Friday, September 03, 2004


Why John Kerry Will Win In November

Now that the Republican Convention is over, I feel safe in saying that John Kerry will win in November. I know, that sounds a little cocky, maybe a little arrogant, but after watching the parade of the Republican Party's finest, it's obvious that they have nothing to run on.

To be fair, I should say that I thought George W. Bush gave the best speech of his presidency last night. Gone was the deer-in-the-headlights look that we experienced so long ago. Gone too was his habit of leaning on the podium, his fidgeting, and his nervous laugh. He seemed comfortable, confident, and above all, well rehearsed. He barely broke his stride when he was interrupted by protestors. None of this, however, makes up for the speech's lack of content.

For three nights we were treated to anti-Kerry rhetoric from some of the party's biggest names. We got to see Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Arnold Schwarzeneger, Dick Cheney, and, oh yeah, Zell Miller. All of them told us how wrong John Kerry has been over the past twenty years. How he voted against this weapon, this defense budget, and this aid package for the troops. They talked of his flip-flops, his "sensitive" side, and his unwillingness to stick with a decision. All the while, we were reminded of how dangerous these times are, how terrible September 11 was, how George Bush is leading the fight to save us, and how heroically he acted in the aftermath of that awful day. Unfortunately, they left out a few important details.

On John Kerry's voting record, they were less than accurate. His votes against those weapons, while not against any one specific weapon, were consistent with with many members of the Senate even prominent Republicans of the day, like then-President George H. W. Bush and then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney; his votes against the defense budget were exaggerated as he has voted for the Defense Appropriations budget sixteen out of nineteen times; and his alleged unwillingness to support the troops is false as he did support a bill calling for $87 billion for Iraq, but it was the version of the bill that the President threatened to veto because it didn't allow for no-bid contracts and would roll back a portion of his tax cuts. As for his flip-flops and his alleged penchant for changing his mind, it only points out a stark contrast between the two candidates; one is willing to change his mind if his view changes over time and one blindly sticks with a decision regardless of the consequences.

As for the dangerous times, nobody doubts that things are risky these days. We only have to look as far as Russia to see what horrors some people are capable of. But to imply that John Kerry would not protect the American people is not only disrespectful, it is shameful. This type of attack ranks right up there with comparing Max Cleland to Osama bin Laden or insinuating that money raised for anti-Bush ads comes from drug cartels. John Kerry, like any other elected President, would rank the safety of the American people as high as anyone else. I'm sure that given the times we live in Kerry would pay closer attention to terrorist threats than George Bush himself did prior to the September 11 attacks. And finally to how George Bush acted in the aftermath of the attacks; I would only point out that it took him three full days to make his way to the disaster site at which he did what any self-respecting person would do; he spoke comforting and encouraging words while vowing to bring the perpetrators to justice. He has yet to follow through on his vow.

Those things aside, I want to address George Bush's acceptance speech. I personally found it to be completely devoid of any real substance. By the second paragraph he was already metioning September 11, 2001 which he would go on to do five more times without ever once mentioning the name of their hated and hunted yet unaccounted-for leader. As I have said many times, George Bush is basing his entire campaign on a fifteen minute photo-op atop a pile of rocks. That is why we keep hearing about September 11. Of course it was a terrible thing, of course it changed our country forever, but if this election is really about the future, as he stated in his speech, why does he keep bringing up the past?

But what I really want to talk about are George Bush's proposed initiatives. He began his laundry list of ideas by saying he wants to create jobs. This is a pretty safe proposal, I mean who doesn't want to create jobs. Unfortunately, he's already had this job for four years and has failed to create a single job. In fact he is still over 1 million jobs in the hole from where he started. Today's announcement of 144,000 new payroll jobs doesn't even keep up with the expanding work force. So although this is a noble proposition, he has already proven that he is incapable of fulfilling it.

He then moved to the current tax code claiming it to be a complicated mess filled with special interest loopholes. Harkening back to his 2000 acceptance speech in Philadelphia, I recall George Bush saying:

Once again George, you've had four years to accomplish this. I agree most of the current tax code is complicated and full of loopholes, but Bush's tax cuts have done nothing to make them more understandable. A total overhaul is definitely necessary, but why should we believe that it will happen in the next four years when it didn't happen during the last?

He spoke of health care savings accounts. As one who is familiar with these type of flex plans, let me explain how this works. Every month a certain amount of money will come out of my paycheck and go into an "account" from which I can draw to pay for my health care. This does nothing to lower the cost of my health care. So where is the benefit of this? It's still going to cost me my money to go to the doctor. Now here's the kicker. What the President didn't say is that at the end of the fiscal year whatever money that is left in these "flex" type accounts is forfeited to the health care company. Not only can you not take it with you from job to job as the president said, you can't take it with you from year to year. I don't see this as a benefit.

He proposed changing outdated labor laws. On this one he's already got a head-start. You may remember the recent changes to the overtime laws. There have been many different interpretations of this act and the only one that has a positive spin comes from this administration. I don't think we want to see any more changing of labor laws from this group.

He spoke of keeping the promise of Social Security for our older workers. Over the last four years this administration has gutted the future of Social Security for the sake of tax cuts. Just recently Alan Greenspan advised cutting Social Security to the bone because of its current weakened state. This is complete bluster. He hasn't protected it for the last four years, why would he start now?

Other comments made during the speech were just as ridiculous. Many were rehashed material from previous speeches. For instance:

Or this:

George Bush has given us four years of empty promises just like the ones he gave us last night. He has given us speech after speech that is full of empty language. He continues to run on the past and his false claim that he is the one who can best protect us from terrorists.

I happen to disagree with this statement. Given our current military situation and our lack of spending for actual homeland security, I don't believe that we are any safer today than we were on September 11. In light of things like our failure to inspect incoming cargo, secure our nuclear and water facilities, and prtect our borders and coastlines; I just want to point out one thing. Every general will tell you that you can't send all of your troops out to fight the war without keeping some troops home to protect the base. We are not protecting our base.

George Bush's policies will not keep us safe. His promises will not be fulfilled. When John Kerry points these things out in a face to face debate, George W. Bush will lose. I can't wait for November.

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