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Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea- Bush or Kerry?

 
 
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2004 06:56 am
Well folks, I am in a major league quandry. The November elections will be coming before we know it, and I don't have a clue as for whom I am voting.

It seems like this- IMO, the most important issue is national security. I think that Bush has a good handle on that. I am totally against many of his social policies, where I believe he is overstepping his authority, and his tendency to spend like a drunken sailor.

I don't have much respect for Kerry. From what I have read, he has waffled so much on issues, that it is difficult to figure out where he stands on what. I am concerned that he lacks the strength and singleness of purpose, that will guide the country safely through this age of terrorism.

What I would like from all of you, are arguments that would tilt me one way or the other. I am not looking for long "copy and pastes". (Hint- I seldom read them..........they turn me off) I am not looking for diatribes, just reasoned, considered evaluations that would help me to make up my mind.

The issues that concern me the most are national security, the economy,
and social policies such as abortion and stem cell research.

OK- Anybody out there want to convince me?

P.S. Bashing and nastiness turn me off.
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Jim
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2004 07:07 am
Phoenix - we share a lot of the same concerns. I also agree that national security must be one of the most important issues. While few people believe that Mr. Bush has done an A+ job in this respect, I'd at least give him a C+. The only Democratic contender who I felt understood and appreciated the issue was Senator Joseph Liebermann, and unfortunately his candidacy went nowhere.

I am also unhappy with Mr. Bush's spending spree. The only difference I can see between Bush and Kerry on the issue is that Kerry will raise taxes to pay for part of it, while Bush will continue to borrow money to pay for it. We all lose either way.

As for social issues, as long as the courts remain independent and unstacked, there isn't too much damage any administration would be able to do. The courts survived eight years of Reagan, and survived eight years of Clinton. If need be, I suspect they would also survive eight years of Bush.

I guess what it all boils down to is: Pick your poison.
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SealPoet
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2004 07:19 am
National Security requires more than weaponry and intelligence. It requires a more worldly view than I've seen from Mr. Bush.

I'm not incredibly pleased about Kerry... but the lesser of two evils.
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gustavratzenhofer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2004 07:31 am
The fear mongers have made the issue of national security much worse than it actually is.

There is no way in hell I would vote for Bush. We don't need a corporate president.

I'm with SealPoet on this one, not a big fan of Kerry, but I'd rather see him in office than Bush.

Hell, I'd rather see Slappy in office than Bush.
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au1929
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2004 08:05 am
Check the record. Bush has or had only one thing going for him and that is his response to the 9/11 attack. And he continues to play it like a fine fiddle. Other than that his administration has failed from my view in every other aspect of government.
I disagree with his:
Economic policies, tax give away to the wealthy and corporate America, all aspects of his religious agenda, preemptive attack on Iraq, environmental policies, social programs including e.g. Medicare and Social Security and last but not least penchant for twisting the truth. In fact aside from his reaction to the 9/11 bombings I see no value in his administration.
Bush is known and in my opinion rotten fruit that must be discarded.
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2004 08:52 am
Re: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea- Bush or Kerry?
(Full disclosure: I'm a (small-L) libertarian, so in terms of America's two-party system, the center of gravity of my political convictions is probably closest to moderate Republicanism. I am longing for the days of Richard Nixon, when Republican presidents still had a modicum of integrity that made them electable for people like me. Unfortunately these days are over. But personal attacks on George Bush won't convince anyone, so I'll leave it there.)

I am not enthusiastic about Kerry, but if I was an American, I would vote for him simply because he doesn't have a record of really big screw-ups. National defense: After September 11, George Bush pushed through a big round of defense spending on the pretense of fighting the war on terror. But the lion's share of the spending went into bombers, fighter jets, aircraft carriers, and other conventional machinery. This would have been well-invested money if the threat had come from a different country -- say, India or China -- but it was utterly pointless for fighting against suicide terrorists and their box cutters. That was the first major screw-up on defense.

Second major screw-up: Taking resources out of the occupation of Afghanistan, which had helped attack the US, to mobilize resources for the war on Iraq, which hadn't. Thanks to this, Afghanistan minus Kabul is now under the control of corrupt war lords and their friends the opium growers, while the Taliban and Al Quaeda are making a comeback -- there, AND in Iraq.

The economy: In 2001, America went through a recession that would have happened no matter who won the 2000 election. Fighting recessions is an easy economic problem with a textbook solution. This textbook solution asks for the Fed to lower interest rates as far as possible, which it has done. It also asks for short term (1-2 years) spending increases (if you're a liberal government), or short term tax cuts for people who are likely to spend them (if you're a conservative government).

We don't know that the Bush administration went through the textbook, then did the opposite, but it might as well have done that. The tax cuts were long term -- most of them phase in when the economy will be out of the recession, and when the tax cuts will simply be offset by Fed policy. And they are heavily focused on the upper rungs of the income distribution, where people are more likely to save their tax cuts than to pend them. The punditocracy treats America's recent economic history as surprising (GDP growth high, employment declining, wages frozen). But in fact, it is exactly what you would expect if the economics textbooks are right, and the administration pushed through the opposite of the economic policy that would have made sense.

