The Jaker

Mostly rational politics, with occasional rants about how a few crazy Republicans are ruining the country.

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Thursday, October 28, 2004
25 Reasons
Please forward at will.

10 Reasons Why You Should Not Vote For George Bush:

1. Even if you believe the war in Iraq is right, you should not support a President that is dishonest with America about the reason behind it. It has become clear that the Bush administration had conflicting evidence about Iraq's possession of WMD and possible connection to Al-Qaida. They systematically trumped up the affirmative evidence and suppressed the negative evidence, to both the American people and the UN, so they could embark on a pre-determined war to bring about regime change, something Bush said in 2000 he would never do. In a situation as serious as war, where thousands of U.S. soldiers and foreign civilians will be killed, it is NEVER right to lie or mislead the American people about the reasons. Bush is not a dictator, but he has governed like one; conducting the most secretive administration in memory. The American people should have the right to have an informed debate about the rationale for war. Instead, we were spoon-fed only one side of the argument and told we had to agree. That is a blatantly dishonest way to run the country, and treats Americans like they aren't smart enough to make the right decisions.

2. Bush is responsible for more debt and deficit than any president ever, Republican or Democrat. The GOP is the party of fiscal conservatism. But it is the DEMOCRATS who actually balanced budgets (Clinton), and the REPUBLICANS who create huge deficits (Bush), and grant tax cuts in a time of war. Wars are supposed to be a time of sacrifice. Bush doesn't understand that - he sends poor and minorities to war, while giving tax cuts to the rich. Also, people often don't realize what the debt means to them. When we're older, if the budget is operating with a surplus, instead of getting rebates, tax decreases, or more services to bring it back into balance, we would have to continue to pay in more than we get out in services in order to pay for the things Bush is doing today. It will definitely affect us in the future. It's totally irresponsible.

3. Bush actually lost the popular vote, but instead of governing from the center he has run the most idealistic right-wing administration in decades. It would have made sense, after an election in which most people actually voted for the other guy, for Bush to run a unifying presidency, enacting the best ideas of Republicans and Democrats and reflecting the middle-ground of American politics. Instead, he has gone to the right of even most Republicans, waging a neo-conservative war to change a regime and occupy a nation. This used to be called imperialism. In 2000 Bush promised not to deploy U.S. resources to do "nation-building". Indeed, if we were to depose the ruler of every nation that is not allowing its citizens freedom, we would have to go to war in approximately 50 countries. Bush also pushed through the largest tax cut in recent memory, even though most people did not support it. He is a right-wing extremist who does not reflect mainstream views.

4. Bush has caused Iraqi citizens suffering they did not deserve and did not ask for. During the month of Aug '04 alone 1,122 Iraqi civilians (not insurgents) were killed and 5,442 were wounded by U.S. troop actions. This is just one month, but we don't hear these numbers, because as Americans we aren't supposed to care about them. Clearly Saddam Hussein was a horrible dictator, but nothing even close to this level of tragedy happened under his rule. Thanks to George Bush, millions of Iraqi children will grow up thinking the U.S. is an indiscriminate murderer. What message do we send when we tell Iraqis that their lives are worth so much less than American lives? Why must America be so arrogant to think they have the right to change the government of any country it wishes? What if France in 1800 had decided to overthrow our frivolous democracy and install a monarchy, in the name of ensuring world peace. Within reason, outside of country invasions, we should allow people to determine their own fate.

5. Bush routinely mischaracterizes Kerry's plans, either on purpose or because he doesn't understand them. Take Kerry's healthcare plan, for instance. In the second debate, Bush said it would make healthcare "government run". That's just factually wrong. Kerry's plan is a direct descendant of corporate-aimed tax credits for health insurance offered by Senate republicans to counter the Hillary plan in 1994. It would simply incentivize more employers to offer choice of healthcare plans to more workers. It would also cover the poor who can't get insurance from an employer. But it would by no means force regular middle class Americans to change anything about their healtchare plan. Bush's inability to discuss policy has lowered the level of political discourse in this period to a level never seen before.

