I'm just too simple. For me it's like Dennis Miller said, "Bush gets out of bed in the morning and says, 'Let's go kills some more terrorists.'" Works for me.

Posted by: jpg on October 29, 2004 01:08 PM

Well thought out! Nice writing. Hope it's influential.

Posted by: Mark on October 29, 2004 01:08 PM

Dear Megan:

Have been following your deliberations with much interest. I too came to the same conclusion you have, only I came to it a few months ago. My first presidential vote came in 1980 and I voted for the Libertarian candidate, Ed Clark. This year will be the first time I vote for the Republican candidate. I think we've both made the right decision. Thank you!

Best,

Bill

Posted by: Bill Seed on October 29, 2004 01:08 PM

Ahhhhh...an actual gosh-be-gosh thoughtful voter.If only America could see as clearly as you. I am in NY and feel frustrated by the many who are willing to be led by sheep by the loudest voice.

Posted by: Cynthia on October 29, 2004 01:12 PM

Though I'm glad you're supporting the same guy I'm supporting, I find the prolonged, public indecision to be self-involved and annoying. And it seems disengenuous even if it's actually not. The major facts about these two mens' records and personality have been known for a long time. Yet another detailed endorsement is tedious and superfluous at this point. I haven't seen a new argument made or new fact uncovered in an endorsement from anyone for anyone in quite some time. Even granting that your protestation that this wasn't a stunt is true, the need to make every twist and turn of your thought process public, to constantly bring up your undecided status, makes it seem like you're milking it for blogging purposes, trying to turn it into some lame, blogospheric equivalent of an extended strip-tease if you will. And then there's the impression of condescension: "Oh, how easy it must be for you mindless partisans, you rabble in the streets unburndened with my complex thought processes. HOw I long for the simple life. But no, I must be cursed with this enormous brain!"

Anyway, I'm glad you're voting for W. And even Bush votes in Manhattan (If they're actually counted and not dumped in the East River or something) will "count". Since 2000 when the Democrats created this new precedent that the Electoral College doesn't matter and if you don't win the popular vote you're "illegitimate", every vote really does count.

For Thorley Winston and anyone else who's planning on writing a similarly lengthy, complex endorsement of Bush can I rudely and presumptuously beg you not to? What possible good will the zillionth such endorsement do? If you really want him to win then put down the laptop and work with Get OUt the Vote efforts in New Jersey or Philly, or whatever your nearest battleground state is. If you're not willing to do this, then all of these endless endorsements and vacillations are just so much mental masturbation.

Posted by: Eric Deamer on October 29, 2004 01:13 PM

My dear lady, thank God you've come to your senses.

Posted by: AllenS on October 29, 2004 01:13 PM

Very well reasoned and an excellent choice.

Posted by: Jim on October 29, 2004 01:14 PM

Glad to have someone else here in New York voting for Bush. I just remember the thoughts I was having on 9/12...that our streets were going to look like Tel Aviv's. Then anthrax hit.... I hope every available terrorist is headed to Fallujah to meet their fate.

Posted by: Maggie on October 29, 2004 01:14 PM

Pretty much my analysis in every way. A grim choice, but one that comes down on the side of Buffoon R rather than Buffoon D.

Imagine if this election had been McCain vs. Lieberman...

Posted by: John Pearley Huffman on October 29, 2004 01:14 PM

That's the clearest, best-articulated analysis I've seen yet, with the right conclusion. Now to deliver a copy to every voter before Tuesday! Thanks.

Posted by: Steve on October 29, 2004 01:15 PM

George Bush in 2004.

As if there was any doubt.

You know, there's no shame in actually liking the person you're voting for.

Posted by: Bryan on October 29, 2004 01:15 PM

Though I'm glad you're supporting the same guy I'm supporting, I find the prolonged, public indecision to be self-involved and annoying. And it seems disengenuous even if it's actually not. The major facts about these two mens' records and personality have been known for a long time. Yet another detailed endorsement is tedious and superfluous at this point. I haven't seen a new argument made or new fact uncovered in an endorsement from anyone for anyone in quite some time. Even granting that your protestation that this wasn't a stunt is true, the need to make every twist and turn of your thought process public, to constantly bring up your undecided status, makes it seem like you're milking it for blogging purposes, trying to turn it into some lame, blogospheric equivalent of an extended strip-tease if you will. And then there's the impression of condescension: "Oh, how easy it must be for you mindless partisans, you rabble in the streets unburndened with my complex thought processes. HOw I long for the simple life. But no, I must be cursed with this enormous brain!"

Anyway, I'm glad you're voting for W. And even Bush votes in Manhattan (If they're actually counted and not dumped in the East River or something) will "count". Since 2000 when the Democrats created this new precedent that the Electoral College doesn't matter and if you don't win the popular vote you're "illegitimate", every vote really does count.

For Thorley Winston and anyone else who's planning on writing a similarly lengthy, complex endorsement of Bush can I rudely and presumptuously beg you not to? What possible good will the zillionth such endorsement do? If you really want him to win then put down the laptop and work with Get OUt the Vote efforts in New Jersey or Philly, or whatever your nearest battleground state is. If you're not willing to do this, then all of these endless endorsements and vacillations are just so much mental masturbation.

Posted by: Eric Deamer on October 29, 2004 01:15 PM

Congratulations, you manly girl, you.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on October 29, 2004 01:20 PM

Sorry for double post. Commenting is somehow screwed up. Anyway, I'm really a nice guy and I hope none of this comes off as trollish or mean. I'm just really sick of the undecids. See Ron Rosenbaum's NYO column from last week for why.

Posted by: Eric Deamer on October 29, 2004 01:21 PM

Love you, Megan. You made a wise head and heart choice.

Posted by: charlotte on October 29, 2004 01:23 PM

Megan,

Welcome to the Dark Side. :-)

I disagree with some of your assesments (to start with, we won the war. We've so far failed to crush all resistance, not because we can't, but because we don't want to kill the 100,000+ civilians it might take. For example: at Falluja we could have told them to turn over eveyone involved with the attack, or else. And when they didn't, detnated a couple FAEs over the citym then killed every male of the appropriate age who tried to leave. We didn't do that, because President Bush chose to fight a "nicer" war than WWII. Do you disagree with that choice? If not, you don't get to complain that it takes longer to beat down the resistance).

I'm also much happier with have Bush 43 than 41. The reason we had those troops in Saudi Arabia for a decade, and why we had to invade a second time, was because 41 screwed up by not finishing the job the first time. And, IMHO it would have been a lot easier to finish the job before 41 screwed over the Iraqi people by calling on them to dump Saddam, then pulling a JFK / Bay of Pigs and just sitting back and watching while Saddam slaughtered them.

However, I'm still happy w/ your choice. :-)

Posted by: Greg D on October 29, 2004 01:24 PM

I think one of the most laudable (and overlooked) aspects of this is your willingness to air your mental decision-making laundry.

It must take a fair amount of courage (or skin thickness) to announce all of that openly for the world to read (and villify, at times). Especially since you live in NY and you don't have a secret identity.

Kudos to you and all the other bloggers who've been willing to take this route.

Posted by: qetzal on October 29, 2004 01:25 PM

"Bush's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Medicare prescription drug plan..."

Except for HSA's, which will prove to be wonderful.

I just got the insurance part of it with a $2550 deductible and the premium savings over the standard "we'll pay for everying un-insurance" plan is a whopping 82%. Nevermind the beauty of tax-shelter dollars [though I would prefer a simple tax code with no exemptions and deductions] that are all mine to cover the deductible or use for general medical expenses and save for a rainy sick day in the future. Personal choice and responsibility is a beautiful thing.

Posted by: David Andersen on October 29, 2004 01:26 PM

Jane: No mention of Afganistan when it comes to foreign policy? Have we all forgotten the "quagmire" that quickly? (Although I suspect that if it is considered, it would only strengthen your conclusion.)

Posted by: bct on October 29, 2004 01:26 PM

Although my vote is cast in CT, and won't mean much in fighting the tide in this state, I'm with you on this one. Great flow of thought! Thanks

Posted by: Gerald on October 29, 2004 01:27 PM

Jane: No mention of Afganistan when it comes to foreign policy? Have we all forgotten the "quagmire" that quickly? (Although I suspect that if it is considered, it would only strengthen your conclusion.)

Posted by: bct on October 29, 2004 01:29 PM

Jane: No mention of Afganistan when it comes to foreign policy? Have we all forgotten the "quagmire" that quickly? (Although I suspect that if it is considered, it would only strengthen your conclusion.)

Posted by: bct on October 29, 2004 01:30 PM

I was somewhat dismissive in my "advice" comment. After reading your thoughtful entry here, I obviously owe you an apology.

Posted by: Acme on October 29, 2004 01:33 PM

Firstly, I love your presence at Instapundit. Glenn was wise to have you post.

To the point of your article: I agree. Bush gets my vote. I didn't vote for him 4 years ago, and I have not-inconsequential differences with him now, but he's earned my vote.

Posted by: azlibertarian on October 29, 2004 01:33 PM

Megan,

I'm thrilled you made this wise head and heart decision. Much better analysis and conclusion than Drezner's, btw. So, you were a little long in getting here but we're glad you made it! Bush needs every one of us, and I am convinced he is more "there" for us, our country and our future than a Kerry administration could ever be.

Posted by: charlotte on October 29, 2004 01:34 PM

Oh, if there were just one young thirty-something, thoughtful, elloquent, literate, small-l libertarian leaning, Bush voting, tallish (but under 5'11" -- I don't wear heels), good looking woman in LA... Sigh...

Wanna hear something funny? In all likelihood, I will cast my first vote for a Democrat (that is, the first time I've voted D, not the first time I've ever voted), and a snotty, liberal, mostly unthinking and shrill Democrat at that. In California, our Republican Senate candidate Bill Jones, hasn't even run a campaign. He will lose, but this time, he deserves to lose so badly that he never runs for state or national office again. He is a total disgrace. I am this close (holds fingers at about the measurement of John Kerr....) to voting for Boxer. The big-L Libertarian is a friggin buffoon. He wants to repeal our 3 strikes law and was unable to name one poster child inmate for why we should do it. Unbelievable.

Posted by: Brad Hutchings on October 29, 2004 01:36 PM

Jane: Good points, but...No mention of Afganistan when it comes to foreign policy? Have we all forgotten the "quagmire" that quickly? (Although I suspect that if it is considered, it would only strengthen your conclusion.)

Posted by: bct on October 29, 2004 01:36 PM

good grief. 35,000 words and you still sound like you are right on the border.

flip a coin next time.

Posted by: Kirk on October 29, 2004 01:36 PM

What a profound statement:

"Kerry's health care plan would, in my opinion, kill far more people, and cost more, than the Iraq war ever will..."

Posted by: David Andersen on October 29, 2004 01:36 PM

Nice thoughtful analysis Megan.

However, with respect to the environment the libetarian nod has to go to Bush for one simple reason: Gridlock. It's the environmental moonbats vs. Bush which is effectively halting all new environmental regulations. Whats not to like?

Re-electing Bush effectively takes away the statists' two favorite government growing tools: activist judges and economy crippling regulations (EPA, OSHA, etc.)

Also, you're a bit overly pessimisstic re Iraq. This is a major land battle with ground troops; set backs are to be expected. But, we are making progress, we are gathering valuable intel, our troops are learning valuable anti-insugency skills, and our casualties are historically low.

Posted by: kderosa on October 29, 2004 01:37 PM

Until reading this article I had no idea how anyone in this country could possibly remain undecided on who to vote for. I am reminded of a skit from the Daily Show with John Stewart where Samantha Bee gathered together a group of undecided voters in a room and then started yelling at them. Unless you take a line of analysis similar to the one above, however, I think it is obvious that there is a very clear choice to be made in this presidential election.

A couple of points on your analysis:

1. How does Kerry only win by a hair on the environment? Bush has been literally the worst environmental president in the history of our country - from "clear skies" to eliminating the new source review to appointing former industry heads to top environmental agency posts. His own EPA head resigned in protest over how his actions were preventing the EPA from doing its job.

2. On health care, don't forget that Bush has placed severe limits on stem cell research. This is a very important new medical tool that has the potential for curing many horrible diseases and saving hundreds of thousands of lives.

3. On the budget, i know many conservatives who are personally voting for Kerry because they believe that divided government will prevent the passage of big spending plans like the ones you mentioned. And if Kerry gets the tax cut for people earning over $200,000 overturned, then that is a prescription for far less deficits than if Bush were re-elected.

I'm not going to argue with your other points even though I strongly disagree with them I understand where you are coming from as a libertarian. I do think that your health care ideas will leave the 45 million uninsured out in the cold and your tax cut ideas are helping create a new landed aristocracy in our country who can just pass their wealth on from one generation to the next (which is very anti-free market and anti-capitalist). Great work on the article, though, I found it very interesting.

Posted by: Mike on October 29, 2004 01:37 PM

Great post. I was also disturbed by Kerry's federal health care plan, especially since it wouldn't cover everyone anyway. Even though it's possible that this is just another rootless campaign promise I don't think it should even be on the table. The good news is, it probably wouldn't get that far since it is unlikely already that the already very unpopular (mainly among those voting for him!) Kerry would swing two terms. As for foreign policy - at least Bush is consistent and his motivations are pretty clear. If someone wants to pursue an agressive war against terror, one that does rely on preemptive methods, I don't know how someone could vote Democratic.


Posted by: Molly on October 29, 2004 01:39 PM

Until reading this article I had no idea how anyone in this country could possibly remain undecided on who to vote for. I am reminded of a skit from the Daily Show with John Stewart where Samantha Bee gathered together a group of undecided voters in a room and then started yelling at them. Unless you take a line of analysis similar to the one above, however, I think it is obvious that there is a very clear choice to be made in this presidential election.

A couple of points on your analysis:

1. How does Kerry only win by a hair on the environment? Bush has been literally the worst environmental president in the history of our country - from "clear skies" to eliminating the new source review to appointing former industry heads to top environmental agency posts. His own EPA head resigned in protest over how his actions were preventing the EPA from doing its job.

2. On health care, don't forget that Bush has placed severe limits on stem cell research. This is a very important new medical tool that has the potential for curing many horrible diseases and saving hundreds of thousands of lives.

3. On the budget, i know many conservatives who are personally voting for Kerry because they believe that divided government will prevent the passage of big spending plans like the ones you mentioned. And if Kerry gets the tax cut for people earning over $200,000 overturned, then that is a prescription for far less deficits than if Bush were re-elected.

I'm not going to argue with your other points even though I strongly disagree with them I understand where you are coming from as a libertarian. I do think that your health care ideas will leave the 45 million uninsured out in the cold and your tax cut ideas are helping create a new landed aristocracy in our country who can just pass their wealth on from one generation to the next (which is very anti-free market and anti-capitalist). Great work on the article, though, I found it very interesting.

Posted by: Mike on October 29, 2004 01:40 PM

You need to better understand teacher unions. As a teacher I refuse to join a union. This is due to the fact that they do not try to line the pockets of teachers with money (which would work - attracting better people to the feild, but more importantly retaining those good teachers who leave to feed their own families), but instead line their own pockets and delay innovations and strategies that would better educate our youth. They are political machines which do not represent the best interest of teachers or education, but instead work to further the political goals of those in power as if they were some common PAC.

Posted by: Bittner on October 29, 2004 01:41 PM

"self-involved and annoying"? Yeah, that's a switch...

I expected you to plump for Kerry, Ms. McA. Quite pleasantly shocked. Glad to have you on board and all that.

P.S. The Sox beat the Yankees like a gong.

Posted by: abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz on October 29, 2004 01:41 PM

A thoughtful decision.
For me, though, the crucial deciding point was made by The Economist: "To succeed, however, America needs a president capable of admitting to mistakes and of learning from them. Mr Bush has steadfastly refused to admit to anything."
In the end, I'd prefer the devil who is willing to learn over the devil who isn't.

Posted by: Gwyn Rhabyt on October 29, 2004 01:41 PM

Megan,
I don't agree with all your analysis, but I appreciate that you did it. Anyone who thoughtfully decides who (or is it whom, I never can get that one right...) to vote for is OK in my book.

Frankly, I think that the differences between the candidates are like night and day and can't for the life of me see what people find worthy of their confidence or vote in John Kerry.

Had you decided the other way I certainly would not have understood why, but, again would have appreciated that you put some thought into it, though.

As a member of the military, I am grateful that you choose to keep our Commander-in-Chief. We all have great confidence in him, his vision and his leadership.

Thanks.

Posted by: Alexander on October 29, 2004 01:43 PM

Megan: I can't remember when I've read something that I found so suspenseful. Having read you since you started as"Live From The WTC", (when I couldn't figure out why all Jane Galt's entries were signed Megan McArdle) I respect your intelligence and analysis. I was really hoping you'd come out for Bush and was delighted to get to the last paragraph. Particularly since I really couldn't disagree with any of your analysis but, until the end, I wasn't sure which way you'd go. For me the whole question has been much easier because I was a Marine in Viet Nam (for 13 months)and cannot forgive Kerry for betraying us then but I can't expect the same reaction from your generation, for whom Viet Nam has little or no emotional effect. Even though I can't do it with these candidates, I can wish that everyone (media, supporters, and candidates) could engage in the analysis you laid out rather than name-calling. I salute you.

Posted by: Mike on October 29, 2004 01:43 PM

A thoughtful decision.
For me, though, the crucial deciding point was made by The Economist: "To succeed, however, America needs a president capable of admitting to mistakes and of learning from them. Mr Bush has steadfastly refused to admit to anything."
In the end, I'd prefer the devil who is willing to learn over the devil who isn't.

Posted by: Gwyn Rhabyt on October 29, 2004 01:43 PM

Even though we reach different conclusions (due primarily, I think, to weighting these issues differently), this is an admirable post - full of analysis, free of invective. Would that all political discourse could be undertaken this way.

Posted by: Jeff on October 29, 2004 01:44 PM

Megan,

This is the first year I've ever not know who I would vote for. I voted for Bush in 2000 and Dole in 1996 (to young before that though I would have voted for Regan, Regan, Bush, Bush). I went through a similer process you did above and I am reluctantly going to vote for Bush. However, I also believe that over the next for years the religious right's control over the Republican Party must be challenged or a new party will be formed. We must be careful not to trade our security for social conservatism and authoritarianism. I hope you'll be at the head of the pack leading it!

Posted by: Tom Reeves on October 29, 2004 01:44 PM

I'm a first-time visitor to this site, and my only comment is:

Megan, will you marry me?!

Posted by: Aaron on October 29, 2004 01:45 PM

Jane, You are wise beyond your years. I don't know how old you are but a survey I read stated women relate to attitudes expressed by the generation that preceded their own mothers. Grandmothers have good advice. You can't change men because you think you can. In addition, This is a new world and we need to think out-of-the-box. Grandmothers have lived long enough to know the value of true wisdom. I think Barb Bush is a wise grandmother. Thanks for your blog.

Posted by: lbillman3037@earthlink.net on October 29, 2004 01:45 PM

Megan: I can't remember when I've read something that I found so suspenseful. Having read you since you started as "Live From The WTC", (when I couldn't figure out why all Jane Galt's entries were signed Megan McArdle) I respect your intelligence and analysis. I was really hoping you'd come out for Bush and was delighted to get to the last paragraph. Particularly since I really couldn't disagree with any of your analysis but, until the end, I wasn't sure which way you'd go. For me the whole question has been much easier because I was a Marine in Viet Nam (for 13 months)and cannot forgive Kerry for betraying us then but I can't expect the same reaction from your generation, for whom Viet Nam has little or no emotional effect. Even though I can't do it with these candidates, I can wish that everyone (media, supporters, and candidates) could engage in the analysis you laid out rather than name-calling. I salute you.

Posted by: Mike on October 29, 2004 01:45 PM

A thoughtful decision.
For me, though, the crucial deciding point was made by The Economist: "To succeed, however, America needs a president capable of admitting to mistakes and of learning from them. Mr Bush has steadfastly refused to admit to anything."
In the end, I'd prefer the devil who is willing to learn over the devil who isn't.

Posted by: Gwyn Rhabyt on October 29, 2004 01:46 PM

You can count another New York vote for Bush too. My reasons are pretty much the same as yours, Jane, though one of the biggest is the fact that I get this sense from President Bush that there's something in his voice and behind his eye that makes me trust him much more on issues that matter to me. Kerry just leaves me feeling unsettled and unsure. For that alone, my vote will be going for President Bush.

Posted by: DakRoland on October 29, 2004 01:46 PM

A thoughtful decision.
For me, though, the crucial deciding point was made by The Economist: "To succeed, however, America needs a president capable of admitting to mistakes and of learning from them. Mr Bush has steadfastly refused to admit to anything."
In the end, I'd prefer the devil who is willing to learn over the devil who isn't.

Posted by: Gwyn Rhabyt on October 29, 2004 01:48 PM

Until reading this article I had no idea how anyone in this country could possibly remain undecided on who to vote for. I am reminded of a skit from the Daily Show with John Stewart where Samantha Bee gathered together a group of undecided voters in a room and then started yelling at them. Unless you take a line of analysis similar to the one above, however, I think it is obvious that there is a very clear choice to be made in this presidential election.

A couple of points on your analysis:

1. How does Kerry only win by a hair on the environment? Bush has been literally the worst environmental president in the history of our country - from "clear skies" to eliminating the new source review to appointing former industry heads to top environmental agency posts. His own EPA head resigned in protest over how his actions were preventing the EPA from doing its job.

2. On health care, don't forget that Bush has placed severe limits on stem cell research. This is a very important new medical tool that has the potential for curing many horrible diseases and saving hundreds of thousands of lives.

3. On the budget, i know many conservatives who are personally voting for Kerry because they believe that divided government will prevent the passage of big spending plans like the ones you mentioned. And if Kerry gets the tax cut for people earning over $200,000 overturned, then that is a prescription for far less deficits than if Bush were re-elected.

I'm not going to argue with your other points even though I strongly disagree with them I understand where you are coming from as a libertarian. I do think that your health care ideas will leave the 45 million uninsured out in the cold and your tax cut ideas are helping create a new landed aristocracy in our country who can just pass their wealth on from one generation to the next (which is very anti-free market and anti-capitalist). Great work on the article, though, I found it very interesting.

Posted by: Mike on October 29, 2004 01:49 PM

A thoughtful decision.
For me, though, the crucial deciding point was made by The Economist: "To succeed, however, America needs a president capable of admitting to mistakes and of learning from them. Mr Bush has steadfastly refused to admit to anything."
In the end, I'd prefer the devil who is willing to learn over the devil who isn't.

Posted by: Gwyn Rhabyt on October 29, 2004 01:50 PM

Your thoughts on Rumsfeld are so narrow-minded and short-sighted.

I won't bore you with details, but I recommend you research Defense Transformation.

http://www.defenselink.mil/transformation/

Rumsfeld is driving this. He is enabling our military to adequately meet the changing needs of todays world.

If you want a head to roll, lop off some commanding officer's head. Rumsfeld is one of the few people who have the cajones, intelligence and determination to take this task on. Confronting flag officers as a civilian, infusing corporate best practices into our military, and dealing with all the negative press and letting it roll off his back like water off a duck's... you can't find that just anywhere.

No one will ever know, but Rumsfeld will turn out to be a primary driver for our winning the war on terror.

Posted by: Sean on October 29, 2004 01:52 PM

Jane, Bittner is right, I'm not aware of any union using it's power to increase teacher salaries in any meaningful, merit-based way. They (Union officials) do line their own pockets. When they do clamor for more funds, it's for an archaic compensation scheme that rewards tenure, not skill.


Bittner, fyi, you are lucky, because there are only 22 states in the union (see http://www.nrtw.org/rtws.htm) which have "right to work" laws that allow you to work without being part of a union in the teaching profession. Everywhere else you are forced to contribute, at the very least, a 'fair share' amount which is almost the entire dues amount. My wife (a teacher) and I have been through this in Minnesota and are very happy to be in Iowa now.


Posted by: David Andersen on October 29, 2004 01:52 PM

A thoughtful decision.
For me, though, the crucial deciding point was made by The Economist: "To succeed, however, America needs a president capable of admitting to mistakes and of learning from them. Mr Bush has steadfastly refused to admit to anything."
In the end, I'd prefer the devil who is willing to learn over the devil who isn't.

Posted by: Gwyn Rhabyt on October 29, 2004 01:55 PM

I started reading a few paragraphs, and then I cheated. I cut to the end. Sorry!

In recognition of your unusual bloggy wisdom, I am promoting you to the spot in my bookmark list previously occupied by Andrew Sullivan.

Remember, vote early and often! (often means once every election, of course)

Posted by: Matthew Goggins on October 29, 2004 02:01 PM

How can you be "OK" with a war of choice? 100,000 people have died. It is possible that you have a history of privilege. It is possible that you take that for granted. It is possible you may one day understand what exactly this administration has done to thwart the 30 years of environmental reform.

But I doubt it.

Posted by: John on October 29, 2004 02:02 PM

I think you're focusing too much to the person. Sure, person gets elected but most of the strategy and politics comes from people behind the president. I wonder if Bush were ever to go Iraq if there wasn't Chaney and others and their obsessions. Bush had the power to stop these people and hund down Bin Laden instead. That's where the real war on terror was. I don't know if people in the U.S. really understood how strong the solidary in the world was after 9/11. The way desicions were made after Afgan war ruined everything. Destroying that kind of feeling of unity in the world I call a crime.

I don't know if democrats would have done any better..

Posted by: John Doe on October 29, 2004 02:02 PM

I think you're focusing too much to the person. Sure, person gets elected but most of the strategy and politics comes from people behind the president. I wonder if Bush were ever to go Iraq if there wasn't Chaney and others and their obsessions. Bush had the power to stop these people and hund down Bin Laden instead. That's where the real war on terror was. I don't know if people in the U.S. really understood how strong the solidary in the world was after 9/11. The way desicions were made after Afgan war ruined everything. Destroying that kind of feeling of unity in the world I call a crime.

I don't know if democrats would have done any better..

Posted by: Tomi on October 29, 2004 02:03 PM

I have the nagging suspicion that you ruled out Badnarik for the sole purpose of writing this piece. :)

Posted by: fling93 on October 29, 2004 02:06 PM

I started the Summer planning to vote for Kerry, mainly on the basis of holding the Bush Administration accountable for its multitude of blunders in carrying out a foreign policy I agreed with. There was also the issue of transparency, civil liberties, and gay rights that I hoped a Democratic administration might advance.

I knew from past experience, that it would be impossible to actually vote for Kerry if I paid attention to the campaign. To hear the Democrats demagogue on trade, continue to poison the well of education and social security reform, and promote a foreign policy of perfect hindsight would be too much. Add in the predictable hedging on gay marriage and contradictory meanderings on civil liberties and I would have nothing I could bring myself to vote for.

And so it has come to pass. Thanks, Megan, for your analysis. I'll be splitting my ticket, but voting for Bush at the top.

Posted by: Henry Woodbury on October 29, 2004 02:06 PM

Thank God! You had me worried there for a minute, Ms. Galt.
I wholeheartedly agree with your analysis, and believe George "Lesser-of-2-evils" Bush will need all of us marginal swing voters to prevent another 2000-style election debacle.

Also: Double-posting isn't that hard to avoid, people.
Just close the comments window, go back to the main blog, and hit "refresh" or "reload" on your internet browser.
When the page has reloaded, click on the comments section you want and scroll through the last several comments to see whether yours posted or not. By "last several posts" I mean the ones at the bottom.
Oldest comments are at the top here.
The stirring power of your rhetoric is badly diluted by the gaffe of triple-posting it. FYI....

Posted by: McClain on October 29, 2004 02:08 PM

Congrats!

You have been assimilated!

Seriously...I feel sorry for all the partisan Dems and those that simply don't like GWB.

The Dems gave you a rotten alternative.

While I could (possibly) see myself voting for Zell Miller, maybe Joe Lieberman, or some moderate Governor to be named later, JK simply does not belong in the White House

Posted by: Bill on October 29, 2004 02:15 PM

A thoughtful decision.
For me, though, the crucial deciding point was made by The Economist: "To succeed, however, America needs a president capable of admitting to mistakes and of learning from them. Mr Bush has steadfastly refused to admit to anything."
In the end, I'd prefer the devil who is willing to learn over the devil who isn't.

Posted by: Gwyn Rhabyt on October 29, 2004 02:15 PM

We do not lack the military force to conquer Iraq. Think about how absurd that is; our military can nearly take on every other army in the history of the world simultaneously and it'd be a close thing. Put Britain and Australia on our side and we'd win. (No nukes, of course.) It would be bloody and horrible and the psyche of the planet would be reeling for decades, don't think I'm advocating this merely because it is possible, but it is possible. (What we can't do is take on that many *fronts* at once; but put history's armies on one side and the US on the other and, well, like I said, close thing.)

The problem is we don't want to conquer Iraq. Look up what it means to "conquer" things, historically. Sometimes it meant razing an existing city to the ground, just because you want the site.

One of the big reasons I'm voting for Bust is because he is *handling* the problem so we *don't* have to conquer anybody. Because if we just leave the problem to fester, that's where we'll be: Nuke or be nuked, conquer or die. I regret to say that we have far, far more than enough military force to do this.

The worst thing that can happen is a nuke in an American City, and there are far too many people who want that. It will be the end of the Middle East if it happens. We've got to get people to stop wanting that, and we ***know*** just leaving them to fester in their failed hellhole states isn't going to do it.

We are handling Iraq as we can, on the egde of our abilities, because we *have* those abilities. Fifty years ago... well, you don't need me to tell you what a 1950's military can do, history can tell you that. It takes a modern military to be able to *not* carpet-bomb a country; we can if we have to. A 50s military commander couldn't even conceive of what we are trying to do now.

Posted by: Jeremy Bowers on October 29, 2004 02:18 PM

Good Call. Your from New York which will vote for Kerry. So in the end your vote will be for not.

Posted by: Jay on October 29, 2004 02:18 PM

Thanks Megan. This is the sanest endorsement for Bush I have seen to date.

Posted by: Pieter Dorsman on October 29, 2004 02:19 PM

A thoughtful decision.
For me, though, the crucial deciding point was made by The Economist: "To succeed, however, America needs a president capable of admitting to mistakes and of learning from them. Mr Bush has steadfastly refused to admit to anything."
In the end, I'd prefer the devil who is willing to learn over the devil who isn't.

Posted by: Gwyn Rhabyt on October 29, 2004 02:22 PM

I read your point about your grandmother's advice and I thought exactly! In fact I was thinking about writing something similar just yesterday. The one thing that Drezner, The Economist, and Sullivan have in common is that "once he's President, Kerry will change." What would one think of someone who said about their future spouse, "well once we're married he/she will love me, or care more, or stop cheating on me." We'd tell them to run...Run fast, and don't get married. Great point.

Posted by: Joel B. on October 29, 2004 02:22 PM

Well done. Very clear, thoughtful exposition on your thought processes, which I'm sure are much appreciated. Your views are so closely aligned with my own that it's scary.

Posted by: Jeremiah on October 29, 2004 02:23 PM

It was obvious to me that Christopher Hitchen's "Treat Them Like Grown-Ups" strategy would be an abject disaster. The logic of raising teenagers: "give them responsibility and they will become more responsible," is a social experiment far too risky to try on a would-be President of the United States.

You have stated this dictum in the most succinct, eloquent, beautiful way I could've ever imagined:

"'If you can't live with him exactly the way he is,' she told me, 'then don't marry him ...'"

Posted by: Beautiful Prose on October 29, 2004 07:31 PM

Good analysis but it's missing the hill. I think your analysis plus andrew sullivan's or the economist equals the best of all...a split ticket. Kerry for president with a Rep. in congress. (including congress also undermines some of your arguments. For example, you rationalize away Bush's stance on marriage but you can't rationalize away Kerry's healthcare? Surely you have to think this would have a difficult time gettign through?)

Posted by: COOMARASWAMEE on October 29, 2004 07:32 PM

"NARAL can use all the money it raises to lobby to provide bus tickets and nice hotel rooms to women wanting abortions in states where it is illegal."

Lovely flippancy with other people's lives, there. What about the single working mother who's already got two kids, can't afford another one, and will get fired from her job if she takes one of your cushy NARAL vacations? Somehow I suspect that you are worlds away from that description yourself.

Otherwise, thanks for a well-expressed opinion.

Posted by: o on October 29, 2004 07:36 PM

Well said! Although I can quibble with you in minor and even in a few moderately significant ways, my analysis would be no more cogent than yours. I grudgingly respect your willingness to weigh the merit of both men throughout their campaigns (probably because you�ve concluded along with me that Mr. Bush is the better of the two choices).

I particularly liked your analogies illustrating why: �The government, unfortunately, can't have a secret closed-door meeting with the entire country in which it tells us what it is thinking.� The government is an entity but not a being, therefore not a single mind, dealing with often self-conflicting goals and constraints. It must handle infinitely complex challenges using quite finite abilities. It engages not so much discrete actions as glacial processes, even in what seems to be its instant response to catastrophic events. Simply put, the government is prone to error! One of the most grating tendencies of Mr. Kerry is the reductionist claim that under him everything would have been done right. Whether this results from naivet� (which I doubt) calculation, or condescension, I consider it a poor quality that would further divide and weaken this country in the event of his election. Furthermore, his possibly pathological need to be right (i.e. accuse someone else of being wrong) must be contrasted to the administration�s (e.g. Mr. Bush�s) �stubborn unwillingness to admit when they are wrong, or change plans even when the plans are clearly failing.� In both cases, though I think more in the former, we will eventually view our president more as a diminished child than a mature statesman and leader. Weighing the two, as you have done, I think favors Bush�s stubborn steadfastness over Kerry�s blaming and excuses.

Posted by: Ed Bruning on October 29, 2004 07:38 PM

I loved reading your post (Bush Endorsement) and it mirors many of my own thoughts. I should say at the outset that I live outside the US now, so the domestic issues are perhaps less important to me as they are for you. I live in the UK, but I lived in the US for 7 years and have many close American friends. In recent weeks it appears that Kerry has been gaining and his message is gaining some traction or that is how it appears in the polls. This may sound corny, but I view Bush as a strong principled President and I cannot forget the way he handled the aftermath of 9/11 and for that he deserves immense credit. From reading posts and looking at polls this seems to have been forgotten or perhaps just being ignored. I trust the US electorate remembers and feels the same way and re-elects this man because he deserves another 4 years to continue the vision/job he has started. For a number of reasons the big one being the large knot in the pit of my stomach, I have serious doubts about Kerry. These reservations I have about him, I admit could prove to be unfounded but when you get that feeling and Pepsid does not help, then you KNOW it is telling you something! Stay strong America.

Posted by: Alex R on October 29, 2004 07:38 PM

your advice from grandma made me think of saddam hussein's song to his lover satan in South park: bigger, longer, uncut:

But I can change, I can change
I can learn to keep my promises I swear it,
I will open up my heart and I will share it,
Any minute now I will be born again.

Yes, I can change, I can change,
I know I've been a dirty little bastard,
I like to kill, I like to maim,
Yes, I'm insane, but its OK,
Cuz I can change.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley on October 29, 2004 07:42 PM

My dear sweet Lord.

Well, I'll give you credit for this: in election that will end up being a Rorschach test for political judgment for a generation, and against the strong tide of your demographics (in any way that you want to slice it - geography, elite educational background, employees of the Economist, materialists (as opposed to spiritualists, and using scientists as a proxy for materialists), centrist Republicans (I suspect), etc.), you came out publicly for your boy. Shortly after the election, it will become more and more clear what a disaster GWB has been (either b/c Kerry will make the relevant documents publicly available, or b/c the media will finally go after Bush with both time and vigor in his second Administration), and more Bush supporters will lie about their vote than Nixon supporters did about theirs. And, to your credit, you have foreclosed that possibility for yourself.

I do have a few questions, though -

1. How in the name of all that is sane can you believe that (a) Kerry's health plan will pass in a Republican Congress, but (b) there is no chance the FMA will be ratified? The FMA is not a strong issue for Dems - see Kerry's weird dance of veils on gay marriage - and Bush will easily win at least 28 states, which means he has to pick up only 9 or 10 states to get the Amendment through. You're right, it won't happen, but it is considerably more likely to happen than Kerry's plan getting enacted.

2. IIRC, you quoted approvingly a MR post about the two things that the field of economics is based on, and one of those things was, "Incentives matter." Have you changed your mind? To the extent that Bush has been disastrous, or even just bad, how exactly is giving him a greater mandate than he had before (no one credibly believes that the intent of the majority of Florida voters as a whole was to elect GWB) supposed to make him a better president? The same is true in govt. as in the corporate environment - reward bad behavior (particularly when you do it so publicly), and expect more of the same.

3. Supreme Court - liking Thomas is a joke; I suggest you go read Jack Balkin's post on Thomas's opinion on the Padilla case. OTOH, I used to like Scalia, too. He at least had the virtue of being principled, if not right. Then came Bush v. Gore. There has been a precipitous drop in the membership of the Not-So-Secret Scalia Admirerer's club.

3. Foreign policy - yeah, I don't pretend to understand this section. The war on Iraq was a war of choice for reasons that the Administration didn't go into. But that's OK, b/c despite our size and our inability to lose to anyone in that patch, we couldn't risk informing our citizens of our reasons. Hail Democracy! (You know, the normal process is to get the word out to relevant parties that there actually is some thought going on in the Administration, despite the face it shows to the public; see, e.g., your description of Kerry supporters shoring up those worried about his purported trade policy). By the way, remind me of precisely how clear it is that we didn't get played by Iran and Chalibi into doing Iran's bidding for it?

As far as our inability to conquer a small nation - are your kidding? The conquering part of the war took all of, what, seven days? You, me, and any three of your commenters could have led the US military to victory. The after-the-war part has been harder, in no small part b/c we aren't set up to be an imperial army (which apparently you want), and we can't justify the requisite anger or fear necessary to put the 600,000+ Iraqi bodies in the ground that will be necessary (using Japanese WWII figures) to make them compliant.

5. Given that GWB has a presidential record and you've picked him on the basis of that, I assume you'll be disappointed if (a) he doesn't continue in roughly the same direction as he has till now, and (b) he replaces any advisors (excepting Rumsfeld, whose resignation you called for, and Powell, who isn't really a creature of this Administration and who has already indicated that he's leaving). Am I correct? If not, why would you vote for an unknown (a new Bush Administration) with a bad record over an unknown (Kerry) with no record?