On to social issues, which are basically value judgments so I'll spare you the arguing. Abortion, reproductive rights abroad: A big show of conservatism to feed the base, and to polarize the country. Never mind that American prudishness will kill thousands of women in third world countries. Stem cell research: A reasonable compromise for all I can tell, but I can't tell it very well. (My fault.) Patriot act, Guantanamo Bay, infinite detention even for US citizens (Padilla) -- borderline Orwellian; this last point by itself is reason enough to kick this president out of office.

Again, I'm not enthusiastic about Kerry, but at least he doesn't have a consistent record of screwing up. By the low standards set by this president, that's progress.

[edited to correct some really embarrassing typos and mindos]
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Heywood
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2004 09:04 am
I'm not terribly impressed with Kerry, but I am INCREDIBLY dissapointed in Bush.

I noticed you mentioned Kerry's "Waffling". If thats something that concerns you, then Bush is in no way the person to vote for. He's said one thing than done another so many times, its almost hard to keep up.
Go here and scroll down a bit.
http://www.house.gov/appropriations_democrats/caughtonfilm.htm

As for security, I think Kerry will do a fine job. No one wants this country to go to pieces. Bush's actions, IMO have made us a bigger target than ever. The hatred of our country has never been so high, and its due to his "I'll do what I want, when I want, to who I want" antics.

A person could go on for pages about the whole WMD/Osama/Iraq debacle, but I'm sure you've heard enough about that as it is.

Bottom line: We need new leadership. Kerry is the most realistic bet for that so far, and I think we should give him a chance.
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2004 10:01 am
Phoenix: You live in Florida? Then it doesn't matter what candidate you vote for. The state Republican party will cast your vote for you.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2004 10:05 am
I'm in the "Anyone But Bush" camp, particularly because of the Republican rape of the environment.

Kerry has the support of environmentalists.

I'm also concerned about the Bush willingness to change and/or supress scientific fact. Bush refused to honor our treaty obligations. In the last week both the Pentagon and the Swiss Insurance Companies have expressed dismay over the costs of Global Warming, both financial and social.
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2004 10:09 am
I'm listening, I'm listening..................... Surprised
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Centroles
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2004 10:18 am
one quick point of clarification, it is expected that the next president will appoint 3 to 4 supreme court justices during their administration.

This is easily more than enough to tilt the already conservative supreme court so far to the right that abortion, stem cell research, gay rights and just about every other step forward taken in the past two decades will be thrown out the window.

There is absolutely no basis for thinking Kerry would do a bad job with national security. The man has been in the senate for 16 years. He knows how our foreign policy works. Besides, the influence that the pentagon has on national policy often goes under appreciated. It's usually the pentagon that shapes and comes up with most of our policy. The president merley oversees it and approves it.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2004 10:29 am
Oh boy, a chance to sway a voter...

All of the major points I wanted to make have been made already, though. (Thomas' were especially well-informed.)

Heywood's point about waffling is a really good one, though. Bush has been quite overt about saying one thing and then doing another. I have harped on "No Child Left Behind" a few times, and how it was passed with promises of funding that never materialized. As a general concept, he said things during the election and early administration about "fiscal responsibility" that he has utterly stomped on with his actions.
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2004 10:49 am
Re: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea- Bush or Kerry?
Thomas wrote:
I am longing for the days of Richard Nixon, when Republican presidents still had a modicum of integrity that made them electable for people like me.


Shocked Nixon and integrity in the same sentence?
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2004 10:54 am
Admittedly, I have liberal views and read liberal publications which reinforce those views.

Do you remember the furor about the Move On amateur ad that was rejected for the Super Bowl?

Move On is devoted to getting rid of Bush, but as yet has not endorsed any of the Democratic presidential contenders. After the Super Bowl, Move On raised several million dollars for less prestigeous air time.

The ad showed small children in sweatshop jobs "paying" for the deficit that the Bush administration has created through massive tax cuts.

Last week the Republican National Committee contacted every television station in the country and informed them that Move On ads were financed with illegally raised money and that any television station running this ad or any other Move On ad was risking legal action.

Unethical campaigning results in an unethical government.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2004 10:58 am
There's the whole FCC business -- my immediate outrage is that captioning funding has been slashed. But generally, the mergers, the pressure ("The Reagans" et al), lots of scary stuff.
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Acquiunk
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2004 10:59 am
I have to swallow hard with Kerry, but I'm in the ABB camp.
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Diane
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2004 11:20 am
Kerry's waffling is constantly mentioned, but has anyone taken the trouble to look back at his twenty year record? Congress is noted for adding addenda to otherwise good bills; sometimes with little effect, but often with damaging results. What person with good conscience could agree to something that would dilute the effectivenesss of a bill that would go on to become law? The word 'nuance' has been used and should be more carfully considered.

