I wrote the below included article a week before Senator John Kerry faced off against Bush in the 2004 election. For all the hype, three debates won by Senator Kerry, as well as the swiftboats and all the rest, the election came down to two facts. Fact one, Bush's favorability rating, which fortuitously enough for him was approximately 49-46 in his favor on election day, and the fact that Americans are loath to change directions during wartime, which is why we retained FDR for four terms. The election came down to these two facts because the Rove spin machine prevented any discussion of the issues and threw unjustified tar at Senator Kerry's war record. If only governing was the same thing as putting out Public Relations spin, Bush's team would be excelling in their element instead of floundering like a fish out of water or out of touch like a man in a bubble, if you prefer.
But let's turn our attention away from alliterative metaphors and to facts and promises. During the 2000 Presidential campaign, candidate George W. Bush promised to be a Uniter and not a Divider. I think Portland, Oregon's newspaper, The Oregonian of Portland, who endorsed Bush in 2000 said it best on October 10, 2004. "When George W. Bush took office in a deeply divided nation, he promised to reach out to unite the country. If anything, he has helped make the rifts deeper. That may be his real failure as president. [John Kerry can do better.]"
Bush promised during both elections to pursue a tax cutting policy that he said would fuel all aspects of our economy from job growth, to increased savings by all of us, etc. Of course, we know that Bush inherited a strong economy from President Clinton, one with a budget surplus, the best employment percentage in over 50 years, etc. Within 9 months of Bush taking office, we were in a recession and because Bush's spending was executed in the face of tax cuts and without having enough revenue for the expenditures it has resulted in an exploding federal deficit. Bush promised to deal with all of this by, you guessed it, more tax cuts. How did those additional cuts work out? According to the folks over at United for a Fair Economy, "From June 2003 to December 2004, the administration promised its tax-cutting policy would create 5.5 million new jobsbut only 2.6 million were created, even though 4.1 million would have been expected without any special economic stimulus." see http://www.faireconomy.org/press/2005/thanksgivingreport_pr.html (They also have a nice Acrobat document on this page they put out at Thanksgiving time titled "Nothing to be Thankful For" with a more comprehensive analysis of the failures of the Bush administration on jobs creation). Credit SHOULD be given where it is due, however, the President has created some impressive job growth in the 'insurgency and terrorism' industries for groups like Al Qaeda. As reported in several sources, notably EU Politix - http://www.eupolitix.com/en/news/200507/02b8e050-7931-4932-a31f-942dd79c9cab.htm , ZDNet - http://pages.zdnet.com/trimb/id61.html and the BBC - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3756650.stm . In general, more people in the Moslem world than ever before are turning to the extremes of Islam in response to our Middle Eastern policies. The Palestinians have just elected Hamas candidates to head the local governments of several Palestinian cities and the Iranians elected a President that on the Islamic scale is slightly to the right of Attila the Hun. Okay, so I was being polite and somewhat inaccurate when I said 'slightly'. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's idea of a good day's work is to follow-up Holocaust denial with a thinly veiled threat to wipe out the state of Israel. The Iranians elected this guy in June of 2005, their first election after the Iraq war, and turned away from sixteen years of progressive and reformist governments that were gingerly moving towards more secularism, Democracy and positive relations with the United States. In Afghanistan, we are seeing a reinsurgance of the Taliban, yes the Taliban, do you remember them? The people who actually protected the people who were responsible for 9/11? See http://news.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/12/17/wtalib17.xml . Of course, why should we concentrate on dealing with them, the protectors of the architects of 911? Invading Iraq was so much more important, wasn't it?
There is this new item of news on the domestic front. It seems like this administration cannot successfully wage a military or intelligence war on our overseas adversaries so this administration has taken to letting the NSA loose to spy on our own citizens. This is an ironic twist since the administration outed an intelligence operative to the press in retaliation for her husband making a trip and finding out we were wrong about part of the story on whether or not there were WMD in Iraq prior to the war.
When you think about it, I doubt someone taking office in the White House and deliberately trying to screw things up would be able to do a whole lot worse than George W. Bush has done. Ive said it before and I will say it again, we Democrats care most about a persons actual qualifications and brainpower to do the job of President. Republicans want to make this about being a Good-Old-Boy and a Boy Scout. I do not care about whether or not Kerry or Gore would have been fun to go out and have beers with and slap backs with. As a matter of fact, I met Al Gore and Tipper briefly before election 2000 at a campaign stop in Tampa and from the looks they gave me, I dont think they liked me very much. I didnt care. I know either Gore or Kerry would have done a much better job of governing than Bush and would have walked the walk, not just talked the talk.
When one wades past the Administration's Spin; one realizes they are drowning in failure
by Steven Leser - 10/25/04
I've been asked by many friends both for and against Kerry why this election is so close. The quandary comes because of the many failures of the Bush administration on virtually every front. The reason is simple and really has nothing to do with John Kerry. The real ability of this administration has nothing to do with any agenda or issue, it has to do with publicity and spin. The ability of this administration to spin poor performance as good and steadfast leadership is
breathtaking. It works on many Americans because most Americans are far too busy to spend hours looking up facts and figures and they rely on short soundbites on which to make their decisions. It is also far too disturbing to believe that the person currently holding the office of the President is misleading them, so they tend to buy what he says.
So, why should anyone believe ME when I say this administration is a miserable failure. What I would suggest is that people view an independent source. At least, as close to an independent and impartial source as one can get. That source (or SOURCES) is newspapers who endorsed George W. Bush in 2000, but now are endorsing
Senator Kerry. And there are a LOT of them. I have copied many of them below and for some of them, I have included choice quotes. The full list and links to their entire text can be seen at http://www.johnkerry.com/pressroom/press_endorsements.html :
The Seattle Times - "August 27, 2004 - Four years ago, this page endorsed George W. Bush for president. We cannot do so again because of an ill-conceived war and its aftermath, undisciplined spending, a shrinkage of constitutional rights and an intrusive social agenda."
The Oregonian of Portland - "October 10, 2004 - When George W. Bush took office in a deeply divided nation, he promised to reach out to unite the country. If anything, he has helped make the rifts deeper. That may be his real failure as president. John Kerry can do better. "
The Chicago Sun-Times
The Orlando Sentinel - "October 24, 2004 - We believe Mr. Kerry would be a more bipartisan and effective leader than Mr. Bush. In the Nov. 2 general election, the Sentinel endorses John Kerry for president of the United States."