In the end, it looks like you prefer the President who will tell you that this is, in fact, the best of all possible worlds and his are the best of all possible decisions, to the one who admits that life is complicated and mistakes will probably be made.

Again, credit for being public about it.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim on October 29, 2004 07:43 PM

It's been said by a few other posters, but

The US easily has the power to invade all Muslim countries simultaneously and win, even if the US didn't use nukes and the one Muslim country that definitely has them (Pakistan) did.

Depending on the amount of resistance put up, between hundreds of thousands and tens of millions of civilians would die though.

The only reason the US doesn't take Fallujah is to avoid civilian casualties. In WWII, the US had no problem carpet bombing my home town of Dueren. That left next to nothing standing, and we are talking 60 year old technology, not what the US military's got available today.

Posted by: Heiko on October 29, 2004 07:45 PM

This is an incredibly well thought out and well written analysis. Admittedly, my observation may be somewhat biased given that I wholeheartedly agree with your ultimate choice.

However, I applaud how thoroughly you evaluated both candidates on such a wide range of issues. Even if you had chosen that 'other guy', I would still have to respect the fact that you based your decision on sound reasoning and not scare tactics.

Posted by: Tony on October 29, 2004 07:45 PM

Right on the money, thanks Megan.

Posted by: craigl on October 29, 2004 08:19 PM

Greetings from an anti-Kerry independent (proof of which can be found daily at my oh-so-neutrally named http://defeatjohnjohn.com/ ). I actually tend to vote for more Democrats than Republicans, but Kerry scares the hell out of me, and we agree on nearly every issue above.

As I've said on my blog, the hatred of Bush by the left has blinded many to the possibility that someone could indeed be a "step down". I deplore "anybody but ____ " politics, especially being in Michigan where the "Anybody but Engler" fanatics got Kevorkian attorney and cokehead lunatic Geoffrey Fieger as the Democratic nominee in 1998. It's not enough to acknowledge that Bush is "bad". You need to analyze and research and study Kerry, to see if he's worthy of the presidency INDEPENDENT of Bush. I did, and found Kerry isn't.

Bush gets the "lesser of 2" argument from me, as well.

Posted by: John Addis on October 29, 2004 08:26 PM

Megan, first of all I would like to congratulate you one of the best and most thoughtful write-ups comparing Kerry and Bush I have seen. Why is it that the media can not deliver quality analysis like this?

Second, I was amazed how closely your take on the "big picture" matches mine. Like you, I am also a libertarian. There is certainly a lot to find fault with when one looks at Bush's positions and to be sure, many of my positions more closely matches Kerry's. At least I think it does, since with Kerry I really don't always know for sure what his positions are. I know what he says they are, but is it really? And that is part of my problem with Kerry.

The simple fact of the matter is that I just don't trust Kerry. I tried to, but I can't. I can go on at length about why that is, but ultimately it boils down to a very strong gut feeling. I think it's largely due to the fact that career politicians have always had that effect on me, and Kerry is a career politician if there ever was one. Still, I won't go as far as saying I absolutely loathe or hate Kerry. Perhaps, outside of the political arena Kerry is an OK guy.

Nonetheless, like you, I have been completely torn. There have been nights that I could not sleep because it was chewing me up. I knew I had to vote. This is too important an election not to. But who? Ultimately what decided it for me is something that may come as a suprise. It was the whole 380 tons of missing explosives issue.

Now, if those explosives were looted someone screwed up and whoever it was should be held responsible. However, it is also true that war is not without error and it is rank stupidity to expect that it will be. The way the media has gone about reporting this story, and almost comically try and blame Bush directly for it, has finally allowed me to realise that there is something even more loathsome in this country than either Bush or Kerry - namely the mainstream media.

I can't stand the media anymore. I can't stand their double standards, their spin, their blatant manipulation of the news for political purposes, even if some of it matches my own opinions. I am amazed at how often I have to go the Internet to get the FACTS on a particular issue! I also think the media is AT LEAST as much responible as Bush for the divisions in this country, if not more. What is alarming though, is that unlike politicians, the media can not be held accountable since they pretty much regulate, congratulate, promote and critique themselves. The only check and balance on media corruption is us, the people. One expects partisanship from politicians, and to some extent from the media, but at at the end of the day, the media has now become so blatantly partisan that it has become a threat to this nation's democratic process. That worries me, probably even more so than any terrorist threat.

So today I voted for George Bush. My vote is not so much for Bush (although in part it is), or against Kerry (although in part it is), as it is a protest vote against the reckless and eletist behaviour of the media. I fear that if Kerry wins this election, the media will take it as a signal that their behaviour is acceptable. Not for me.

Posted by: Misty on October 29, 2004 08:27 PM

"Frankly, I think that the differences between the candidates are like night and day and can't for the life of me see what people find worthy of their confidence or vote in John Kerry."

Mee too. I can't understand the long soul searching.

Kerry is such a horrible candidate.
No one who supports him, not even Democrats, have any ONE good word to say for him because there isn't anything positive in him. His backers cite a long list of true or imaginary Bush failures as arguments, but no arguments based on Kerry record or proven positions or capabilities. They fail to see that on every issue, no matter how bad Bush acted, Kerry is worse.
(Of course - if you're a liberal-leftie-peacenik, Kerry is the better candidate, on the issues).

Posted by: Jacob on October 29, 2004 08:33 PM

All I can say is: Jane Galt for President!

Galt/Dreck 2008! (Er, if Jane will be at least 35 in four years time...)

Shortly after the election, it will become more and more clear what a disaster GWB has been (either b/c Kerry will make the relevant documents publicly available

Sorry, but I don't think "Farenheit 9/11: The Director's Cut" counts as a "relevant document".

or b/c the media will finally go after Bush with both time and vigor in his second Administration)

Is it really possible that there are people who really, truly think the MSM has been too easy on Bush? Are the trumped-up stories, the fake documents, the sneering anchor(wo)men not enough? What's it going to take, Dan Rather walking onto the set of "The CBS Evening News" with a shotgun bellowing, "I'm takin' down that nasty varmint Bush! Now who's with me...?!"

And if you're this ticked-off now, Dim, just wait four more days...

Posted by: RMc on October 29, 2004 08:37 PM

"I think that the greatest revelation of the Iraq war has been that we lack the military force to invade a smallish country with terrain that provides easy surveillence and movement."

We do not lack the military force to invade and defeat an opposing army. We lack the manpower to *pacify* a population effectively. Those are two very distinct things, requiring very different force structures.

Posted by: Mike Mangum on October 29, 2004 08:42 PM

The marriage analogy actually doesn't map very well to the current situation, because we HAVE to "marry" one of the two candidates. Which is unfortunate, because I really don't want to marry either one.

You've probably convinced me to cast a futile Bush vote in California, though, when previously I was going to sit out the election.

Posted by: Dog of Justice on October 29, 2004 08:52 PM

I'm unconvinced by anti-war people screaming about screw-ups in the early weeks of the war, including the latest explosives flap. As a project manager, I know too well that when you operate in a tight time frame, no matter how much you plan, nothing goes according to plan. Something comes out of left field and makes half your planning obsolete, and the other half irrelevant.

I was somewhat pro-war, and I was screaming about the screw-ups in the early weeks of the war when they were happening.

The Iraq war - waged as it was by the Bush administration - has been counterproductive.

We've managed to put untold thousands of tons of war materiel in the hands of terrorists and enemy countries, perhaps including nuclear equipment.

Who's been fired? As a project manager does that not indicate a severe management problem?

For another example of a severe management problem, look into the flu vaccine shortage. Despite all the spin, the FDA is clearly at fault.

Now, you want to give this same team four more years?

In four more years, what other things will they do wrong?

You might also want to look ahead to 2005 and 2006. Al Qaqaa is just the tip of the iceberg. Bad news about how we handled Iraq and other things will probably start coming out as people have no need to be silent. Books and articles will be written, perhaps even hearings will be held. This will end up harming the Republican party, perhaps for several years to come.

I note that homeland security wasn't mentioned above. Many people say they're voting for Bush because they think he's going to keep them safe.

At the same time, thousands of illegal aliens stream over our borders each day. Some of them are from Middle Eastern countries. Some of those might be terrorists. Thousands of Middle Eastern illegal aliens have been released into the U.S. because there was not enough jail space. The DHS told Congress they had no idea how many of them might be terrorists.

Bush not only refuses to take the steps necessary to secure our borders, he encourages further illegal immigration. That makes the job of the Border Patrol that much more difficult, making it harder to stop potential terrorist infiltration.

Do you still think Bush is keeping you safe?

Bush seems to have made the decision that cheap labor is more important than homeland security. Are you willing to make that same choice?

You just glanced over Civil Liberties. People getting kicked out of Bush rallies because they're just standing there wearing T-shirts saying "Protect our Civil Liberties"? C'mon. This is supposed to be America, and that's not an American act.

Without Bush, the Republicans could return to protecting our Civil Liberties and fighting any attempts by Democrats to infringe them. With Bush, the pro-American Republicans are forced to stand down.

What about using a terrorist attack to gain votes. Doesn't that give you the slightest qualms? What other countries have they done things like that in? Do you support mailings featuring several pictures of the burning WTC towers? If that causes people to vote for Bush, can't we then say that WTC has benefited Bush? At what point in time do reasonable people repudiate such Third World tactics?

I'd also suggest looking into Bush's guest worker plan. That's a Bush failure-in-the-making that could drive wages for millions of previously higher-wage jobs down near the minimum wage.

The Bush guest worker plan would be "non-sector specific", and would include "nurses, teachers, high-tech workers" and others. And, there would be no wage-related restrictions other than the minimum wage. It's truly an obscene plan, and I don't think it's unfair to characterize it as an unamerican plan as well.

As for Kerry, he's a Democrat. But, if you vote for divided government the Republicans will be able to keep him on the straight and narrow. And, they'll be able to do that without "compassionate conservatism" dragging them down.

I strongly encourage everyone to look back over the last four years, and then think ahead. Do we really want four more years of this? I personally think four more years of Bush would be very damaging to America.

Up until a couple months ago I was at least a Kerry detractor and a Bush supporter by default. Now, I realize that any downsides to a Kerry presidency would be dwarfed by the downsides of another Bush try at things. I'm personally offended by many of the planks of the Democratic platform, but, once again, those fade into relative insignificance when faced with what would likely happen under Bush.

Please, do as much research as possible, you might end up supporting Kerry instead.

Posted by: The Lonewacko Blog on October 29, 2004 09:00 PM

Jane - does one shake the hand of a libertarian, or is it a hug? In any event, thanks for the clarity.

Posted by: Rita F. Mattingly on October 29, 2004 09:02 PM

Jane Galt for President? No, Megan McArdle for my girlfriend!

Great piece, lefty.

Posted by: MGCC on October 29, 2004 09:05 PM

A very well-thought-out, reasoned approach. I applaud that, even though I thoroughly disagree with you.

Three points to consider:

1) You haven't even discussed the way that the Bush administration conducts policy, which is, in my view, one of the most terrifying parts of the whole Bush II experience. Discount the fact that the president is, by his own admission, an uncurious man who is surrounded by yes-men; this administration has repeatedly shown that they have a culture of knowing the conclusion first and then looking for evidence to support their answer, rather than doing what most folks have been doing since the Enlightenment--start with the evidence and then drawing conclusions from the evidence.

2) Re: Supreme Court. Bush has all but said that he would appoint judges who are anti-abortion (that's what that whole "Dred Scott" comment in one of the debates was about); not only would they gleefully overturn Roe, but there's a very real possibility that they'd state that the fetus has a constitutionally protected right-to-life, effectively banning abortion at the federal level. When push comes to shove, are those judges more wedded to states' rights or more wedded to their causes? A quick look at the reasoning in Bush v. Gore might answer that question for you.

3) Osama bin Laden! Good buddy! Long time no see!

Posted by: Frankenstein on October 29, 2004 09:18 PM

you say you want to hang with the man who did not fight our enemeies when Kerry did and
then say you want to be with the one who fights.
Can you say "OXYMORON"?


The Environment: Kerry wins by a hair here?
Sure ! Sierra club almost thought of endorsing Bush.


Education: Bush by a landslide. The Democrats
Do you even know who is fighting unions in LA?
or pushes Charter schools and the pbulic likes no vouchers?
Can you say "CLueless"!

Health Care: In a normal year, I'd look at
The Kerry plan does not qualify half the families in America for Medicaid!
"Can you say another LIE!"

The Supreme Court: Bush. A number of commenters
Libertarian does = Liberty which is PRO choice
Can you say "disingenous"?


The Economy I don't think the president has fiscal policy set by exec brach does have something to do with econome
Can you say "I Failed Economics"?

Tax policy: George Bush. Not because I'm one of
Can you say "1 Million dollar and up estate tax exemption?"


Poverty policy Liberals will scream, but George
Can you say "Lie about former welfare moms"?


Entitlements George Bush. For all the hysteria,
Can you say "not collapsing"

Civil Liberties Neither. I used to think that
Can you say "my friend is a drug dealer"

Can you say "15,000 dead iraqis including babies for a wrong Idead"


Ambassador Galbraith is not an anti-war screamer

and can you say "CHile/Canada 30 day idea"

Posted by: n werle on October 29, 2004 09:22 PM

Here's another anti-Kerry independent. I can not tolerate his opportunistic lying.
As has already been stated, we are more than capable of successfully invading and defeating an opposing army but it's a whole nother matter to administer another country - especially one which has in advance prepared for a major counter-insurgency (which just happens to be abetted by an influx of jihadists).
As you point out, many countries in the Middle East are being much more effective in combatting Al Queda in their countries and helping us with intelligence. Do you really believe that would have happened without our invasion of Iraq?
Yes, we are disliked (hated) by many countries but they disliked us before and will dislike us for as long as they are not being threatened themselves and need us to protect them.

Posted by: oldefogey on October 29, 2004 09:26 PM

Outstanding. I think this is nearly a perfect summary. Like a Vulcan mind-meld.

My own analysis (limited to 600 words by my local newspaper):

In peacetime elections the candidates� domestic policy positions matter most to me: particularly regarding spending, trade, federalism and civil liberties. On these issues George Bush has been disappointing. John Kerry promises me that he would be at least as disappointing.

Disappointment abounds: Kerry�s ambivalence on the 2nd Amendment, Bush�s cynical Amendment defining marriage; Kerry�s promise to add billions to health-care spending, Bush already having done it; Kerry supporting such economically devastating and ludicrously ineffective environmentalism as the Kyoto Treaty, Bush signing Campaign Finance Reform.

Domestically, John Bush and George W. Kerry lead mirror-image political parties whose entitlement-laden pandering promotes divisiveness and disinterest, reminiscent of the closing scene in Orwell�s Animal Farm.

In peacetime, this undifferentiated statism should prompt everyone to boycott the election.

This is not peacetime. We are at war; fighting a global alliance of barbarian states and Islamofascist fanatics to whom classical liberalism is anathema.

We are not fighting a �war on terrorism�, or �war in Iraq�. We are fighting for civilization itself, and this war was declared on us decades ago.

The enemy includes Hamas suicide-bombers, Hezbollah thugs, Baathist executioners, al-Qaeda murderers, and other Jihadists too numerous to mention. They receive aid and comfort from gangster countries for which mass graves, child murder and enforced female illiteracy are policy instruments. Sudan, Chechnya, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya are, or have been culpable, and this is hardly an exhaustive list.

We are also culpable. We sleepwalked through 25 years of this war by failing to respond effectively to dozens of attacks; from the Iran hostage crisis to the first World Trade Center bombing.

After 9-11 we chose to stop waiting for the next attack. We seized the initiative in places like Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan and Iraq. Now we are wrecking Jihadist hatcheries worldwide.

Iraq, John Kerry says frequently, is the �the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.�

He has the wrong ideas.

Wrong war?

Those who have repeatedly murdered our countrymen and stated their goal to destroy us don�t think so. What atrocity do they have to commit to get Senator Kerry to consider a war �right�?

Wrong place?

Would the Senator prefer to fight in New York? Iraq is but one front in this war and it is hardly the �wrong place�. While the 9-11 commission called ties between Saddam and al-Qaeda �real, but shadowy�, an al-Qaeda connection has never been necessary to justify invading Iraq. Saddam�s sheltering of Abu Nidal and Abu al-Zarqawi, a decade of shooting at our forces enforcing UN sanctions, and his financing of suicide-bombers place him squarely in the Islamofascist alliance.

Wrong time?

Shall we accept further decades of casualties?

Kerry�s words also imply that the �wrong country� is carrying the load. Of that I ask: If not us, who?

Sometimes John Kerry says he would seek victory in Iraq, sometimes he says he would not. Sometimes he votes for funding our troops and sometimes against. He calls the war a bigger mistake than his own vacillation. Kerry�s dual mistake, then, is that his ill-considered words accurately describe his deplorable record.

Kerry�s continuing mental stalemate always involves elaborate qualification; as if nuance matters to those who behead handcuffed aid-workers and shoot children in the back, as if these cowards might desist could we just get the French to let the UN intervene.

Recognizing the Jihadist threat is prerequisite to mustering the will to defend, literally, civilization. Senator Kerry can�t even distinguish the threat between one �position� and the next.

Whatever his domestic failings, George Bush understands the nature of this war. He will get my vote.


Posted by: Hawat on October 29, 2004 09:35 PM

Does it matter? There's a pretty compelling argument to be made that the Bush administration has screwed up so badly that it's practically impossible that the Kerry team could be worse. I have two problems with this argument. The first is that the people who've been making it to me mostly hated Bush before Iraq, before 9/11, and indeed before he got the Republican Party's 2000 nomination.

Sorry, but that's not a refutation of the argument. That's ad hominem. It irks me because there are many people out there who are former Bush supporters making the case against Bush's competence. I myself can't claim to be a Bush supporter, but I definitely didn't hate him before 9/11. In 2000 I voted for Nader, thinking that Bush and Gore were roughly equal in qualifications. As a liberal, Bush's record in the first two years of office were not thrilling to me, but neither could I muster up any strong feelings or arguments that he was a bad president. I think the point at which I decided I was likely to vote Democratic in '04 was when there were no WMDs found in Iraq, and the justification for invading kept changing to suit Bush's re-election needs. Even now I can't say that I *hate* Bush per se, I simply don't like what he's done as President. From what I've seen of John Kerry, Kerry will be a suitable replacement, and I'm happy to have voted for him already.

So if you can't listen to the argument from people whom you stereotype as "Bush-haters," take it from me, or from Sully, or from whomever else you want, but the argument still stands.

As for your second problem with the argument, you can be assured John Kerry will not bail on Iraq. There is simply nothing to be gained from it, not in terms of international prestige, not in terms of American power, and not in terms of appeasing the 33% of his party who would welcome such a move.

Posted by: Hector on October 29, 2004 09:39 PM

I think I'm in love.

Well, maybe it's just that I think I'm becoming a libertarian.

maybe that's the same thing and I just don't realize it.

Posted by: moflicky on October 29, 2004 10:03 PM

There are many silly statements in your piece such as; "I'd be in heaven with nine Clarence Thomases on the bench." Thomas is a small minded Scalia groupie that NEVER talks during cases in fear of revealing his limited scope. If there were nine of him he would have no one to mimic and the would never be a decision. Of course you could be one of those who think that the court his holding back the Executive branch.

Another is "I'm pretty sure we're making terrorist recruiting easier. But I'm not as sure as anti-war types that this makes us less secure."

This is laughable,so although we have increased resentment around the world therefore increasing the amount of people that want to kill us we aren't in more danger.

I guess there is some set of logical gymnastics that can reframe this into a sensible argument but they escape me.

SO you're a Bush voter huh? Imagine that!

Posted by: Joseph F Stafura on October 29, 2004 10:07 PM

Jeebus. You people are insane. It is my solemn hope that everyone who votes Red (excepting Jane and Mindles, as consideration for their great blog) ends up being forced by necessity to live in a Red state, so that in some minimal fashion accountability is brought back into the equation.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim on October 29, 2004 10:08 PM

wow, read about half the comments.

Summarization follows:

Megan, your analysis has spawned a minimum of 5 lengthy discourses either reputing your charactarization, or debating the situations you describe.... symptom of a very good post, very bad for my time management.

btw, I agree with your final decision and much of your logic, but some of your characterizations or perceptions of reality are in conflict with mine. Only an idiot criticizes someone who votes like him, thinks like him, but doesnt see like him, so in the hopes that I can avoid being an idiot, I wont focus on our conflict in perceptions.

I do agree with Eric Dreamer to a degree, but I still enjoyed this post, not only for the structure of your presentation, or the content, but for their effect on the public discourse, all the ripples from the pebble hitting the water and becoming a tsunami on another coast kinda things...


I have many emotions right now, mainly anxiety that Bush will lose due to media manipulation or cheating. Your post strikes a note of hope that most people from very different circumstances than mine are seeing basically the same patterns and arent biased by regional media/geographical biases or demographics.

Thanks

Posted by: Joel Mackey on October 29, 2004 10:08 PM

Jane,

I realize that you will likely never read this, given the mammoth growth of this thread, but I was curious about your statement concerning poverty policy. You didn't actually cite any examples of Republican efforts to reduce poverty -- no proposals, policies, or bills. I appreciate that an education policy must be part of any poverty policy, but is there anything else you can actually point to? Who are the Republicans (in office or in think tanks) you find to be really worked up about eradicating poverty? How do they feel healthcare policy relates to a poverty policy?

Anon

Posted by: Anon on October 29, 2004 10:37 PM

Bush's military adventurism in Iraq represents a failure of imagination in foreign policy, not proof of it. In light of the intense animosity we have generated in the region, the worst consequences of Bush's "quagmire" most likely have yet to unfold. We've been here before, when we needed to "stay the course" in Vietnam lest the dominoes tumble and the world be overtaken by Communism. Next thing we hear from the Bush camp will be that there is "light at the end of tunnel." Perhaps we need to have a statement of goals that will either let us ascertain when we have achieved victory or when further loss of life is pointless. However, if Bush really has made a ghastly mistake, he should not be allowed to persist in it for another four years.

On the home front, the consistent thread in Bush's policy has been to consolidate his base by institutionalizing increasing wealth for the wealthiest Americans. This is not what America is or ought to be about.

Why does it make sense to argue that since both parties are bad on civil liberties, it does not matter if the Republicans are worse?

Who seriously thinks that Bush the Texas oilman would support emissions taxes?

Bush was a mistake. Let's not repeat it.

Posted by: Bill Day on October 29, 2004 10:51 PM

So NCLB has made all the right "enemies?" Interesting language! Why stop there? Secretary Page has called teachers "terrorists." Keep blaming the teachers and their unions, and don't look at any other causes.
As an example, the 25+ year old IDEA (Disabilities Education Act)has worked brilliantly, hasn't it?.....federal mandates with inadequate federal funding creating legal and financial chaos in local school districts for three decades. We need more federal mandates like NCLB, I guess.
Raising the minimum wage is a "moderately bad idea?" Try surviving on the current minimum wage for a year without access to any savings, and then repeat your statement. Again, you appear to think Bush's NCLB will be the silver bullet for the working poor. Whether one agrees with the specifics of NCLB, stressing high standards for achievement in all schools is the right way to go. However, you seem to believe we all have average or above average intelligence and,once those high academic standards are met, we will all have good jobs and terrific wages. That is just naive, elitist, and disconnected. The bell curve for intelligence distribution still applies as far as I know. We now have and will continue to have less capable people working low-end, low-paying jobs. Please take off the ideological blinders, and show some humanity toward the working poor by supporting an increase in the minimum wage.

Posted by: Tom W on October 29, 2004 10:59 PM

Would the Senator prefer to fight in New York?

Why is Bush increasing the chances of terrorist attacks in New York and other cities?

Let's say we were able to magically completely seal the borders of the United States tomorrow. Wouldn't that make terrorist attacks much less likely?

On the other hand, let's say we disbanded the Border Patrol. Wouldn't that make terrorist attacks much more likely?

So, we see we have a bit of a continuum, right? The closer we get to completely open borders, the less safe we are. The closer we get to completely closed borders, the more safe we are.

Under Bush, we're a lot closer to open borders than we are to closed borders.

Now, assume you faithfully read the papers and you're quite familiar with this issue.

The only conclusion you can draw is that Bush has made the decision that cheap labor is more important than your safety.

Once again: Are you willing to make that choice?

(In case you doubt anything in the foregoing, here's a short example: [Rep. Tom] Tancredo [R-CO] Stunned by White House Maneuver to Exclude Key Immigration Component of Intelligence Bill. Endless examples are available in my Immigration categories. Some might not care about "immigration" or have a reflexive reaction when they hear the word, but since most people claim to care about homeland security, I'd suggest that everyone should read up on the issue and consider how it could affect them.)

Posted by: The Lonewacko Blog on October 29, 2004 11:26 PM

SomeCallMeTim,

Thanks for the blessing you wished for us! I certainly would enjoy it coming true for the area in which I live. Let's all work to make it come true. ^_^

Sincerely yours,
S.P.M.

Posted by: Small Pink Mouse on October 29, 2004 11:31 PM

Points I dispute-

There isnt enough of a difference in education policy for either candidate to win by a landslide. The primary difference between Kerry and Bush is that Kerry wants to fully fund no child left behind, and wants to spend more on Pell Grants. If you have a problem with the teachers union in your area, its best addressed at the local level.

I have read nothing that suggested Kerrys health plan will place half the population on Medicade. Kerrys health care package exists in the framework already present today, you still choose your medical provider, and there is not a creation of another large governmental agency.

Your view of the Supreme Court is very far right. Im not that concerned with abortion, but Im very, very troubled by the way this Supreme Court ruled in the Sierra Club lawsuit. The Cheney/DOE/Enron minutes should have been made public. The fact this Supreme Court ruled that there was no violation of seperation of powers in ordering Clintons deposition in a civil case, yet then ruled in Favor of Cheneys combination of executive privledge and seperation of powers argument vs the Sierra Club is very inconsistant. The Supreme Court is far to conservative now, I wouldnt put it past jr to nominate Ashcroft when a seat is available.

On the economy, this the first President to have lost jobs since the great depression. His tax cut had about a tenth of the effect on job creation he claimed it would. Those tax cuts in the face of 911, two very expensive wars, dept of Homeland Defense, drugs for Seniors, etc, was complete lunacy. He promised balanced budgets, we got trillions in debt instead.

Seventy percent of the population of the US have no college degree. The full on free trade with nearly any country is a disaster for them. I know, they need more education, problem is there are already a huge amount of college graduates underemployed.

Bushs tax policy was called Voodoo economics by his father. You want to talk about flip flops? Consider what the debt hawks in the rep congress led by Newty thought then, to what they think now. P Oneil said, "Bush told me Reagan proved debt doesnt matter."

Bushs Social Security "plan" doesnt even claim to fix SS. Its hugely expensive, risky, and doesnt even claim to fix it. I'll tell you what Kerry wont, we are going to have to increase withholding alot, and we are going to have to push the retirement age back.

I have no clue why you seperate tax policy from the budget. Its as if you think they are independent of each other. Ohhh, I forgot, we're in Bush world.

Your thoughts on the war in Iraq are very flawed. In war, middle managers that make mistakes get people killed. We went into Iraq with about half the soldiers we needed to secure Iraq. The borders and many of the massive ammo depots are still unsecured, and thats a minor mistake in planning? Further, there was no "tight time frame", the UN inspectors were in Iraq, and Saddam was cooperating. The Bush policy in Iraq has had a positive effect on Syria and Libya? Syria and Saudi Arabia are funding the Iraqi insurgency, Libya is plotting assassinations, Iran and NK are flipping off the entire world, Pakistan is the worlds largest nuke proliferator, and along with SA export more terror then the rest of Islam combined.

There was no great military revalation in Iraq. We have been in post cold war downsizing of our military for over ten years, the idea was we blow them up, then NATO and the UN do the nation building. We failed in the occupation because we had about half the troops we needed. This administration dealt with the occupation planning the exact same way they dealt with Iraq Intell, they threw out anything that altered their war plan.

You completely slander Kerrys character and take the position stupid and resolute is better then intelligent and fluid in a changing enviroment. The fact is that when Kerry was killing people in Vietnam, Bush was being a cheerleader. The fact that you dont recognize that this war was a real bad idea thats only gotten worse is incredible. Alleli himself said Kerry would be at least jrs equal, and the fact that Alleli is the guy that alerted the IEAE to the missing explosives in Al Quaqua says volumes about how he thinks Bush is handling things in Iraq. Everyone should think about the debates before you vote, and consider which candidate you would rather have speak for you.

Posted by: Begbee on October 29, 2004 11:47 PM

No wonder America is in a world of hurt. As I read all these posts here from warm, kind-hearted sounding people yet so completely clueless of what is right and wrong or what is truly important to us who live in a complex world. How can any one who is somewhat decent can vote for Bush? Does a lying-president mean anything to you people? What lies justify sending thousands of our youngmen to death in a foreign country? You think "getting up in the morning and go kill a few terrorists" sounds like fun. I wonder if this is what some people mean "support our troops". You should go to the battleground and fight the war yourself. Don't sit in front of your computer and blog about it. This is truly scary time to read what you people really care about or really value in a president. May God bless us all and you wake up in time.

Posted by: Pasha vanzoe on October 29, 2004 11:50 PM

I hope you find yourself in an overwhelming
majority 11/3.

SCMTim ... I have lived in both and reside in
red now. YOU are the one cursed to reside in
blue.

Posted by: Steel Turman on October 29, 2004 11:54 PM

The more blogs I read, the more the MSM look like a bunch of chimps, no offense to the chimps out there.
And Hollywood with a few brilliant exceptions wouldn't even make that cut.

Posted by: AST on October 30, 2004 12:07 AM

Megan,

I apologize for disrupting all the adulation, but I found the piece insufferable; turgid, at best. I guess I am just not that complex, and find myself thanking God for it. The item might better be entitled "Politics For The Pompously Over-Cerebral."

The dichotomy of positions for someone claiming to be libertarian gave me a cognitive dissonance to the point of nausea. By all means, let's "mitigate the adverse affects [sic] of the tax code on capital formation" unless you're just some poor slob who drives a car, in which case let's tax the tailpipe off you.

The belief that one must admit one's mistakes in the political arena is somewhere between maudlin, cloying tripe and a supreme, media-Democrat complex trap. No good could come of this, even for a Democrat, but certainly for a Republican. First, this isn't group therapy, and "politics ain't beanbag," forgive the cliche'. Second, the only thing that would be burned into the publics' mind for weeks on end in the legacy media would be the "mistake" aspect, and not the "apology." Although I am sure that a sensitive woman such as yourself rushing to the man's defense on such a matter in this well-read blog would change everything! Finally, just because you think something is a mistake does not mean everyone else, or certainly that he does. To use your own verbiage, this does not make Bush a "drooling moron."

You came to the correct conclusion, in my view, but I can't help but recall the saying that "even a blind pig finds an acorn once in awhile." Occam is crying in his grave.

May your tortured soul find peace,
and best regards

Posted by: Keith on October 30, 2004 12:24 AM

As an independent conservative & fellow New Yorker, I can identify with the dilemma you eloquently outlined above.Jorge Wilfredo Bush's refusal to stem the tide of illegal immigration as well as his reluctance to curb government spending had alienated me at times during this campaign year. Yet ultimately Bush's unyielding core beliefs combined with John Kerry's widely publicized duplicitous nature, has begrudgingly swayed me to vote Bush in this upcoming election. I cannot fathom Clinton retreads regaining the reins of foreign policy if Kerry is elected. It is crystal clear to the average citizen that opinion polls cannot guide foreign policy. You hit the nail right on the head when you stated that,"They (Democrats)bug out at the first sign of casualties, and go in only when the foe is so tiny that we can smash them without committing ground troops." Over the last 34 years, Democrats have undergone a process of emasculation when it comes to taking decisive military action. It seems they are paralyzed by the fears of the past. Call it post-Vietnam syndrome. Give me the Riverboat gambler George Bush and his grandiose plans of democratization in the turbulent Middle East. This is a high stakes game and history can only be the true judge of his legacy. For our sake, I hope he is right.

Posted by: Chris From LI on October 30, 2004 01:06 AM

Its very easy to justify a war from a recliner, a lot of people who support Bush might change their minds if they truly understood the suffering our macho posturing causes. Everything has a price, and one day we will have to pay it. I fear the cost of our arrogance will be high.
I sincerely hope I am wrong

Posted by: Simon on October 30, 2004 01:27 AM

Jane,
A well-reasoned piece (I would expect no less from you), but I can't agree. Three reasons in particular:

The deficit does matter. One of the problems with economics is that it doesn't do as good a job of predicting when things will happen as it does the what. In the late 1990s, we knew there was an equity bubble. The question was when it would pop, not if. At some point, the consequences of the deficit will be large and painful. They may not start next year, and they may not start in the next five years, but they will get here. Kerry will at least commit to the obvious fact that taxes must, sooner or later, go up.

Of the total amount spent on non-elective health care in the US, roughly 58% is paid for by government at some level: federal, state or local. This includes not just programs like Medicare, but the insurance premiums for government employees and for those who work on government contracts, and in the form of foregone taxes (businesses are allowed to pay employees' premiums with pre-tax rather than post-tax dollars). Socialized medical care in the US is here, we just do it badly. I think we have a better chance of straightening it out under Kerry than Bush.

Finally, a vote for the Presidential candidate is also a vote for their party. At a national level, the Republicans appear to have abandoned most of the principles that I used to find attractive in them. At a state level (Colorado), the Republicans have demonstrated that they would rather get their tax rebates than have public support for higher education. At this time, I find that I personally have fewer reasons to vote against the Democrats than to vote against the Republicans.

Now, if you were to decide to start a third party based on centrist positions -- a little right of center, a little left of center, I don't care -- I would be happy to line up behind you.

Posted by: Michael Cain on October 30, 2004 01:37 AM

It's funny-I agree with most of what you've written, yet I never had serious doubts about voting for Bush. Kerry simply isn't a credible alternative on terrorism, trade, taxes, the deficit, abortion, etc. I still maintain the Dems should've picked someone like Lieberman who was unequivocally for the Iraq war. Some of their base would've slipped to Nader, but most would've stayed home, and Bush's biggest issue would've been neutralized.

Posted by: John Salmon on October 30, 2004 02:04 AM

I'd beg to differ with the folks who said, Ho hum--not like there's any chance of NY going for Bush. While true enough, that misses the point that, especially after last time, a clear popular victory will cut some of the legs out from under the inevitable whining about legitimacy.

Posted by: Kirk parker on October 30, 2004 02:19 AM

Very Fair. Very Real. Very Funny. Very Insightful. Too bad there's no political strategist smart enough to have you read this over still photos as the final Bush ad to undecideds.
I love your genuine logic, fears, angers, thought processes. I want to find a way to use it in my 8th grade history class. By the way are you single? I get back to NY for the holidays! ... (would move back in a NY minute for the right woman.)

Posted by: TeacherJoeInLA on October 30, 2004 03:03 AM

Bush supporter? Have you recited the Bush Pledge yet?

See One Nation Under Bush:

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.�"I want you to stand, raise your right hands," and recite "the Bush Pledge," said Florida state Sen. Ken Pruitt. The assembled mass of about 2,000 in this Treasure Coast town about an hour north of West Palm Beach dutifully rose, arms aloft, and repeated after Pruitt: "I care about freedom and liberty. I care about my family. I care about my country. Because I care, I promise to work hard to re-elect, re-elect George W. Bush as president of the United States."

I want to assure you that there's very little comparison between that pledge and the one mentioned here.

Posted by: The Lonewacko Blog on October 30, 2004 03:25 AM
First, he is a TRAITOR. No other word fits, for his disgusting behavior following his return from the Vietnam theater. Meeting with the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese in Paris (multiple times) WHILE STILL AN OFFICER IN THE NAVY, is nothing but TREASON.

That ALONE ought to be reason enough. Congratulations on making your decision.

STAY TUNED...he's going to get OUTED on his not honorable discharge on Sunday, at a rally on the Capitol steps.

Posted by: Beth on October 30, 2004 03:49 AM

I just thought I'd say about these two candidates, that they are both reasonable men. They are both strong men, and both men who will do what they can to protect our country and its people.

I know that may seem unreal to some people. I mean, it seems unreal to me. There are certain catastrophes happening that I would hate to see continue for another four years, and many things that I would like to see that won't happen if President Bush is re-elected.

But I imagine that President Bush's supporters could reassure me that those calamities aren't as bad as they seem, and that he does have a good plan for protecting the U.S. from terrorists.

For my part, as a supporter of John Kerry's bid for the presidency, let me reassure President Bush's supporters that John Kerry as President will not mean the end of life as you know it.

I do wish that among these candidates there was a moderate, someone who would never be supported by the radicals that control the primaries and the party money, someone who would build a true bipartisan coalition and stop the fearmongering that consumes American politics--fear that the conservatives will take away the right to choose or that the liberals will take away guns and rip apart the moral fabric of our nation. There wasn't a John McCain figure in the Democratic primary process this time around, which is too bad. And why would there be, after all, since it's so difficult to make it through the primaries without following the party line. That is my regret, that either candidate will claim total victory over our country, that these parties will continue to tear us apart for their own purposes, that one half of our population will feel like they're being punched in the stomach for the next four years.

It's not all that serious, really, it doesn't hurt, but it's some equivalent. We can't ever like the other guy. The way that conservatives felt about Clinton, and liberals feel about Bush. It seems so foreign to our standing as countrymen, as citizens, and as humans. I'd hoped that feeling--haivng countrymen--was going to stick around after 9/11. That would've been a good thing.

Thank you.

Posted by: Bob on October 30, 2004 05:46 AM

Megan

Ok, ok...so I remain a frog. Warts and all, here is a bit of commentary on where we agree, disagree a bit and holding out the smallest, faintest hope of yet becoming a prince.


The Environment: Kerry wins by a hair here.

I believe Kerry is an opportunist who doesn't live the life of someone committed to environmental issues. For all his "do as I say" proclamations, he shows no signs of doing anything other than pandering to a constituency on the issue. This is more dangerous because it could lead to ANY decision, including dunderheaed and disastrous ones.

For all the "labeling" that gets done, President Bush has actually endorsed some fairly level headed ideas surrounding fuel cell/hydrogen usage. Cautious, but not other-worldy, pie in the sky type intitiatives. Separate out the mouthfoaming rhetoric and what we find is that President Bush has moved cautiously forward, not backward on this issue. Kerry is, as usual all over the map, in one of his SUV's.


