Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Political Vitriol

Some people have suggested I've come down too hard on George Bush. I'll try to put my opposition in context. Here are reasons why I think this is the most dishonest President and campaign since Nixon.

1. Campaign Lies - A new Bush ad that intentionally takes a Kerry quote out of context is the best example of this. Here's the actual quote:

''You know, when your buildings are bombed and 3,000 people get killed, and airplanes are hijacked, and a nation is terrorized the way we were, and people continue to plot to do you injury, that's an act of war, and it's serious business."

Here's Bush-Cheney's TV ad (text):

Voice Over: First, Kerry said he wanted to protect America. . .
Now John Kerry says he wants "buildings. . . bombed," the "nation. . . terrorized" and he will "continue to plot to do you injury." John Kerry says terrorism is his "business."

This is not the exception. This has been going on for months (the commercial that equates Kerry to bin Laden, for example).

2. Misappropriation of Federal Funds for Reelection - Bush just commissioned the Department of Health and Human services to send out a fake "news report" to local TV stations extolling the virtues of No Child Left Behind. That's right - they hired actors, wrote a script, and produced it as if it was a real news story you would see at 6 pm. All paid for with your tax dollars immediately after Kerry nailed Bush on underfunding the program. The company that was contracted to make this video, according to the AP, earns extra money for mentioning how strong the GOP and George Bush are on education - ensuring that this tax payer funded video is little more than a campaign video.

3. Dirty Tricks -

A. After the 1st debate, the Bush team announced to the press that he was going to hold a press conference announcing "major new developments" on the war on terror. This prompted CNN to show the speech live in its entirety. Guess what? It was just a stump speech from Ohio. He got a free hour of media time by using his position as President to deceive the media.

B. Phone Jamming - A traditional "get out the vote" tactic employed by both sides every election year is making phone calls to prospective voters to implore them to go vote. In 2002, the GOP committed massive fraud by hiring a company to place hundreds of automated hang up calls - i.e. the phone rings, you pick it up, it hangs up - repeat. Thing is, they were caught and two people are going to jail. Did that deter Karl Rove and Bush-Cheney 04? Of course not, a motion was filed in New Hampshire last Friday to prevent the key player in 02 from using the same tactics in 04. He's the head of the New England GOP.

4. Personality - We have an arrogant, combative President that has repeatedly refused to acknowledge that he has made even one single mistake in 4 years. Not only is he surrounded by "yes" men, but he's so used to hearing only positive things about the catastrophe that is Iraq, that he visibly bristles when questioned about it. I, for one, don't want a president that can't admit mistakes.

5. Policy - Oh jeez, where to begin...

A. Iraq - I've rehashed this repeatedly over the last month, so I'll be brief. I believe that Iraq is turning into a Vietnam style quagmire. We have no real plan of how to solve this issue aside from training the Iraqis and then turning them loose. If Bush had anything to offer on this issue (i.e. we've made mistakes, but we've learned from that and we think we can fix this), he would have some credibility in my mind. But to continue with "everything's fine" smacks of incompetence or ignorance or both.

B. Foreign Policy in general - Let's see, in 2000 there were 8 nuclear states, now there are 10. Looks like he took one in the loss column there. At least Clinton kept North Korea and Iran at the table. Bush called them the "Axis of Evil", which put a damper on the whole diplomacy thing and pretty much guaranteed nuclear proliferation.

Not only that, Bush has turned his back on the Israel-Palestine issue as well. Clinton's presidency will be remembered for its extensive efforts in Northern Ireland (success) and Palestine (failure). The Bush presidency will be remembered for starting a war of preemption.

International agreements are also a problem. While the International Criminal Court and the Kyoto Treaty were not great treaties, pulling out of them did a disservice to US diplomacy. See, this administration can't see that there's a difference between not signing onto a treaty and pulling out all together. Pulling out altogether just pissed off our allies and made the US look even more like a rogue leader that can't be asked to make sacrifices.