6. Bush has no desire to limit corporate incentives to outsource jobs. Outsourcing is a natural progression of a growing economy, and some amount of it is inevitable and healthy for a growing economy. But corporate loopholes currently allow companies to defer taxes on foreign operations, effectively resulting in a tax incentive for companies to move more of their operations out of the U.S. When asked in the third debate about what he would say to someone whose job had gone overseas, Bush said "I've got policies to continue to grow our economy and create the jobs of the 21st century. And here's some help for you to go get an education." Does he really expect skilled tradespeople, perhaps in their 50s and 60s who've been working in the same function for decades to go back to community college and learn technology or finance?

7. Bush is beholden to corporations, lobbyists and special interests. Almost every piece of major legislation passed under the Bush administration benefitted one of these categories. He claims to have passed a Prescription Drug benefit for seniors? He actually gave a huge win to the drug manufacturers when he made it illegal for Medicare to reimport cheaper drugs from Canada (the same exact drugs as those sold in the U.S. - so there's no safety issue), and negotiate bulk pricing discounts. Drug companies were ecstatic at the passage of this law. He also did nothing to renew the Assault Weapons Ban, which the majority of the country except for NRA members thinks is a solid law. Unfortunately, now that it has expired, AK-47s can once again be bought by any Joe Schmoe at a gun show. Bush also pulled out of the 100+ country Kyoto treaty to reduce pollution, failed to enforce the Clean Air Act, composed an "Energy Task Force" of oil company executives, and recently doled out $143bn of special interest tax cuts for the likes of Nascar and Home Depot. It's shocking.

8. Bush's tax cut went primarily to the very rich. If you believe that was right, then you probably haven't read this far. Despite Bush's rhetoric about every tax payer getting a tax cut, people must realize that Bush's tax cut made it so the top 1% of earners got 80% of the rebate. That's money that the government could have used to pay for No Child Left Behind (which is underfunded), Social Security (which is facing crisis), homeland security (which has been de-emphasized), or even the war (to avoid deficit). But instead Bush's philosophy is that it is more fair to give it back to the super-rich.

9. Bush has ignored the scientific community and set science policy based on faith. Bush has allowed his personal faith to color his decisions on scientific progress, and thus has alienated the scientific community. Hundreds of Nobel laureates have signed a statement repudiating the backward steps Bush has taken in science, and how politics incluences all of the administration's scientific decisions. Even NASA officials say they have never seen anything like the obstruction of this administration.

10. Bush is not smart or engaged enough to be President of the United States. George Bush has one consistent record all his life: failure. He failed as a college student, as a responsible national guardsman, as an oil executive, as a baseball owner, as governor, and now as President. He is a funny, down-to-earth, middle-America guy who simply was never up to the task of running the free world. He has no capacity for complex thought, for understanding and debating both sides of an issue, for grasping nuance. In a country of so many incredibly smart people, this is not the man we should trust with decisions that will affect us and our offspring for generations to come. We should appreciate Bush's bravery in doing the hardest job in the world for four years, but it's time to admit that he was just never prepared for it, and had to resort to leading blindly to accomodate for his lack of thorough understanding of issues. It's time for someone else.

10 Reasons Why You Should Vote For John Kerry:

1. Kerry will restore trust in American foreign policy, and reopen the discussion about how to fix Iraq. Foreign leaders, including the German defense minister, have given indication and in some cases explicitly stated that they would be eager to have a summit on Iraq and reopen the possibility of committing troops if the situation changes, including who is in the Oval Office. We really cannot discount the effect it will have on the goodwill around the world if Americans step up and reject Bush's arrogance. We will earn so much praise for doing what is right, and we will reopen a general worldwide discussion about what is the right path to securing and pacifying Iraq. Kerry is the ultimate statesman, and has the gravitas, not seen perhaps since FDR, to bring the world to the table.

2. Kerry will restore fiscal responsibility. The Cato Institute (a libertarian group) recently published a graph showing non-defense discretionary spending up 25% in the Bush Jr. administration, lower only than LBJ. On the contrary, Clinton's increase was 0.7%, Carter's 7.6%, Bush Sr. 25%, Nixon 23%. Democrats just run the budget better. Kerry has promised not to raise taxes, except on the top 1% to whom Bush gave the majority of the recent tax cut. He has said he is committed to ending spiraling deficits. Of course it's not easy to do, but politicians are generally held to the things they promise during campaigns, and if they don't deliver they have to own up to it 4 years later. Kerry will do everything in his power to reduce the deficit and debt, and has outlined plans to get the budget back in line.