Education: Bush by a landslide. The Democrats are simply too hostage to the teacher's unions to be even marginally credible on education: any attempts to reform the system end up being captured by the unions, and do little more than funnel extra money into teachers' pockets. (An approach I'm all in favour of if it gets us better results, which so far it manifestly hasn't). I'd prefer that Bush go farther, with vouchers for example, but I've been pleasantly surprised by NCLB. As Gerard Baker said about Bush, NCLB has made all the right enemies.

Megan, I agree in large part. However, I don't see this as a money issue as much as it is an indoctrination issue. We have to stop using kids as a political football. For some of us, the game is enticing and holds an adrenaline rush. But we need kids to emerge into something better each generation. We can't move forward if we are stuck in a time warp wanting to hold the clock back 40 years. Kids should be out of bounds as a political issue. Perhaps I may be naive and Pollyannaish but holding kids hostage to the advancement of crass political agendas is beyond the pale for my tastes.

Health Care: when you've got a plan that would qualify half the families in America for Medicaid, that's what I call a government takeover of the healthcare system.


Socialized medicine, what less could you want? The myth about "access to quality medical care" being IMPROVED by socialized medicine, is the modern day equivalent of Dr. John's Magical Elixir. In the left's inexorable march toward Euro-Canadian socialism, this would be the coup de gras. Want to destroy free market meritocracy?

First grab ALL the vehicles that form public opinion, (film and entertainment/pop culture, news disbursement especially in large cities,, educational facilities, especially higher education. Marginalize and isolate ANY opposing viewpoint. Hold education hostage at lower levels through union activities, socialize medicine, tax til you drop. Create an "us vs them" society where the "bottom" half BLAMES the top half of income earners. Class warfare is good. Racial warfare or ethnic warfare is better. Drumbeat on these issues must be relentless, perpetual, incessant. Divide the house against itself and keep the divisions permanent and issues divisive. Ridicule each and every solution. Remember always...the important issue isn't whether there is truly an "us"...the imperative is that there exists a perception that there is a "them". When that perception is cemented, it will never again matter what the truth is on the issues. Anything said against "them" will be believed. No lie will be too transparent, no suppression of evidence will be too naked. The mere perception that a "them" exists, does all the work. The world's only perfect self-perpetuating/perpetual motion machine. A rumor mill that feeds off itself.


Posted by: unboiled frog on October 30, 2004 07:27 AM

Been reading you since you were at the WTC. You introduced me to blogs. This piece is your best yet, and you have always been the best. I agree with almost all of your analysis, but disagree with your conclusion. I'll vote for Kerry. You acted on the advice of your friend's grandmother about not believing a man who promises that he will change; but, Jeez, Bush has screwed up things (Iraq, the deficit) so badly and promises no change or even a realization that he has screwed up. Doesn't that scare you?

Posted by: Jim Linnane on October 30, 2004 07:37 AM

Great piece, very thoughtful. I'm at 50% "none of the above" and 50% for GWB. But the thing that has me still wavering is his temperament; he genuinely seems to think contingency planning is defeatist. Not in a Colin Powell "exit strategy" way, just "shit happens, better have a Plan B."

I was also, frankly, frightened by what I saw in the first debate; this is not a man used to being challenged, even in the gentlest way.

Put those 2 qualities together and you have a real disaster waiting to happen.

I hate this; maybe I'll write in Lieberman/Cheney - now THAT would be a ticket I could get behind.


Posted by: Tina on October 30, 2004 07:51 AM

Jane,
I believe you have a misconception about the corporate tax bill just enacted. Here's an article in TCS by Kevin Hassett that explains it:

http://www.techcentralstation.com/102204D.html

Key grafs:
"But the economic core of the bill is less mysterious. It consists of three pieces. First, the repeal of an export-related tax provision called FSC/ETI that is incurring 12% tariffs by the European Union for our failure to comply with our World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations. Second, technical tax changes that affect U.S. multinational corporations. Third, a reduction in the corporate tax rate for manufacturing activity. The fourth piece -- most euphemistically described as "other" -- is by far the most discussed.

"The final [fourth] section of the bill is all of the measures that have been treated as legislative candy. Closer inspection, however, reveals that even these smaller provisions are often sensible policies. For example, one provision called for the "temporary suspension of custom duties on certain ceiling fans." I asked around about why this was in there. It turns out that we had protectionist duties protecting U.S. ceiling fan manufacturers. Removing these is sound economics. Looking through the list, fairly often it is the case that the microprovisions actually made similar sense, and could be thought of as housecleaning."

All in all, its nothing like the corporate welfare problem you used as a reason to go against Bush.

Posted by: Liberty Lover on October 30, 2004 09:09 AM

Fellow Demarepulibertarian,

Your reasoning is sound, your still somewhat unsettled stomach is understandable and your decision is correct. For me, it is the issue of risk tolerance that finally tips the scale.

"He who stands at the edge of the precipice and will not go forward, must fall back" This is where we are in history.

Posted by: Jim Alexander on October 30, 2004 09:17 AM

John Kerry for President:

He is a man of impecable integrity and great wisdom. (Great curiosity too).
He is a man of clear vision. He holds clear, consistent and strong views that are the right ones for America.
He is a tested, competent, strong, inspiring leader. He has a rich career of acheivements.
His vision of a UN-France-EU axis of management of world affairs promises a secure and peaceful future for humanity.
He is a strong advocate of US defense, always supporting and voting for US defence programs.
He will seal US borders, and halt ALL illegal immigration. He will uphold US interests in trade negociations.
He will see that all citizens get good health care.
He will save the environment.
He will reduce the deficit.
He will end dependency on foreign oil imports (he himself has explicitly said so!).
He has a plan for every problem.

Kerry for President !!!

(Since no one on this thread had ONE nice word to say for Kerry, I tried to fill the gap in the name of fairness and balance).

Posted by: Jacob on October 30, 2004 09:32 AM

Excellent piece of logic. I came to the same conclusion for about the same reasons. About the only thing I would add is that if the Bush actions in Iraq are successful, we have a chance to see the possibility of real peace in the Middle East. It won�t come soon, hopefully in a couple of generations. But, if there is a stable democratic Iraq, the rest of the countries in the areas will see what kind of prosperity can result under such a system and perhaps force their own countries to change. That would produce an end to Islamic terrorism and I see no other way to accomplish that goal. One needs only look at Israel and its history to see that. Such attacks have been going on in Israel for over half a century and show no sign of ending. For all those who scream about mistakes, I would advise them to study Japan and German occupations after WW II. There were lots of mistakes then and we overcame them. It also took different plans in both countries. Two different cultures required that the plans have differences. Iraq is a different culture and it takes a while to figure out what will work. I would also mention that the occupations lasted more than a couple of years. For those that say we should have planned better, the plans were based on the same wrong intelligence that said there were WMD. Enough said�

Posted by: Fritz Jorgensen on October 30, 2004 09:55 AM

"I think that Iraq was not necessary to the war on terror..."
"I know too well that when you operate in a tight time frame..."

So if the war wasn't necessary, why the tight time frame? Bad judgement perhaps? Rushing in without sufficient thought? Trying to prove how tough we are?? So we start an unnecessary war, rush into it and all hell breaks loose. Great work, with more to come no doubt.

on Abu Graib "...but I do think that when something this bad happens, high heads have to roll"

And it would be whose responsibility to see that those heads did roll? On whose desk does the buck stop?

"I'm sticking with the devil I know"

Stick with the man who had made no mistakes. Brava! But what ever happened to personal responsibility? Isn't that a tenent of the Liberatrian viewpoint? Who in this administration has taken responsibility for anything, ever? Oh, there was one example.

Mission Accomplished!!!!!

Posted by: Mark Stracke on October 30, 2004 09:57 AM

One issue you didn't mention and a pretty central one at that: Bush's approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict vs what we might expect from a Kerry administration. Since the UN is so unabashedly anti-Israel (I can't help but detect a sort of "final solution" -even if toned down- viewpoint emanating from the Muslim world and the American/European political left - as if all our problems would be solved if we simply abandoned our pro-Israel foreign policy) - and given what would surely be heavy UN pandering in a Kerry administration, what would be the ramifications for Israel? Sure Kerry says he would back Israel but given his tendency to blow in the wind who really knows? So people do have to ask themselves whether Bush/Sharon have essentially adopted the right course in isolating Arafat, building the wall, and letting the Palestinians implode from within. As Daniel Pipes has repeatedly pointed out - the Palestinians have to see themselves as defeated decisively for real change to happen. That appears to be happening. I fear that a Kerry administration would prolong the agony. Does all this look ugly in the short run - i.e. Israel/Palestine, Iraq, more apparent vitriole from the Muslim world? Yes of course it does. But is the long term strategy essentially the correct one? I think it is and it seems to me that Bush has both the vision and the guts for the long haul. Kerry has neither.

Posted by: Caroline on October 30, 2004 09:58 AM

Welcome aboard Megan.

Posted by: Starhawk on October 30, 2004 10:02 AM

Jane wrote: "Kerry's record for the first fifteen years in the senate, before he knew what he needed to say in order to get elected, is not the record of anyone I want within spitting distance of the White House war room."

Specifically what about his fifteen years in the Senate do you not like? What do you even know about his fifteen years in the Senate? Would you rather he didn't pursue the Iran-Contra affair? Would you rather he didn't pursue BCCI? And how is this record worse than starting a war in Iraq based on the claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction? It is wrong on principle to start a war based on one very big lie. And whoever does so should be held accountable regardless of how much good that war does.

And regarding "the people who've been making it to me mostly hated Bush before Iraq, before 9/11, and indeed before he got the Republican Party's 2000 nomination" you argument is fallacious. Most of these people were against Bush then because they more informed than John Q. Public who thought that there was no difference between Bush and Gore.

There's not one mention during your entire endorsement about Bush being a serial liar and the real flip-flopper in this campaign. And there's not one mention of the way the Republican party has behaved in Congress. There's not one mention of Bush failing to take responsibility and failing to listen to criticism.

If you think Kerry is a flip-flopper you've pretty much swallowed Republican talking points. In fact everything you say about Kerry in foreign policy comes from Republican talking points.

Equating John Ashcroft with Janet Reno is a joke. Reno did not a Guantanamo make. And you blithely skim over Rumsfeld as though four more years of him wouldn't be a big deal.

In 2008, after four years of a Kerry presidency, I regret that the American public will not be able to look into the alternate universe of what would have happened if Bush had been elected in 2004.

Posted by: Chris Martin on October 30, 2004 10:08 AM

Well done Jane. I am a card carrying Libertarian who is running for 77th Assembly in California. many of my Libertarian friends call me "statist" and "warmonger" because I have endorsed Bush over Badnarik.

Oh well I follow my conscience, your piece is paralell to my own thoughts with minor differances. Well said.

Posted by: MrDaMan on October 30, 2004 10:15 AM

Chris Martin - guess you've forgotten that Kerry supported the Iraq war as did his running mate for the same reasons Bush did. There are endless quotes from the both of them, including rah rahs after the initial invasion and the capturing of Saddam. So forget the Bush Lied spiel. Kerry is clearly the liar here, opportunistically using every military setback to advance his political agenda. It continues today - a few short hours before the election. A few weeks ago Saddam was no threat. There were no weapons of concern. Then it appears that less than 400 tons of weapons are missing compared to +400,000 tons which are secured/destroyed and what - there was a threat after all? Enough, please. I just hope the majority of Americans have the wisdom to see what is going on here.

Posted by: Caroline on October 30, 2004 10:31 AM

Andrew Sullivan claims that voting the Democrats and Kerry into power will force them to "get real" in Iraq.

I disagree with Andrew. He got it backwards, IMO.

The best way for these unserious democrats to "get real" with Iraq (and national security) is for the voters to punish the Democrats on Nov. 2. The bigger the loss -- the better it is for the Democratic party. And it would force them to do some "soul searching" of their own if they want to be taken seriously on National Defense in the future.

But more importantly, a Kerry defeat will also serve as rebuke towards the ridiculously biased and defeatist MSM (NYT, CBS, BBC).

A Kerry victory OTOH, would send the wrong signal. It would mean that their defeatist tactics like calling the Iraq campaign "wrong war, wrong place, wrong time" or a "grand diversion" to undermine our resolve does work. It would mean the tactic of damaging US-Australian relations (weeks before the Aussie election) with Sister Kerry's comments or calling Allawi a puppet are acceptable behavior and Republicans might do well in 2008 by copying Democrats' defeatist tactics.

A victory for Kerry will not necessarily make the democrats more serious on National Security. It is more likely and easier for them to spend most of their time blaming the previous administration on Iraq and leaving the job half done -- than perservering in a war a significant majority of Democrats (9 out of 10 in their convention) don't believe in.

And trusting the anti-war Kerry on the GWOT, who's previous statements and voting record on National security are weak -- is a "leap of faith" I'd rather not take.

Posted by: john marzan on October 30, 2004 10:40 AM

Gee, an informed voter, who has put some thought into the vote she casts. If only the majority of the electorate was as wise.

Posted by: Tom Jones on October 30, 2004 10:54 AM

Dear Megan:

Kudos to you and thanks to Andrew Sullivan's website for directing me to your endorsement.

You echo many of my own feelings. Beyond that, you're one heck of a writer and most important... intellectually honest.

I could spend hours trashing George W. Bush. As a "Big L" Liberal/small "c" conservative/libertarian leaning voter, I have a choice of two viable candidates for the American Presidency: George W. Bush and John F. Kerry. I don't have a third choice of the "perfect" candidate and neither does anyone else reading this. Therefore I see no alternative but to vote for Bush and keep my fingers crossed that if he wins he'll start commit fewer errors than he has in his first term. (Not fighting for his judicial appointees... not using his veto or bully pulpit to fight the spendthrift Republicrat Congress... ignoring constitutional protections willy-nilly on issues from reverse discrimination to AMERICAN "enemy combatants... and the list goes on.)

Thanks again for expressing your viewpoint so well and... at the risk of sounding trite... God Bless America.

Posted by: William R. Barker on October 30, 2004 11:16 AM

Well thought out. If only everyone would give this election such serious consideration.

As for me, the references (attacks) on the Cheny family did it. I'm with Lynn Cheny when speaking of Kerry "This is not a good man."

I don't agree with the President on everything but when my head is swimming with contradictary facts I go with my gut. Any one who trashes the men he served with, fakes his "common man" personna and can't decide day to day where he stands on serious issues makes me nervous.

My vote goes to the President.

Posted by: Jim White on October 30, 2004 11:21 AM

John Marzan - as a Democrat I couldn't agree with you more. Defeat rather than appeasement of the Democrats is the answer. Ditto for the likes of Osama bin Laden. Could everyone please just take a course in Psychology 101 - Andrew Sullivan included?

Posted by: Caroline on October 30, 2004 11:27 AM

lets see how fast you delete this or any post that disagrees with you!

Posted by: nick on October 30, 2004 12:00 PM

It pains me to say this, but I'm slowly coming to the realization that Kerry may be the better choice. I disagree with most of his rhetoric and many of his positions, but when you look at the totality of the Bush record, there's strong argument to be made for getting someone new. The Iraq adventure looks like a mistake, and Bush has mismanaged our finances. I'm not a socialist, and Kerry's socialist politics have little appeal, but perhaps gridlock can prevent him from doing really serious damage. It's a disgrace that the two parties have offered us such a poor choice of candidates. With all the talented people that we have in this country, how could this pair of losers be what we're stuck with?

Posted by: shamus on October 30, 2004 12:01 PM

I personally don't think that Mr. Bush has done badly at all, since 9/11, in either foreign policy, or in conducting the WoT, including both the Afghanistani and the Iraqi campaigns. In my view, most of the complaints have their origin with those in the MSM who voted against him in 2000 and have opposed whatever he did ever since.

Sure, we have upset the French and the Germans. So what? The French opposed us in Iraq because: 1) they were being bribed, 2) they were selling arms to Iraq, in violation of sanctions, and 3) they see diminishing the U.S. as strengthening France on the world stage. Well, given France's interests, or the interests of the U.S., my vote is for ours. Sorry.

Much is made of alienating the Moslem world. But in reality, what we have upset are the rulers there. An article today that the Egyptians are now massively demonstrating for true democracy. Where did that come from? Clinton? Kerry? France? And it appears that a large majority of Iranians are very pro-U.S. They look to both sides and see our attempts to form democracies right in the middle of the Moslem world, and want to join in. I predict that in the next decade they will.

If we had just taken out Saddam Hussein and then walked out, and taken out the Taliban and walked out, then we would have played to our worse stereotypes and the rest of the world would have reason to hate us. But our President had the vision to try to change the world for the better. And I truly believe that he is making progress. You won't see much of this in the MSM, but the troops over in Iraq and Afghanistan know.

Did we make mistakes? Yes. Of course we did. Mistakes are always made in war. But someone who is unwilling to make mistakes is unlikely to ever win. Victory goes to the bold, not the timid.

Mr. Kerry has shown no indication that he has any boldness in his character. Rather, he is the epitimy of timid. Sure, 30 years ago, he showed some boldness in Vietnam. But that was 30 years and a lot of testotrone ago (Statistically, his testotrone levels are well under half what they were when he was in Vietnam). It is much easier to be daring and bold when you are young, male, and invulnerable. I just look back to the stupid things I did when I was the age he was in Vietnam (I am not suggesting that what he did there was stupid, but rather that same fearlessness he presumably showed in combat is another side of being a young male cranked on testotrone).

As to the Supreme Court, my view is that J. Thomas is the most underestimated justice there. The idea that he is a low voltage Scalia clone is belied by statistics looking at which justices voted most often with whom. Significantly more common are the votes on the left of the Court.

I especially have enjoyed J. Thomas' opinions on racial preferences. He basically says that these are based on racial distinctions, which are beyond the control of those involved, that a race blind society is good, and therefore these distictions are bad. Very black and white. Or, as they say in the legal world, he likes bright lines. Scalia, on the other hand, is the type of jurist who revels in the fine distinctions.

There are a couple of reasons why the liberal legal community, esp. as is found in academia, hate Thomas. First, he is an African-American who refuses to stay on the plantation. Secondly, they love revelling in the legal minutia. That gets them a lot of law review articles. Thirdly, splitting hairs, as is their want, allows others to come by later and "distinguish" their cases from SC precedent, getting back much, if not all, that they lost earlier. This is far, far, harder with Thomas' bright lines.

I do not believe that Thomas' ability to cut through the legal obfuscation and minutia is evidence of stupidity. Rather, I like it. In my experience, both as a software engineer, then as an attorney, this often is evidence of a deeper understanding, than a lesser one.

Similarly, many have accused Mr. Bush of something very similar - of not being smart enough to understand nuance. But interestingly, a recent article linked from polypundit or instapundit on IQ, based on officer testing scores, indicated that it was probable that Mr. Bush had maybe 5 IQ points over Mr. Nuance, Mr. Kerry (and 10 or so over Mr. Gore, but obviously all are a fair amount lower on that scale than Mr. Clinton).

Posted by: Bruce Hayden on October 30, 2004 12:23 PM

Your analysis is not always correct, or comprehensive, but at least you are honest and generally not verging on hysteria.

I am no liberal, or conservative, for that matter, just a results-oriented business and technology professional who votes as an Independent. And I don't like the Democrats, but the fact is that under the last Democrat administration this country prospered, without increasing the national deficit.

I won't be deciding on domestic grounds, since both parties are disastrous on their respective and collective record. Education in this country is a joke. Job creation is a sham. Small businesses are NOT helped by this administration, nor have they been helped by any other. Health care is a national disgrace.

I won't be deciding on so-called moral grounds, either, but if I did, the nod would easily go to Kerry. The thought of any more right-wing, pro-life, "family" values people on the Supreme Court is reason enough to vote Bush out.

Instead of these domestic grey-area issues, I'll be voting based on actual results, and I�ll therefore be voting against Bush, because on a results basis, the current president and his team have, stated as objectively as I know how, simply been terrible for this country. I�ll be voting to give the Kerry team the chance to try and recover our national interests and pride from four years of disastrous and deceitful decisions. The reasons to dump Bush, in my accounting, are:

- For going to war under false pretenses.

- For failing to provide our precious troops with a realistic plan, accurate intelligence, adequate armaments and equipment, enough troops, or an intelligent plan for post-war Iraqi security and nation-building.

- For taking us into the nation-building business in a willy-nilly, un-planned, incredibly costly, un-debated manner - - and thereby undermining decades of hard-won experience that such ambitious, grandiose schemes simply do not work.

- For showing complete and utter ignorance of the Muslim mind-set and deep animosity to the West

- For lying about the connections of Iraq to "global terrorism", with the result that the Bush administration has created thousands more terrorists with thousands more weapons and millions more sympathizers than we faced in the months immediately after 9/11. Far from making us safer, the Bush war has made us, and our dwindling group of friends around the globe, LESS safe, and far more vulnerable.

- For failing to build an international consensus to confront what is an international problem. The chauvinistic "Us versus Them" response to 9/11 by the Bush brigade totally ignored the fact that Islamic fundamentalism is as much a threat to many other countries as it ever could be to us. Instead of enlisting France, who face a profound threat to their national being from Islamic beliefs, we pushed them aside and made them into an enemy. Instead of recognizing the very real roots of Muslim anger at the West, and developing a realistic and aggressive strategy to correct centuries of stupid policies, thereby denying Al Queda more recruits, we have made our country�s name a curse. The strategic ignorance of the Bush administration has led us into a foreign policy fiasco that will easily take two decades or more to recover from.

- For putting millions of non-combatant, innocent Iraqis at risk from a deadly, costly, un-deserved cycle of civil war and domestic terrorism, with no end in sight. In the falsely-stated name of protecting ourselves, we have put many, many millions of innocent women and children directly in harm�s way. The millions of potential allies and friends we had in Iraq have been turned to mobs of angry people who hate dying under our regime, if possible, even more than they hated living under Saddam's.

- For being militarily stupid, in failing to first shore up our home defenses, and first building solid national consensus for what is going to be, thanks in no small part to the blundering Bush war, a 30-50 year struggle against fundamentalist terrorism. If this administration had been competent, it would have maintained rigorous focus on Osama and the Taliban while strengthening our country for the long, dark night we face.

- For diverting the future wealth of all of us, especially our children and grandchildren, into a poorly conceived, incompetently executed military adventure, instead of toward sorely needed national goals such as rebuilding the educational system, and developing a rational health care system for all Americans.

- For undermining the power and prestige of our wonderful country. I predict that history will call the Bush war another mindless act of Imperialism. Whether it is or not is immaterial: these bumblers have brought future observers to this conclusion, like it or not.

- For making American interests and policy appear to be simply the extensions of corporate greed. This perception is not just based on Iraq and Halliburton; it reflects this administration's utter disregard for environmental science, global energy consumption, and family planning. Whether it is true that the Bush bunch doesn't give a fig about the people who share this planet or not is immaterial: these hacks have made our country appear to be nothing but a bully-boy acting for the oil industry, the drug companies, and the tiny minority of Americans who can build McMansions and fill their garages with SUVs.

Based on hard-stated, dollars-and-cents results alone, it is time to give Mr. Bush and his toadies their walking papers.

To those who say that changing the administration in mid-stream would make us look �weak�, please wake up! We ALREADY look not only weak - - we cannot even beat a ragtag insurgency - - but appear to the rest of the world as stupid and stubborn and uncaring as well. Far from undermining our national image if we elect Kerry, those around the world will stand up and cheer! Far from undermining our attack on terrorism, the rest of the world will see that we are now going after the roots of fundamentalist-inspired terrorism in a serious manner. Why do you think Osama just tried to ensure the re-election of Bush with his scare-mongering video-tape? Because he is deathly afraid of a determined, smart, militarily-focused and experienced Kerry administration, I suggest.

Fortunately, I vote in Florida, where my vote MAY actually count, unless the Republican-dominated state administration succeeds in negating my ballot, as they evidently are preparing to attempt to do.

Posted by: David Yancey on October 30, 2004 12:28 PM

Re: "I think Abu Ghraib was a disgrace to the name of America, and Don Rumsfeld should have resigned. I don't think that he caused it in any way, but I do think that when something this bad happens, high heads have to roll to show how deeply we regret the stain on our honor"

What a load of whining bullshit!

Those terrorist towel heads in Abu Ghraib should have been wrung out for whatever info they might have had by any and all means possible and then taken out and shot or organ harvested...

For NOT doing this maybe Rumsfeld should have resigned...

Posted by: russ on October 30, 2004 12:35 PM

Thanks for a better-than-average post for explaining to a Kerry supporter how a thinking person could actually vote for Bush. (Note, Bush supporters are equally interested in finding out how a thinking person could actually vote for Kerry, but this post won't help them there.)

It would be a bit more satisfying for non-Bush supporters though, if the foreign policy section and a couple of other places didn't sound so much like reiteration of the Rove/Bush advertising and stump line that Kerry is indecisive or politically-driven. I just haven't seen real non-spin evidence for that, either on your blog or in the mainstream media, and the politically-driven part seems like a charge that could be levied quite strongly against George "I-want-the-religious-right-vote" Bush as well. As far as senate record, I haven't seen the comparison to other senators that judging it would require. It ends up seeming like you judge a long public record against a short one using a demerit system, so the long one comes up short (somehow, despite Iraq). Also, president and senator are two different jobs, with very different affordances, and you need to be careful how you extrapolate.

Regarding the Supreme Court, you don't present any reasoning here beyond a liking for Clarence Thomas. Have you read many court opinions? I can see you liking Scalia (I respect him myself, from my own very different perspective than yours), but Thomas's redeeming features seem far less clear. In any case, more substance would be desirable here since you don't say this is "by a hair" or one that "you don't care much about".

Regarding the budget, you seem to be going against decades of evidence that Republican administrations disproportionately favor increased federal spending over Democrats, solely on the basis of the Kerry health care plan. Again, if it's as socialist as you paint it (can you say "straw man", BTW) it won't pass, so shouldn't be counted against him. Related, on the economy, you also dismiss without comment statistics showing better economic performance during and immediately after Democrat administrations than Republican since WWII.

Regarding education and poverty, you endorse Bush mainly on the basis of trying something different, without indication as yet of effectiveness. By that logic (not that I agree with it), why support Bush and "more of the same" in foreign policy? Anyway, since Bush has had 4 years, and the Republicans in congress longer than that, it's time to stop judging education and poverty policies on rhetoric and start judging on results.

A final question to Bush supporters: is there an equivalent block on Kerry's side to the religious right on Bush's, that essentially is willing to grant him anything on other policies as long as he takes certain stands on abortion, gay marriage, and a few other "moral" issues? In other words, does Kerry have a gigantic lead outside of the block committed to "a Christian in the White House"?

Posted by: ABR on October 30, 2004 12:40 PM

Mr. Yancey,

In the most delicious irony, you indicate that Megan's piece is not on the verge of hysteria, while your comment most certainly is. Your histrionic screed shows the dark humor in observing a psychotic who neglects to take his medication.

I especially love the transparantly dishonest disclaimer "I am no liberal...," obvious to anyone with the sense God gave snow tires as the moral equivalent of "some of my best friends are [fill in the blank]," while then proceeding to display your mendacity by denigrating the [fill in the blank].

Keep up the good work, Mr. Yancey. You make bloggin' fun.

Posted by: Keith on October 30, 2004 12:45 PM

Mr. Yancey,

By the by, professing to be an Independent and then ticking off your agreement with every major talking point of the Democrat National Committee is an especially nice touch. Very compelling, indeed.

Posted by: Keith on October 30, 2004 12:54 PM

Neither President Bush nor Senator Kerry have proven their leadership. This election race has been one of the most exciting, but also it brought out childish behavior in both the incumbent president and his opponent. President Bush and Senator Kerry have done nothing short of attack each other for the most petty reasons. Although their views on issues are different and important and they debated over the issues. This country has become quite politically divided amongst ourselves. It is time to take a stand and make POSITIVE images of each other instead of negative. John Kerry would have better odds of winning the election if he only used positivity in the campaign.

Posted by: Libertarian4Truth on October 30, 2004 12:55 PM

Bruce - your comments about the pro-democratic forces in both Egypt and Iran are right on. And the recent surveys show a majority of Afghanis as well as intellectual/liberals in Iraq - hoping for a Bush victory. It reminds me of the stories that came out about Reagan after the Berlin wall fell - how his rhetoric gave hope to the liberals in prison. Whoever claimed this would be easy? Certainly not Bush. I recall seeing one article about the true Iraqi opinion re Abu Ghraib - probably a turning point for Andrew Sullivan - and shamelessly exploited by the liberal leaning MSM (I recall that CBS was the first to break the story?). The "dirty secret"? The Iraqis were not very shocked - for Pete's sake when you live in a world when it is routine that any of your extremities can be removed or your children can be tortured with impunity - just how outraged could you possibly feel about nude photos and underwear put on your head? Why are so many well meaning Americans apparently losing sight of the forest for the trees? I will remind Kerry supporters who are inclined to want to dialogue with Osama - to truly listen to what he is saying! Probably his biggest complaint (he just repeated it) is America's history of supporting dictators/oppression in the Middle East. This is indeed the root cause of terrorism. Has not Bush turned this on its head - by overthrowing 2 dictatorial regimes and paving the way for democratic elections, thereby giving hope to all the liberal/democratics throughout the ME? What does Kerry propose in the face of this tough battle? A return to Kissingerian realpolitik - which is exactly what got us here in the first place! All I can say is Bush is on the right track. Kerry supporters seem way too swayed by opinion polls and focus groups, not understanding that it is precisely the role of a leader to discern the correct path and bring other people to that same understanding. Bush has already swayed many - even many formerly reluctant voices. The largest German paper just endorsed his reelection! Give him 4 more years and I feel very confident that a much greater majority will come around to his vision. And truthfully isn't his vision the same as what bin Laden has argued for? Freedom from oppression in the ME? Isn't that something that all well- meaning people can agree upon?

Posted by: Caroline on October 30, 2004 01:00 PM

Jane-Megan,

How lucky you are. You have the great opportunity to vote for the leader of the free world. I don't know whether you're aware of this responbility. We, non-Americans, can only see and hope.
There's been a threat which needs to be crushed. And the free world needs a decisive Commander-in-Chief. We now know we can't rely on the UN. We also know nothing great can come from the EU (although there are some tough willing nations).
The world needs a clear bold letsdoit leader who is NOT afraid of taking unpopular but necessary actions (in comparison, the kind the current Spanish PM will never do).
After such a suspense, I'm glad to know you're voting for the right one. And for the right reasons. Explained in a brilliant way.

No wonder so many have asked your hand. Maybe a top position for you in the next administration?

Posted by: Chris r on October 30, 2004 01:02 PM

Keith - -

Glad you are enjoying yourself. And feel free to call me psychotic or any thing else you wish - - that is what makes America so great, after all. But it is just the sort of knee-jerk reaction I guess we have to expect from some of Megan's fans, since it's much easier to indulge in name calling than to deal calmly with the list of Bush & Co. failures and thoughtless errors that I presented in an anything-but-hysterical way. You perhaps have trouble differentiating between hysterical analysis and historical analysis.

But keep up the shrill name-calling, Keith. You make blogging show others that what is needed is less knee-jerks and more serious discourse by those who will do their homework and face the tough questions, as Megan and I and, thankfully, many others here are trying to do, regardless of their political persuasion.

Posted by: David Yancey on October 30, 2004 01:06 PM

I respect the detail of your reasoning, but I disagree in some of your arguments:
Education: You forgot to mention that Bush provided no funds for NCLF.
Health care: I agree with your bad words about Bush, so in my opinion just everybody can do it better.
Economy: The only american president that has created no nett new jobs. The biggest deficit in the history of USA, again, everybody can just do it better (in fact all other presidents until now, even in war time, have done it better).
...

Posted by: Eduard on October 30, 2004 01:14 PM

Following the comment string, it is now apparant to me that to be "libertarian" is to be filled with adolescent angst, to be caught in some nightmare of of a parody of Hamlet's soliloquy. The picture comes to mind of a group of young girls having a sleepover party agreeing that some boy "is really good looking, but I wish he weren't so stuck up."
Who sold you on the notion that American politics should be some form of a Dim Sum menu, where you should be able to choose "one from column A, and one from column B," along with an eggroll, of course. In what other aspect of life is this true? Why the constant lament about the lack of perfection, with the pretentious undercurrent that some impossible synthesis of your muddled beliefs represents perfection? Who believes this stuff, other than, apparantly, an inebriated Stephen Green?
God save America from such "thoughfulness." I urge you to grow up, separate the important few from the trivial many, and make a choice without all the contradicting caveats parading as intelligent consideration.

Posted by: Keith on October 30, 2004 01:26 PM

Caroline
I know Kerry supported the war. He did so because the president claimed that Iraq had WMD. The president's claim was false, and he bears the responsibility.

Furthermore, weapons and WMD are not the same thing. 400 tons of weapons were found, not 400 tons of WMD. I never thought I would have to explain something so trivial.

What precisely did Kerry lie about?

Posted by: Chris Martin on October 30, 2004 01:27 PM

Things you have to believe to be a Republican today

A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense. A president holding hands with Saudi Arab investors during 9/11 and allowing them to leave the country first (even though 9 of the 11 hijackers who bombed our country were Saudi's), is sound policy.

What Bill Clinton did in the 1960's is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the 80's is irrelevant. Refusing to take a physical during a presidential election is business as usual, not cause to be suspicious about what one might have to hide.

Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime unless your a conservative radio host or the President of the U.S.. Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.

Joining the National Guard to avoid being drafted are qualities that show good leadership. Voluntarily joining the service and fighting for your country, is considered wishy washy. Attacking the military record of those who were in combat while you were hiding on a cushy air force base in the U.S., is mean spirited, cowardly and decidedly un-American. Especially, if you have no war experience to speak of yourself.

Group sex and drug use are degenerate sins unless you someday run for governor of California as a republican.

"Standing tall for America" means firing your workers and moving their jobs to India.

Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony. It is better to declare war on oil rich terrorist nations with suspected weapons of mass destruction, than to declare war on known terrorist nations (like N. Korea), who have undeniable proof of WMD, and mock us by calling our president an idiot and an imbecile.

A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.

Its ok to say your pro-life if it will get you elected, even though as governor of Texas, you had no qualms about snuffing out the lives of dozens of prisoners on death row. The lives of the unborn are more important than the lives that are already here. Life is life, anyway you "kill it".

The best way to improve military moral is to praise the troops while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay. Or better yet, send them into battle without armed escorts or flak jackets and then you won't have to pay them anything at all.

Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy. Providing health care to all Americans is socialism.

HMO's and insurance companies have the interest of the public at heart.

Conclusion: Bush is the worst threat to democracy this nation has ever faced. At least when Bill Clinton slept with Monica he only hurt one person, his wife. She forgave him. Bush colluded with terrorist nations before and after 9/11, in spite of the fact that 9 of the 11 terrorists were Saudi's. Why isn't this considered TREASON?

I think Bush has put something in our water supply, besides the toxic emissions his "Clear Skies act" has produced. This emperor isn't wearing any clothes. Why doesn't anyone see what he is doing? He can't even speak right. Is this the result of years of cocaine and alcohol abuse? Is this why he won't take a physical? How dare he make policy on drugs when he has abused them himself. Drug use is a crime. Why would Americans vote for an ex-alcoholic drug user? He doesn't obey the laws, why is he in a position to make them? What else does he have to hide, besides his families blind trusts and other hidden evidence of sleeping with the enemy?

This election isn't merely about voting for a president, its about making sure that one member of an exclusive, white, elitist, global corporate cartel doesn't succeed in stealing another election and rewriting our nation's constitution for the benefit of the very privileged few who will never have to worry about how their going to pay for the most basic neccessities.

Posted by: Go Kerry-Go home Bush on October 30, 2004 01:29 PM

Keith,

Actually Jane admits most of the points listed by Mr. Yancey -- does that make her a slave to the DNC as well? She words them a little less strongly and accords them less priority than a number of other factors in her decision.

Posted by: ABR on October 30, 2004 01:35 PM

Ah, yes, Mr. Yancy, I see your point. Calling President Bush a liar represents the height of decorum, in line with the Lawrence O'Donnell school of debating. And the terms "chauvanistic" and "stupid" in your comments demonstrate the pinnacle of erudition. How could I have missed it? Yessiree, Bob, Mr. Yancey, your eloquence has completely changed my mind, and thank you for coming out of your Melaril induced stupor long enough to show me the error of my ways.

Posted by: Keith on October 30, 2004 01:36 PM

To N Werle :

"you say you want to hang with the man who did not fight our enemeies, when Kerry did"

Do you mean the enemy Kerry "fought" for 4 months in Vietnam, or the "enemy" he fought for several years when he came back from Vietnam. Get a clue you moron.

Posted by: Trippin on October 30, 2004 01:48 PM

Fine Chris - 400 tons of weapons are not the same as 400 tons of WMD. And our troops have already secured/destroyed over 400,000 tons of weapons in Iraq (you do the math). So do please explain to me why your candidate is trying to make hay of these less than 400 tons of mere weapons as if they were the equivalent of WMD's which have fallen into the hands of terrorists and might come back to threaten us in the US?

And actually Kerry's rhetoric re the danger of Iraq precedes Bush's administration. I assume you know as I do that the Iraq Liberation Act was enacted under Clinton. Show me one quote - just one quote - to indicate that Kerry ever doubted that Saddam was a genuine threat - either during the Clinton era or preceding the Iraq war or even during the invasion of Iraq. I don't think you will find one. His anti-war rhetoric began after no WMD were found and especially after the ascendency of Dean's campaign when he smelled political opportunity.

You say "the president's claim was false" and from there you and much of the democratic party - proceed to label Bush a LIAR. So if I point out to you that Kerry made the same claims about Saddam - claims which precede the Bush administration and in fact date back to the Clinton administration - then will you concede that Kerry is a LIAR? Or will you merely claim that he was mistaken?

Posted by: Caroline on October 30, 2004 01:59 PM

Caroline, you hit the nail on the head. The Democrats have an astonishing propensity for selective amnesia. In 1996, the Sudanese government actually CAUGHT Osama Bin Ladin. Talk about a missed opportunity! Clinton's royaly screwed that up but don't expect the Democrats to talk about it. No, instead they want to talk about the supposed missed opportunity at Tora Bora which is, at best, nothing more than pure speculation. What a farce!

Posted by: Trippin on October 30, 2004 02:10 PM

Nice trip to the intellectual laundromat, Megan. Superb piece; and well thought out conclusion, as well.

Indeed, in the end and at bottom, Kerry fails for one reason: he is constitutionally incapable of getting it. Not for anything he did in this campaign, but for something he did long ago.

