Wednesday, October 27, 2004

How To Convince Someone To Vote Against George Bush In 5 Easy Steps (Part I)

In my opinion, probably the most comprehensive argument against another Bush term is found in The New Republic. Their series of articles "The Case Against Bush" provided a number of good arguments about Bush's presidency that in measured terms condemn Bush for at various times, incompetence, a disregard for the opinions of experts, undermining democracy at home, and for being manipulated too easily by certain advisors. They make persuasive cases for each point. And all this comes from a magazine that supported the war with Iraq and in general the War on Terror. They see it in terms similar to Bush--as a generational conflict with evil. Yet, given the evidence of his incompetence and their faith that Kerry will remain true to his word, they unabashedly side with Kerry.

Andrew Sullivan also makes the case for Kerry persuasively. As a conservative gay Catholic British journalist living in America, he has many diverging opinions on various aspects of the Bush presidency. He supported Bush in 2000 and was a very strong early supporter of the War on Terrorism. Yet, as a conservative, he is appalled by Bush's record of increasing the size of government, of fiscal irresponsibility, and of the administration's consistent mismanagement of the war. He is not overly impressed with Kerry, but does not mimic the Republican talking points on him. Sullivan's concludes his endorsement thus:

And it is simply foolish to ignore what we have found out this past year about Bush's obvious limits, his glaring failures, his fundamental weakness as a leader. I fear he is out of his depth and exhausted. I simply do not have confidence in him to navigate the waters ahead skilfully enough to avoid or survive the darkening clouds on the horizon.

But Kerry? I cannot know for sure. But in a democracy, you sometimes have to have faith that a new leader will be able to absorb the achievements of his predecessor and help mend his failures. Kerry has actually been much more impressive in the latter stages of this campaign than I expected. He has exuded a calm and a steadiness that reassures. He is right about our need for more allies, more prudence, and more tactical discrimination in the war we are waging. I cannot say I have perfect confidence in him, or that I support him without reservations. But not to support anyone in this dangerous time is a cop-out. So give him a chance. In picking the lesser of two risks, we can also do something less dispiriting. We can decide to pick the greater of two hopes. And even in these dour days, it is only American to hope.

Sullivan picks what I see as the perfect middle ground here. If only he could vote!


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