Wednesday, October 27, 2004

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

Argument # 2
For me, the most persuasive argument for Kerry is that he is the conservative option in this race. He promises a return to the tradition of multilateralism that FDR and Truman embraced. He promises a break from the tax-cutting that it seems America can hardly afford at this time and the other radical changes Bush wishes to experiment with in the middle of this "War on Terror." Most importantly, Kerry promises that Democrats too have a stake in fighting terrorism--something most partisans are loathe to admit (See Sean Hannity's latest book-- Deliver Us From Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism or Ann Coulter's Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism.)

A break after four years of president imposing a radical agenda onto America and the world. Perhaps Bush's agenda will turn out to be not as bad as we all predict, but certainly now, we need a break. Of course, most conservatives deny (in public anyway) that Bush has anything resembling a radical agenda. Yet conservative media ranging from the Economist to the Wall Street Journal have described the Bush term as radical--meaning a break from the policies that have dominated American politics since FDR. His foreign policy--in rejecting the importance of multinational institutions in favor of issue-based coalitions--is a dramatic break from the policies of every president since FDR who created and worked with the United Nations and NATO. Yet this administration rejected NATO offers to help with the invasion of Afghanistan and has rejected UN authority in numerous ways. This has undermined America's credibility in the world. The UN isn't perfect, but it is not yet ready to be put into the dustbin of history. America needs to work to make the UN a body that has the courage to call for decisive action when situations warrant it--in regards to Saddam's Iraq, the situations in Bosnia and Rwanda, and the genocide being perpetuated now in Sudan. Bush has shown no interest in this while Kerry has.

The radical nature of Bush's domestic agenda is acknowledged by the right. The Wall Street Journal editorial page yesterday featured an article that called Mr. Bush's policies radical. The Economist in its issue analyzing the candidates issues on various issues similarly called Bush's domestic agenda radical. The point is, these sources see Bush's radicalism in a positive light. They see his changes to the tax code which are disproportionaly helping the wealthy. They hear his talk of tax code reform, of looking into the idea of a national sales tax, of creating an "ownership society" and they like where this is headed--a nation that is closer to a flat and thus fair tax, that values wealth creation, and that encourages all those behaviors that make a market economy run. They ignore the fact of those left behind.

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