No, not the testimony before the Fulbright Committee.
That was bad enough, but Kerry gets a pass there because he was a reserve officer by that time and had, imho, the right to express his opinion on the Vietnam War ("Nixon's war" as he called it, somewhere in Cambodia, in December of 1968...). Indeed, Kerry's craven demeaning of his comrades' honor before that committee angers me, but recall that Kerry was still a yoot, and was positioning himself for a career in the Jacobin wing of the Democratic Party. Nope, that's not the deal killer.

In 1990, Saddam al-Hussein ordered several Guards Armored and Mechanized Rifle divisions to invade Kuwait, a sovereign country. The President of the day, Bush the elder, built up forces in the Gulf for an offensive operation to clear Kuwait of the Thief of Baghdad. As the Senate debate in 1991 made clear, Mr. Kerry was not willing to adress even the issue of flagrant agression against a soveriegn state. Kuwait was a friend of the United States. Kuwait was a member in good standing of the United Nations. Kuwait was a signatory to the treaty that created the Arab League. Indeed, Bush the elder had secured the approval of the UNSC for the liberation of Kuwait. Finally, and most damning, Bush had won military cooperation from the following states:


Saudi Arabia
Syria
Egypt
The Emirates and other minor Arab allies
the UK
France of all places (iirc, they sent in several battlions of the Legion to cover the left flank of the Third Army).
Canada.

For all that, Bush the Elder failed to pass John F. Kerry's "Global Test". Kerry took counsel of his fears and voted against going to war against Saddam Hussein.

The defeat that Kerry will suffer on Tuesday will be of his own making. He has led his party into the territory that Stanley Baldwin and, later, Neville Chamberlain led the Tories in the 1930's. William Manchester wrote that the Tory Party was led by men who were frightened of the prospect of the Red Flag being hoisted over Westminster. And so, taking counsel of their fears, they appeased Hitler, in part because he wore the disguise of the anti-Bolshevik crusader so well.

Democrats opposed Bush's campaign in Iraq precisely because it was that, Bush's campaign. A political party that could give legitimacy to Michael Moore is not a political party that deserves control of the nuclear forces. Like the Tories and the Red Flag, the Democrats loathe Bush so much that they are willing to vote for anyone, no matter how reprehensible his policies, as long as he is "not Bush". Democratic complaints about the conduct of the occupation are mere window dressing; they opposed the campaign to unseat Hussein because Bush conducted it. Any other reason given is a rationalization offered by those whose hatred of Bush has outstripped their hatred of the likes of Saddam or bin Laden.

Understand the key point: Kerry, Edwards, and the Democratic Party's apparat would have willingly left the Iraqi people enslaved to the whim of a psychotic killer rather than do what had to be done: consign that psychotic to the memory of man.

In 1991, John F. Kerry was unwilling to confront agression, like Baldwin, Chamberlain, and Eduard Deladier before him. Men do not change over time; they merely age. In 2004, he has attempted to masque that reality by running on his service record; as if that answered his record in the Senate. In Boston, he paraded more generals up on the Speaker's dais than took part in the last six Bolivian governments. One expected the Democratic nominee to declare a State of Siege.

You are right, Megan, Kerry doesn't get it. But this is nothing new with him. He never did. It will take a good hiding for the Democrats to finally understand that Islamic terrorism cannot be reduced to a "nuisance".

It is passing strange when Hillary Clinton can be considered a safer choice for the Presidency than can John Kerry.

Posted by: Section 9 on October 30, 2004 02:19 PM

Thanks for you concern about my medications, Keith: at least, under Kerry, I and others might be able to get our medications from Canada.

But in addition to your angry insults, you raise one point. It just happens not to matter. Whether Bush is the source of the big lie, or his group of bumblers made up the "intelligence", is not the issue: in any institution, the CEO is responsible for the policies and actions of his underlings.

Rant on as you wish, Keith, but you and many others are not confronting rationally the failures and dissimulation and historical ignorance I cited. No matter how often you personally or insultingly attack me or someone else who is trying to find the right choice, it is still ignoring the essence of this dialog: *I* did not make these errors or mislead our fellow citizens;: Bush did. To say that my analysis must be flawed because it �agrees� with the Democrats on the foreign policy issues is silly: *they* did not take us into this war; Bush did.

People are understandably nervous about entrusting the country to any new executive. But in my world of business and systems, we try to make decisions about the immediate future based on the results of the immediate past. To try and guess from Kerry's honorable record in the US Senate that he will do this or that as President is not wise, in my opinion; not when we have such a clear and compelling case of willful incompetence and lack of caring for the average American on the part of the present administration.

To hide the Bush record behind a list of alleged, unfounded scare tactics, as the Republicans are trying to do in television ads and talk-show spin, is even less intelligent. It is certainly not helpful to the process to try and frighten people simply by claiming that Kerry will ruin us with his health care plan, for example. In a Congress controlled by Republicans, this simply will NOT happen. And anyway, the fact is that, thanks to the Bush war, we won�t have the money it is going to take to get health care for those of us who are denied it, for decades to come.

Similarly, to say that Kerry made the same errors in judgment about the WMD or whatever is misleading: he and the rest of us did not have the benefit of the administration�s knowledge. But it doesn�t matter, sorry. Every day of the week, I and hundreds of thousands of other responsible business heads must assess what course is best for our team *now*. Woe to him or her who makes that assessment based on a personal dislike for an individual, or a willful disregard of plain facts. The choice may be agonizing for many on moral, or personal, or other grounds. But to me, it is crystal clear. We can continue to slide down the slope of national decline and deficit, or we can rectify our own collective error in electing George W. Bush and get on with making this country as great as it can be. If we do that, the great majority of people around the world, millions of Muslims among them, will once again look to the United States as a beacon of rational thought, civil rights, individual justice, and determined progress in the world.

Posted by: David Yancey on October 30, 2004 02:26 PM

Dearest Mr. Yancy,

OK, then, let us take your "points" in your original diatribe one at a time. (Like shooting fish in a barrel). Allow me thank Jayson at Political Vice Squad for his great work:

News You Won't See in Print - Layoffs

October 26, 1996 - Clinton Re-Election Campaign

Weekly layoffs (four-week avg. of jobless claims) = 339,000.
Layoffs as a percentage of total workforce = 0.2512 percent.

On the other hand, there's this:

October 23, 2004 - Bush 43 Re-Election Campaign

Weekly layoffs (four-week avg. of jobless claims) = 343,250
Layoffs as a percentage of total workforce = 0.2326 percent.

Hmm. Amazing, huh? I doubt Krugman will feature those little factoids in his op-ed over the weekend.

Furthermore, we have data on jobless claims going all the way back to 1967. And, as you'll find, layoffs right now, under George W. Bush, are, on a workforce-adjusted basis, at the second lowest level the country has seen, when compared to the nine presidential contests which have occurred over the past 36 years:

October 26, 1968 - Nixon vs. Humphrey

Layoffs as a percentage of total workforce = 0.2357 percent.

October 21, 1972 - Nixon Re-Election Campaign

Weekly layoffs as a percentage of total workforce = 0.2914 percent.

October 23, 1976 - Ford Election Campaign

Weekly layoffs as a percentage of total workforce = 0.4219 percent.

October 25, 1980 - Carter Re-Election Campaign

Weekly layoffs as a percentage of total workforce = 0.4078 percent.

October 20, 1984 - Reagan Re-Election Campaign

Weekly layoffs as a percentage of total workforce = 0.3622 percent.

October 22, 1988 - Bush 41 vs. Dukakis

Weekly layoffs as a percentage of total workforce = 0.2381 percent.

October 24, 1992 - Bush 41 Re-Election Campaign

Weekly layoffs as a percentage of total workforce = 0.2976 percent.

October 21, 2000 - Gore vs. Bush

Weekly layoffs as a percentage of total workforce = 0.2110 percent.

His sourcing is impeccable, please check it out and make up your own mind.

This, to me, seems to be a reasoned rebuttal to your unsubstantiated, bitter assertion that "Job creation is a sham. Small businesses are NOT helped by this administration, nor have they been helped by any other." I await your reply with breathless anticipation -- I can't wait to hear you say the same thing only louder. Or will it be some anecdote about how your neighbor could not find a job in his preferred profession of basket-weaving because of that damn Bush?

ARB, indeed Jane-Megan makes some of the same points as Mr. Yancey. However, unlike Mr. Yancey, she does not cede every point to Mr. Kerry, which as I noted, kinda puts the kibosh Mr. Yancey's preposterous claim of "Independent," "not a Democrat," etc. While I do not agree with Mr. Yancey, I respect his putting forth his opinions. What I find so distasteful is his insulting, legacy media trick of insisting he is not partisan, oh no, but coming from a completely objective standpoint.

Mr. Yancey reminds me of the schoolyard bully, standing in weepy, stunned disbelief at the intended victim actually having the audacity to hit him back. Of course, rather than offering the plaintive cry of the bully child raging "that's not fair," Mr. Yancey hurls out the hoary chestnut of "shrill name-calling."

Posted by: Keith on October 30, 2004 04:09 PM

Keith - -

Sorry you went to so much trouble, but you miss my point. If you read what I wrote carefully, I was challenging you to respond to my specific charges against Bush re: foreign policy, as listed clearly in my original post.

I mentioned the other points simply to demonstrate that, in my opinion, BOTH parties have a miserable record of "managing" the economy, and have an EQUALLY bad record on just about every other domestic issue.

You keep trying to tar me with some ideological brush, but the fact is that you and others do not seem to want to deal with the points I raised.

I could care less if Kerry is a liberal or not. I could care less if Bush is a conservative. I have a job to do, and that is to vote for the team that I think can best get us out of the mess that Bush and his buddies have got us into.

All your partisan wrangling doesn't mean anything in the light of the tragedy we are racing toward.

And, Keith, if you read, you will see that I don't need to call you names, or refer to some alleged mental condition, or associate you with others as a means of tainting your arguments. Nor do I find it necessary to talk about people who are out of work. Nor am I one to blame others for my own mistakes.

Posted by: David Yancey on October 30, 2004 04:25 PM

not only might people not change they way you want them to, but they will also change...using vague platitudes to verify an opinion you already had is quaint but not very profound

Posted by: coomaraswamee on October 30, 2004 04:25 PM

Congratulations to Jane on articulating (inadvertantly?)WHY voters of conscience and intelligence are ending up upon opposing flicks of the voting machine lever.

What we all seem to be experiencing is an evolution of the way in which political power is OBTAINED, in opposition to how it is exercised. This electorate has been consciously identified by both parties not as thinking individuals who respond to reasoned discourse, but as a mob that responds only to glib and surface political stimuli. Behind such a voter's hindbrain is the expectation that elected power will somehow be excercised in accordance with what has been espoused during the campaign. We truly have to go back to the very earliest years of the republic to encounter rhetoric so divisive, attacks so vituperative, and accusations so removed from the facts as this presidential election.

A voter who genuinely wants facts and stances-upon-issues to determine their vote has to commit to a tremendous amount of time and effort in order to distill an informed position from the body of misinformation disseminated by the Republicans and the Democrats. What you are left with leaves a very nasty taste indeed.

Posted by: douglas brown on October 30, 2004 04:37 PM

The issue around Iraq is not about WMD. It is about judgement. Bush was warned by almost everyone that knew anything of the history of Irq that invading it would create just the mess that it has. But he ignored this advice because "GOD" told him to do it. OK,anyone can be wrong. But a year or 18 months after it became obvious that we did not have enough troops in Iraq to control the country and provide security Bush has done nothing to correct that first error of invading without enough troops to control the country. Moreover, he claims he has made no mistakes. Bush is now losing the GWOT and weakening the US foreign posture and military strenth in a way no President ever has. Yet you ignore the facts on the ground and want to vote for the man soly responsible for the biggest disaster in US history since the war of 1812.

Go live your fanasty in some other world.

Posted by: spencer on October 30, 2004 04:57 PM

nick

You obviously spend way too much time with Kos. I doubt seriously Megan will delete any post unless it contains vulgarities and bile. She welcomes different points of view and has in fact encouraged them. I salute her. I voted for Bush early yesterday, (5 hour wait, doors closed at 5PM last votes cast at 10PM) and am delighted to note that Jane also supports my candidate.

To the troll who posted about living in a Red State, I was born and lived in New Jersey. In my mid thirties, I was transferred to Georgia. I'ver been here during both Jimmah Cahtah's and Zell's administrations. You should be so lucky. Where you live, do folks usually lock their doors at night? Why?

Posted by: Abu Qa'Qa on October 30, 2004 05:03 PM

Mr. Yancey,

This is fun.

In your debating view, rebutting the aspersions you cast on President Bush about a domestic issue is not fair game, because you cast aspersions on both candidates. I must presume this is because my data and argument have at least mild merit; thus your claim that they must be ignored, telling me, in essence, to "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain." If your domestic policy aspersions were beside the point, why did you introduce them into your comments so forcefully?

Now with respect to your foreign policy analysis, following is my rebuttal for each of your dashes in your original harangue, put in terms of why Mr. Bush deserves reelection:

- For leveling with the American people about the need to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

- For winning two wars with an amazingly low casualty rate, providing them everything they needed to win in an unprecedently short time. And, of course, providing the military everything they needed in the face of Mr. Kerry's Senate vote to deny them the resources (the $87 billion dollars, remember? Good God, Mr. Yancey, what crust)!

- For having the courage and wisdom to understand that the Middle East must be transformed into some organized political structure other than Sharia law and Islamofascism directed at the utter destruction of the West.

- For not caring a flying fig about the Muslim mind-set and their deep animosity to the West while they relentless try to kill me (and you too, Mr. Yancey, despite your stunning sophistication).

- For uncovering the connections of Iraq to global terrorism, and removing vast numbers of terrorists and their weaponry from the planet in their own backyard. Far from making us more vulnerable, the Iraq war has made us, and our ever-increasing group of friends around the globe, MORE safe, far more safe.

- For building an amazing international consensus to confront what is an international problem, in the face of French and Russian obstructionism designed to delay the inevitable discovery of their dispicable behavior in the U.N. Oil For Food debacle. And for recognizing the French are a waste of skin, and not putting too much effort into appeasing their delicate, but craven and greedy, sensibilities.

- For rescuing millions of non-combatant, innocent Iraqis from the deadly, costly, un-deserved plague of the fanatical Hussein family. In addition to protecting ourselves, we have saved many, many millions of innocent women and children from mutilation and mass graves. The millions of potential allies and friends we have in Iraq are now making their voices heard, putting aside their pride recognizing they will be left high and dry if Mr. Kerry becomes president.

- For being militarily astute, in simultaneously shoring up our home defenses, preventing any attack on American soil since 9/11, and building solid national consensus and intestinal fortitude for what is going to be, thanks in no small part to the Iraq war, a long struggle against fundamentalist terrorism. And for recognizing that while the capture of Osama bin Laden is important, it is not deserving of tunnel vision, and that his elimination would only be one step in keeping America safe.

- For having the wisdom to expend a portion of future wealth of all of us, into a well conceived, excellently executed military campaign, and helping all of us to recognize that other national goals such as rebuilding the educational system, and developing a rational health care system for all Americans don't mean anything if you are dead. And for having the historical perspective to realize it took about a decade to completely pacify Germany and Japan following World War II, and not crying like a little girl when everything does not go their way.

- For excercising the power and prestige of our wonderful country for it's own safety and the betterment of the world. I predict that history will call the Iraq war an exceptionally bold, successful and constructive transformation of the geopolitical landscape, in a parallel to Reagan winning the Cold War through strong resolve and ignoring pusillanimous pussyfooters.

- For recognizing American interests and policy are not simply the extensions of corporate greed, and putting every dollar of Iraqi oil revenue into the hands of Iraqis, despite $50+/barrel oil. Further, for this administration's refusal to bow to junk environmental science, and nonsense on stilts regarding a Kyoto global energy strategy, where every other country is allowed to do what they want but the U.S.

Based on hard-stated, dollars-and-cents results alone, it is time to give Mr. Kerry and his toadies, including the legacy media acting as the propagand arm of the Democrat National Committee, their walking papers.

To those who say that changing the administration in mid-stream would make us look �weak�, it would (in the original Yancey post, this line concludes with with "please wake up" -- oh, wait, that is John Kerry's line this week, but remember, Mr. Yancey is NOT a Democrat)! Given that Mr. Kerry's talking points are exactly the same as the recent video from Osama bin Laden, we know that the world will see a Kerry victory as a vindication of Islamofascism. Far from undermining our national image if we reelect President Bush, those around the world will stand up and cheer! Far from undermining our attack on terrorism, the rest of the world will see that we are now going after the roots of fundamentalist-inspired terrorism in a serious manner. Why do you think Osama just tried to ensure the re-election of Mr. Kerry with his scare-mongering video-tape? Because he is deathly afraid of a determined, smart, militarily-focused and experienced Bush administration, I suggest.


Again, Mr. Yancey, I cannot wait until your next comment, fully expecting to be berated as espousing dogma compared to your inarguable, unassailable positions.

Posted by: Keith on October 30, 2004 05:38 PM

Well said, Douglas Brown. You rightly take both parties to task, because both are equally guilty of saying anything to get power.

So what is a voter to do? On what basis to decide? We common folk have one chance every four years to try and reign in these fat cat politicians and their corporate and bureaucrat and union allies.

As you say, it is a real challenge for the normal, busy, harassed adult to try and gather enough reliable data to make an informed decision. In truth, it is an impossible job. It's much easier to rely on the spun-fluffery of others - - and most people clearly take this course.

But others actually want to get their money's worth every four years. How can they hope to do an effective job?

Do we really want to make our choice based on the *presumed* "values" of the candidate at the top of the ticket, for example? Sorry, folks, but my moral values or yours or even the easily-offended Keith�s aren't going to get us beyond this chaotic mess.

Or is it smart to rely simply on what a candidate did in the past? Well, I don't think so. After all, if those who are so worried about Kerry's voting record and opposition to another failed war want to say that that should disqualify him, then it seems equally fair to say that Bush's undistinguished record since the sixties should take him out of the running, too. No, the past is not going to resolve our problems in the present.

Should we decide based upon whom we can trust? Well, you, Mr. Brown, have correctly made that option pointless, since it is clear we cannot trust either group. Besides, placing blind trust in one or the other because he is dressed up in the cloak of a �conservative� or a 'liberal' is naive. Believing in one candidate�s moral superiority based on a barrage of television ads is not going to produce a solution.

For my part, I don't want to choose a President for any other reason than his or her intelligence, ability to pick good people, ability to lead a team, and their empathy, as best as I can detect it, with the day-to-day goals and pressing realities of the majority of people in this country.

And one other deciding criteria, in my book: how the candidate and his or her team see the future of this country is a factor that should be far more important. It probably should outweigh all the rest, if we were really rational enough to get beyond all this momentary heat and bile.

I am disappointed that we, the electorate, have not been fully informed about the vast differences in the two candidates on this vital front. I suspect that if we had the facts, and if we had some way to hold BOTH their feet to the fire, we would be inclined to go with Kerry and the voices of science over Bush and his corporate backers. But unfortunately, thanks to the noise level and obsession with character-assassination, we cannot do more than guess at what either group will really do as far as the environment, education, immigration, cutting imported energy and fossil fuels, and the creation of real jobs as opposed to more hamburger-flipping and minimum-wage ones.

So the only rational criteria I can offer is to ask where we are, how the hell we are going to get out of this mess, how we are going to un-do the damage Bush's war is going to wreak on our economy, our seniors, and our future descendants, and which of the opposing teams is most likely to put our government on a positive course again.

To answer, look at the record of this President, not when he was in the National Guard, but right now. We have a disaster on our hands, and he insists it isn't so. Then look at the opponent, not when he was a young man fighting against a war that he knew was wrong because, unlike Mr. Bush, he had volunteered to go fight it. Instead of castigating him for s exercising his right in a responsible and civil way to speak in opposition, the most American of all our principles, focus on what he is likely to do to put this country back on track.

Do I worry about changing horses in mid-stream? Not really. After all, this stream Mr. Bush has led into is far deeper than any horse is ever going to manage. I think we�ll be much better off in a SWIFT boat with a battle-tested commander at the helm.

Posted by: David Yancey on October 30, 2004 05:47 PM

Jane,

As a Libertarian and with a very thorough analysis - I find it hard to believe that you have not focused your vote on the philosophy that "Gridlock is Good". A vote for Bush gives Republicans the entire government. They will push for LAWS. For a Libertarian or free-market fan, just about any PASSED LAW is a bad thing.

John Kerry could be for turning our country back to socialism - but his viewers are meaningless in a divided government. Look at Clinton's terms, for example: few new laws, decreasing deficits, and sound economy.

So a vote for Kerry is a vote for government getting LESS INVOLVED in our lives. That's the Libertarian way, right? Frankly, your ignorance of this issue calls this entire treatise into doubt...It's OK to say that your policy endorsement goes to Bush, but your strategic thinking goes to Kerry.

Posted by: Bob G on October 30, 2004 05:58 PM

Keith, you are obsessed obviously with partisan labels, and that is your privilege. But I won't give you the satisfaction of engaging in that silliest of sports. I wonder? When great Republican Senators like McCain and Lugar dare to speak the truth about Iraq, do you also call them Democrats and �Liberals�?

You also apparently have zero comprehension of how to defeat Islamic fundamentalism, but I can�t hold that against you, since the folks you support don�t, either.

But I am not debating with you. Your mind is made up. You are convinced the Iraq war is justified, and that Bush and his minions are blameless. You don't, to use your words, give a fig for any people who are not Americans, and, from the sound of your rant, possibly you don't give a fig for a lot of other Americans, too.

Rational debate isn't going to change your mind, but I am not writing here to change your mind. I am speaking to those who are capable of standing back from this mess far enough to see clearly what we need to do *now*, and who is most likely to fix it. I am speaking to those who can join together in a democratic process to do the wisest thing, regardless of their party affiliation.

As I said, hopefully clearly, this election, for me, and, the polls seem to indicate, a very substantial number of other voters, is not about domestic policy, as important as that is. Nor is it about the distant past of either candidate. Nor is it about the very great danger Mr. Bush poses in the minds of many sincere and intelligent people should two or three appointments to the Supreme Court be needed in the coming four years. Nor is it about Mr. Bush's attempts to bring fundamentalist religion into the making of government policy.

Don't get me wrong: all these and many other issues are terribly important. But thanks to
this unwarranted invasion of Iraq, which was so ill-planned and poorly executed, which is now spinning out of control, and which threatens to bankrupt every positive program our government needs to be pursuing for our collective future, this election MUST be decided solely on the question:

"Who should take over the responsibility to get us out of this Iraq impasse?"

*I* did not make this the overwhelmingly important issue. Nor did Senator Kerry. President Bush did.

Posted by: David Yancey on October 30, 2004 06:15 PM

Impressive; this is the most meticulously thought-out piece I've had the pleasure to read. In reviewing my own decision, I found the process perhaps far less comprehensive but more to the point.
The central issue for this voter remains the war in Iraq. Very simply put, I do not believe John Kerry has the desire, or for that matter, the ability, to muster up the level of intestinal fortitude to see this through to the end.
It is George Bush's war and George Bush knows it. I have seen his performance during the last four years and I am satisfied that he has the requisite courage under fire; that he instills the necessary level of fear and respect in his enemies; and is above all a decent american. I am counting on him to keep his head down and finish the job history has delivered into his hands. In this he will surely be helped by the fact that he is an incumbent. This will allow him to set aside the thornier political considerations which would otherwise beset any new president.
There are many other resons but this issue decides it for me; I am voting for George W. Bush.

Posted by: joss on October 30, 2004 06:24 PM

http://www.thecobraslair.com/National%20Issues2.html

Jane,

Your comments on this war are stupifying.

I will give you three points.

1) An on the ground survey by The Lancet, in coordination with Johns Hopkins U has determined this:
100,000 Dead In Iraq

By John Tirman, AlterNet. Posted October 30, 2004.


A new study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University does what the Bush-Cheney administration refuses to do: Estimate the number of Iraqis killed in the last 18 months
http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/20352/

Colin Powell recently described the 50,000 Sudanese killed in Dafur as "genocide". The activities in Iraq have resulted in TWICE as many deaths.

2) The amount of American troops killed during this war is now above 1120. This is in light the fact that in GULF WAR 1, DESERT STORM, there were coalition forces in excess of 500,000 and they were to do a much simpler task of repelling Saddam's Army from Kuwait--with no occupation, security or nation building duties.

3) With George W. Bush now asking for $70 Billion additional dollars for this fiasco, the on going cost of this war can be found right here:
http://www.costofwar.com/
This "man" will put us over $225 Billion if he is re-elected, with no guarantee that the disaster scenario the CIA's report hints at doesn't take place--civil war.

Now, with these facts at hand, I have to ask you some questions, Jane...
What other wholesale slaughter of women and children do you support past or present, so your stance on Iraq doesn't appear to be hypocrisy?
Would you be for this war if it resulted in the deaths of 100,000 white people in 18 months, and not brown skinned Iraqis?
Is your apparent disinterest in the ongoing death toll of our servicemen due to the fact that the majority of them are not members of the "investor class?"

And for all of you "let's slaughter more Iraqi women and children because of the oil for food scandal" types, please remember exactly what kind of people were involved in that scandal:

>>>The oil-for-food program was supervised by the U.N. and ran from 1996 until the war started in Iraq last year. It was designed to alleviate the effects sanctions had on Iraqi citizens by allowing limited quantities of oil to be sold to buy food and medicine.

But the one company that helped Saddam exploit the oil-for-food program in the mid-1990s that wasn't identified in Duelfer's report was Halliburton, and the person at the helm of Halliburton at the time of the scheme was Vice President Dick Cheney. Halliburton and its subsidiaries were one of several American and foreign oil supply companies that helped Iraq increase its crude exports from $4 billion in 1997 to nearly $18 billion in 2000 by skirting U.S. laws and selling Iraq spare parts so it could repair its oil fields and pump more oil. Since the oil-for-food program began, Iraq has sold $40 billion worth of oil. U.S. and European officials have long argued that the increase in Iraq's oil production also expanded Saddam's ability to use some of that money for weapons, luxury goods and palaces. Security Council diplomats estimate that Iraq was skimming off as much as 10 percent of the proceeds from the oil-for-food program thanks to companies like Halliburton and former executives such as Cheney.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0410/S00132.htm

This story is NOT being broadcast by the corporate media NOW, but it actually was when it first brought to light. Even NEWSMAX.COM reported it in 2001.


--Cobra
http://www.thecobraslair.com/images/HYPNO-ELEPHANT-NAT.gif

Posted by: Cobra on October 30, 2004 06:38 PM

Mr. Yancey,

I almost didn't respond, because much to my surprise, I am so easily offended.

You asked me to deal with the points you raised regarding your views on foreign policy. I did, each and every one of them. But rather than address them, you dive into Lewis Carroll -like mush obliquely suggesting "a pox on both of their houses," with all the stuffy pretension of the walrus stating "slithing oer' the wabes," while, of course, you still far prefer Mr. Kerry's pox to that of Mr. Bush. In order to have the chutzpah to do this, however, you had to borrow Mr. Brown's dripping condescension for those of us who are not "voters of conscience and intelligence."

Holy goodness, "the past is not going to resolve our problems in the present?" That is unadulterated psuedo-intellectual garbage. Santayana is spinning in his grave. And God help your children, if you have any, who grow up being asked to pay not attention to the past - "yes, just get into the car with anyone who asks you to, little Janey, because there is nothing to be learned from the past."

"Do we want to really want to make our choice on the presumed values of the candidate...?" Well, yes, yes I do. Or, of course, we might do as you instruct, which is to rely on YOUR assessment of proper values, and YOUR interpretation of how the candidates share them. And despite your protests, your posts are, like everyone elses, simply an expression of your values - in your case, corporations are bad, environment is good, Iraq is a mess, and all that other simplistic pablum.

Mr. Yancey, (and Mr. Brown and apparantly most others of a liberatarian bent), you mistake ersatz sophistication, reflected most unattractively in your recriminations about how we unwashed rubes find it so hard to be educated by those rascal political parties, with reasoned argument.

Posted by: Keith on October 30, 2004 06:57 PM

Thanks, Megan, for including as an important criteria "the message sent to the world". My own overriding issue is clear. (did you even mention Afghanistan becoming a democracy? The country that fought the British Empire, fought (with US aid to the proto-Taliban) the Soviet Union, NOW a democracy?)(oh, that's right -- BIG (Bush) Success, for the PC press (and J. Galt?) that means, never mind.)

At some point, the President may need to make an "ultimatum" to some foreign enemy. Do X or else we invade. With Bush, everybody will know, or think they know, that he WILL invade. With Kerry, most will NOT know, and prolly most would bet that he would NOT invade -- and the bozos on the other side of the table will more likely take the bet.

Still, I take huge exception to your "Iraq mistakes of Bush"
I think that the administration drastically underestimated the popular resistance to our invasion. This allowed the insurgency to grow, which in turn has steadily eroded our popularity, as we are blamed for the sabotage-induced decline in infrastructure, and the growing insecurity. I think the administration failed to act decisvely against the insurgency, betraying a stubborn unwillingness to admit when they are wrong, or change plans even when the plans are clearly failing. I am deeply troubled by this. I think the administration was unwilling to take the political risk of asking for more troops, and have thus brought greater political risk upon themselves. This is my biggest concern with the administration.

I claim that it is FAR too soon to know whether this is a mistake. Where has a "more troop = Occupation" been MORE successful in creating a human rights respecting democracy. If you can't name at least two (and I can't name ANY), I claim you confuse theoretic Ideal Perfection with a reality.

I also do not know -- but it's because I know there are no good examples since WW II.

We will NOT know in January, 2005, when the Iraqis vote. If it's a big success, as I hope and even expect, we still won't know. We can only be pretty confident when, through democratic elections, Iraq replaces one democratically elected leader with another. That's a LONG way off.

Note the Pali problem with succession -- who leads as Arafat dies? They don't even a process, after 50 years. The EU anti-democracy support notwithstanding.

But even in January, there is likely to be a great indication. When Iraqis believe that Iraqis have fought for, and deserve, freedom, that will be a pretty positive indication. Not that in Vietnam, America could win any battle (even Tet). But it was always America, it was never freedom loving S. Vietnamese who beat commie guerrilla terrorists. In Sammara, and soon in Fallujah, it will be Iraqis in the lead. With America doing the heavy lifting, yes -- so the Iraqi Police WILL WIN.

Let's say, hypothetically, that the 5 year Minimum American deaths, of well executed alternative strategies, was some 2 500 (same as died in the Towers). If Bush gets that, but YOUR preferred "more competent" method results in 3000 in 5 years, I'm sure you'd agree that Bush's was better. But we both know we only get one result. Maybe in this scenario the results are reversed a bit, and with YOUR plan the results in 5 years are only 2 000. Then, we both agree, YOUR plan is better, but how do we know?

We never know. If you, or anybody, thinks they DO know, you're prolly fooling yourself, somehow. Usually you're better about knowing what you don't know.

Second to last -- only the Iraqis can give themselves freedom. (See http://tomgrey.motime.com/1083000026#264950 (no) Help for Iraqi People)

Each and every Iraqi death to a terrorist, is a heroic Iraqi Martyr fighting for Iraqi freedom. And, soon, there will be a Princess Bride solution...
"Hello Zarqawi, my name is Omar.
You killed my brother. Prepare to die."
http://tomgrey.motime.com/1099082055#365562

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad on October 30, 2004 07:00 PM

David Yancey - quite a few posts to get through to glean your central point. I think I saw "judgement" in there somewhere. So let me ask you to clarify - based on Kerry's actual history -in what sense he has shown good judgment? Oh - and don't think for a minute that you can get away with Monday morning quarterbacking here - as you (and Kerry himself) obviously have a wont to do. I refer to actual evidence of good judgement in action over the past 30 years of his public life - not good judgement based on post hoc criticism of the Bush administration. Have a go at it because I think the evidence lines up quite nicely on the other side.

Then I see that your support for Kerry is based on your assertion that unlike Bush - he will go after the ROOTS of fundamentalist-inspired terror. And so I am mighty curious. Precisely what do you see as the ROOTS of terrorism and what are Kerry's plans on that score?

Please don't insult my intelligence and tell me it has anything to do with the French getting on board OK?

Is it the law enforcement approach? More containers checked at our ports? Facts please.

Actually the last time I was informed of the root causes of terror - the explanation came from bin Laden himself: troops in Saudia Arabia, sanctions on Iraq, our support for oppressive regimes in the ME, our support for Israel.

Now troops are out of SA, the sanctions are gone, Bush has publicly stated that we have made a grave error in supporting despotic regimes thinking it could ensure our safety - and he has overturned 2 despotic regimes in the last few years - one has had successful elections, the other is on course. There is of course Israel. You seem awfully concerned about popularity and such and so may I infer that you and Kerry would propose abandoning Israel - in order to get at the root causes of terrorism and all?

Looking in total at your arguments it appears to me that you are saying waaaaaaaaaa!! This is hard!! People hate us!! Kerry will make it all go away!!.

There is actually no reason whatsoever behind your arguments. As Bush has said - simply a litany of complaints............

Posted by: Caroline on October 30, 2004 07:06 PM

[The editors would like to discourage comments this long, especially those recycling old and discredited claims. Get your own blog and stop leeching off our traffic.]

Why shouldnt Bush be called a liar, consider-

HIDING THE TOLL OF THE IRAQ WAR. The The Bush administration has (i) banned the media from Dover Air Force Base where the bodies of troops killed in Iraq are returned, (ii) under-reported figures for those officially wounded to only include those directly wounded in combat, and (iii) restricted access to military hospitals for professionally trained counselors of the Disabled American Veterans Association � access that the DAV has had for more than 60 years � to only permit closely monitored visits with pre-selected patients; and (iv) failed to attend a single funeral for an Iraq war veteran. (Tom Paine.common sense 03.08.04)

SUPPRESSING, ALTERING OR MANIPULATING EMPERICAL DATA UNDERMINING THEIR IDEOLOGICAL POSITIONS: More than 4,000 scientists � including 48 Nobel Prize winners and 127 members of the National Academy of Sciences � have accused the Bush administration of distorting and suppressing science to suit its political goals. (Shogren � Los Angeles Times 07.09.04)

A report by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that this administration has:

a well-established pattern of suppression and distortion of scientific finding by high-ranking Bush administration political appointees across numerous federal agencies. These actions have consequences for human health, public safety and community well being. Incidents involve air pollutants, heat-trapping emissions, reproductive health, drug resistant bacteria, endangered species, forest health, and military intelligence
ERASING EVIDENCE OF RACIAL DISPARITIES IN REPORT ON ACCESS TO QUALITY HEALTH CARE: After a National Academy Sciences panel conducted a Congressionally mandated comprehensive study on racial disparities in access to quality health care and concluded that racial and socioeconomic disparities were �pervasive in our health care system�; that minorities received poorer care and were more likely to die from avoidable deaths (e.g., cancer, cardiac illness) � HHS Secretary Thompson refused to approve the findings and ordered that the report be rewritten. The report released by HHS in December 2003 omitted all findings of racial disparities and instead asserted that claims of minority groups receiving worse care than whites were unproved. (Bloche � Los Angeles Times 02.15.04)


KILLED TREASURY DEFICIT STUDY: The administration �deep-sixed� a 2003 Treasury Department study that projected that �the equivalent of an immediate and permanent 66 percent across-the-board income tax increase� would be required to eliminate a projected $44.2 trillion budget deficit due to Bush�s tax cuts. The study found that the future health care and retirement costs of the baby boomers would overwhelm the treasury. �Sharp tax increases and massive spending cuts are unavoidable if the U.S. is to meet benefit promises to future generations.� The report added that the current financial challenge facing Washington is approximately �10 times the publicly held national debt, four years of U.S. economic output, or more than 94 percent of all U.S. household assets.� (Hollings � Washington Post 06.19.03, Baker � Slate 07.11.03, Ferdinand - Utne Reader 05.2003, Malveaux & McCaughan - CNN.com 05.29.03)

SUPPRESSING EVIDENCE OF RACIAL HARASSMENT WITHIN THE ASHCROFT JUSTICE DEPARTMENT: For over a year, the Justice Department has delayed the release of a KPMG Consulting report on diversity in DOJ. All that DOJ would release is a redacted version that deletes more than half the report including its summary. It is reported that the redacted portions include findings that DOJ faces �significant diversity issues� and that �minorities are significantly more likely than whites to cite stereotyping, harassment, and racial tensions as characteristics of the work climate.� (New York Times 11.04.03)

DELETED DECLINING MIN. WAGE: A Labor Department report showing the real value of the minimum wage over time (which would show the workers losing ground under Bush since there has been no increase since 1997) was removed from its website. (Baker � Slate 07.11.03)


CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM

LIE: After initially opposing McCain-Feingold, Bush jumped on the bandwagon once it was a fait accompli. In July 2002, he cut a deal with Senator McCain to appoint a pro-reform candidate (Ellen Weintraub) backed by McCain to the Federal Election Commission.

FACT: As Senator McCain plainly stated, while �the administration wanted to share in the widespread public approval of campaign finance reform by . . . signing the legislation . . . he�s cooperating behind the scenes with opponents of the law in Congress and on the [Federal Election] Commission to weaken it as much as possible.� Bush sat on the Weintraub nomination until the Bush FEC issued regulations creating huge loopholes contrary to the express language of the law to permit (i) party committees to raise soft money through independent committees, (ii) federal officials to engage in fundraising, and (iii) permitting candidates to raise soft money through independent committees. In the words of Senator McCain, �[t]hey flat-out broke their word.� (Arianna Online 12.09.02, Public Citizen Analysis of How FEC Is Undermining the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002)

The Patriot Act

LIE: "By the way, the reason I bring up the Patriot Act, it's set to expire next year. I'm starting a campaign to make it clear to members of Congress that it shouldn't expire. It shouldn't expire for the security of our country." President Bush.

FACT: Less that 10 percent of the Patriot Act expires; most of the law is permanent and those portions that do sunset will not do so until December 31, 2005. (Cassel � Counterpunch 04.26.04)

LIE: "And that changed, the law changed on- roving wiretaps were available for chasing down drug lords. They weren't available for chasing down terrorists, see?"