3. Kerry will make the world look up to America again, if we choose to be represented by a smarter, more dignified, and more conscientious president - someone who demonstrates that opinions other than his own actually count for something, someone that we are proud to have represent us in the international arena. We KNOW George Bush does not make us proud to be Americans. We know what the rest of the world thinks about him. Imagine what they will think of us if we validate his arrogance with another 4 years. Of course Kerry's not a sure success, but it's a good bet that he'll do a better job, because it would be pretty damn hard to do a worse one. Give him a chance to be great.

4. Kerry has a smart plan to provide healthcare coverage for more Americans. It is a travesty that some people in this country do not have health insurance. We are one of the very few modern countries that doesn't cover all its citizens. Kerry's plan gives tax incentives to small businesses to cover more of their employees. For those that can't, Kerry offers a government-paid plan that enables them to choose a provider. Experts, economists and health professionals have all praised Kerry's plan. Bush has shown no desire whatsoever to address this problem.

5. Kerry understands that Homeland Security starts at home. Rather than invading countries and breeding a generation of people that grow up hating Americans, Kerry understands that protecting our own country happens mostly at our borders, in our cities, with our police departments, etc. No one protects their house from burglary by going to the police department, finding out who the burglars are, and trying to have them arrested. It's just impossible - you will find some, but there will always be more. Rather, to protect your house, you put good locks on the door and buy a burglar alarm. Kerry recognizes that we need to inspect crates, police the borders, safeguard chemical and nuclear plants, and make sure we are safe here first. And he will do that before spending billions of dollars on a pointless war.

6. Kerry has promised not to raise taxes on the middle class. He said it directly in the second debate. Give him a chance to prove it. Bush parades behind his tax cut, but disposable income has gone down in his administration because of increasing costs of healthcare, gasoline, education, and countless other daily necessities. Kerry has plans to decrease these costs, resulting in a real increase in income in the pocket of middle and lower class Americans.

7. Kerry will create jobs. Kerry has a very sensible plan, that multiple economists have praised, to reduce taxes on corporations by 5%, and close outsourcing loopholes, both of which will encourage corporations to add jobs in the U.S. This is extremely sensible. Rather than targeting tax cuts at rich individuals, that may or may not own small businesses, Kerry gives cuts to corporations that by definition employ large amounts of people and are forced to grow by shareholders, thus are incentivized to scale up operations by increasing jobs and output. It's typical of Republicans to justify tax cuts for their rich friends by saying they create jobs. Kerry actually deals with it directly.

8. Kerry will refocus America's energy plan away from oil companies and towards renewable, natural energy creation. Thanks to not being a former oil company exec (unlike the Pres and VP), Kerry recognizes that dependence on middle-east oil is an extreme vulnerability of America today. Kerry has a plan to pursue research in fuel efficiency and renewable energy, and will ensure that 20% of America's energy is provided by renewable sources by 2020. (See

9. Kerry has shown a commitment to women's issues. The Bush administration eliminated the Equal Pay Initiative, a program designed to expand enforcement of gender discrimination, tried to eliminate the Women's Bureau at the Dept of Labor, and has removed from government websites information about the pay disparity between women and men doing the same job (women earn 77%). Kerry is on record as saying he will push federal enforcement of equal pay and require disclosure of companies' pay practices. Kerry is also committed to increasing the minimum wage - 4.5 million women work for minimum wage today, which is at its lowest value as a percent of average wages since 1949.

10. Kerry's Supreme Court nominees will reflect mainstream American values. The next president will likely nominate between 1 and 4 new justices to the Supreme Court. Bush's record of nominations to the federal courts has shown his penchant for nominating evangelical far-right-leaning conservative justices, that believe the Constitution, like the Bible, must be taken literally and can never adapt to our changing times. Why do some Americans think 30 men 200 years ago could anticipate what society would be like today? Kerry will appoint more middle-of-the-road justices, committed to progress and not moving this country back in time by diminishing civil rights for homosexuals, women, minorities, etc.