C. Economics - A tax cut for the wealthiest Americans and $400 cash back in 02 didn't exactly stimulate the economy. The GOP still believes in trickle down economics, even though there are 12 years of evidence that it doesn't work. Maybe this is a philosophical thing for some people, but just look at this "recovery" for results. Bush is the first president in 72 years (i.e. since that whole Depression thing) to actually lose jobs over the course of his 4 years. (And no, you can't blame it on the internet bust - we've had time to recover.)

D. Environment - Bush is, without a doubt, the worst environmental president in the modern era. Even Tricky Dick saw it necessary to have an EPA and clean up the air. Not Mr. Bush. He gutted the enforcement budget, meaning that even if the EPA saw non-compliance, they couldn't do anything about it. Administrator Whitman, a republican, was so fed up with it that she quit 2 years ago. The list could go on, but the point is, he pays lip service to the environment because he's in bed with the polluters.

E. The Budget - Deficit spending is not always a bad thing, but this is ridiculous. The budget was effectively balanced in 00. It's now something like $4 trillion in debt. That's not sustainable and it represents a net drain on the economy. The GOP wants smaller government, and then they go make sure of that by spending so much that the size of our debt payments become a quarter of the annual budget. That's poor policy.

F. War on Terror - Bush has done little right here. The International Institute for Strategic Studies (based in London) estimates that the occupation of Iraq has helped Al Queda recruit 18,000 more members than they had previously. That's right. Whereas before it was a relatively small organization, it's become a giant one spread across 60 countries because of Iraq. Not only that, switching focus from Afghanistan to Iraq meant that we never got Osama.

At home, the problems are a little more acute. I get the feeling that Bush is not a detail guy. So when there's a problem, he throws money at it and doesn't think about it anymore. That's a problem when you think about the number of ports we have unprotected, as well as how vulnerable US infrastructure is to attack. The most likely venue for a terrorist to import a nuclear bomb is through those ports.

At any rate, that's the quick version. Add it up and I think we have an arrogant president with backwards policy who is surrounded by "yes" men who continually engage in seriously dirty tactics with the intent of deceiving the average voter. Sorry, I prefer the other guy.


Blogger steve said...

They didnt really run that ad, did they? That's ridiculous and borders on libel (at least to someone relatively uninformed on the law). It at least seems like libel, and they shouldnt be allowed to get away with that.

Id love to hear some rebuttal from the GOP members who read this (and Nixon lovers) but doubt any coherent comments will be forthcoming, as there is not much they can do but openly deny (which would be a lie) these charges.

GOP sucks!

12:24 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

The only idiotic thing I see is to pretend that lying during campaign commercials is a single party issue. Let's not be so stupid, of course when someone cant accept he doesnt belong where he is not liked nor wanted, it is not surprising when he says something so foolish, but the GOP has little to do with the problem. The problem is a Democratic party with little organization and policies not sturdy enough to evoke any confidence from the american public. Heidt, u said it best, "I'll take the other guy," which is an acceptance of the lesser of two evils (albeit an extreme interp of that as Kerry isn't like the pile of trash that was the 2000 candidate) rather than an endorsement for an insightful and inspring candidate with a platform that offers the public a belief in a better future.

3:22 AM  
Blogger steve said...

First off, on the personal note, pick from the following list (several answers can be selected, as all of them apply):

Grow up
Piss off

As for political points, Clinton, while a lying adulterer, was still a better president than any the GOP have offered for some time, and GWB is just a plain joke. While Kerry isnt anything to wonder at, he is MUCH better than giving this administration another 4 years to mess up this country some more.

Face it. While you could argue that both sides are in the pockets of the money-controllers, at least the Democrats preach for the middle/poor classes, while the GOP does little to hide their filling the coffers of the already wealthy. So yea, the GOP sucks!

GOP sucks!

12:08 PM  
Blogger steve said...

Oh, and instead of taking your cheap shots here, which isnt really the forum for it, there is always IM. Ill be there waiting if you want to bring it!

12:09 PM  

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