FACT: Roving wiretaps were available prior to 9/11 against drug lords and terrorists. Prior to the law, the FBI could get a roving wiretap against both when it had probable cause of crime for a wiretap eligible offense. What the Patriot Act did is make roving wiretaps available in intelligence investigations supervised by the secret intelligence court without the judicial safeguards of the criminal wiretap statute. (Cassel � Counterpunch 04.26.04)

LIE: "... see, I'm not a lawyer, so it's kind of hard for me to kind of get bogged down in the law. I'm not going to play like one, either. (Laughter.) The way I viewed it, if I can just put it in simple terms, is that one part of the FBI couldn't tell the other part of the FBI vital information because of the law. And the CIA and the FBI couldn't talk."

FACT: The CIA and the FBI could talk and did. As Janet Reno wrote in prepared testimony before the 9/11 commission, "There are simply no walls or restrictions on sharing the vast majority of counterterrorism information. There are no legal restrictions at all on the ability of the members of the intelligence community to share intelligence information with each other.

"With respect to sharing between intelligence investigators and criminal investigators, information learned as a result of a physical surveillance or from a confidential informant can be legally shared without restriction. While there were restrictions placed on information gathered by criminal investigators as a result of grand jury investigations or Title III wire taps, in practice they did not prove to be a serious impediment since there was very little significant information that could not be shared." (Cassel � Counterpunch 04.26.04)

LIE: "Thirdly, to give you an example of what we're talking about, there's something called delayed-notification search warrants. ... We couldn't use these against terrorists [before the Patriot Act], but we could use against gangs."

FACT: Delayed-notification - or so-called sneak-and-peek search warrants - were never limited to gangs. The circuit courts that had authorized them in limited circumstances prior to the Patriot Act did not limit the warrants to the investigation of gangs. In fact, terrorism or espionage investigators did not necessarily have to go through the criminal courts for a covert search - they could do so with even fewer safeguards against abuse by going to a top secret foreign intelligence court in Washington.

For criminal sneak-and-peek warrants, the Patriot Act added a catch-all argument for prosecutors - if notice would delay prosecution or jeopardize an investigation - which makes these secret search warrants much easier to obtain. The president's sneak-and-peek misstatement clearly demonstrates that the Patriot Act is not limited to terrorism. In fact, many of the law's expanded authorities can clearly be used outside the war on terrorism. (Cassel � Counterpunch 04.26.04)

LIE: In announcing his support for the Defense of Marriage Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage, Bush said he was reversing his previous position because of the actions in Massachusetts, New Mexico and San Francisco.

On the Military

LIE: Bush has lauded the �great courage� of those serving in Iraq and has proclaimed that �[o]ur men and women in uniform give America their best and we owe them our support.�

FACT: Bush�s support has been in words only, as he has requested major cuts in the Impact Aid program providing funds for the schooling of 900,000 children of military families. (The Daily Mis-Lead 10.13.03)

In addition, one million children living in military and veteran families are denied child tax credit help in the President�s tax cut, including 260,000 of children with parents in active duty. (Center for American Progress 12.13.03)


LIE: Bush told the VFW that �Veterans are a priority of this administration . . . and that priority is reflected in my budget.�

FACT: In 2003, Bush killed an emergency funding request that included $275 million for Veterans� medical care, while his 2004 budget requests falls $1.9 billion short of maintaining what the American Legion called �an inadequate status quo.� Bush�s FY2005 budget cuts funding by $13.5 billion over 5 years. (The Daily Mis-Lead 10.21.03, The Center for American Progress 02.04.03)


LIE: In June 2001 Bush stated that the US would not deploy a missile defense system �that doesn�t work.�

FACT: Bush then proceeded to deploy the missile defense system even though a General Accounting Office report found only �limited data for determining whether the system will work as intended.� (Corn � The Nation 10.13.03)

On Education

EDUCATION

LIE: On a three-state education tour, Bush claimed they the administration has seriously increased funding for education, saying �we�re doing our duty; we understand that people need extra help, and the federal government is responding.�


FACT: There is a $72 billion gap between what Bush promised to spend and what he actually sought. Of the states visited, he promised $176MM for Arkansas for disadvantaged children, but only sought $117MM. Bush is seeking to reduce funding for almost one-third of Arkansas school districts. In Maryland, Bush is only seeking $171MM after promising $264MM and in West Virginia he is seeking $106MM after promising $163MM. (The Daily Mis-Lead 05.12.04)

LIE: In signing the No Child Left Behind Act, Bush declared �We�re going to spend more on our schools and we�re going to spend it more wisely.� In his 2004 State of the Union speech, he claimed �I refuse to give up on any child and the No Child Left Behind Act is opening the door of opportunity to all of America�s children.�


FACT: Bush�s FY2005 budget under-funds the No Child Left Behind (�NCLB�) program by $9.4 billion � or 27 percent less than authorized by Congress. Bush has under funded the NCLB program by $15 billion over his first three years. Most of the under funding is in the area of Title I of the Act which provided funds to schools with low income or disadvantaged students. (The Daily Distortion 10.24.03, New Democratic Network 12.02.03, Center for American Progress 02.03.04)

LIE: �I propose larger Pell Grants for students who prepare for college with demanding courses in high school.� (2004 SOU)

FACT: The Bush administration has eliminated 84,000 students from the Pell Grants program and reduced grants to another 1.5 million students. Its FY2005 budget freezes Pell Grant awards. (Center for American Progress 02.03.04)

LIE: �I�ve always felt that the community college system provides a great opportunity for job training. . . . So we�ve got the money in our budget to help invigorate the community college system.�

FACT: The Bush administration has proposed modest increases in job training funds for community colleges but this is offset by over $1 billion cut out of job training programs over the last three years. (Center for American Progress 02.23.04)

LIE: In a September 2003 speech, Bush claimed that his budget boosted spending for elementary and secondary education to $53.1 billion -- a 26 percent increase.

FACT: Bush�s budget for elementary and secondary education is only $34.9 billion (his entire education budget is $53.1 billion) and the boost he refers to is actually a $900 million cut. (Corn � The Nation 09.15.03)

On Kenny Boy

LIE: Bush attempted to distance himself from Enron�s Kenneth Lay by claiming Lay supported his opponent (Governor Richards) in 1994 and he first got to know Lay only after elected.

FACT: Lay gave $37,500 to the Bush 1994 campaign and Lay claims he was �very close� to Bush at that time. (Slate 01.17.02) The Bush-Lay connection goes back much further, as in 1988, Bush lobbied the Argentinean government to award a contract to Enron. (Mother Jones March-April 2000)

LIE: Bush pledged to increase SEC enforcement in signing the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate reform legislation.

FACT: Bush�s FY2003 budget cuts SEC enforcement by $209 million. (Boston Globe 12.29.02)

LIE: In the Enron aftermath, Bush pledged �to do more to protect worker pensions�.

FACT: Four month�s later the Bush administration announced plans to permit employers to convert traditional pension plans into �cash balance� plans that lower benefits for long-serving workers. (Caught On Film: The Bush Credibility Gap)

Harken and Haliburton


LIE: In September 2003, when asked by Tim Hussert whether he was �involved in any way in the awarding of [Iraq] contracts� to Halliburton, Cheney replied �Of course not, Tim. . . . And as Vice President, I have absolutely no influence of, involvement of, knowledge of in any way, shape or form of contracts led by the [Army] Corps of Engineers or anybody else in the Federal Government."

FACT: Internal Pentagon documents reveal that the awarding of the Halliburton contracts �has been coordinate [with] VP�s office.� An internal Pentagon email reveals that the award of no-bid Halliburton contracts �has been coordinated with the VP�s office.� (Burger & Zagorin, Time Magazine 05.30.04, CAP Daily Report 06.01.04 and 06.15.04).

LIE: Bush claims that he �absolutely had no idea [about Harken�s liquidity problems] and would not have sold [his stock] had I known."

FACT: Harken�s president warned board members of liquidity problems that would �drastically affect� operations two months before Bush�s stock sale. Harken�s lawyers also circulated a memo warning executives and directors not to sell any stock. Bush sold his stock for $4/share and it quickly dropped to $1.25. (San Francisco Chronicle 07.05.02, Guardian 11.02.02, Washington Monthly 12.02)

LIE: Bush claims to have cooperated with an SEC investigation of his Harken transactions.

FACT: Bush quashed evidence that Harken�s lawyers advised Bush and other executives against selling their stock and only provided it to the SEC after it had ended its investigation. (Guardian 11.02.02)

LIE: Bush signed an agreement in which he promised to hold the Harken stock at issue for six months.

FACT: Bush sold the Harken stock two months later. (The Dubya Report 07.18.02)

LIE: Bush claimed he timely filed the required SEC disclosure form after selling his Harken stock and asserted that the SEC must have lost it.

FACT: Bush did not file until eight months after the deadline for doing so. (Washington Post 07.04.02)

LIE: Cheney claimed that while at Halliburton he imposed a �firm policy� against trading with Iraq. �[W]e�ve not done any business in Iraq since the sanctions [were] imposed, and I had a standing policy that I wouldn�t do that.�

FACT: Senior Halliburton executives claim there was no such policy. Halliburton�s affiliates signed contracts with Iraq to sell more than $73 million in oil production equipment during Cheney�s tenure, helping Iraq increase crude exports by 450% between 1997 and 2000. Senior Halliburton executives were certain Cheney was aware of this business. Cheney also defended circumvention of a Clinton executive order banning US trade and investment in Iran. (Financial Times 10.05.00, Washington Post 06.23.01)

On Jobs

LIE: Bush has bragged about job growth in �high-growth, high-paying industries� to support his administration�s economic policies.

FACT: According to USA Today job in lower-wage industries and regions are growing at a faster pace than higher-wage jobs and this �is less potent for the economy because the majority of the new work isn�t accompanies by fat paychecks. . (Daily Mis-Lead 03.09.04)

LIE: In March 2004, Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao told Congress that the President did not sign administration�s annual economic report to Congress which promised that the President�s economic plan would create 2.6 million jobs by 2004.

FACT: In February 2004, President Bush released a personally signed copy of this report, but the administration has quickly distanced itself from the projections. (Daily Mis-Lead 03.09.04)

LIE: �Jobs are on the rise.� (SOU 2004)

FACT: While the unemployment rate dropped in December, this was due to the fact that �the economy was so bleak that 255,000 of the jobless simply stopped looking for work�. (State of the Union Response � Center for American Progress 01.20.04)

LIE: Bush claimed �I want people to understand that when somebody wants to work and can�t find a job, it says we've got a problem we�re going to deal with.�

FACT: When faced with increased out-sourcing of US job overseas, the administration�s approach to dealing with the problem was to praise outsourcing �as a good thing� for international trade.

In addition, the Bush administration actively sponsors and participates in conferences and workshops to help American companies put operations and jobs in china. (The Daily Mis-Lead 02.10.04, Center for American Progress 02.10.04)

LIE: The White House has made the following claims on job growth:

2002 � projected 3.4 million jobs for 2001-03
2004 � projected 2.6 million jobs in 2004

FACT: The White House has �repeatedly and significantly overstated . . . the number of jobs the economy would create�. Instead of creating 3.4 million jobs in their first three years, the Bush administration lost 1.7 million jobs. The Bush administration already is distancing itself from its February 9th projection of 2.6 million jobs in 2004. (The Daily Mis-Lead 02.18.04; Milbank � Washington Post 02.24.04)

LIE: The White House proposed reclassifying low-paid fast food jobs as �manufacturing jobs�.


FACT: This is an attempt by the White House to obscure the fact that 2.7 million manufacturing jobs have been lost on his watch. Fast food preparation is not value added manufacturing and fast food jobs pay approximately 21 percent less than manufacturing jobs. (The Daily Mis-Lead 02.24.04)

The Recession

LIE: In his December 28th radio address, Bush claimed that the recession began before he took office. Both he and Vice President Cheney have repeated this claim during the reelection campaign. The Administration also unilaterally changed the method for calculating a recession to move the starting date of the Bush recession to 2000. This is even after President Bush is on record that �our economy has been in recession since March [2001]�. (Daily Mis-Lead 09.01.04, Center for American Progress Report 09.02.04)

FACT: The economy was still growing at the end of 2000, despite the incoming administration�s attempt to talk it down. The recession began in March 2001 during the first year of the Bush administration. This is even after President Bush is on record that �our economy has been in recession since March [2001]�. (Slate 12.30.02, Progress Report 03.03.04, Daily Mis-Lead 09.01.04, Center for American Progress Report 09.02.04)

I didnt just take any mistake or error in an attempt to make the best case against the lying scumbag in the White House. The enviroment, housing, faith based intiatives, etc, I left alone because they arent issues I care about. When Whitewater was in the news everyday during the Clinton years, all we heard from the reps was, follow the money. I suggest the reps with a conscience apply that principle to the Bush multigenerational relationship with the Saudi royal family, 911, and the 30 redacted pages of the 911 commissions report. Follow the money in the tax cuts, and compare the results to the economic stimulus Bush claimed they would provide. Follow the money when you consider Iraq, and how we sent half the number of soldiers needed to secure the borders and the weapons depots. Follow the money in the Enron bankruptcy, and ask yourself why Bush declared executive priveledge on the minutes to the Cheney/DOE/Enron minutes that took place two weeks prior to Enrons bankruptcy. Follow the money in the Haliburton no bid contracts and the fact the administration waived the requirement for Haliburtons fuel purchases that when examined showed Haliburton overbilled the government 70 million dollars on the fuel contracts alone. Follow the money on Haliburtons no bid contracts in dealing with oil well fires, the administration claimed they awarded no bid contracts to Haliburton for this service due to their expierience with the oil well fires in Kuwait, problem is its now been revealed Halliburton didnt have a single worker in Iraq with expierience in dealing with oil well fires in Kuwait.

Even if you believe every bit of BS the semiretarded, cheerleading, walking advertisement for nepotism made about Kerry, KERRY IS STILL OBVIOUSLY THE BETTER MAN.



Posted by: Begbee on October 30, 2004 08:13 PM

Jane,

Interesting review - there are lots of things that I could comment on, but I think I'll just comment on your review of the Kerry/Bush health plan. I was not a Kerry supporter - I supported Dean in part because his health care plan had real results in Vermont.

Dr. Dean's health care plan lowered Vermont's costs by reducing emergency room visits, lowering drug costs for seniors, and was a system that the doctors, patients, and insurance companies all liked because it 1) fostered competition among insurance companies 2) was an opt-in system, 3) allowed choice for doctors and patients.... all the freedom of choice that they had before.
The end result was that Vermont Republicans, Libertarians, Democrats, Independents, all liked the results.

Dr. Dean's health care plan was major part of his platform and I spent a lot of time looking at it and discussing it with others.

When I listened to Kerry at the third debate I nearly fell out of my chair because what he was describing was Dean's program. I checked his website and it was true - Kerry's health-care plan is identical to Dean's.

So - although you say Kerry's health care plan scares you, you don't say why. I think that means that you have not looked at the plan and instead just relied on others telling you that it scares you. What scares you about it? Be specific. Go to the Kerry website and quote the parts you find objectionable

I think if you were to look at Kerry/Dean's health care plan in detail you would find it the best plan out there, based not just on rhetoric, but proven, cost-saving, bi-partisan-liking, industry-liking, patient-liking, doctor-liking results.

-----

Aside - if you want to see why Regan Repubicans support Kerry go here http://www.motherjones.com/commentary/columns/2004/09/prestowitz_intro.html

or here

http://blog.johnkerry.com/blog/archives/003498.html

Posted by: A Regan Republican for Kerry on October 30, 2004 08:19 PM

Wow Begbee - hope you either get your own blog or find a more perfect world - whichever comes first.

Posted by: Caroline on October 30, 2004 08:22 PM

Jane,

What a bunch of lame excuses to do what you wanted to do all along: vote for Bush.

The twisted thought processes you had to go through to justify your vote for single most incompetent president in American history is interesting to read. It will make a nice case study for an undergraduate paper on self delusional tendencies amongst libertarian political advocates. I hope you leave it in the public domain so your thought process may actually serve a better purpose than what you make of it some day.

Posted by: ken on October 30, 2004 08:33 PM

Caroline, addressing someone else: "our troops have already secured/destroyed over 400,000 tons of weapons in Iraq (you do the math)."

I have. That represents between 20% and 40% of Saddam's total pre-war arsenal.

Someone has the rest of that arsenal. We'll have to wait until 2005 before Congress perhaps start trying to find out where it is and who lost it.

Caroline, addressing someone else: "Then I see that your support for Kerry is based on your assertion that unlike Bush - he will go after the ROOTS of fundamentalist-inspired terror."

One of the main roots is Wahibbism. I'd suggest doing some googling. In the past thirty years the Saudis have spent around $87 billion spreading Wahabbism inside the U.S. and the western hemisphere.

Then, read this extremely politic excerpt from Front Page Mag:

"Rumors have circulated within the last year or so that the Bush administration refuses to get tough on Saudi Arabia because of the Bush family's business and personal ties to Saudi Arabia and some of its most elevated citizens. When Princess Haifa was scrutinized recently, Barbara Bush and Alma Powell, wife of the Secretary of State, supported her. They were but two of many. White House and State Department spokespeople rarely criticize the Saudis, merely stating that while they "could do more" in the fight on terror, the Saudis were still being extremely helpful. The Secretary of State himself warned against pushing the Saudis too hard, since the Saudis have been such great friends and a strategic partner to the U.S. for "many, many years." Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, Prince Bandar and Princess Haifa have all visited President Bush at his Crawford ranch. The question must be asked: is there a deeper relationship between the Bushes and the Saudi royal family? In scrupulous fairness, there exist no grounds for any explicit accusation of wrongdoing � Bush is not Clinton � but it would be remiss of the American public not to ask questions about these close relationships between our president and people who are at best very fickle friends of our country."

Keith says: "[Bush leveled] with the American people about the need to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq."

And, what of the aluminum tubes they lied about?

Posted by: The Lonewacko Blog on October 30, 2004 08:36 PM

Lonewacko - are you suggesting that Saddam's arsenal represented some kind of danger?

Re Wahabbism - couldn't agree more. I am actually very open to hearing how Kerry would deal with Saudi Arabia. What are his specific proposals? Do they have any relevance to his stated intentions to return to realpolitik?

Posted by: Caroline on October 30, 2004 09:02 PM

Caroline - -

I have supplied what I think are the most important reasons for voting *against* Bush. I have no idea if Kerry will be able to lead us out of this or not; we are in a very difficult position.

I simply am saying, from the outset, that my vote is based upon actual results achieved to date, not supposed hypothetical futures, unjustified fears and scare talk, and not on the past. I will therefore go with four to eight years of Kerry rather than four more of this present crew. I am *not* "defending* Kerry, nor will I - - his own partisans can handle that. When it comes to the Democratic and Republican parties, I have always said "a pox on both your houses".

You seem to want to compare these men based on their past judgements. That is absurd, to me. While Kerry risked his life, then gave the rest of it to public service, Mr. Bush was not in any comparable job. At least John Kerry has a lifetime of public positions on a vast range of international, domestic and economic issues to show us his dedication to his ideals, and his respect for the institutions of which we are so proud.

Including, Caroline, the United States Navy.

You and others are no doubt upset with one or another vote or position of John Kerry. I would share your dismay, no doubt, on many positions, possibly even some of the ones you and other self-described conservatives are unhappy about. But three nights before E-Day, all this gnashing of teeth and arguments over the past are, to me, and, I sincerely believe, millions of others, with respect, simply irrelevant.

My judgement says that we need to remove the present administration if we are to have any realistic hope of salvaging this current situation. And if we fail to resolve this situation successfully, then everything else we have to do to get this country on the right course - - as I see it, naturally; your view is probably different - - will take a back seat for decades.

It is simply a question of results: the Bush team has set us back for years. Let's get them out of the way and turn this thing around.

Do I have any magic insight into Kerry's plans? Of course not. Do I have much confidence that he really understands the Islamic fundamentalist movement, and can defeat it? Nope. Do I think that his team will do a better job in other domestic areas than the current administration has done? Yes, but I am not going to waste words trying to convince anyone in here, especially not when others who have posted are doing such a good job of it. I just don�t care about these questions tonight, not because these issues don't count, but because, sorry, they are just not important right now - - in my opinion.

As to the reasons this fight against Osama will be so terribly costly and long, I can only suggest you and others read as voraciously as you can. Go, if you can, to the Islamic world as I have, and meet and talk to these people. There is little time to lose.

People like Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bush want you to think that defeating the terrorists is simply a question of military might, or "firm resolve". Bull. We have plenty of both, and, in spite of the good things that have been accomplished, and the sacrifice of some 1100 brave young Americans, we are not close to successful resolution.

The fact is that there is a minority of very activist people in the Islamic world who see in the Western system of techno-capitalism, free thought, the separation of church and state, and liberated females a collectively overwhelming threat to their belief system, culture, and traditional power-sharing structure. There are millions of such men, for they mostly are male, led by many thousands of mullahs and other religious leaders. Why they hate us is another and not brief discussion, and certainly is not appropriate here.

But to think that Osama is speaking for Islam is mistaken. To think that Bush has made any serious effort to change our policies in the Islamic world is equally in error.

I'll simply say that we won't change their mind with guns and smart bombs: as we are now seeing in Iraq, the attempt to kill them all will simply yield a new and larger crop of even more determined fanatics. The Macho-man attitude of the present administration responds by saying "Bring it on!" or the equivalent. That is foolishness, as the young soldiers of our country are learning, to their, and all our cost.

The above is not to say that all Muslims are evil, or opposed to us, or beat their women, or the like. I am talking about the dominant male religio-politico-economic cliques in these countries. If you think the Taliban is defeated, and that there are not similar groups throughout Islam, think again. You can diss the French, but they are on the frontier of facing this problem.

These fundamentalists will use *any* excuse to attack us, no matter how flimsy or absurd. They have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. They even go to heaven if they can do enough damage.

These anti-Western radicals are backed implicitly or explicitly by the regimes of every Islamic country, because these regimes would simply evaporate into the desert air if they were ever subjected to the *informed* will of the people they rule. Our policy has never dealt with this dilemma directly, because we need all that oil these guys control.

I am *not* saying that we should cut and run. I am pretty sure Kerry doesn't think so, either. And whatever gives you the idea Kerry would abandon Israel? No American leader can fail to back Israel, even though that makes our position in trying to reason with these countries weak.

Am I saying, as you seem to suggest, that we not use force? Hardly. Indeed, we should have focused even more force on Afghanistan, and started our nation-building there, by dumpng the warlords and drug dealers.

I am opposed to Bush because of his invasion of Iraq. Under his leadership our efforts were diluted, made ineffective in Iraq, and now we are paying a huge price.

Nor am I wishfully hoping a Kerry administration will magically re-write hundreds of years of hatred, econimic injustice, Western economic Imperialism, local corruption, and sheer Islamic ignorance of science and the great benefits of democracy and rational capitalism.

You ask me what will Kerry do? As if I could know. All I am saying is how hard this is going to be for a group of serious men and women, and that we better get done with the trigger-happy folks.

Caroline, you are wise to ask others about what the next administration will do here or there. But those answers are not going to be forthcoming here, or until perhaps a year after Kerry wins, if he does. We are in the Big Muddy, and the urgent task now is to find solid footing for our troops and the Iraqi people.

We are in a battle not for the minds and hearts of the Islamic majority, but for the very soul of their beliefs. If we cannot patiently and supportively show them the impossibilty, evil, and inhumanity of a government and society founded on the proposition that all original thought ceased in the seventh century, that all the great questions of humanity were resolved for all time, that there is no possibility for humans to make errors and learn from them, well, all I can say is that we face a struggle that makes 9/11 and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict look small by comparison.

I would rather have a government who seems willing to try and come to grips with this, than one who is determined to bomb all these people into dust, in order to kill the small minority who are repressing them. Will Kerry�s people be more prone to be realistic on this front than the Bush battalion? Clearly, I think they will.

I hope every woman who votes this election will take the time to think of the hundreds of millions of other women who cannot. Then think a bit further, and ask themselves this question: are we more likely to free these people and their children with bombs dropped on their wedding celebrations, or with thoughtful programs of healthcare, family planning, computer literacy, literacy, local elections, and the kind of small-scale loans for women-owned businesses that have worked so spectacularly well in India and Bangladesh? Then ask one question more: which administration is likely to roll up their sleeves and get this work underway?

Foreign policy is not, when all is said and done, about who has the biggest bomb or most soldiers. It is about persuading nations full of *individuals* to see things our way. In saying to hell with all these people, the Bush administration is only showing its own ignorance, and forcing the rest of us to pay for it for years to come.

Posted by: David Yancey on October 30, 2004 09:24 PM

Caroline, the question is why did Bush do nothing to SA, except increase the value of their oil, as a response to 911?

Posted by: Begbee on October 30, 2004 09:26 PM

Lone whacko you touch on a very important point noone else has touched on. If we were so sure Iraq had wmd, why did we almost immediately assume they didnt exist at all when we didnt find them? Wouldnt the world be alot better off if an impotant Saddam boxed in by no fly zones still had the wmd, if we had no plan on how to immediately secure the wmd, or prevent them from being moved to another unknown location prior to the war? Securing the wmd was the single most important aspect in planning this war, and its a question that Bush never considered. We actually created the best oppurtunity terrorists ever had to acquire wmd, by not securing the wmd if they existed, or securing the borders prior to the invasion.

Posted by: Begbee on October 30, 2004 09:41 PM

This is why what Kerry did in 1971 matters:
http://bloodletting.blog-city.com/read/878916.htm

Posted by: markm on October 30, 2004 09:41 PM

Congratulations on a magisterial overview of the issues (not that I necessarily agree with the ultimate conclusion or everything in it- but with 200 comments I doubt I could add anything new, and KNOW I don't have time to scroll through all of them to find out).

By the way, I want to apologize for being so snippy and rude when I was arguing with you about sprawl and smart growth. I have no excuse, unless having a natural streak of obnoxious combativeness counts as an excuse (which I don't think it does).

Posted by: Michael Lewyn on October 30, 2004 10:12 PM

It now seems clear why Mr. Yancey perpetrates his nonsense about "the past is not going to resolve our problems in the present." This is, of course, extremely convenient for his advancement of Mr. Kerry.

Except of course, the part of the past where Mr. Kerry served in the military. Were you aware of that, Caroline? That part of the past we must remember.

It seems we must forget, though, about Mr. Kerry being in league with many enemies of the United States over the course of his sordid career, including, undeniably, the North Vietnamese Communists and the Sandinistas of Nicaragua, both of whom he visited, openly or clandestinely, to denigrate the United States. Then we must forget how Mr. Kerry opposed every weapons development program designed to deter the Soviet Union, and his opposition to the first Gulf War, complete with participation from France.

You see, if we ignore the lessons of the past, it allows Mr. Yancey to say with a straight face that now Mr. Kerry will embrace the interests and protection of the U.S. with all of his huge, swollen brain.

Mr. Yancey's and Mr. Kerry's idea of foreign policy is akin to canine, where we must lay on our backs and expose our bellies to the enemy, and they are sure that if we do so, the enemy will surely just move away, rather than rip our throats out. Because, you see, we must forget all those nasty, inconvenient little episodes of terrorism ranging from World Trade Center I to the USS Cole, when foreign policy was being pursued as Mr. Kerry suggests, with terrorism as a mere nuisance, by our friends in the Clinton administration. We must forget that the Islamofascist world declared war on us first, because after all, we deserve it, because we don't have good health care or education, and Halliburton is really, really awful.

Or perhaps Mr. Yancey's brand of foreign policy is better defined as "Rodney King Rhetoric." By all means, let us go to all who would do us harm simply because we exist, and utter plaintively, but ever so sincerely, "c- c- c- can't we all just get along?"

Posted by: Keith on October 30, 2004 10:23 PM

I can't for the life of me understand why anyone would chose Kerry over Bush (of anyone else for that matter) on any issue. John Kerry is an arrogant elitist, a psychological liar and a TRAITOR, who has never had a thought outside of himself, other than which ditzy widow has the most money.

Posted by: Scott on October 30, 2004 10:25 PM

"You seem to want to compare these men based on their past judgements."

No David Yancey - that was you talking earlier about Bush's judgement and now you want to sweep aside Kerry's lengthy history of "judgements" as if they have no relevance. And please don't toss in the Vietnam war hero stuff. If Kerry were a Republican candidate the MSM would have ripped him a new asshole over it by now.

"�there is a minority of very activist people in the Islamic world who see in the Western system of techno-capitalism, free thought, the separation of church and state, and liberated females a collectively overwhelming threat to their belief system, culture, and traditional power-sharing structure."

Uh huh - got that - and admittedly I am not as widely read as you but I completely understand that these folks are opposed to "free thought�.and liberated females" - and that�s just for starters. Lets throw in opposition to free speech, religious tolerance, and respect for minorities (including homosexuals - who are killed rather than denied a wedding certificate) - and I begin to see the total picture and you know what ? I don't like it. I will assume you consider yourself a liberal but I sure don't see it when you say stuff like that. Rather I assume you - like so many on the left these days - are all up in arms about the Christian fundamentalists among you while at the same time preaching understanding for the most radical right-wing, fascistic folks on the planet. But hey - maybe that�s just my misunderstanding of what has happened to my party.

"these regimes would simply evaporate into the desert air if they were ever subjected to the *informed* will of the people they rule".

You mean democracy? Yes now we're talking. Sounds like you read a page out of Bush's playbook.

"Our policy has never dealt with this dilemma directly"

Uh - yes it has. Where have you been during the last few years ? What do you think Afghanistan and Iraq have been all about? Oh no - please don't tell me you fell for Michael Moore's line about the OIL!

You are "pretty sure" Kerry wouldn't cut and run in Iraq? Not good enough for me.

And as for the rest of your post David? You are obviously a very kind-hearted and well-meaning person. Obviously what the world needs more of. But everything you are proposing as the solution is what the Bush administration is already doing. Is violence involved? Yes. Does it help to realize that Saddam Hussein routinely practiced a kind of violence that could only come straight out of your worst nightmare? If you haven't read all about that I would suggest you do so and weigh that aginst a death experienced by a random bomb. I know which I would choose. And does it help to know that most of the educated liberals in Iraq - I assume people quite like yourself - are hoping for Bush's reelection?

But David - even though I am a democrat voting for Bush - if Kerry wins I hope the Republicans don't do to him over 4 years what the Democrats did to Bush. And if the elections themselves are messy - I hope that we can take a lesson from the Afghan people - who set aside their differences for the good of the nation - and set a good example for the Iraqi people who are about to go to the polls themselves. I just hope we can set a good example for the Iraqis. If we can't get over our differences and work together, how the hell can we expect them to do so?


Posted by: Caroline on October 30, 2004 10:33 PM

Jane,

This is a fantastic discussion you have put together on what lead to your decisions. You've managed to touch on almost all the issues discussed in the election. I believe Stem Cell Research and Importing of drugs from Canada were the only two you didn't discuss.

My personal view is that tax payers should not be forced to something that goes against their beliefs. Stem Cell Research has not been made illegal. Anyone wanting to contribute to an organization to do such research is allowed to. I only wish I could believe all the people going around talking about it actually made any kind of contribution to the research foundations at all.

Importing drugs from Canada is a different issue. I wouldn�t have any objections from doing so. Just realize that by opening this up, we would also be making it possible for all manufactures and research companies also to move as well. The President also addressed something in his plans that Kerry did not seem to touch upon: Make it easier for generic manufactures to avoid all of the patent litigation issues after the patents expire.

I'm not sure I agree that this administration screwed up as much as most people state. It is like blaming an architect for damage caused to a building during construction phase by a terrorist. The fact of the matter is the reason why things are as bad as they are over there is because it is still a war zone. And in every war things don't go as planned, and even the enemy will find a way to win some battles.

The fact that we have so many within our own country wanting to attack the President also helps raise the morale of the enemy. Just seeing the infighting that it is cause over here must cause a lot of glee in the minds of the terrorists. That�s why it doesn�t matter to them if they kill 100 Iraqis, 1 solider, or 30 children. They know it will be reported here and it will keep us always second guessing. My guess is after the US elections you will see a significant reduction in violence. The press will not be looking to create headline to help try to defeat Bush and help Kerry with his campaign. My hope is they will get back to some serious and investigative reporting and try to cover all sides of the story in Iraq.

I also am probably in the minority in believing that adding additional troops in Iraq would not have resolved anything. If anything, it probably would have resulted in more casualties. More troops means more supplies that have to be delivered and more moving targets to attack.

The bottom line is Kerry is someone who went to Vietnam and found a way to get out as soon as possible. After coming back he turned his back on the country and attacked the people defending the country. He has never apologized for that. He also has been anti-arm, anti-war, and pro-UN ever since and his records indicate that. He seems to be convinced that the UN can solve all the world�s problems, yet I have not seen anything the UN has been able to solve without US taking a leading role in. He has even said that he would consider turning the command of the activities in Iraq over to UN. This would mean our troops would possibly be taking orders from UN. In no way could I every vote for a commander-in-chief that has such a lousy history and is so trusting of the UN.

I decided sometime back in early October to vote for Bush. Back then I had actually believed that Bin Laden was dead and buried in a cave somewhere. Now that he has resurfaced, I had to think if I would have voted differently. In the end, it turns out even Kerry who keeps attacking Bush on Tora Bora in hindsight, is actually on the record as agreeing with the plans when they were executing it. Does anyone know for sure if Bin Laden was in Tora Bora? I remember that reports of Bin Laden being in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, China, and India during that same time.

I am one who believes that it is the right thing to do to allow Iraq to have a chance at democracy, just as the foundations are beginning to take hold in Afghanistan. It took time for the United States to become independent. It took time for Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and many other countries to become a democracy. But it did happen. I think the same will be the case for Iraq.

I believe President Bush is the far better choice to lead this country. There may have been mistakes made along the way, but no major change of significance throughout history is free from them. I can trust Bush to handle the War on Terrorism; I cannot find myself to say the same of Kerry. I waited for Kerry for nearly two years to come to a position and still cannot say that I know what he will do if elected.

Posted by: Monte on October 30, 2004 10:53 PM

To all who seem to think one cannot think outside the box: I have offended many by being what they define as 'Liberal�, and others by then speaking of using force when necessary, saying that the Dems are roughly equally guilty with the Republicans for the sorry state of government, health care, and education, and, horrors, refusing to defend John Kerry. It seems that what really is hard to get is my saying that it just doesn�t matter who the real John Kerry is, since he cannot do as bad a job as the real George Bush.

Still Keith demands I conform to his stereotype of a Liberal, even accusing me of being one who wants to appease our enemies.

Everything I wrote points to the contrary, Keith. Indeed, when the Taliban first took over in Afghanistan I argued for military intervention then, long before Osama had made the place his new base of operations. When Bush Senior failed to command General Schwarzkopf to take Baghdad and capture Saddam or kill him, I was angry and amazed, since that is the moment when we had the whole world behind us except for the Russians and the crazies.

Keith had no reasoned answer to the facts of the Bush team's blundering and misrepresentations, so instead he chooses to compare my thoughtful analysis to the sad plaint of Rodney King. That is childish, Keith, but this is a free place, so you are free to answer reason with ridicule, just as I am free to point out your immaturity in doing so.

As stated many times, now, the issue is not the use of force, but the competence with which it is applied. Bush and Co. have demonstrated their incompetence grossly and repeatedly, so I don't need to repeat a litany of their mistakes.

What Kerry did or said twenty years ago is totally beside the point. The question is who will be most effective in leading us out of this. My vote says Kerry will.

Caroline seems confused, too. She apparently thinks we actually have a policy to deal positively and constructively with the Islamist threat. We do not. To fail to get to work on the grass-roots levels I outlined is simply to see another generation raised and conditioned in fundamentalist "schools", to learn just two things: every verse of the Koran, and how to hate America.

Caroline seems also to think I am ignorant of the evils of Saddam. Sorry, but I wanted him dead when he gassed his own Kurdish minority. But there are plenty of other evil dictators who deserve the same, Caroline. The issue is what we do about it and when, and at what cost. In Iraq, we got it wrong.

Somehow, Caroline, you seem to think I am *defending* the archaic and evil views of Islamic culture with respect to freedom for women and all the other values we probably agree on. Don�t know how you got that, but if I was not clear, I apologize. Islam, like every other fundamentalist religion, is pure evil.

Speaking of which, Caroline, you raise the question of the Christian fundamentalists who count Bush among their number. You wonder if I am against them, too? Yes ma'am, at least insofar as they try and mix their religion with our government and Constitution. And so long as they insist on substituting superstition for science. And so long as they willfully block almost every attempt to help the women of the impoverished world to rise from their enslavement to male-centric societies. Indeed, it is because of Bush's need for the support of these folks that he would never go after the real roots of Islamic fundamentalism. A vote for Bush is a vote to keep all these nameless, voiceless millions of women in misery, and to deny their children a chance to learn and better themselves.

Keith said in a post way back that this was �fun�. No it isn�t. It is the most serious business we have to do for the next four years. I have had my say - - way more than I intended - - and thanks to Jane-Megan for the use of her hall. Now, I need to take my medication, and get back to doing more of the work that hopefully will help inform others of just how much more work there is to be done.

I leave you conservatives to your part of the arena, to your unreal expectations of a second Bush term, to your fears of another prosperous Democrat regime, like that of Bill Clinton, and your prayers for still another tax cut. I sincerely hope that you are hugely disappointed come Tuesday night.

Ciao.

Posted by: David Yancey on October 31, 2004 12:02 AM

lol david yancey, Bush is keeping the impoverished women of third world countries down? You mean like Afghanistan? You are not credible sir.

Posted by: Joel Mackey on October 31, 2004 01:03 AM

some moron said:

"LIE: “Jobs are on the rise.” (SOU 2004)

FACT: While the unemployment rate dropped in December, this was due to the fact that “the economy was so bleak that 255,000 of the jobless simply stopped looking for work”. (State of the Union Response – Center for American Progress 01.20.04)"

This is typical, you want to characterize the descriptor of fact to a subjective response from a leftist activist organization?

The intellectual vacancy on the left in America is incredible,absolutely incredible.


Oh btw, Regan Republican for Kerry, you might be a bit more convincing if you could SPELL REAGAN'S NAME CORRECTLY!


I would like to thank all the Kerry supporters on this thread for confirming why everyone should vote for Bush, keep up the good work.

Posted by: Joel Mackey on October 31, 2004 01:14 AM

Pigheaded and stubborn... hmmm... because he's committed to his Iraq policy? But it sounds like you are voting FOR Bush because he's committed to his Iraq policy. It also sounds like you WON'T vote for Kerry because you are unsure about his commitment to Bush's roadmap to a happy and prosperous, USA-loving Iraq. (Kerry on Iraq is basically more of the same plus he'll get France to help... as if.)