Not only must Bush go--his entire administation must go. Never in my long life have I known an administration with such a single-minded agenda; planned by quietly powerful corporate executives and honed since the Reagan administration with no regard to public representation.

Kerry is not my first nor second choice, but I am a member of the "Anyone but Bush' crowd. The current administration has turned this government into something that I no longer recognize as the America in which I grew up. If we don't get it back, it might be lost forever.
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Umbagog
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2004 11:21 am
Bush says one thing and does another, and you don't call that waffling? how about lying? Or manipulating people away from his real agenda? Bush's lousy success record followed him into the White House, so do you want four more years of bungling? The world hates him, so don't expect any real national security. The National Guard are all in Iraq, so how secure are OUR borders? TRickle down isn't. Outsourcing sure as hell isn't creating jobs. Social engineering from a REPUBLICAN? Has the world gone mad? Suggesting we turn a Jim Crow law into a Constitutional amendment? Stonewalling and perpetuating secrecy....if that isn't a clue, I don't know what is. Applying business doctrines to warfare is the height of insanity as well.

Someone else said it, that Kerry hasn't screwed up yet, and therefore is an unknown. Bush is a known loser and liar, so why would you want more of that? Keep in mind, security in this world is still really nothing more than an illusion. We are not safer now than before 9/11. Playing conqueror and telling the world to bite it is not making us safer. Allowing quagmires to bubble up in the Middle East is making our security more debateable than ever. All that oil we were supposed to access isn't getting accessed, and already, gas prices are on the rise.

The real threat to our way of life is the trade imbalance and the Asian countries using their currency to manuipulate ours. They are waging an economic war with the US, and Bush is throwing the doors wide open for them. The real threat is our corporations seeking fantastic profits now and damn the consequences. The terrorists want freedom over in the Middle East, not here in the US. Bush is not setting up freedom in the Middle East. Hell, it is the last thing he wants. Bush is empire-building, not spreading democracy.

Kerry is no jewel, and has voted right alongside Bush's agenda recently, but his wife has international connections we need to rebuild. Kerry is just another hard-to-see democrat, like Clinton.

The difference between the two, however, is that Kerry does have more interest in his country than Bush does. Bush has corporate interests first and foremost, and of the two, Bush is far more a robber baron than Kerry is.

I am no fan of Kerry, but at least Kerry will attempt to help out America instead of making himself and his cronies filthy rotten rich. At least Kerry actually put his life on the line to serve his country. And he was brave enough to denounce the Vietnam War like millions of other Americans were doing at the time, because it was a fallacious war, in the end.

The bottom line here is that Bush himself will be the one helping you to make your decision. The news flying around about him is much more bad than good right now. That isn't going to just go away. It will increase if anything, because the man really is incompetent, and should not be allowed to have so much power.

I guarantee you, Bush is already on the defensive in a big way, and any political bombs against him have been patiently waiting for the campaign to get started in earnest. We haven't seen anything yet.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2004 11:27 am
IMO Bush's biggest mistakes have been in national security. The Religious angle and social conservative angle are less of an issue for me.

My qualm with Bush is his national security policy. I can't envision an American president doing a worse job. His policy in this regard is bad enough that I'd be willing to forgive the social retardation (gay marriage, and other socially conservative acts) if he could come up with a decent foreign policy.

IMO, people simply associate his name with the events (9/11) and posturing to think he's the "National Security President". Which is not surprising, as this will be the center of his campaign.

Like Thomas, I like Nixon more. And also think he was a man of more integrity.
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2004 11:56 am
Phoenix, I am right with you on your opinions of Bush for nearly identical reasons. I am leaning towards Bush because despite the numerous predictions to the contrary; terrorism seems to have been reduced and rogue states do appear to be taking less hostile positions.
Wesley Clark may well have attracted my vote because I think he would have been respected by the enemies of the US. I respect Kerry's service record and his right to protest afterwards but fear the impression the latter will leave. I don't want rogues thinking there is a wimp in the Oval Office. Contrarily; I believe Bush frightens rogues like Kim and Kadaffi in part because of his proven record of quantifying his threats AND because he's perceived as a megalomaniac with little regard for world opinion. Only a fool wouldn't fear a man like that in such a powerful position.
I further think the damage he's doing domestically will be easier for his successors to clean up than the horrific possibilities that a perceived weakling in the Oval Office could result in. Give me a domestically friendly candidate that would keep the pressure on the rogues and he can have my vote. Until then; I'll have to stick with Bush.
(Pity Ross Perot got so old)
Noddy24 wrote:
Last week the Republican National Committee contacted every television station in the country and informed them that Move On ads were financed with illegally raised money and that any television station running this ad or any other Move On ad was risking legal action.
Yuck! Can you source that? (I'm hoping not)
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