5 Reasons to be hopeful on November 2nd:

1. Incumbents with poor job approval, poor direction of the country statistics, and <50%>. Bush can't run away from the fact that people are not happy about the current state of the country. When incumbents' approval ratings are low as Bush's are, it generally means the people are looking for a change and are simply trying to get comfortable with the challenger. Kerry's performance in the debates showed people that he has the gravitas to be the President.

2. The (other) Incumbent Rule. Multiple studies have proven that in the vast majority of elections, voters who are undecided in the week prior to the election break overwhelmingly for the challenger. That is why, historically, an incumbent who is below 50% in the 1-on-1 national polls always loses. Bush hasn't crested 50% in any polls. In a race the polls say is tied, the challenger is actually ahead.

3. The majority of new voters will be Democrats. The Democrats significantly beat Republicans at registering new voters, simply because the majority of the country is unhappy with the president's performance. Young people have registered in never-before-seen numbers, skew towards the Democratic Party, and surveys of some of the early-voter states (Florida, Texas) have shown a significant increase in voting by young people. That is great news.

4. The Democratic base is fired up. The level of dissatisfaction with the president has never been higher. Democrats recognize the importance of this decision, and will come out in record numbers. Just watch the turnout early on election day. It will be significantly up from 2000, and that will be your first sign of a Kerry victory.

5. Kerry has dominated the race for newspaper endorsements. As of 10/27, Kerry led Bush 149-126 in papers and 17.7m-11.6m in circulation. More importantly, 38 papers that backed Bush in 2000 have switched to Kerry, while just 6 have switched from Gore to Bush. Those switches are indicative of the rest of the country.

If you got this far, cheers to you. Here's to hoping we can wake up on November 3rd, proud of the step we've taken to make this country the pride of the world once again.

posted by CB @ 8:32 AM  
  • At 12:09 PM, Blogger Jessica said…

    I especially agree with your #10 reason against Bush. This is a guy who, like you said, is an arguable failure. He hopscotches everywhere, tries almost everything, but can't successfully follow through on anything because he either loses interest or discovers he’s not good at it, whether oil exec, baseball team owner, board director, governor, or president. For someone whose mantra is firmness and consistency, his dizzying resume shows otherwise. It reveals a man who can't decide what moves him, who blindly makes decisions without contemplating consequence, who stumbled into the presidency haphazardly propped up by family connections. Despite a Harvard MBA, he is unable to address economic issues in intelligent and concise terms and has failed to mitigate the extraordinary, growing deficit.

    What drives me crazy is that his supporters are drawn to him because he is a "simple" guy, a guy who emphasizes the importance of being "plainspoken." Are we, the American people, that dumb that we seek a leader who avoids big words and instead relies on careless rhetoric ("dead or alive", "axis of evil", "crusade") or mindless repetition when asked to defend his positions ("this is hard work")? A president whose speechwriters have cut down the length of his sentences because he appears confused and inarticulate otherwise?

    The media says that people relate to him because he's likeable and regular - the "normal" guy you could grab a beer with, versus the sometimes esoteric Kerry. But do you want just a "normal" guy leading your country? I want to look up to my president with confidence, not down because it makes me feel better. Let's not dumb down America and let's not make this election a popularity contest, but rather let’s allow the issues to speak for themselves. (A Time survey shows that 65% of Americans view him as “likeable”, while a much a lower 54% think that he “understands the issues”). Undoubtedly, Bush is a nice, funny, likeable guy, but he lacks the intelligence, drive, and introspection to lead this country. The truth is, Bush isn’t like you or me. He’s a person who has stumbled upon greatness without having to do the hard work, pay his dues, respect the opinions of others, or own up to the consequences of his impulsive decisions.

    It's ridiculous that people view him as a "strong leader" because they feel that he never wavers. To me, that is not an attribute - rather, it's stubbornness. Like Kerry said, you can be firm and unwavering - and be wrong. The world and our country are dynamic, why is Bush perceived as so strong just because he lacks the mental and personal agility to change course when our country so desperately needs it?

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