Bush wasn't pigheaded and stubborn when he first opposed then backed creating the 9/11 Commission and the Dept. of Homeland Security and when he rethought the wisdom of nation building.

You want him to admit his mistakes. Sorry but that would be politically disastrous for him. There's simply no way he could do that. Your call for Rumsfeld's resignation illustrates this perfectly. You want Rumsfeld to fall on his sword because of the disgrace of Abu Ghraib (even though he didn't cause it). Well, maybe that would help to restore our nation's honor but falling on one's sword is kind of final. Bush could have admitted his mistakes but that would have been his last act as a viable presidential candidate.

Glad you are backing Bush (FWIW). Just getting more than a little tired of people who are certain that Bush screwed up Iraq and then don't bother to present better ideas. If the admin underestimated the popular resistance, I think a lot of critics are guilty of drastically overestimating it. Are you sure the wellspring of opposition isn't Tehran and Damascus rather than Fallujah and Sadr City? I'm not. As messy as things are over there it's pretty much what I expected.

Posted by: Gardner on October 31, 2004 01:27 AM

I think this whole "Bush can't admit mistakes" thing is really foolish. With the MSM ready to take every word and turn it into "Bush eats small children", I wouldn't admit any mistakes either.

Posted by: Dave on October 31, 2004 03:57 AM

To Jane-Megan, I echo the thanks for providing this forum for discussion.

To the many folks reading this comment string, I contend that in order to find Mr. Yancey's discussion persuasive in the cause of voting for Mr. Kerry regarding dealing with Iraq and Islamofascism, you must find the his line of inchoate thought compelling:

Mr. Yancey has no idea of what Mr. Kerry will do, but he is certain, CERTAIN that it will be better than what President Bush will do. But, of course, he really has no idea what Mr. Kerry will do, but it doesn't matter because they are both bad, truly bad. Except that Mr. Kerry's approach is demonstrably better, even though he doesn't know what it will be. REDUCTIO AD ABSURDUM.

Directly from Mr. Yancey's comments:
"I have no idea if Kerry will be able to lead us out of this or not"
"Do I have any magic insight into Kerry's plans? Of course not."
"You ask me what will Kerry do? As if I could know."
"To try and guess from Kerry's honorable record in the US Senate that he will do this or that as President is not wise, in my opinion"

Further, to find Mr. Yancey's support for Mr. Kerry persuasive in general, I contend you must find his hypocritical, condescending disdain for others compelling:

You hoi-poloi who think differently than I, I am not speaking to you. But I will post numerous comments addressing you directly to reiterate my undying support for Mr. Kerry. However, you riff-raff who have already made up you minds, you are unworthy of my insight. Ignore the fact that I have made up MY mind for Mr. Kerry, and am attempting to sway you to follow me; it those OTHERS who have made up their minds for President Bush who are incapable of reasoning. REDUCTIO AD ABSURDUM.

Directly from Mr. Yancey's comments:
"But I am not debating with you. Your mind is made up."
"The choice may be agonizing for many on moral, or personal, or other grounds. But to me, it is crystal clear. We can continue to slide down the slope of national decline and deficit, or we can rectify our own collective error in electing George W. Bush"
"To hide the Bush record behind a list of alleged, unfounded scare tactics, as the Republicans are trying to do in television ads and talk-show spin, is even less intelligent." Yet in another post, "un-do the damage Bush's war is going to wreak on our economy, our seniors, and our future descendants." Saint Yancey, you see, does not engage in scare tactics.
"I am *not* "defending* Kerry, nor will I" and than in the SAME POST, "While Kerry risked his life, then gave the rest of it to public service...," but wait, in a different comment, "What Kerry did or said twenty years ago is totally beside the point."
"Rational debate isn't going to change your mind, but I am not writing here to change your mind. I am speaking to those who are capable of standing back from this mess far enough to see clearly what we need to do *now*...," and then, "the past is not going to resolve our problems in the present." Of course! We need to stand back and take the larger view while simultaneously be myopic on this very instant!

It is rare, indeed, to see such a brazen display of incoherent political sophistry as that presented by Mr. Yancey, except perhaps from incomparable Andrew Sullivan.

And finally, to Mr. Yancey, this IS fun. Unlike you, I do not have the joy sucked out of my life by those who disagree with me, nor do I believe the world will end if Mr. Kerry is elected. Hell, I made it through four years of Jimmy Carter - I can make it through anything. But perhaps the greatest joy I take is that my vote will cancel out yours - and going to watch FOX News Sunday this fine morning.

auf Wiedersehen!

Posted by: Keith on October 31, 2004 08:47 AM

Gardner:

You said:"If the admin underestimated the popular resistance, I think a lot of critics are guilty of drastically overestimating it."

OTOH, an ABC news correspondent appearing on Washington Week on PBS on October 22nd said that while there is good news that doesn't make it back from Iraq there is also a lot more bad news that doesn't make it back because there just isn't enough time in the news broadcasts or room in the papers for it all. That doesn't sound like the critics are overestimating it all that much.

Posted by: Jim S on October 31, 2004 09:54 AM

Jane, I have to agree with another poster that really wonders how Kerry only wins by a hair on environmental issues. Don't forget the mercury air pollution debacle where massive amounts of the actual proposal from Bush's EPA was lifted verbatim from the power company position paper on the issue. In addition Bush proposes the same "solution" for mercury pollution from power plants as he does for anything else. Credits that can be traded. This approach cannot work for particulate pollution like mercury because it has a stronger affect on areas immediately downwind from the plant as the mercury drops from the atmosphere onto fields and into streams, rivers and lakes. What actual pollution reduction is there for the people 200 miles downwind from a plant if the proposed solution is to let the company trade pollution credits with a plant 2000 miles away? The point is to lower if not eliminate a threat to the public health, something that the pure free market approach people seem to lose track of sometimes.

Posted by: Jim S on October 31, 2004 10:01 AM

Joel, while jobs are on the rise they aren't increasing fast enough to keep up with the number of people entering the workforce. In addition there is discontent among many people who do find jobs because of the quality of the jobs. The idealistic ideologue position seems to be that any job is a good job so quit your whining doesn't do a lot for the person who is losing their home because their new job pays half what the old one did.

Posted by: Jim S on October 31, 2004 10:04 AM

What really sickens me in posts here and elsewhere are those who equate Kerry's protesting the Vietnam war with treason. By protesting the war he turned his back on his country, etc. Isn't this basically saying that everyone at all times should accept what your government says without question, without criticism? While they might respond on the importance in unity at time of war this claim seems to support the tactic used by tyrants the world over of just creating an external enemy to deflect criticism from the regime. In addition they no doubt say in one breath how they love their country as the land of the free even as they accuse those who exercise that right in a way they don't like as traitors. This strikes me as complete hypocrisy.

Posted by: Jim S on October 31, 2004 10:11 AM

Caroline, you wrote "But David - even though I am a democrat voting for Bush - if Kerry wins I hope the Republicans don't do to him over 4 years what the Democrats did to Bush.". What? I know that the evil corrupt Democrats have viciously attacked the innocent, saint-like and error free President Bush with absolutely no cause but you must surely know that if Kerry does win that the Republicans will do to him precisely what they did to President Clinton. Remember that one? The video tapes accusing him of murder? The Rush Limbaugh show (among others) saying that Vince Foster was murdered somewhere else (maybe an apartment leased by Hillary somewhere in D.C) and placed in the park? Why, what would ever make you think that the Republicans and their cohorts would ever treat a sitting president badly?

Posted by: Jim S on October 31, 2004 10:18 AM

Keith posts: "Why do you think Osama just tried to ensure the re-election of Mr. Kerry with his scare-mongering video-tape?". I am still constantly amazed by the number of telepaths posting here. Frankly, it could be argued with just as much validity that he hoped to give a boost to GWB because it would help his recruiting drive and fund-raising. I doubt that anyone who thinks that OBL gives a damn about who wins our election has ever really studied anything about the ideology he represents and why he does the things he does. Try it some time.

Posted by: Jim S on October 31, 2004 10:29 AM

On the one hand, it's nice to see a right-leaning blog that actually invites -- and apparently does not even censor -- public comment.

On the other hand, what a freakin' circle jerk!

Posted by: Jeff on October 31, 2004 10:34 AM

The fact is we went into Iraq to enforce the UN resolution on WMD. Bush never mentioned democracy in Iraq in the planning, in fact he had explicitly stated on many occasions he didnt believe in using the US military for nation building. This is clearly an example of an unexpected situation completely reversing policy, and its the ultimate flip flop. I have nothing against changing policy based on a changing situation, but theres no evidence that democracy will change centuries old hatreds, in fact when you consider the Balkans, Russia, Peru, Columbia, Mexico, even the US, you must conclude democracy has little effect on terrorism.

Iraq is a complete disaster. Afghanistan has a semblance of order, but only because the Talaban and Narcowarlords have control of the country, and have much more influence then Karzai. This President has ruined our economy, our reputation in the world as an honest broker, and failed the country in total on 911. UBL is healthy and making high production videos lecturing the US, making us appear weak and ineffective, especially when one considers jrs "smoke him out, dead or alive" comments. We are falling behind of Europe in medical research because the clown in the White House doesnt even believe in evolution, and wants to flush already harvested human embryos down the toilet. Also, considering UBLs recent threats toward Israel, jrs status as an evangelical Christian is a risk we cannot take, the guy believes in the rapture, and is completely wrong for our country at any time, but especially at this time.

Even if you hate Kerry over the Swifty garbage, he is clearly the better choice.

Posted by: Begbee on October 31, 2004 11:17 AM

um begbee, you might want to zip up, your bigotry is showing. Not to mention your ignorance.


JimS, I was laid off after 9-11, and recently again, in both instances I have not had trouble finding new employment, and while I did take a lower wage on the first new job, i this new job will get me back to my previous wage level. That will tend to happen when a 7 building park is destroyed by two planes in the biggest financial center in the world, bring all air traffic to a stop for several days, and almost halting the economy for months.

I submit that the fact that America did not drop into a depression is a sign of first the American people's and economy's resilence, but secondly, and not insignificantly, of the President's leadership and his administrations performance.

Key as well is the fact that since then no major terror attacks have taken place, unless you count the anthrax attack, which no one seems to remember, and no one knows who to attribute it to.

Personnally, I thought that the DC snipers were terrorists who were supporting al quaida, and they pretty effectively terrorized that area during thier run. It isnt that hard for terrorists to infiltrate and execute a plan in America, so either they arent even attempting it, or our intelligence and law enforcement are doing a hell of a job.

The key is that Security is more important than the economy, it is more important than anything else, because without security, nothing else can happen.

Posted by: Joel Mackey on October 31, 2004 12:57 PM

Mr. Mackey, laugh all you like, but the facts indicate that:

- Bush and Co. will continue to do everything possible to prevent poor women from having access to family-planning information, and, where they choose, abortions. Around the world, this condemns about one billion women and girls to continuing enslavement to male-dictated or coerced religious beliefs.

- In this country, Bush and his fundamentalist and dogmatic Catholic allies will continue to block sex education, family-planning, and legal abortion.

- The Bush administration shows zero evidence of understanding that the key to positive social change, in the direction of freedom of thought and rational capitalism, is the emancipation of females, in terms of their education, access to health care, freedom to own and control property, and ability to operate a small business. Anyone who styles himself or herself a Libertarian should support such programs in the name of personal and economic freedom.

As to Afghanistan, if you think the women of Kabul have suddenly been magically freed, you are sadly mistaken. The Taliban is basically still in business, and the warlords are, too. So at the first opportunity, out will go the lights in schools for girls, and back into purdah and the back bedrooms will go the bodies of their Moms.

Defeating the centuries of repression and ignorance in places like Afghanistan will be a massive undertaking involving tens of years and hundreds of billions of dollars. There will be many suicide bombings along the way, and precious little glory. I very much doubt if the American people would be looking to Bush if they truly understood the scale of the change we are talking about, or the the price we will be paying to bring it about.

Posted by: David Yancey on October 31, 2004 01:27 PM

David Yancey,

You have no credibility. your spoutings are a waste of time. bye.

Posted by: Joel Mackey on October 31, 2004 01:34 PM

Keith, I love that these online forums contain a record of all we say, so that others can make their own mind up who is a "sophist" and who is not.

The reason I and apparently others discount you is that your responses are based on ignoring much of what others say, failing to answer clear charges and questions, and then trying to undermine the rest by casting personal aspersions, insulting the writer or their motives, and all under the cover of big words such as sophistry. Look it up.

For example, you accuse me of using scare tactics, same as your beloved Republicans are doing right now on every TV channel in every swing state. Wrong. I simply add up the billions that Bush is spending on a poorly-executed war, plus the billions he has given away to wealthy people and big corporations, double the former to cover the real costs this war will bring, then subtract the total from our collective future. That money is NOT going to be used to develop and deliver fairly-priced health-care for all Americans. It is NOT going to be used to fix our schools. It is NOT going to be invested in a fossil-free energy future.

The money is going to be poured into the desert sands, either in the form of military costs, Iraqi highway programs, or to pay the Arabs for more of their oil to run SUVs. I ain�t making this up, Keith. It�s no secret. And it isn't scare-mongering, it's arithmetic.

For another example, you say I say I am certain, but you are not reading, and, as is clearly your habit, misrepresenting my arguments.

I'm not certain of anything, except that you, Keith, will respond to this post ranting about something or other. Hey, if it keeps you away from Fox News for a while, then I maybe deserve some kind of award.

In answering Caroline's reasonable questions, I won't pretend to be certain. I just try to be honest. Those who are *sure* of what a given candidate and his team will or will not do are kidding themselves, and all the folks they are trying to convert to their cause. An honest analyst will agree that *no one* knows what the next crisis we face will be, or how either candidate would respond to it. And for that matter, no one knows what Al Gore would have done had he been on watch 9/11. Or what John Kerry would have done then or since. A *fair-minded* person, I suggest, would concede that, for all we know, Gore might have done *better* than Mr. Bush. There simply are no facts to support the proposition that Bush is �better� than anyone else in terms of 9/11. To claim otherwise is, ahh, what shall we call it... Oh, yes, �sophistry�. Look it up.

No one knows the future, or how we will respond to it. In business, we have to make guesses as to what others (and our own people, too) will or won't do, or how they will perform, or what they will buy etc. We try and be as informed as possible, but it still boils down to guesswork. So I won't sit here and try and tell Caroline or anyone what Kerry will do. I have to make a guess, just like anyone else. But without claiming certainty, I *am* confident that Kerry is an ethical and honorable man. And I am pretty sure he will be a much more effective leader than is Bush.

Ahhh, but with the present administration, we have solid evidence of how it will behave, or, more accurately, misbehave, if returned to office. It is not �unfair� to use this right-now data, Keith: it is simply *prudent*.

So my vote goes to Kerry, with very few reservations. Of course, unlike many in this forum, I don't begin with the prejudice that says that Kerry is some kind of devious monster, or that he is a traitor, or that he has anything but deep respect for and devotion to our country and its Constitution. Now *here* is a case of scare-mongering: trying to frighten the American people into choosing four more years of *demonstrated* incompetence.

Nor do I fret about Kerry's possibly ambitious social programs, since the Republican-controlled Congress will block them, and since the Bush team has squandered any future resources there might have been to pay for them, first through imprudent tax cuts, and now through a disastrous war in Iraq.

I don't need to add in all the pluses for Kerry that others have stated so well here, such as his environmental position, his commitment to choice and privacy, and his refusal to let religious interests interfere with our rights.

So to me it is a clear choice. A better man for the job. A better team for the times.

Posted by: David Yancey on October 31, 2004 01:41 PM

http://www.mudvillegazette.com/archives/001657.html

If a Demcrat were in the presidency, guess who would sit in that throne, guess what his aspirations were/are/would be.

You poor poor democrats, writing your thousands of words, linking your hundreds of biased sources. Your living in the 80's or the 90's, when MSM had credibility, when some democrats had credibility.

shortly after Ronald Reagan left office, the Berlin wall fell, shortly after Bill Clinton left office, the WTC fell. How do you think history will judge these men and their repective parties?

Posted by: Joel Mackey on October 31, 2004 02:12 PM

Sorry to have to remind you, Mr. Mackey, but it is the credibility of George Bush, Dick Cheney, and the Republican scare-machine that is in question here, not mine. No one should vote for Kerry based on *who* I happen to be, but on the truth of what this administration says, or the lack thereof.

But I concede it must be trying for Bush supporters to read through long analytical posts heavy with the weight of history, and light on hearsay, rumor and childish venom. Probably some would prefer a nice old Usenet-style flame war.

I may or may not post here again, so here�s a suggestion, Mr. Mackey: just skip down to the bottom of each post and make sure it�s not one of mine, or whomever else you take to task for trying to communicate honestly and develop an understanding of our choices. Once you know a post is �safe�, then you can easily go backwards, to the top. It is a direction, I think, from the sound of your remarks, that you and many fervent conservatives will be very comfortable with.

Posted by: David Yancey on October 31, 2004 02:32 PM

I'm anti-Bush, but thanks to this blog and other places, I've been able to understand why people might support many of Bush's domestic policies. I don't agree with all these views, but I understand them. But I still haven't seen where Bush voters get their optimism on Iraq from. Just what evidence have we seen so far that they are doing a good job there now? Kerry proposes real change in the approach. How bad would things have to get in order for a Bush supporter to think a different tack needs to be tried? How bad for *Bush* to think a different tack needs to be tried?!

The best logic I've seen for the initial invasion is Jane's talk of determent of "state actors". But now that we've essentially demonstrated to the world how mired up we are with just this one country, what other state is going to believe we have a credible military deterrent now? Are we going to start threatening to use nukes or just airstrike-only campaigns? Not sure this would achieve the desired results. Even if we want to focus on state actors (a debatable strategy rooted largely in Pentagon-centric thinking of the sort, "when you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail"), committing ourselves as deeply as we have to just Iraq doesn't seem smart.

For this reason, characterizations of Kerry as someone who might "cut and run" in Iraq miss the point. Kerry, unless he is a fool (which I doubt) doesn't want to leave a fermenting mess there any more than anyone else, but wants to get things settled there more efficiently than Bush -- which would allow us, paradoxically, to pursue a Bushlike anti-state-actor strategy *more* effectively, not less. He has put forth concrete proposals on how to do this, whereas Bush continues not to publicize any proposals at all for change in strategy. Thus, the "Kerry has no plan" rhetoric also seems particularly disingenuous.

Posted by: ABR on October 31, 2004 02:41 PM

"shortly after Ronald Reagan left office, the Berlin wall fell, shortly after Bill Clinton left office, the WTC fell. How do you think history will judge these men and their repective parties?". Do you actually think that either presidency will be judged by what happened shortly after they left office? You rant against the Democratic party, claiming that it has no credibility and say the same about the main stream media (I refuse to buy into your ACATMM inspired abbreviation.). Really? I am reminded of the trouble Senator Bunning is in because he displayed an appalling ignorance concerning the news of the day from Iraq, especially concerning the National Guardsmen who didn't want to take their inadequate vehicles into what they considered to be a suicide mission. His source of news? Six weeks of ignoring that terrible main stream media and pure Fox News.

Posted by: Jim S on October 31, 2004 02:54 PM

Megan

I wondered how to not get lost in the backwash here. I had simply avoided it. Lurk, don't comment. Talk only to Megan. But one poster...it's always that one thing, isn't it...has even managed to try to prop up Paul Krugman, for the love of Mike. Yikes. In following along for a few months now on various sites, (one of which led me here to yours) the "inside information" on the Internet delivered by some folks gets pretty astounding at times.

I've read "inside" info from those "in the know" who have said that Karl Rove planted the CBS forged memos in Rathergate and also may have been responsible for the latest tape from Bin Laden. Yeesh.

I've also read reports that Kerry's cousins, aunts, uncles etc. have variously been involved in the Kennedy assassination or at least with Lee Harvey Oswald and that one poor soul French cousin got the cold shoulder from the Kerry clan here, merely because he was French and they simply wouldn't speak the language to the dear.

But, of ALL of the strange and mysterious glossolalia I have come across, propping up Paul Krugman as a source of great economic insight and wisdom has that one, single, particular word jockey going to the whip in a race that I thought might be a photo finish and is now likely to be won going away. Very, very, very far away.

Anyway, I will now continue to refocus on you. It was my intention all along, but I apparently stopped here to gawk at a train wreck.

Posted by: unboiled frog on October 31, 2004 03:02 PM

First, your story is your story and proves little for the overall economy. Somehow I doubt the ex network engineer currently working at my local Best Buy will get back to his former salary while selling inexpensive routers in retail.

Next up is your claim that it must be security uber alles. �Those who would sacrifice a little freedom for temporal safety deserve neither to be safe or free.� - Benjamin Franklin

I am also far from convinced that Bush is our best bet for security. Neither he nor anyone on his national security team is willing to listen to people who really know the Middle East and Muslim societies if what they say disagrees with what they have already made up their minds about. They have already displayed this attitude multiple times and show no signs of changing. If you cannot honestly evaluate your enemies without letting your own ideology get in your way you can't create a successful strategy to fight them. In addition it isn't like this is a true war between nations. To be successful prosecuting this war it is vital that we not only have governments as allies but to have as many of the population of evey nation that our intelligence services will have to operate in think well of us.

Posted by: Jim S on October 31, 2004 03:15 PM

Hey, Mike, why don't you spare the fake logic and cop to it: You're a commie.

Kerry would be better for health care? Gimme a break. If you give credence to demagoguery like "Bush has done nothing to reduce the cost of health care," then you just don't understand health care. Can we stipulate to that one?

The reason why health care costs keep going up is that we are all selfish enough to want to keep living, and we're willing to let scientists invent whatever can help us do that, no matter how expensive the drug, or the procedure or the gizmo. If we were all considerate enough to be willing to die, we would have the same health care people had in 1903, and there would be no health care cost crisis. Fewer people would die in plane crashes, too. Think of that as a bonus.

I know commies follow an irrational thought process whereby the companies that MAKE drugs are evil entities on corporate welfare, in cahoots with the HMO cabal to suck the lifeblood out of noble, hard-working single mothers, but those companies are made up of PEOPLE and they provide JOBS.

You also think that the evil RICH should have their money confiscated and re-distriubuted to those who are much more deserving of it, by virtue of not having spent as much time and money getting an education and then working for their fortune, but do you really plan on enslaving doctors and making them work in chains 24 hours a day in some dank hospital dungeon to anyone who wants an abortion or a liver transplant on demand?

Otherwise, how are you going to make sure there are enough doctors around to provide the health care Kerry is promising us, when Kerry also wants to tax every nickel they make over $200,000 so he can use that money to buy your vote?

The joke is on you. All that health care talk is just empty promises. It was a lie when Clinton didn't give you health care. It is a lie now. It will be a lie when Hillary doesn't give it to you either. At a time when we need a President who is a serious individual, committed to defending us, you would squander our security on a pocketful of mumbles, such are promises of "free" health care. Sheesh!

Posted by: OhMike on October 31, 2004 03:28 PM

Mr. Yancey returns for another beating.

Yes, Mr. Yancey, sophistry. J'accuse! Since you apparantly do not have a dictionary, it means "plausible but fallacious argumentation, faulty reasoning." Indeed, let people follow the string and come to their own conclusions.

Tell me, Mr. Yancey: given your extensive business experience, how much stock do you own in "fossil-free fuels?" I bet that's a big winner, eh? And, gee, doesn't Mr. Kerry own an SUV? Oh, that's right, he doesn't, his family does.

Oh, and tell us again about your extensive business experience. I never get tired of hearing it.

Then you can tell us why Franklin Roosevelt should have been fired after Pearl Harbor, the loss of the Phillipines, the internment of Japanese-Americans, etc. in the months following World War II. I mean, how could he let a thing like that happen? Truly bad business, that World War II - very expensive, and not one kilowatt of alternative energy. And you know, the Germans never attacked us! Yeah, they said they wanted to kill us, and declared war on us, but we should have been able to talk it out, and gather up a coalition that included the French, and been more sensitive about their Hunnish sensibilities (they deeply mistrusted us). That damned trigger-happy Roosevelt. And Truman and Korea? Don't get me started.

Of course, since you apparantly don't have a dictionary, it is unlikely that you own a history book.

But do give us a another delightful little business parable. Oh, and another round of how nobody knows anything, but in the face of nobody knowing anything, we should all vote for Mr. Kerry. Because that's what they apparantly do in your business. That one is a gem, too.

Posted by: Keith on October 31, 2004 03:38 PM

More power to you for actually putting thought into your vote, unlike most people. Even if you end up voting for one of the two halves of the one major party, at least you're not voting for a haircut. But for Pete's sake, please stop calling yourself a Libertarian. A libertarian does not endorse Bush's health care plan, or trade policies, or foreign policy. You have as much right to call yourself a libertarian as Bill Maher. You're not voting for Badnarik because he doesn't have a driver's license and doesn't pay taxes? Instead, you're voting for a fascist maniac?? Hey, I don't care, there's plenty more like you, but DON'T CALL YOURSELF A LIBERTARIAN!!

Posted by: Ryan on October 31, 2004 03:48 PM

Whoever posted as OhMike. Thank you for perfect example of some of the most useless posts online not only on this blog, but everywhere else too.

Posted by: Jim S on October 31, 2004 03:49 PM

Megan, I had responded to the remainder of your analysis previously, but blew a tire on the Information Superhighway. The Paul Krugman propping got me "jacked up" and I'm back in the non-passing lane. Here goes again:

Gay marriage: Kerry. I'm against the FMA; regardless of what you think about gay marriage, writing the damn thing into the constitution is, in the words of PJ O'Rourke, pinning a "kick me" sign on the backside of the majesty of the law.

We pretty much end up in the same place, although we take different pathways. That is the art of persuasion though, after all, isn't it. To drive a person down their street to get to your house?

Anyway, I have always had a strong protective paternal anti-bully response. Picking on gays brings it out in me. And this legislation sparks a response. It doesn't yet fully ignite, however.

Andrew Sullivan would get the same protective response from me, if he didn't seem to be flailing back in every direction and hitting intended and unintended targets alike. I liked his posts immensely prior to the claws coming out. I believe he has lost his sense of perspective and I understand how this can be reflexively done if he feels assaulted and backed into a corner.

The federal government is a road grader, not a rose pruner. It is a TERRIBLE vehicle for handling bedroom issues. While I believe it's true that the state (large s) has an interest in the broad "morals" of the people, it does not have a legitimate state interest in the control of human behavior in a desmosomic bondage of its citizenry.

The greatest gift we are given via Constitutional and, if you are so inclined, natural or supernatural origins, is the freedom to be wrong.

Dead wrong. Abysmally wrong. Believe Paul Krugman is an expert to cite wrong. Behaviorally wrong. When you cross the line and cause harm to others, society must step in to correct that wrong behavior, but otherwise by force of all that precedes us, from the first day to this, society must not inject itself as the final arbiter of private behavioral decisions.

If you believe in a Supreme Being, or guiding force, then it is blasphemous to act as though you are such. If you do not, but rather, seek to impose legislative restrictions upon BEHAVIOR that is personal and not criminal, you have no firm grounding in either God's law or man's.

Where I differ from many, is that I don't lose respect for those whose moral underpinnings and teachings see one behavior as morally unchaste or unworthy. I do as well. There are some things I simply can't countenance. But would still not legislate against. Some, I would.

If there is a harm to society that can be articulated clearly, calmly and dispassionately, I would give it great respect. Public self-fondling probably does no serious harm to the actor...and I certainly wouldn't attempt to legislate against it in private. PUBLICLY, it's probably not such a great idea to have the kiddies subjected to it. It invades on personal space. It does a sort of "violence to the eyes". And should be "restricted" to private behavior.

This is not a distinction without a difference. If one's moral compass directs one into a landscape whereby homosexuality is an aberration of nature, and not a natural or normal consequence of it, then an otherwise ompassionate, decent person, who has that certain set of values may see public displays of homosexual (or ANY "sexual") behavior as doing the same "violence to the eyes".

You and I may see things entirely differently. Our moral compass may be set at "live and let live". For the self-fondler as well as anyone else. And that's great. Give us a gold star for "tolerance".

But disrespecting someone else's moral compass that isn't set extraordinarily out of bounds, calling them names, spitting out venom at them...is hardly much different from those who would do the same with a compass setting at much tighter parameters.

Until we work through this properly, we can't get to the "big issues" of the Marriage Act or palimony, or insurance rights.

To some people, marriage is a sacrament. And that sacrament has been taught to have involved only a man/woman relationship. To suggest that their moral compass is worthy of spitting venom in their direction, does nothing to advance the intellectual pursuit of the underlying questions. Nothing.

What we have to do, is give that moral compass freedom and let it breathe air. This can't be a situation where both sides feel assaulted, back themselves into a corner and bring out the claws. Once that happens, all other dialogue is necrotic, withers and falls off.

And this doesn't just happen to stupid, vain, or otherwise intractable people. Andrew is brilliant, and I believe it happened to him. He felt backed into a corner and his vision narrowed to a pinhole. He saw an enemy and he attacked. This is too bad. It is wayyyyy too bad.

I agree with where Andrew wants to wind up, quite possibly, but if I enter into his line of sight now, I am very likely to get disemboweled because I won't take his pathway to get there.

These are two, entirely, wholly, without exception, without hesitation or reservation TWO SEPARATE ISSUES. What legally constitutes a formal relationship between non-related individuals?. Answer that, and THAT ALONE from a state interest perspective. It is irrelevant what you call it. That "relationship contract" has its own universe. ALL persons who qualify are subject to the same rights and owe the same responsibilities in fulfilling that contractual obligation. To do otherwise, is to do violence to the state's soul.

Marriage, for better or for worse (pun intended) has been tied for eternity to religious ceremonies. And if the moral compass of those engaged in that religious enterprise are deserving of respect (they are) then CHANGING that moral compass against their will is simply not right, not fair and not wise. The STATE cannot and should not change a religious moral compass. It has no state interest in doing so.

Peer pressure does that. Moral compasses do change. They evolve. But not by legislative fiat.

We have gone about this entire episode bass-ackwards and with claws preset at full disembowelment. We aren't going to get anywhere that way.

We need to do first things first. Define the relationship contract. With all the legal structure of any other contract. Who are competent parties, what is the framework of the event surrounding the contract, how can it be formalized, how can it be broken.

Infusing the religious moral compass into it at this stage is simply premature and in the wrong forum. The state should have no jurisdiction over THAT issue. It's being fought in the wrong court and anything the state says on the subject is obiter dicta. And, imo...it's not yet ripe.

Give unto Caesar, that which is Caesar's. The ONLY issue that should be on the table right now, in a state interest context...is how to define the relationship contract in all its particulars.

For that reason, and that reason only...the MARRIAGE Amendment stuff...blocking MARRIAGE at this time...is the right RESULT but probably not based on the right decision-making process.

Don't hate me Andrew, if you read this. I have all the same protective instincts against bullying that I always have. We just aren't there, yet. And I don't think we can get there with your claws in disembowel mode. Sorry.

Posted by: unboiled frog on October 31, 2004 04:02 PM

"What really sickens me in posts here and elsewhere are those who equate Kerry's protesting the Vietnam war with treason."

WIt's not just that he was against the war, it's the fact that he lied, or at best greatly overstated, the conduct of the US troops in Vietnam. Unfortunately, popular culture and Hollywood has brainwashed many Americans into believing otherwise. Were there cases of atrocities? Yes. But Kerry painted a picture of wholesale murder on the part of all the troops. Kerry is at best a liar, at worst a traitor. No doubt about it.

Posted by: Trippin on October 31, 2004 04:28 PM

Jim, you can't handle the truth. In the dictionary right next to useless there must be a picture of someone voting for Kerry. We don't need to qualify that one--but if you want to embellish, as I said, even more useless is voting for him on the basis of health care. And if you want to lay it on thick, voting for Kerry (the admitted war criminal who inspires dread in the hearts of our enemies with his nuance) during the WOT on the basis of health care is just a joke.

I'm laughing at you, Jim--but I'm sad for our country. Do us all a favor. Stay home Tuesday. Don't kid yourself into thinking that your vote will do any good. It's worse than useless.

Posted by: OhMike on October 31, 2004 04:28 PM

re: the Iraq war, Cato (links below) makes the case also for getting
out much faster. Both Bush and Kerry seem to be on a track to make us
less safe. Watch the reaction to the bin Laden tape. The guy is evil
but it is appropriate to understand the reasoning of the enemy. Its
important to understand what might motivate other terrorists The news
stories about it often leave out the important bits I'll therefore
paste below since they might cause some to question
Kerry/Bush. Unfortunately many who read about the bin Laden tape seem
to automatically react in a pro-Iraq war, and anti-other state actors,
automatically, continuing in a state of denial, rather than
anti-individual terrorists&groups. btw, i've come from a background
of being more hawkish at the time of the first gulf war which was
a bit different (though i've got mixed feelings now re: approach)
so I can see the temptations.


http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/10/29/binladen.tape/index.html

> He underscored it was U.S. foreign policy that led to the 9/11
> attacks, saying, "Bush says and claims, that we hate freedom, let him
> tell us then, 'Why did we not attack Sweden?'"
> ....
> Any nation that does not attack us will not be attacked.
> ....
> And as I was looking at those towers that were destroyed in Lebanon,
> it occurred to me that we have to punish the transgressor with the
> same -- and that we had to destroy the towers in America so that they
> taste what we tasted, and they stop killing our women and children.

its no different than what the guy said in the past:

http://www.911review.org/Wget/abcnews.go.com/sections/world/DailyNews/miller_binladen_980609.html
> John Miller's 1998 Interview With Osama Bin Laden

> Each action will solicit a similar reaction. We must use such
> punishment to keep your evil away from Muslims, Muslim children and
> women. American history does not distinguish between civilians and
> military, and not even women and children. They are the ones who used
> the bombs against Nagasaki. Can these bombs distinguish between
> infants and military? America does not have a religion that will
> prevent it from destroying all people.
> ...
> Also, by testimony of relief workers in Iraq, the American-led
> sanctions resulted in the death of over 1 million Iraqi children.

> All of this was done in the name of American interests. We believe
> that the biggest thieves in the world and the terrorists are the
> Americans. The only way for us to fend off these assaults is to use
> similar means.
> ...
> As I said, every action solicits a similar reaction. What does Clinton
> expect from those whom he killed and assaulted their children and
> mothers? This is not a surprising matter.
> ...

> We predict a black day for America and the end of the United States as
> United States, and will be separate states, and will retreat from our
> land and collect the bodies of its sons back to America. Allah
> willing.
> ...
> The continuation of the tyranny will bring the fighting to America,
> like Ramzi Yousef and others. This is my message to the American
> people to look for a serious government that looks out for their
> interest and does not attack others, their lands or their honor.

re: his numbers of Iraqi dead perhaps being off (and the Lancet's
100,000 dead from this war perhaps being biased/inflated): these
figures get play in the mideast and have influence regardless of
accuracy.


It seems to be a continuation of the state of denial the
administration was in when it started the war to begin with:

http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20041025/a_insurgentintel25.art.htm
> Two reports by the National Intelligence Council, a group of senior
> analysts that pools assessments from across the nation's intelligence
> community, warned Bush in January 2003, two months before the
> invasion, that the conflict could spark factional violence and an
> anti-U.S. insurgency, the official said. One of the reports said the
> U.S.-led occupation could "increase popular sympathy for terrorist
> objectives." Similarly sober warnings by the CIA went to senior
> administration officials and Congress as part of daily intelligence
> summaries, the intelligence official said.
> ....
> A critical danger missed by the Bush administration and U.S. war
> planners was the possibility that the insurgent ranks could grow with
> resentment to the occupation.
> ...
> U.S. planning may have underestimated how much Iraqis blamed the
> United States, rather than Saddam, for their prewar misery. Chief
> U.S. arms inspector Charles Duelfer's report says U.N. sanctions �
> maintained primarily through pressure from Washington � devastated the
> Iraqi middle class, a group that might have been counted on to welcome
> the coalition.
> ...
> In their public statements before the war, Bush administration
> officials did not disclose the existence of the intelligence
> warnings. Iraqis, they said, would be grateful to be rid of Saddam.
> ...
> Even after it became clear that Iraqi insurgents were capable of
> sustained conflict, administration officials downplayed the
> seriousness of the situation.
> ...
> But the administration tacitly acknowledged its error early in the
> weeks following the war when it scrapped plans that would have reduced
> the U.S. force in Iraq to as few as 30,000 troops and issued orders
> that have since kept the U.S. force at more than 130,000 troops.
> ...
> An examination of prewar intelligence on the possibility of postwar
> violence and of the administration's response shows:

> *Military and civilian intelligence agencies repeatedly warned
> prior to the invasion that Iraqi insurgent forces were preparing to
> fight and that their ranks would grow as other Iraqis came to resent
> the U.S. occupation and organize guerrilla attacks.

> *The war plan put together by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and
> Army Gen. Tommy Franks discounted these warnings. Rumsfeld and Franks
> anticipated surrender by Iraqi ground forces and a warm welcome from
> civilians.

> *The insurgency began not after the end of major combat in May 2003
> but at the beginning of the war, yet Pentagon officials were slow to
> identify the enemy and to grasp how serious a threat the guerrilla
> attacks posed.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-rebuild20oct20,1,3708250.story?coll=la-headlines-world

> The Center for Strategic and International Studies, a nonpartisan
> think tank based in Washington, estimates that only about 27 cents of
> every dollar is reaching ordinary Iraqis, with the rest siphoned off
> by security, waste and overhead costs for the big American companies
> that have taken the lead in rebuilding. According to one recent
> estimate, it can cost as much as $5,000 a day to provide security for
> a single U.S. businessperson in Iraq.

> In a related concern, several U.S. companies have pulled out of the
> country because of security fears, creating a vacuum that has been
> filled by companies from Russia, China and France, the Iraqis said.

It'll be interesting to see how the citizens there respond
to attempts to disarm them in a way they haven't gotten away
with in this country:

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1514&e=14&u=/afp/20041018/wl_mideast_afp/iraq_allawi_weapons_041018150834

> "We do not see any reason for having weapons in homes after today."

> The prime minister called on people in Sadr City to come come forward
> with their remaining arms or face the consequences when the amnesty
> period expires.

> "This is the last extension (of the deadline). The authorites will
> start a widescale search (of Sadr City) and they will confiscate any
> weapons they find and punish their owners in accordance with the law,"
> he warned.

> "This will happen also in other parts of Iraq."

for some rational thought on the situation in Iraq, check
Cato:

http://www.cato.org/current/iraq/index.html

including the book "Exiting Iraq: Why the U.S. Must End the Military
Occupation and Renewthe War against Al Qaeda":

http://www.catostore.org/index.asp?fa=ProductDetails&pid=1441206&method=search&t=Exiting+Iraq&a=&k=&aeid=&adv=&pg=#top
> The U.S. occupation of Iraq has now passed the one-year mark. With no
> end in sight, the Cato Institute convened a special task force of
> scholars and policy experts to examine U.S. strategic interests in
> Iraq and to question the Bush administration�s intention to "stay
> as long as necessary.

> In this joint statement, the members of the special task force argue
> that the military occupation must end. They assert that the presence
> of troops in Iraq distracts attention from fighting al-Qaeda and
> emboldens a new class of terrorists to take up arms against the United
> States. Moreover, the occupation is enormously costly for American
> taxpayers, exposes our men and women in uniform to unnecessary risks,
> and undermines attempts to foster political and economic reform in the
> region.

Posted by: Bryan on October 31, 2004 05:05 PM

Once again Bryan, you quote sources which by thier very nature are only interested in portraying the situation as a complete failure to undermine the current administration, for the purposes of making it easier for the opposition party to gain control.

This is not to say that thier facts are false or that all thier conclusions are wrong, but they must be vetted carefully.

I am very suspicious of you when you quote OBL and seem to take him at his word. He has tailored his message to appeal (or more specifically, AL jazeera edited his statement) to Democrats, he refers several times to specific themes brought up in F911.

OBL gives justification for his attacks on women and children, citing Americas attacks that resulted in such deaths. This attempt at justification does not even deserve refutation, yet you seem to take it at face value. I reflects poorly on your judgement.

OBL has many options to attain his goals. For a religion that treasures martyrdom, why have they not tried an approach more in line with Ghandi's? Why could not OBL with all his millions of dollars, have migrated to the US and begun a war of ideas, his great weath would have afforded him much access in the lobby centric DC halls.

No, this is not a person interested in any goal but domination thru fear and destruction. I do not assign human characteristics to him, he is not a logical, feeling human, and for you to discuss his statements as if he were a statesman offering cogent reasons for his actions is offensive.

The rest of your post is mere nitpicking. Of course its not desirable, the whole war in Iraq is undesirable, but it has to be done, and to expect that it can be done in 18 or 24 months is optimistic in the extreme. It will take as long as it takes, and unless that is the commitment then we will certainly fail, because as this thread demonstrates, the naysayers will gather like flies on a turd.

We will be successful, or we will break.

We will not break.

Posted by: Joel Mackey on October 31, 2004 05:37 PM

> same-old, same-old. I think raising the minimum wage is a moderately
> bad idea,

in effect a disproportionate tax on small businesses who more
commonly employ them, or in general hurting businesses more
willing to hire low wage workers in comparison to those that
don't. Unions push for it due to contracts tied to multiples
of or additions to minimum wage. So its effects on the margin
are not limited to the poorest folks but in general also price
some workers out of jobs due to limited budgets it also
makes them less attractive in comparision to automation
or overseas work.

> benefit middle class teenagers.) I wrote a piece on poverty recently,
> and what struck me is how excited the Republicans were about
> eradicating poverty, compared to the Democrats; Republicans are

er, even if you wish the govt. to do this, does it make sense
to have the federal government at all involved rather than
lower levels? seems like they both lose on this issue.

> Education: Bush by a landslide.

Better than Kerry perhaps but he is still making it a federal
issue where it doesn't belong no matter what role you
wish the govt to play. Conside public choice economics and
the constitution. best handled at lower level of government
with more transparency and accountability and allows states
to experiment, etc. no reason for money to funnel up to feds
then down again. so when the federal government mucks around in
education remember: you are partly responsible if you vote for Bush.
Even if you think going to the feds is a way to force policies
like vouchers onto the states, the concern is then you also
open it up to future meddling by the democrats at the federal
level.

re: environment

>Kerry gets the bonus here
> because he cares more, though not a whole hell of a lot more, about
> the negative externalities of various economic activities, than does
> Bush. Warning to Dems, though: you almost lost this over his
> grovelling to the coal industry.

be careful about believing that a guy like Kerry "cares more" about
something when you also recognize they grovel to a special interest
industry. Also much of what the federal government does re: environment
likely falls outside of the bounds of interestate commerce and
again should be handled at lower govt. levels.

> The Economy I don't think the president has much, if anything, to do
> with how the economy runs,

hmm, aside from regulation, taxation, and deficit spending
affecting capital for other uses, etc., both of which they lose on.
remember: you are voting for bigger government, more regulation, etc.

> good. But George Bush's record seems to be pretty good as well, and
> he's not making anti-trade noises, or nominating a protectionist to
> his ticket.

hmm, or more like Bush's record isn't as bad as it could be given
the existing trade restrictions, etc. raise your standards. they both lose.

> Corporate Welfare Kerry. The recent tax bill, which was supposed to
...
> but he could veto the bill, which he won't. Kerry might; he gets my
> vote on this issue.

I think thats rather wishful thinking ignoring that the democrats
also pander to special interests and get contributions from them and
he has to logroll/pander to congress to get things passed. and noting
his big anti-corporate welfare activism and progress in the Senate...
OOPS, that right, he didn't have any :-)
Its also assuming a level of guts no the part of Kerry given the lack of
veto'ing on the part of most presidents including even Reagan.

> Tax policy: George Bush.

better perhaps than Kerry, though again both are bad choices
since Bush growing govt. increases the need for more taxes even if
there are minor improvements. again: you are voting for big government
and big taxes and so remember its partly your fault...

> Entitlements George Bush. For all the hysteria, Bush's plans for
> Social Security and Medicare are excessively modest. But he's a
> dynamic go-getter compared to Kerry,

and yet again, they are both losers on the issue. The Demopublicans
will continue trying to avoid the issue as long as they get away
with it.

> The Budget I'm against running deficits, not because of the economic
> effects, which I think are pretty small,

hmm, those people buying government debt would be buying
private debt instead or making other investment choices,
some combination of effecting interest rates
and increasing available capital to private borrowers. Thats a large
chunk of capital.

> were promised to cost. But I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, and
> call it even-steven.

and again, both bad.

> think it's possible that it could be a successful battle in it. A
> democratic Iraq would be a major victory in the region.

Look at the level of voter ignorance in this country, and consider
the lack of awarness over there of what its like to live in a democracy,
and the return to authoritarinism of some democracies like that.
They may also not necessarily be friendly to the US as the results of
the war sink in and the US (hopefully) pulls out and there will of
course be anti-US rhetoric amidst the parties there citing inflated
casualty numbers, etc. Also
consider the number of factions over there that hate each other and
are likely not going to easily yield to the ballot box vs. force.
(perhaps consider reading Erich Fromm's "Escape from Freedom", talking
about the difficulty people have transitioning to freedom (interesting
although he goes astray and winds up with some poor socialist
anti-freedom conclusions,there are still some good points. though hadn't
read it for ten years or so, don't know if i'm remembering it better
than it is)).

> But I'm not as sure as anti-war types that this makes us less
> secure. The biggest threat we face is nuclear or biological terrorism,
> and that's the kind of terrorism that requires cooperation from state
> actors.

I suspect you may underestimate what they can do with conventional
weapons or even certain sorts of biological or chemical ones without
state actors, and how easy it is for illegal immigrants to get into

the real question is what the heck are these two candidates
really *good* at vs. simply one being slightly less evil than
the other? do you really want to be partly to blame for
the bad things whichever does in office? To help reward
them for coming up with poor candidates since they'll
keep getting away with it? To keep voting
for big government? Again, how bad do these guys
need to be before you decide its better to worry about the
war (changing the trends) than a minor "victory" in a battle?
If you were so undecided,
it seems to risk some piece of news coming out in the next
few weeks making you say "oops, I should have voted the
other way". Is it really logical to vote based on a possibly
temporary passing fancy if the difference isn't that great?
If you don't vote Libertarian, I'd still
suggest voting None of the Above (write-in, or vote on
other offices and not this one) would make more sense
than winding up feeling a need to defend your vote when
Bush screws something up. (despite Badnarik's quirks,
its easy to explain it was a protest vote, etc, knowing
the guy himself wouldn't win).

btw, I'd suggest also checking out cato.org for thoughts
on Iran, other foreign policy stuff. I grew up with
a Goldwater Republican mom(who had read Ayn Rand),
more hawkish, so I can understand
the temptations and the emotions re: seeing this country
showing off its strength. (i finally convined her to give
up on having been a lifelong republican and go libertarian
a few years back).

Fear causes liberals to wish to (illogically) push
to disarm their fellow citizens (outlawing guns leading
to only outlaws having guns). How appropriate is it to
desire to control other state actors elsewhere due to fear, and is
that level of fear justified re: preempting vs. being
prepared to squash them if really needed. How much is
the US being suckered into footing the bill for the defense
of other countries.

Posted by: Bryan on October 31, 2004 06:24 PM

> is not a logical, feeling human, and for you to discuss his statements
> as if he were a statesman offering cogent reasons for his actions is
> offensive.

for you to distort my comments in such a way as to subtly, even
if not outright, imply in any way I approved of his
comments as "justification" when obviously I noted his actions
are evil, and unjustifiable, is truly offensive and wrong.


> This is not to say that thier facts are false or that all thier
> conclusions are wrong, but they must be vetted carefully.

Obviously. All sides, since I'm not emotionally attached
to Democrats or Republicans after punting on them years ago.

> I am very suspicious of you when you quote OBL and seem to take him at
> his word.

I don't trust him either. However the point is not to dismiss
the logic of what he is saying about their motivations without
giving some logical argument as to what the real motivations
are or why these aren't the real motivations behind terrorists.


> OBL gives justification for his attacks on women and children, citing
> Americas attacks that resulted in such deaths. This attempt at
> justification does not even deserve refutation, yet you seem to take
> it at face value. I reflects poorly on your judgement.

er, this is a major distortion of what I said, reflecting either
likely reading it with certain pre-conceptions or a desire to
tarnish the point by turning attacking a false strawman, or faulty
logic. I do
*not* consider it a valid justification, the guy is promoting
evil actions and there is no way to do so. Simply because his
actions are evil doesn't mean that actions the US takes (other
than personally against those like him who have already done evil)
are necessarily justified.

> with Ghandi's? Why could not OBL with all his millions of dollars,
> have migrated to the US and begun a war of ideas, his great weath
> would have afforded him much access in the lobby centric DC halls.

I have no idea why the evil scum takes the approach he does and
obviously do not defend the distorted reasoning he uses to
come up with the approach. I might guess that he had a faulty
understanding of the US and its politics and reactions just as
the US govt. may have a faulty understanding of those in the mideast.

> No, this is not a person interested in any goal but domination thru
> fear

just as our president wishes to use fear to justify his growth
in power like the patriot act. And wishes us to respond via
emotion of blind support vs. rational analysis

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed
(and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an
endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." - H.L. Mencken

in this case the terrorists aren't imagined, but the links to
Iraq were, etc.


"The difference between a moral man and a man of honor is that the
latter regrets a discreditable act, even when it has worked and he has
not been caught" - H.L. Mencken
yet Bush...

"In the United States, doing good has come to be, like patriotism, a
favorite device of persons with something to sell."- H.L. Mencken

"...men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to
believe, but in proportion to their readiness to doubt."- H.L. Mencken

"The worst government is the most moral. One composed of cynics is
often very tolerant and humane. But when fanatics are on top there is
no limit to oppression" - H.L. Mencken

"The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naive and
usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more
than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us
when he sees it debauched" - H.L. Mencken

"Firmness in decision is often merely a form of stupidity. It
indicates an inability to think the same thing out twice" - H.L. Mencken

"Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying
to prove that the other party is unfit to rule - and both commonly
succeed, and are right." - H.L. Mencken

Posted by: Bryan on October 31, 2004 06:50 PM

OhMike, thank you for coming back with a post that just proves my point. It was the name calling and denigration of those who disagree with you that prompted my first criticism of you. You simply reinforced my point in your reply. Commie? Every word you posted proved that you actually know nothing about the issues other than the view espoused by Fox News and other sources even more prejudiced.

Posted by: Jim S on October 31, 2004 06:51 PM

Trippin,

There's lots of doubts about what you claim Kerry said. Have you actually read the entire testimony he gave? Including the parts that make it clear when he's saying what he's been told by other vets versus what he personally saw? Let's see, he says that he's been told by other vets that these are the things they saw. So his crime was believing other Vietnam vets and passing along what they said? How awful of him. And it still doesn't rise to treason or hatred of his country.

Posted by: Jim S on October 31, 2004 06:54 PM


I did want to note (since there is a skeptical post on Instapundit) I definitely am skeptical
btw of Lancet's figure of 100,000 casualties but hadn't checked details. But my point is that
since the claim has been made, even if its
wildly inaccurate, likely it was reported just as uncritically in the mideast and likely spread
as a soundbite among the pubic regardless of
what others say, just as with OBL's presumably
inflated figures. Its natural to assume there
will be negative exageration going on over there
and to expect that whenever the US engages in
any future actions.

oh, and re: my influence from a Republican mom, the "Goldwater Republican"
just thought I'd note that was just an influence on her that I was exposed to, I wasn't even born yet during the goldwater stuff :-) (apolitical dad) I admit hawkish excitement watching the first gulf war despite mixed thinking on the issue, i've
been swayed by reason not as some of the reflexive anti-war liberals are by emotion.
btw I hadn't read Cato's book on the topic but I suspect it would be interesting and perhaps also useful for those into the Iraq war since it talks about exiting much quicker than Kerry and Bush (just hadn't had time yet). I don't always agree with Cato, though I very often do and at least find their arguments worthy of consideration.

Posted by: Bryan on October 31, 2004 07:53 PM

Jimbo, just 'cause I call your ilk commies doesn't mean you're not. In case you didn't get it, the REAL point is that you Kerry pinkos aren't even smart enough to know when you're getting scammed...probably because you're so eager to line up at the government trough.

What, you think there aren't real commies in the world? I've been there, buddy. I've seen real commies commit real evil. You think you can insult me while claiming the moral high ground. As I said, you make me laugh. Why shouldn't you? Except for the sad fact that commies ARE a threat to freedom, they are a joke.

You don't even get it. Who IS Jane Galt? Have you no compassion? Don't you know there are real people out there with real health care needs? I mean, they have NEEDS.

BTW, you doofus (am I elevating the discussion sufficiently for you?), I happen to be a health care consultant, which is why I know anyone who believes Kerry's health care promises is a simpleton or a partisan hack. You should try watching Fox sometime, instead of reading "Tour of Duty" as if it weren't fiction.

One last thing. I'm GLAD you don't like me. I must be doing something right.

Posted by: OhMike on October 31, 2004 08:51 PM

J Mackey, Bush has based much of his campaign around being an evangelical Christian, my bringing his beliefs into the discussion is not the hard bigotry of religious hatred, Bush has made it part of the discussion in his campaign and policy. I was raised Catholic, and on good days Im still agnostic, I have nothing against Christians. But G W Bush believes God spoke to him in Midlands, Texas when he witnessed a recently released mental patient carrying a cross during the Easter holiday when he was forty. Bush believed it was God giving him a "sign". Evangelical Christians believe in the rapture, or the end of the world, and who is in control of Jerusalem and parts of Palestine is a large part of that prophecy from Revelations being fulfilled(Catholic school, dont ya know). That just might effect our mideast policy. Evangelicals also believe in a strict literal interpretation of the bible, that means our President doesnt believe in evolution, and also believes the earth to be only 6000 years old. His beliefs are the reason we are not using thousands of harvested human embryos for stem cell research, and Europe is racing ahead of us. Stem cell research was the great ethical question he was pondering in Crawford Texas on 911, even though he had no terror policy in place. Trouble is, this wasn't an ethical dilemma for anyone other than Evangelical Christians. Consider that nearly every Jewish MD that was surveyed on the ethics of using the medical data gathered by Mengele from the brutal, sadistic, nazi experimentation in the concentration camps thought that data should be used for the good of mankind. Apparently Bush thinks its better to destroy these embryos, that were donated as the patients wished, then to use them for the greater good of mankind. Even if you doubt the upside of stem cell research, the attitude that would rather waste those embryos, than use them for the greater good of mankind is unacceptable in a President.

I dont know what the intent UBLs video was. No threats to the US, no camo, no Kalishinokov, high production value, a very healthy appearence, and the academic pesona he projected are all new and unexpected. We really need the transcript of the entire 17 minutes of video, not just the 8 minutes released by Al Jazeera. I think Israel might be targeted for something large and ugly. UBL singled out and focused on our support for Israel in Lebanon in 1983 as what inspired his attack on the WTC. He said he was speaking to America, and I found the focus on Israel strange. But then I remembered Al Qaedas most recent attack, and the first that targetted Israelis, just happened at the tourist spot in Egypt that Al Qaeda bombed about a month ago. Then I also remembered the American fool thats a member of Al Qaeda, just released his video, which I originaly thought to be a fraud, also mentions Israel several times. Finally, I find Arafats health concerns to be strange. The only disease I know platlets to be connected to is hemophilia, and cancer has been ruled out in Arafat. So why does he go to Paris? I understand France has superior medicine to Palestine, but they have no diagnosis for Arafat at all, at least thats been released to the public. Also, Arafat looked in much to good of health to allow the photo op in his PJs, its like he wants to appear weak, at the very time a guy like Arafat needs to appear strong. My remarks on UBLs video and Israel are nothing but my speculation, its not even a theory, so feel free to fire away, but understand Im not stating these thoughts are proof of anything.

Posted by: Begbee on October 31, 2004 08:53 PM

Oh Mike, (I hear that alot, but its more like, "Oh, Mike, YES! YES! Unnnh Ooohhhh, Mike!!!") did you really just call someone a pinko? Better be careful or you wont be able to claim Reagan won the cold war....

Posted by: Begbee on October 31, 2004 08:59 PM

It seems that your analysis ultimately came down to gut-feeling of not trusting Kerry.

Well for me a reelection comes down to accountability.

You reelect someone if you are HAPPY with what they have done.

The challenger may leave unanwered questions, but if you are not happy with the incumbent then you should not reelect him.

Well I personally see very little in Bush's term that would warrant reelection and I see many things that give pause.

It is for this reason that I believe Kerry deserves a chance.

If he doesn't get the job done, well there is always the next election.

What is unacceptable is to reward failure.

Posted by: Degra on October 31, 2004 10:07 PM

Oh, Jane, I read your calloused review of the candidate's positions. Noting how deeply skewed and perverted they were, I doubt that you ever were in any serious deliberations over which way to vote. I especially like how you construe Bush's worst gaffes as clever, diabolical plots to secure some remote end of the greater good.

Posted by: Larry Young on October 31, 2004 10:08 PM

Sigh. Either Jane's board is attracting trolls like I've seen on places like Slate or it's just that the quality of posters is dropping drastically. The anyone who isn't Republican is a commie line is so old that it isn't even funny anymore. And I know people with real health care needs. Once again a pathetic excuse for a conservative pretends to be capable of serious thought while painting other people with brush strokes so broad it even loses the ability to be comic.

Posted by: Jim S on October 31, 2004 11:32 PM

Jane, if you're even still reading these voluminous posts I just had to say....I hope you can appreciate when people don't blow up in these forums you provide. Because OhMike just really crossed a line that he can't even comprehend and I'm working very hard to NOT blow up and express a lot in print here in terms of how low my opinion of him as a human being is right now. But I will say that the kind of things he does in assuming that he knows things about the people he disses because they aren't of his political persuasion happen on both sides but it's my experience lately that it is a crime of the far right more often than of the left and it certainly colors my opinion of the kind of people who call themselves conservatives nowadays.

Posted by: Jim S on October 31, 2004 11:39 PM

Kerry has promised to keep America safe from terrorism. This is the political equivalent of putting your head on the block. If Kerry is willing to stick his neck out in this fashion, then I say we should support him. Few are bold enough to take this risk, and it's time for new leadership.

Posted by: shamus on November 1, 2004 12:07 AM

I'll believe Jane when she posts the Bush pledge on the masthead.

I'm willing to believe that this was an unauthorized, ill-advised tactic by someone acting alone but it's the kind of crap that has to be nipped ruthlessly in the bud, and the fact that no pro-Bushers seem to be commenting on it doesn't reassure me.

Posted by: Michael Farris on November 1, 2004 01:54 AM

Jane, Nantz turned me on to your website and for that, I am thankful. Great summation (and endorsement), but regarding more troops, may I offer:

Troops are designed to kill people and occupy territory. They are not "Police" and the US gets in trouble any time we get into "Police" actions. To add more troops, under the current plan to win peace would only offer more targets. To change the mission and become more aggressive in our actions would further cast the US as an "Occupier" in many minds. It is my hope that only in Fallujah and border areas will the troops have to further display their might. Most of the remaining Provencies seem to be stabilizing - not perfect - but stabilizing. And stability is key to winning the peace.

Posted by: Scott Smith on November 1, 2004 08:27 AM

And regarding the UN, French and Germans, and probably the Russians as well, I believe their economic ties to Saddam have much to do with their stance in Iraq. I doubt, however, the US will ever expose this fully as to do so could be catastrophic to the EU and could possibly topple certain governments, further ailienating the US and Britain.
Having lived abroad in the mid to late 90's, I can assure you that the rhetoric of the French, German and yes, Israli goverments has not been overly friendly to the US at most times. Nor was their any love espoused towards then Govenor Bush. He was viewed as a "Cowboy" for his stance on the Death Penalty and in particular, applying it to Women and younger criminals. Over many a Belgian beer and French latte, I remined folks that the key word in their comments was "criminals".

While Diplomacy is important, it comes in many forms...Personally, when it comes to protecting my Family, my friends, my Country and my way of life, I could care less what the French and German's think.....For these issues, I have my own version af a "Global Test"....

Posted by: Scott Smith on November 1, 2004 08:40 AM

Just wanted to say that I appreciate your thoughtfulness, and the thoroughness of your information. I have been looking for unbiased information (HA!), and this is the first place I have found it. Bravo!

Posted by: Undecided in MO on November 1, 2004 09:37 AM

The fact is the war planning on Iraq was a complete failure. There was no plan to secure the wmd, and we dont know if they existed or not, and the invasion may have caused these weapons to fall into the hands of terrorists. We went in with about half the troops needed to secure Iraq, that has resulted in unsecured borders that foreign fighters cross everyday, and an inability to secure/destroy all the weapons depots. Any foreign fighter or insurgent has unlimited access to weapons, so this failure in planning has cost countless lives.

Another thing that has gone unmentioned is that because Cheney has no further political ambitions this administration will not be accountable for their actions in the next four years if Bush wins. Whatever rep candidate that would run for President in the next election will be able to distance themselves from all the failures of this administration. And if the reps retain control of the congress, the country will drift towards an evangelical version of the Talaban, at no cost to this administration.

Posted by: Begbee on November 1, 2004 10:05 AM

Can't imagine who would be reading down this far.

Anybody who has, check out http://bgtruth.blogspot.com

Posted by: bill giltner on November 1, 2004 10:47 AM

You say that going to Iraq was right in principal alone but what happens the next time we have to hold up that principal. Both candidates say they won't call for a draft but if we have to enter into another Iraq or Afghanistan where there is a real and immediate threat there will be no choice in the matter and it will be me and my friends going to war. The fact that they let their "obsession" with Iraq as you put it guide them is reason enough for them to be gone. Thinking clearly and LOGICALLY is one of the most important traits of a leader especially one who is responsible for the lives of so many Americans.

Posted by: Justin Robinson on November 1, 2004 11:04 AM

Jane, Jim wants his mommy. The poor darling is upset and may have to hold his breath or something. I think he wants you to give me a time out.

Typical: free speech is good--till someone calls a fool a fool.

I don't have time to write treatises, and if I did, as Jane said, I should do it on my own blog. But there are real commies, just 'cause we won the cold war doesn't mean there's no China, North Korea, or Cuba left in the world. For tjat matter, what is Hillary if not a wealth-redistributing, central government planning closet commie?

Each according to his ability, each acording to his needs? People need health care...so what? That doesn't mean Kerry can give it to them--and he knows that. He also can't control rising costs. In fact, the things he favors will contribute to health care cost inflation, or will led to price controls, which will make healthcare worse.

Gimme a Prez who gives me just a litle hope that he'll kill a lot of people whio need killing. That's good enough for me. Keep your health care promises.

Posted by: OhMike on November 1, 2004 02:31 PM

This last comment by OhMike is absolutely abhorrent.

Mike, why don't you just come out and say that Bush's presidency is equivalent to a fundamentalist theocracy, the uninsured should die, and we can play GOD and have the right to send everyone else on Earth to hell.

And I was going to say something in defense of Bush, too.

Posted by: geng on November 1, 2004 02:52 PM

geng,

Fundamentalist theocracy? That's real non-sequitir there, Spanky. How you can get that out of anything I said is a mystery. I am a devout agnostic.

Whether people get health care or not, isn't my issue. Just don't confiscate my "wealth" to give something to someone else in an attempt to buy their votes. Also, if you can follow this, the whole premise here has been that Kerry is a demagogue for blaming rising health costs on Bush. De-construct so-called "trend" if you will and tell me what part of that Kery is oing to reduce with his promises.

As far as people needing killing, the fact that you don't get it that OBL, Saddam, the mullahs and their followers deserve a big target painted on their foreheads is as scary to me as I am objectionable to you. In my world what's truly abhorrent is having 3,000 of my friends and neighbors killed and then standing around wringing our hands because the French don't like us.

Posted by: OhMike on November 1, 2004 03:24 PM

Jane,

This is an interesting discussion - but unfortunately you provide very little in the way of explanation/facts as to why you have come to the conclustions you have reached. E.g. you say you are afraid of Kerry's health plan - but don't say why. It cheapens the conversation to just repeat talking points which are not well founded.

Here is a good link to a rational voice.

http://web.mit.edu/krugman/www/socsec.html

Posted by: Anonymous Libertarian on November 1, 2004 03:55 PM

Justin Robinson,

I'm with you on that point. I'm 21, just out of college and very uneasy about the prospects of a draft. Despite the flaws of the Bush administration, re-election is better bet in preventing a draft. The administration's familiarity with situation in Iraq and the stability at home that comes with re-election make Bush's term in office likely to require less troops than Kerry's.

And of course, the obligatory argument of Bush understands the nature of terrorism. Oh yeah, I hate the phrase "War on Terror". It makes it sound like the other unwinnable wars that the government has tried to embark on: "War on Drugs" and "War on Crime".

In the end, the only way to win any of these wars is through good education(big plus for Bush). But against terrorism, we need to secure a safe place to teach them first.

Jane,

I disagree with your views on health care, but we still managed to come to the same conclusion. The economics of health care is an extremely complex subject because there are so many externalities involved. The government must step in to correct it. Ways to reduce health care costs and insurance rates are to set a national standard, computerize all medical records, subsidize preventative care, increase cost of treatment for the terminally ill*, and come up with a new plan to cover largely healthy individuals.

The reason insurance rates are so high is because there is one large population that doesn't really use health care, and one large population that uses health care excessively...

The lot that doesn't use health care are often looking at the costs of health insurance and making the decision that it isn't worth it to buy insurance. A lot of my friends don't have health insurance, not because their workplace isn't offering at an affordable rate(

The reason the private sector won't offer such a plan is that they don't want individuals like me that have generic health plans to switch to the lower cost option. But such a health plan is really necessary to prevent a lot of young people from becoming a liability to the health care industry in the near future.

The Medicare drug bill was entirely unnecessary and makes it less expensive for a population that already uses too much health care. Yeah I know I am being really uncompassionate to the elderly and the terminally ill, but it's a huge burden to the American economy.

John Kerry's plan for health care is an even bigger mistake. It's a huge waste of money, and encourages more inefficiencies and gets the government involved in the exactly the wrong way - buying into the market inefficiencies. All the benefits from the good ideas that John Kerry has of reducing health care costs (lowering overhead and promoting preventive care)is more than demolished by this. It's better to do nothing at all than Kerry's government purchased health care plan.

I live in Massachusetts and there is not a chance in the world, Bush is going to win this state. I think I'll be giving my vote to Michael
Badnarik in hopes that we'll get more choices next election.

Posted by: geng on November 1, 2004 04:12 PM

hmm something in that last post didn't come out right:

it should read (trying to remember how it went):

... affordable rate (less than $150). They choose not to buy insurance because they don't use enough health care (too much of a hassle). The exodus of these "healthy" individuals from insurance plans forces insurance companies to raise their rates for the rest of the individuals. This group of individuals could really use a low cost plan centered around preventative care and limited services.

I think using the "less than" symbol in my original post triggered off html...

Posted by: geng on November 1, 2004 04:20 PM

Jane,

On second review, maybe we do agree on the health care issue, but I'm not completely against government intervention.

Posted by: geng on November 1, 2004 04:22 PM

Existential threats

I am a libertarian-leaning liberal, and so I was as pleased as anyone to see a thoughtful, reasonable analysis of the issues from a Bush supporter, despite being a Kerry supporter myself. I'm going to look at a couple of isses in the original post and bring up some of my own concerns - items which I feel aren't being discussed anywhere.

Threat one: terrorism and national security

Here's (IMHO) Megan's greatest error:

The biggest threat we face is nuclear or biological terrorism, and that's the kind of terrorism that requires cooperation from state actors.

The "cooperation from state actors" rhetoric is the same antique thinking the White House is using, and it's both ludicrous and dangerous. The only example of bio-terrorism in the U.S. was conducted, apparently, by a lone human actor. It was relatively ineffective only because he was overly cautious and used the mail for fear of being caught. An islamist terrorist would use a large building's A/C system, infecting thousands, and just commit suicide if caught.

As for nukes, within the next fifty years, most nations will be able to build them. At the rate coups and wars overturn goverments, the stuff will get out: witness the very scary lack of data about the whereabouts of USSR weapons this past decade. The point is that terrorists will eventually be able to acquire these weapons with or without state support, period. Radiological weapons, to boot, require almost no technology or expertise and are arguably more effective as terrorist weapons.

Within our lives if not already, nukes and radiological bombs will be available to terrorists regardless of state sponsorship or even state knowledge. In the light of these concerns, this statement:

I think they have had the opposite effect on non-state actors: I'm pretty sure we're making terrorist recruiting easier. But I'm not as sure as anti-war types that this makes us less secure.

becomes a pretty freaking dangerous argument. War or no war, our only good strategy is to reduce the numbers of terrorists and/or reduce their incentive to target us. Our primary focus should be to reduce the recruitment and motivation of individual terrorists, and doing this through war alone does not work. Any of ten thousand historical examples will show that violent strategies/invasions/occupations breed increased opposition and hatred unless you already have the support of the population (as we largely did in Afghanistan) or you go through with a complete, overwhelming response that subjugates or destroys the entire population i.e. Dresden, Hiroshima, or Carthage. "Kill All the Terrorists" simply doesn't work unless you're willing to completely wipe out the the Middle East or potentially all of Islam and I don't see many people here advocating that. It certainly would require a larger fighting force than we're willing to field these days.

Anyone who votes for Bush because "he gets up and thinks about killing more terrorists" understands neither history nor the modern sociopolitical world, and is seriously deluded.

Focussing on states as our primary security concern is outmoded, cold-war thinking. We do face existential threats, but this is not the way to approach them. We are being used (quite effectively) as a pawn by Bin Laden to unite Muslims against the West. The resulting schism won't heal in our lifetimes.

Threat two: fiscal policy

I'm against running deficits, not because of the economic effects, which I think are pretty small, but because we shouldn't buy things for ourselves by writing IOU's for our children to pay.

I think it's worse than just IOU's for our children. The existential threat we face is that a massively inflated deficit could eventually cause the bottom to fall out of America's credit in international trade, resulting in a serious crash of the US economy. People far too secure in the U.S.' position of power will write me off as a kook, but ask yourself how many nations in the past three decades have had economic collapse due to unstable monetary policy. Start with Argentina and think backwards. We're not exactly on the edge of this right now, but in 10-20 years if we keep increasing deficits the way we are, it could be a real concern. Yes we're the world's economic powerhouse just now, but people believed the Titanic couldn't sink and Rome couldn't be overthrown. We need a sensible monetary policy if we want to still be around in fifty years.

As for which candidate is better - Kerry has a senate record which includes a fair number of votes and initiatives in favor of sane monetary policy and balanced budgets, while Bush has a four-year record of tax cuts uber alles, signing every spending bill in sight, and making zero effort to reduce pork-barrelism.

On top of it, there's a party difference: the most financially conservative president we've seen in twenty-five years was a Democrat, and fiscal responsibility is still "cool" in the Democratic party. Analyses have shown that Republican state and national legistlatures have increased spending at a higher rate than Democratic ones for over two decades, and spending riders have increased at over four times the rate under this congress as under the last Democratic one, with no slowdown or executive control in sight. While economically responsible thinking is on the rise in the Democratic party, tax cut jihadism dominates the GOP and increasingly marginalizes the few voices in that party who still care about fiscal sanity.

(Note: I'm not opposed to all tax cuts in principle. But any logic that can say both "surpluses mean we should give the money back" and "deficits mean we should cut taxes to stimulate growth" in all cases deserves nothing more than a belly laugh. There's an equation we're trying to balance here, and it's not monotonic all the way to zero.)

It would be nice to have a comparative economic conservative like Clinton back, but conservatives tarred-and-feathered our most (financially) conservative president in a lifetime. Go figure. In the absence I'll take a tax-and-spend Liberal over a spend-more-but-don't-pay-for-it Neocon any day. Children aside, I intend to be around in fifty years and I'd like my government to be solvent, thank you.

The GOP as the party of fiscal responsibility is a myth. It hasn't been true in two decades. Kerry may actually block some of the ludicrous GOP spending bills floating across the oval office desk: Bush never will. If nothing else, simply having the president and congress be of different parties will help slow down the runaway spending.

Threat three: Civil liberties

Okay, this may not quite be an existential threat, but for a libertarian I'd think it would rank closely.

I hear you on Reno and the drug war. But in the face of the PATRIOT act being enshrined in law, the attempts at Patriot II, and the use of years-long detention without charge or even habeas corpus, I'm positively stunned that you could consider the two candidates equal on this issue. Relative to the PATRIOT act, you're concerned about Reno's abuse of the fourth amendment?

(And noting, of course, that Janet Reno isn't Kerry's AG... Bush AG vs. Clinton AG isn't exactly an argument that directly involves Kerry, now is it?)

With the GOP trending more and more towards the extreme religious right each year, can you possibly be serious that you consider civil liberties a wash between these candidates?

Posted by: IdahoEv on November 1, 2004 05:18 PM

That's funny, Bush makes most of the Libertarians I know want to puke. Maybe you need to learn what it means to be a Libertarian.

Posted by: Mr. T on November 1, 2004 05:37 PM

I'm sorry. I read all those responses thinking to myself the author's name must be Megan, but I still managed to put down Jane.

Now for some of these three points made by IdahoEV. Some very good points in there.

Threat One:

I'll come out and say it. I fear biological weapons. I fear them because they can be created by accident and released into the environment by accident. There doesn't even need to be a desire to do harm to kill million and millions of people. Nuclear weapons? Building a nuke is available knowledge and still there less than a dozen nations with nukes.

Control of bio-laboratory is extremely difficult and once the technology for producing a bio-weapon is known, there will be no stopping terrorists from creating one and spreading the disease.

Unlike nuclear weapons technology whose infrastructure which would show up on satalite photos as clearly as a Boeing 747 on radar, bio-develop labs are like a spec of dust. Fighting the War on Bioterrorism is like fighting the War on Drugs. Just ask the DEA how hard it is to find every single Meth-labs in the United States before any leaks out.

Nukes??? They are a thing of the past. Too expensive... too much infrastructure... too easy to dismantle...

Threat Two:

Fiscal responsibility. I don't see a difference between the two candidates except that Bush promises to cut more spending, whereas Kerry promises to revoke tax cuts. I'm for smaller government.

Threat Three:

Patriot Act... I hope it dies, but I'm not up for all the civil liberties that the Democrats have granted. Having civil liberties entails some level of responsibility for yourself and for your actions. Now it seems like there is some type of court case that can extricate anyone from all responsibility for themselves.

Posted by: geng on November 1, 2004 05:49 PM

Mr. T,

If it was only a choice between Bush and Kerry. I'd vote Bush after much deliberation.

But with a libertarian candidate available and because I live in Massachusetts, I'm with Matt Badnarik.

I don't have the aversion to Matt Badnarik as Megan does because I think that as long as he gets the votes, the Libertarian Party will get more scrutiny and a better candidate will be found next time around. I don't even know how Matt Badnarik became the libertarian candidate, and I know that if the LP gets more attention it will choose a better candidate.

Posted by: geng on November 1, 2004 05:56 PM

In RE: to geng:

Nukes??? They are a thing of the past. Too expensive... too much infrastructure... too easy to dismantle..

I'd disagree; hard for the terrorists to make, but the number of countries making them is increasing. Some will get out eventually.

Aside from that, repeat previous argument about radiological weapons. They require nothing more than some stolen medical radioactive material, a coffee can, and a stick of dynamite, but could turn Manhattan into a wasteland just as surely.

Fiscal responsibility. I don't see a difference between the two candidates except that Bush promises to cut more spending, whereas Kerry promises to revoke tax cuts. I'm for smaller government.

Bush promised to cut spending in 2000, as well. Instead he increased it more than any president since the New Deal. So I'm not inclined to take him at his word on this point, thank you very much.

Under Bush and the GOP congress, spending increased 45% in every budget category including housing, education, interior, you name it. The only difference is that he put it on a credit card, so you'll have to pay for it eventually, only now with interest. Bush and the GOP are for bigger government, get it through your head.

Patriot Act... I hope it dies, but I'm not up for all the civil liberties that the Democrats have granted. Having civil liberties entails some level of responsibility for yourself ...

Uh, I agree in taking a level of responsibility for oneself. How does that apply here? Convince me that the GOP will actually reduce lawsuits.... um... and how does the proliferation of liability lawsuits affect the argument over who protects civil liberties again? Lawsuits aren't liberties, never have been. Ya lost me there.

Even so, you've said you hope the PATRIOT act dies. Bush has said he won't let it die, in fact he made it a semi-major campaign point. So.... still seems to be a libertarian point strongly against Bush to me...

Posted by: IdahoEv on November 1, 2004 06:03 PM

i think i am in love.

Posted by: bobby walter on November 1, 2004 06:34 PM

Here are bits from Cato on various issues
(usually when I look i find they agree with me :-) )

http://cato.org/dailys/10-29-04.html

> and in two of the presidential debates he proposed creating a
> McCain-Kerry Corporate Welfare Commission. Such a commission would
> target for cuts more than 100 subsidy programs costing $65 billion a
> year, according to the Kerry campaign, citing Senator John McCain
> (R-Ariz.).

> That is a good idea, but here's the catch. The McCain-Kerry $65
> billion comes from a Cato Institute study that proposed numerous
> spending cuts that Senator Kerry strongly opposes. For example, the
> Cato study targeted the Manufacturing Extension Partnership for
> elimination, but Kerry is proposing to double MEP funding. In
> speeches, Kerry tries to cloak himself in McCain's anti-subsidy
> record, but it doesn't fit.

> Cato's report also targeted the Advanced Technology Program, and a
> McCain press release asked, "Why should the Commerce Department spend
> $211 million a year on ... some of the largest and richest high-tech
> companies in this nation?" But John Kerry's campaign has criticized
> President Bush for cutting ATP. Similarly, John McCain has called for
> ending the ethanol subsidy, but John Kerry is promising to double
> ethanol use.

> What's worse is that Kerry is proposing a range of new business
> subsidies. He wants to give $10 billion to automakers for
> fuel-efficient cars, $10 billion to coal companies for cleaner
> technologies, and $5 billion for research on hydrogen and
> ethanol. Kerry wants the government to cover business health care
> costs, he wants to increase trade adjustment assistance for companies,
> and he wants to create "manufacturing business investment
> corporations" to hand out government "venture capital." ...

> At the same time, Edwards lavishes federal pork on homestate
> businesses. Recent press releases from the senator's office announced:
> $233,770 "to improve parking facilities for downtown businesses,"
> $154,000 for a "revolving loan fund" for businesses, $250,000 for a
> technology park, and $2.9 million for textile companies in North
> Carolina. Edwards praised passage of the recent "buyout" that will
> give more than $10 billion of taxpayer money to tobacco producers.

> On corporate taxes, the Kerry-Edwards ticket follows much the same
> pattern. Senator Kerry charges the president with supporting tax
> loopholes, but Kerry wants to create business tax credits for health
> care, new jobs, and other activities

http://cato.org/dailys/10-30-04.html
> On Education, Bush and Kerry Have Much in Common

> But there is also an important similarity: neither Bush nor Kerry
> seems to recognize that the federal government can do much more to
> harm education in America than it can to help it. Federal "aid" to
> education has only created a web of regulation and bureaucracy, which
> prevents public schools and state legislators from responding in
> unique and creative ways to problems in education. Some of the
> strongest advocates of maintaining government's near monopoly over
> elementary and secondary education acknowledge that problem when they
> complain that it is "unfair" that charter schools and private schools
> aren't burdened by the same regulations and restrictions they
> endure. Since federal "help" always comes with paperwork and
> regulation, more federal spending on local schools could bring more
> harm than good.

> Both President Bush and Senator Kerry believe in the magic of
> government and operate under the delusion that whoever sits in the
> White House can improve learning in school classrooms thousands of
> miles away. Both ignore the fact that federal mandates often backfire,
> create bureaucratic red tape and often lead to outcomes different from
> what are intended.

http://cato.org/dailys/09-03-04.html
>$9 Trillion Didn't End Poverty -- What to Do?

> ... So, listen this campaign season as candidates offer their
> solution to the rise in poverty. Be wary of promises to throw more
> money at the problem. That clearly doesn't work

Posted by: Bryan on November 1, 2004 08:30 PM

More clips from Cato. I know yet again its long but it shows perspectives most don't seem to
have on the issue of pulling out as quickly
as possible and re: our safety. (btw, i may
start a blog, wasn't ready yet and figured
undecided libertarians might read here).

http://cato.org/research/articles/pena-030625.html

> The problem with Iraq � and all nation-building efforts � is the
> natural desire to get it "right," which is a prescription for endless
> occupation. And the cruel irony is that the longer the United States
> stays, however well intentioned and noble the motive, the more Iraqis
> will come to resent a foreign occupier. The guerrilla-style tactics
> being used to pick off U.S. and British troops may only be the tip of
> the iceberg. The lesson should be clear: The United States must leave
> Iraq at the earliest possible opportunity.

> But to do so requires a willingness to renounce the unrealistic goal
> of building a perfect democracy in Iraq. U.S. national security
> demands only that any new government not harbor or support terrorists
> who would harm the United States.

> Even an Islamic government would not necessarily be hostile to the
> United States. In the words of one Iraqi: "We thank the Americans for
> getting rid of Saddam's regime, but now Iraq must be run by Iraqis."

> To prevent gratitude from turning to resentment and hostility, we must
> have the wisdom to leave as quickly as possible. If we don't, the
> United States runs the risk of enduring its own version of the Soviet
> experience in Afghanistan: Arabs and Muslims from the region may flock
> to Iraq to expel the American infidel, and the United States could be
> bogged down for years.

http://cato.org/research/articles/niskanen-030820.html

> Moreover, the Iraq war may have undermined the global war on terrorism.

> There are four main reasons for this. First, specialised intelligence
> resources have been diverted to support the Iraq war and the
> reconstruction. American intelligence units have only a small number
> of Arab speakers and specialists, who cannot be seconded to Iraqi
> operations without reducing the necessary support for the war against
> terrorism.

> Second, the Iraq war may have reduced other governments' willingness
> to share intelligence with Washington, or arrest suspects in their own
> nations or extradite them to the US.

> ...

> An effective war against terrorism is not a conventional war. The most
> useful weapons are good intelligence - shared among national
> governments, among the various US intelligence agencies and between
> the Federal Bureau of Investigation and local US police departments -
> and effective local policing. The Bush administration has yet to
> explain how an expanded military can defend US citizens against
> terrorist cells that use car bombs made out of fertiliser.

> There may be important reasons for increasing the defence budget but
> the war against terrorism is not one of them. Almost all Americans
> support an effective war against terrorism. The Bush administration
> should demonstrate a commitment to this war by ending the use of this
> broad concern about terrorism as a spurious rationale for other
> policies.

http://cato.org/dailys/10-31-04.html

> but cargo - which is routinely loaded on passenger aircraft - is not
> screened. And while passengers are checked for guns, knives, and other
> potentially lethal objects, they are not checked for hidden explosives
> - which is apparently how two Russian airliners were brought down by
> terrorists in August. Much of the focus of airport security has been
> on passengers, but less attention has been paid to security for
> airport operations, especially for those people with access to
> aircraft (e.g., ground crews, baggage handlers, etc.) Aircraft also
> remain vulnerable to the threat of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft
> missiles that are abundant around the world and known to be in the
> hands of terrorist groups.

> We have made buildings more secure by erecting barricades, prohibiting
> parking and other access, deploying armed personnel, and instituting
> identity and vehicle checks. Although such measures certainly raise
> the threshold for a successful attack, they do not provide absolute
> protection against suicide terrorists. It's probably safe to say that
> the so-called "green zone" in Baghdad is more heavily fortified than
> the average U.S. city. But that didn't stop insurgents from detonating
> two bombs within seconds of each other, killing 10 people, including
> four Americans, just last week. ....

> Ultimately, it's important to understand that being safer against the
> terrorist threat is not a function of being better at directly
> defending against attacks. As the Irish Republican Army stated after a
> failed attempt to kill British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in
> 1984: "Remember, we only have to be lucky once. You will have to be
> lucky always." This is no less true for the United States defending
> against al Qaeda.

> And while President Bush is right that we need to go after "the
> terrorists abroad so we do not have to face them here at home," we
> must also understand that simply killing terrorists - however
> necessary - will not make us safer. To be sure, America must
> aggressively seek out the terrorists who would do us harm,
> specifically the al Qaeda terrorist network operating in 60 countries
> around the world. But al Qaeda is more than just an organization. It
> is a radical Islamist ideology with a life of its own - and it is
> infusing the Muslim world. If we want to be safer, then we need to
> address the reasons why people choose to become terrorists and want to
> kill innocent Americans. This requires understanding that the growing
> tide of anti-American Muslim hatred - which is the basis for the
> radical Islamists to draw Muslims to their ranks - is fueled more by
> what we do, i.e., U.S. policies, than who we are. In other words - as
> the 9/11 Commission concluded and numerous polls conducted throughout
> the Islamic world show - they do not hate us for our freedoms, way of
> life, culture, accomplishments, or values.

> Yet we still refuse to understand that point, much less to reevaluate
> our policy. Such refusal results from not wanting to be accused of
> blaming America for 9/11. That is understandable and certainly nothing
> justifies those terrorist attacks. But with more than one billion
> Muslims in the world, we cannot continue to ignore addressing the
> underlying reasons why so many of them have a growing hatred of the
> United States.

http://cato.org/dailys/09-30-04.html

> But the liberation of Fallujah from those guilty of terrorist acts and
> terrorist sympathies will require the removal of most Fallujans. A
> genuinely democratic vote would result in an overwhelming endorsement
> of those cloaked in Baathist-friendly colors.

> Pessimistic Iraqis, especially the minority Sunni, already see little
> light at the end of the democratic tunnel. Today, public opinion
> surveys reveal that a majority of Sunnis support the
> insurgents. Without any political representation, Sunni pessimism will
> turn into rage that will be directed violently at Iraq's nascent
> democratic institutions and actors.

> No amount of wishful thinking in either Baghdad or Washington will
> erase the unpleasant reality that division, fear and hatred
> distinguish contemporary Iraqi politics. If Iraq's first election is a
> partial one, the country's new democracy will be politically
> stillborn.

http://cato.org/dailys/08-11-04.html

> However, the recent machinations over the nature and make-up of the
> National Council clearly illustrate the enormous political hurdles
> that stand between a liberated Iraq and a stable and sustainable
> democratic political system.

> Unfortunately, what sounds eminently attainable to Western ears
> usually proves impossible in a society as unprepared for democratic
> decision-making as contemporary Iraq. In a formula devised by the
> United Nations, the conference was to select 100 Iraqis to form the
> National Council. These 100 members were to be drawn from the 1,000
> conference delegates, themselves chosen in caucus-style elections held
> throughout Iraq's 18 provinces. Exactly how the conference would
> select the delegates was never made clear.

> Several obstacles immediately came into view. First, some important
> religious and nationalist leaders and groups simply boycotted the
> process. Many important figures in contemporary Iraqi politics, each
> commanding the loyalty of significant numbers of Iraqis, unambiguously
> dismissed the process. These groups view the National Council as yet
> another instrument of American occupation. Secretary of State Colin
> Powell's comment that the conference would constitute a "stamp of
> approval" to the interim government only hardened this view.

> Among the participating groups, logistical chaos, physical
> intimidation, and political bickering characterized the delegate
> selection process. In many areas, the caucus system broke down, as the
> participants were unable even to agree on the process by which
> conference delegates should be chosen. In some caucuses, political
> victory stemmed from an ability to marshal physical rather than
> intellectual ammunition.

> Clearly, both the Bush administration and the U.S.-chosen interim
> government remain apprehensive about matching democratic rhetoric with
> democratic action. Forty-four percent of the conference delegates were
> not chosen along democratic lines at all. Instead, they were appointed
> as representatives of favored religious, political, and tribal groups.

> The conference was scheduled to convene without any representation
> from Sunni religious parties with support in the politically volatile
> "Sunni triangle" north and west of Baghdad. Members and supporters of
> the old Governing Council were heavily represented, especially the
> former exiles whose political credibility is particularly
> low. Twenty-two of the 100 Council seats were already spoken for on
> behalf of former Governing Council members.

> Many objected to the Kurds being guaranteed 25 percent of the
> delegates, even though the Kurds number less than one in seven
> Iraqis. Women were guaranteed one in four Council seats. The quota
> system itself reflects a belated American recognition that hostility
> to both Kurdish and female political participation permeates Iraqi
> society and constitutes a serious barrier to self-rule.

> Both U.S. and Iraqi officials said a delayed conference would damage
> the credibility of the political transition. They were right. The
> conference fiasco resulted from the Bush administration, for the
> umpteenth time over the past 15 months, having raised the expectations
> bar too high for Iraq's political culture to jump over. President
> Bush's reelection campaign must now live with the embarrassment of yet
> another self-inflicted wound suffered as a consequence of idealistic
> theorizing holding sway over hardheaded realism.

http://cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-505es.html
> Can Iraq Be Democratic?

> Patrick Basham is a senior fellow with the Center for Representative
> Government of the Cato Institute.

> Is Iraq capable of moving smoothly from dictatorship to democracy?
> This paper contends that the White House will be gravely disappointed
> with the result of its effort to establish a stable liberal democracy
> in Iraq, or any other nation home to a large population of Muslims or
> Arabs, at least in the short to medium term.

> Why are Islamic (and especially Arab) countries' democratic prospects
> so poor? After all, in most Muslim countries a high level of popular
> support exists for the concept of democracy. In practice, popular
> support for democracy is a necessary, but is not a sufficient,
> condition for democratic institutions to emerge. Other factors are
> necessary. Hypothetical support for representative government, absent
> tangible support for liberal political norms and values and without
> the foundation of a pluralistic civil society, provides neither
> sufficient stimulus nor staying power for democracy to take root. That
> reality was borne out over the past generation in numerous countries
> where authoritarian regimes were displaced by newly democratic regimes
> but democratization failed because of shallow foundations.

> The building blocks of a modern democratic political culture are not
> institutional in nature. The building blocks are not elections,
> parties, and legislatures. Rather, the building blocks of democracy
> are supportive cultural values�the long-term survival of democratic
> institutions requires a particular political culture.

> Four cultural factors play an essential, collective role in
> stimulating and reinforcing a stable democratic political system. The
> first is political trust. The second factor is social tolerance. The
> third is a widespread recognition of the importance of basic political
> liberties. The fourth is popular support for gender equality.

> Paradoxically, a more democratic Iraq may also be a repressive one. It
> is one thing to adopt formal democracy but quite another to attain
> stable democracy. A successful democracy cannot be legislated. The
> White House is placing a very large political wager that the formation
> of democratic institutions in Iraq can stimulate a democratic
> political culture.

> On the contrary, political culture shapes democracy far more than
> democracy shapes political culture. Therefore, the American government
> may need to compromise its democratic ideals with a healthy dose of
> pragmatism. Democracy is an evolutionary development rather than an
> overnight phenomenon.

http://cato.org/research/articles/preble-040319.html

> First, our military presence weakens liberal democratic forces in
> Iraq. It may be unfair to characterize the new government in Iraq as a
> U.S. puppet, but such sentiments are widespread. It will be more
> difficult to prove the government's legitimacy if it is seen as
> dependent upon U.S. forces for its survival.
> ...
> By withdrawing from Iraq, the United States would be broadcasting to
> the world, in particular Arab and Muslim populations, that America has
> no plans to seize control of Middle East oil or to suppress the
> peaceful aspirations of the region's population. Withdrawal would
> undermine the credibility of anti-American propaganda that
> characterizes the occupation as a vehicle for U.S. dominance in the
> region. In other words, the United States should leave Iraq precisely
> because it is what the Iraqis want and what the terrorists fear.


http://cato.org/research/articles/hoskins-030812.html

> The Bush administration is on the brink of snatching defeat from
> victory in Iraq. If the White House loses the peace, it will be for
> reasons wholly unrelated to the current political fracas over the
> reasons for America's invasion. The administration appears committed
> to maintaining a Leninist-style economic model for the Iraqi
> economy. Such a course will ensure the failure of Bush's Iraq policy.

> Along with North Korea, Iraq was one of the last Soviet-style
> economies left in the world. The Baathist government controlled the
> "commanding heights" of Iraq's economy. The oil sector produced more
> than 60 percent of the country's GDP and 95 percent of its hard
> currency earnings. Only small-scale industry and agriculture were left
> to private entrepreneurship.

> Dealing effectively with Iraq's vast oil reserves is the central
> challenge for post-Saddam Hussein reconstruction. The nation's oil
> reserves are second only to Saudi Arabia's. Saddam so mismanaged the
> economy, however, that the vast oil reserves did not translate into a
> decent way of life for the Iraqi people. Creating private-property
> rights that cover natural resources is the key to unlocking the wealth
> otherwise hidden in such resources.
> ...
> Bush administration officials are reportedly unwilling even to discuss
> privatizing Iraq's oil. If the White House does not establish
> private-property rights in Iraq, especially for its principal
> resource, then the United States will have fought a war to maintain a
> Soviet economy in the Middle East. Before long, one dictator will be
> replaced with another. The lives lost and money spent will have been
> for naught.
> ...

> The absence of private-property rights in natural resources drives
> civil wars. This is true whether the resources are oil or diamonds,
> and whether the locus is Angola and Nigeria, or Liberia and Sierra
> Leone.

> Maintaining state ownership over the oil industry in Iraq will ensure
> a struggle among competing ethnic groups. Winning at the ballot box
> will bring the victor control over oil. Elections literally become
> life-and-death struggles. Losers cannot afford to accept the
> outcome. Again, that scenario has played out in Africa and the Middle
> East, regions that account for 70 percent of all major conflicts in
> the world.

> State-ownership of natural resources, along with sharp ethnic
> differences, is a recipe for political instability and sub-par
> economic growth. The only stable political outcome is a dictatorship
> powerful enough to impose order and divide the spoils. That is
> precisely what happened in Iraq, and helps explain the longevity of
> Saddam's rule.

http://cato.org/research/articles/basham-030429.html

> To ensure that Iraq doesn't become another Bosnia or Lebanon, the
> introduction of a representative government must allow for the
> complex, heterogeneous nature of Iraqi society. There exist
> centuries-old religious and ethnic hatreds, as well as intense,
> frequently violent, tribal, and clan rivalries.

> More than 75 percent of Iraq's 24 million people belong to one of 150
> tribes whose decision-making is dominated by tribal
> elders. Historically, no Iraqi government, including Saddam Hussein's,
> has survived without significant tribal support.

> ...

> A further obstacle to implementing representative government is the
> extensive political maneuvering among the opposition groups. Each
> group wants to benefit from the end of the Saddam era, preferably at
> the expense of its rival(s). Yassir Muhammad Ali, who leads a
> million-strong tribe, asserts, "We need guarantees that our tribe will
> be looked after in the new regime."

> Disconcertingly, the two dominant Kurdish parties fought a bloody
> four-year civil war during the 1990s. While recent rhetoric is more
> political than militaristic, Zaid Sorchi, a leading Kurdish tribal
> leader, proudly asserts, "We ... believe in tribes. Tribes are the way
> forward, not political parties."


http://cato.org/dailys/04-14-03-2.html

> Sadly, given the United States' history in the region, those who doubt
> the Bush administration will allow Iraqis to choose their own
> government have grounds for skepticism. In neighboring Iran, the CIA
> orchestrated the overthrow of nationalist leader Muhammad Mosaddeq in
> 1953, and then supported the autocratic Shah. The anger and resentment
> felt toward the United States for its support of the Shah's secular
> regime ultimately exploded in the Islamic revolution of early 1979
> that brought the Ayatollah Khomeini and his followers to power.

> In more recent history, and in other parts of the world, the United
> States has similarly pledged to support democratically elected
> governments, but has then exercised its power to void the results if
> the representatives chosen by the people were deemed incompatible with
> Washington's interests. In Bosnia, where one poll found that 85
> percent of voters were unlikely to vote for a candidate from another
> ethnic group, America's top nation-builder in the country, Jacques
> Klein, explained that he intended to create a multi-ethnic state
> "whether the people like it or not." Officials tasked with rebuilding
> the country removed elected officials from office, and then
> manipulated elections by disqualifying certain individuals, and by
> spending millions in support of preferred candidates.

> ...

> But what if Shi'a Muslims, who comprise over 60 percent of the total
> population of Iraq, elect a leader with ties to Iran - a democracy,
> but one in which religious mullahs dominate political life, suppress
> dissent, are building nuclear weapons, and fund terrorism? What if
> ethnic Kurds, emboldened by their relative autonomy from the last 12
> years, choose leaders committed to full-fledged statehood, independent
> of Iraq? What if a host of candidates split the votes of Shiites and
> Kurds, while minority Sunni Muslims unite behind a former Baath Party
> official?

http://cato.org/dailys/03-31-03.html

> Political scientist Ronald Inglehart, an expert on political culture
> and democratic values, studied the responses to the "World Values
> Survey," which provides data from more than 70 countries, including 10
> Islamic nations, ranging from dictatorships to Western
> democracies. Inglehart analyzed the empirical linkages between the
> survey responses within each society and a society's level of
> democracy, as measured by the Freedom House political rights and civil
> liberties index. As a result, he concludes that "the prospects for
> democracy in Islamic countries seem particularly poor." ...

> But like so many of its poor brethren, Iraq will not be a stable
> democratic nation until it is much wealthier than at present.

> However, President Bush's plan for the democratization of Iraq is
> premised upon the adoption of a constitution that will be successfully
> implemented in the short-term by groups of Iraqi elites bargaining
> among one another. Bush is placing a large wager that the formation of
> democratic institutions in Iraq can stimulate a democratic political
> culture. If he's correct, it will constitute a democratic first.

> On the contrary, the available evidence strongly suggests that the
> causal relationship works the other way round. During the 1990s, two
> leading political scientists studied 131 countries and concluded that
> economic development causes higher levels of democratic values in the
> political culture that, in turn, produce higher, more stable levels of
> democracy. In sum, a political culture shapes democracy far more than
> democracy shapes the political culture.

> Therefore, the Iraqi democratic reconstruction project will be a good
> deal harder than White House theorists expect. In practice, the
> realization of Iraq's democratic potential will depend more on the
> introduction of a free market economic system and its long-term
> positive influence on Iraqi political culture than on a United
> Nations-approved election.

Posted by: Bryan on November 1, 2004 08:40 PM

Best Poll for undecided voters;

Since 1956, Weekly Reader students in grades 1-12 have correctly picked the president


http://www.weeklyreader.com/election_vote.asp

Weekly Reader kids select Bush in Presidential Poll

The students who read Weekly Reader�s magazines have made their preference for President known: they want to send President Bush back to the White House.

The results of this year�s Weekly Reader poll have just been announced, and the winner is President Bush. Hundreds of thousands of students participated, giving the Republican President more than 60% of the votes cast and making him a decisive choice over Democratic Senator John Kerry.

Since 1956, Weekly Reader students in grades 1-12 have correctly picked the president, making the Weekly Reader poll one of the most accurate predictors of presidential outcomes in history.

Posted by: The Big Picture on November 1, 2004 08:54 PM

Thanks for proving to anyone reading here what an absolute pinhead you are, OhMike. Try having YOUR mommie read you my posts since you are obviously mentally incapable of doing so yourself. No where did I call for Jane's intervention here or say that you should be stopped from posting. Are there really "commies" around? Yes. Are they idiots? Yes. They are just as delusional as Libertarians, each representing an extreme viewpoint. Both viewpoints are based on delusions, one saying that absolute control is best, the other saying that no controls work best. Is Hillary Clinton a communist? Remember what I said about proving you're an idiot? Comments like that are among the things that make me despise the pathetic excuses for conservatives that post here and create blogs of no thought and reason. In addition anyone foolish enough to actually be incapable of looking at more than one issue when deciding who to vote for isn't capable of forumlating an opinion worthy of respect.

Posted by: Jim S on November 1, 2004 10:16 PM

BTW, Jane, I never had any doubt at all that your endorsement would go to Bush no matter what he did. Or didn't do for that matter.

Posted by: Jim S on November 1, 2004 11:45 PM

I disagree wholeheartedly, but respect your right. (It's the closest I've heard to a rational argument for Bush.)

From what I've seen and heard, I can't trust the man. or cheney. I trust the track record of the fifth estate more. that cheney wouldn't even vote for martin luther king day was my first red flag. there have been so many lies to discredit Kerry (and so many of them so blantantly obvious) I have to question how much misinformation is out there.

See this link with links to these two award winning documentaries, and think again. if there is still time. All american's should see these. (more credible sources than michael moore.) it's late, I'm tired and i have a baby to get back to, so i'm not sure how clear this comment is at this point, but the choices couldn't be more clear. You are a smart lady. Dig a little deeper. the truth is there. Consider the following:

The Better Candidate, by my better half
http://www.douglasjohnston.net/weblog/index.php/archives/2004/10/31/guest-post/

free medical care for the working poor scares you?

Posted by: open_heart on November 2, 2004 12:09 AM

Osama bin Laden lives. He has threatened terrorist attacks on any Red State. Will you make peace with this killer? Your vote makes this decision.

Half of this nation supports our President. Yet, half wish "For Peace in our time." A noble ambition but it did not work for Neville Chamberlain it will not work today. Peace is earned with sacrifice. You cannot negotiate with Osama bin Laden. He must die or be captured.

Give in to Osama bin Laden and some day he may tell you when to rise each day, when to pray, and what you will think. Have the terrorists� insurgents that kill our soldiers in Iraq threatened our nation on our soil? No, they do not have the men, the material, the strategy, or the funding.

Osama bin Laden evaded our military not because of out sourcing but because he is a superior opponent with the funding and resources to evade the most sophisticated technological fighting force in history. Hitler and Saddam Hussein abused drugs and alcohol. Both were megalomaniacs with psychotic delusions. It took five years to defeat Hitler and over a year to find Saddam. Osama bin Laden does not have these vices and he is not insane. He is just a killer.

This is a World War. It is not Vietnam. We must finish the liberation and restoration of Iraq. Our Military Forces want President Bush to see this through to the end. This is their choice. Will you deny them? Those that have given their life deserve this hard fought peace. And yet what is your reply? Are you on the front line? Your vote must reflect our nations support of winning this War. We cannot and must not change our Commander in Chief.

We should respect the wishes of those that are on the front line. Do the right thing finish and this War. Let those who are fighting and dying have their say. Your vote is your voice.

Posted by: Volunteer State on November 2, 2004 12:10 AM

The amount of information can be overwhelming, but I�ve picked a few things to think about.

The New York Observer today endorsed John Kerry, in an editorial with one of the better summaries of why Americans should vote for John Kerry on November 2:

�John Kerry understands that disorder is dangerous in this world, that intelligence and rationality are the right partners to passion, resolve and principle. As he showed in his three focused and well-prepared debate performances with President Bush, he is a man of intensity and rationality, whose 30 years in public life have prepared him to restore America�s fundamental understanding of what it takes to be the �last, best hope on earth.� A soldier of freedom, an American idealist, a public man with a tested private soul, he seems to understand that leadership in a democracy entails eliciting the better angels of our nature, and that greatness begins with goodness and surmounts in strength.�

http://blog.johnkerry.com/blog/archives/003742.html#003742

Salon�s Eric Boehlert noted recently that Kerry�s endorsement lead is the exception rather than the norm for Democratic candidates:

�As the mountain of newspaper endorsements pile up in favor of Sen. John Kerry, including dozens from dailies that backed Bush in 2000, the Bush/Cheney campaign is dismissing the trend as no big deal. �Look, the Republican candidate will never win the contest for editorial board endorsements. The major dailies across the country tend to skew liberal,� RNC chairman Ed Gillespie told CNN last week. That spin comes straight out of the GOP handbook that insists the mainstream press tilts to the left, so of course newspapers love Democrats come Election Day.

�Only problem is, it�s not accurate. In fact, the complete opposite is true. Since 1940 when industry trade magazine Editor & Publisher began tracking newspapers during presidential elections, only two Democratic candidates � Lyndon Johnson in 1964 and Bill Clinton in 1992 � have ever won more endorsements than their Republican opponent.�

I encourage you to visit the John Kerry website and blog to read reasons for these endorsements from Republicans and Democrats alike: www.johnkerry.com.

The Daily Show on the missing explosives: Bush, Cheney and Guiliani blaming the troops! What would we do without the jester to tell the truth in the puppet-king�s court?
http://www.crooksandliars.com/2004/10/29.html#a593

A must-see site: www.internetvetsfortruth.org. Its goal is �to present you with these clips to help you make an informed choice next Tuesday. We hope you enjoy, and draw your own conclusions. Please help spread the word. Tell a friend, a relative, a co-worker, or Ohio.�

From AriannaOnline:
http://www.ariannaonline.com/columns/column.php?id=740

Faith Abuse: When God Becomes A Campaign Ploy October 27, 2004 This is my last column before Election Day. With less than a week to go, I plan on doing everything in my power to defeat George W. Bush (need a ride to the polls?). Then I�m going to get down on my knees and pray to a higher power. Link

From the John Kerry blog (http://blog.johnkerry.com/blog/archives/003622.html#003622):

�An Insult to All Self-Respecting Wolves

Wolves are fairly intelligent animals, but even the smartest wolf can make a mistake.

On a new website, Wolfpacks for Truth http://www.wolfpacksfortruth.org/, the leader of the pack of wolves in George Bush�s recent commercial wails:

�We were tricked by George Bush.�

According to their spokeswolf, �They told us we were shooting a Greenpeace commercial! When the camera crew showed up, we wondered why they were all driving Hummers. Our agent assured us it was a Greenpeace commercial and they paid TWICE our hourly steak rate. Little did we know we were being tricked into this vicious campaign attack ad.�

Very funny, but also lots of important links with important information for all those that care about both the truth and the environment.

Bush is anything but a �good steward of the land": http://www.brainyencyclopedia.com/encyclopedia/g/ge/george_w__bush.html#Environment

Q: what is the difference between the war in Iraq and the war in Vietnam?

A: President Bush knew how to get out of the Vietnam War.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi civilian death count increases with each passing day:

New study puts civilian deaths in Iraq at 100,000 An estimated 100,000 civilians have died in Iraq as a direct or indirect consequence of last year�s US-led invasion, according to a new study by a research team at the Bloom-berg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/world/archives/2004/10/30/2003208976

See Pro-life? Look at the fruits by Dr. Glen Harold Stassen for his take on why Pro-Life and pro-choice should both vote for Kerry on November 2.http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=sojomail.display%20&issue=041013#5

I suggest you watch a Frontline documentary called �The Choice 2004″ from PBS, which I consider to be incredibly insightful, balanced, and well-made. It can be viewed online.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/choice2004/

Canada�s premier investigative documentary and news program The Fifth Estate has produced a must-see documentary and companion website called The Unauthorized Biography of Dick Cheney.http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/dickcheney/index.html (Torrent) http://www2.digitaldistractions.org:8080/info.php?infohash=05686e6d73ac0fa26dbf9fd2774e7e2fd4789d3f (In addition to its impact among viewers and on society, the Fifth Estate is also recognized by its peers. It has won a remarkable 227 awards, including an Oscar for best documentary, three international Emmy Awards, 28 Geminis, 20 awards and certificates for investigative reporting from the Canadian Association of Journalists and dozens of honours from The New York and Columbus International film and video festivals. The show�s credentials are almost beyond reproach.)

CBC has also aired the Canada-France co-production �The World According to Bush� (direct download and high-quality torrent)
http://thunderbay.indymedia.org/news/2004/10/15944.php,
http://www2.digitaldistractions.org:8080/info.php?infohash=1496b9df518a4f4121d33f0bb24669bd40167c75

�a two-hour documentary about the inner workings of the Bush administration that will alarm even the most hardened Washington-watchers. Both fans and critics of the acclaimed Fahrenheit 9/11 will want to see this investigation of the U.S. administration.� Some choice quotes:

* �This administration has chosen to use the propaganda tools of Hitler, Goering, and Goebbels� � Robert Steele, CIA Covert Operations
* �It is starting to look like a third world republic � a banana republic that is.� � Robert Baer, CIA Covert operations
* �No administration ever allowed herself a single tenth of what has occurred under George W. Bush. None.� - Los Angeles Times.
* �This administration is behaving like pigs at a trough.� - Joseph Trento, historian.

Hitler�s Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels said, �The bigger the lie, the more it will be believed.� He also wrote, �The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly� it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.�

Does this sound familiar? All you have to do was listen to the way Bush reacted to Kerry in debates. In the face of reason, Bush kept repeating the same simplistic catch phrases which made no sense if you were listening with two ears and a brain.

Perhaps what Goebbels said it more true than ever in an age when quick sound-bites are caught, taken out of context, and served up to the public with their TV dinner. Trying to make sense of what I was seeing, I�m half ashamed to admit that I had the very same thoughts as Norman Mailer in the opening of �The World According to Bush". It is shameful to see how this administration has cloaked itself under the name of faith, and in the guise of a government-induced �terror� used the Americans� goodwill and true faith against themselves. But God is God, not Bush, not Cheney. To question people in power is not anti-patriotic, especially while the stink of hypocrisy grows stronger.

There is hope. With your vote, with your decision, you hold the fate of the world in your hands. Use it wisely.

(If you are an American living overseas and want more information about absentee voting (you can now use fax), see the site for Americans Overseas for Kerry.)http://www.aokerry.com/

Posted by: open_heart on November 2, 2004 12:34 AM

btw. global test... refered to a global test of "truth". if bush (and i shudder at the thought) wins, he will likely be impeached. there will be a revolt within his own party.

unless he could possibly learn a few lessons from people's rage during this election... i can't see things getting any better.

the only thing this war has done is to kill to date over a thousand of Americans, others from around the world, and 100,000 civilians. CIVILIANS. Please don't try to liberate Canada.

I write this because i care. because I don't like to see people lied to and manipulated. because we receive different news. we see what you do, and much of what you do. because the american people deserve better, and bush is a danger to his own people.

you'd think it would be simple math. he has failed in every respect. Kerry at least deserves a shot. I believe that he is a wise man with a good heart...

and he does care.

he is no moron.

i was not a fan of the taliban, but there had to have been a better way. Bush acts like he enjoys war. He relishes what he sees as a mission.. but understand nothing about the parts of the world he talks about "liberating." He wants to be able to drop bombs at will without accountability on other sovereign nations.. but yet refuses to take what other nations think or feel or have to say into account. it is the height of arrogance and stupidity.

and the stupidity is the most frightening thing of all.

Posted by: open_heart. on November 2, 2004 12:50 AM

re: democracy in Iraq, as Cato notes, the issue
may be that we make things *worse* for
them by staying.

I hadn't checked out
what they propose as a structure and guess
they likely tried to just impose a typical
western model on it. I'm wondering if there is any consideration to
acknowedging their tribal structure with proportional representation in legislative bodies (if it would get too large to fit in the smaller tribe, perhaps sub-body(s) with some minor tribes that then chose a representative to the main body).

When you think about democracy over there remember
that tribal structure and way of thinking is
rather different from the way we usually think
since there are sharper divisions and animosities
between these groups than subgroups within
our culture and they are used to the idea of
authoritarian dominance rather than tolerant
cooperation. This seems ripe for major fears of
tyranny of the majority (picture any pro-slave
or pro-discrimination laws in this countries
past) given their different mindset and
given the value of the state "pot" re:
oil resources, etc. (and of course even if
their are protections in the constitution
obviously they may appoint judges that
ignore the constitution. If it can happen
at times in this country....).
Given those mindsets it
seems rather predictable, as Cato noted,
for the sort of violence thats occuring over
there. The rivalries weren't created by the
US but simply surfacing more now that there
isn't a dictator to control them. Aside from
the issues Cato noted re: resentment of the
US building it does seem we need to be very
careful to be aware of the cultural difference
when setting up the structures over there and
need to let them take over as quickly as possible
to make sure the US doesn't make more mistakes
based on cultural differences.

Especially since there is anti-US propoganda
that will be pushed there. It doesn't
matter if bin Laden's casualty estimates are
bogus or any ideas come from lying scumbag Michael Moore's work since there is even less chance
of debunking the claims over there than here
(given that even here polls have shown people
being clueless about say Bush increasing govt.,
no WMD being found, etc. despite our variety of
media).

btw, re: democracies, I'd suggest looking
at the Cato stuff, as noted even some countries
with democracies can tend to go authoritarian,
like some in Latin America, where for instance
polls in The Economist noted a desire for democracy but at the same time noted much of
the countries people being willing to give in
to authoritarian approaches if they could solve problems. Russia is a much better candidate
for maintaining democracy than Iraq
and you'll note Putins progress
on the road back to authoritarianism. So even once a democracy is put in place there, it can backslide depending on what happens with it, perhaps quickly in a place like Iraq.

http://www.samizdata.net/blog/archives/006542.html

> In an odd twist to the old folks tale that 'money won't make you
> happy', it is pretty clear that oil wealth is not particularly useful
> in solving the problems of a nation.

> Nancy Birdsall and Arvind Subramanian did notice it however and wrote
> a 5,000 word essay on the subject, with Iraq in mind, for Foreign
> Affairs magazine (preview here) What they noted was that oil wealth
> tends to corrupt the state, and since it has an easy stream of revenue
> at its disposal, it does not have to work so hard at gouging its
> citizens. So it also has no incentive to promote property rights as a
> way of creating wealth. And those that control the state, control the
> wealth.

> Therefore, you get the distressing sight of the President of Chad
> spending the first instalment of his country's oil wealth on a new
> Presidential jet for example. More recently, in Russia we see
> President Putin using state power to attack the oil-enriched
> oligarchs. And Nigeria seems to have been actively impoverished by its
> oil wealth, as the 'Pirates in Power' have skimmed $100 billion over
> the years. Oil wealth is not particularly healthy for democracies,
> http://economist.com/agenda/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3102178
> either.
> ...
> (Journal of Political Economy), by Jack Hirschliefer, discusses the
> effects of resource concentration and defenseability on social
> structure. I suppose that when social structures evolve in an
> environment amenable to small freeholders, the sudden advent of a
> concentrated revenue stream will take some time to produce a steep
> social hierarchy (e.g. USA, Norway). Where concentrated wealth occurs
> in a country without distributed political power (e.g., Bolivia, Saudi
> Arabia), its corrupting effects manifest immediately. What this
> implies about the chances for Iraq democracy deserves serious
> consideration.

Posted by: Bryan on November 2, 2004 01:23 AM

oops, random minor unimportant correction,
when groggy I confused remembered the date of
Goldwater stuff wrong, actually I guess
I was in a crib when Goldwater lost the election
in 64. (the point was noting that I have had hawkish
influences, in fact grew up around them, so not
to assume anyone questoning Iraq is just having
a common modern liberal emotional squeamishness about anything involving the military which in
many has even been indoctrinated from birth.
Opposition can be based on reason and being
open to rational argument either direction).


Posted by: Bryan on November 2, 2004 03:34 PM

Coda

Electoral Vote:
286/252

Popular Vote:
51%/48%/1%

George W. Bush, President, 2001-2009

Posted by: Hondo on November 3, 2004 07:43 PM

Comments are Closed.