Ronald Reagan: "Trust but verify"
"Disenchanted Bush Voters Crossing Over"
It would seem as if there is a
significant number of us:
of random interviews around the country, independents and
Republicans who said they voted for Mr. Bush in 2000 say they
intend to vote for the Democratic presidential candidate this
year. Some polls are beginning to bolster the idea of those kind
of stirrings among Republicans and independents.
That could change, of course, once the Bush campaign begins
pumping millions of dollars into advertising and making the case
for his re-election.
But even as Democratic and Republican strategists and pollsters
warned that a shift could be transitory, they also said it could
prove to be extraordinarily consequential in a year when each side
is focused on turning out its most loyal voters.
"The strong Republicans are with him," a senior aide to Senator John Kerry said of Mr. Bush. "But
there are independent-minded Republicans among whom he is having
"With the nation so polarized," he added, "the defections of a
few can make a big difference."
40% of those who voted in Wisconsin were "not
That means they were either
Republicans or Independents � reaching across the
cherished political center � and in a Presidential election
season like this one, it is a sign that the incumbent (President
Bush) is in some serious trouble.
When President Bush has to convince
National Guard Soldiers that his decision to go to war was a
legitimate one, you know he is feeling the heat. He said:
"My administration looked at the
intelligence information, and we saw a danger," he said. "Members of
Congress looked at the same intelligence, and they saw a danger. The
United Nations Security Council looked at the intelligence, and it
saw a danger. We reached a reasonable conclusion that Saddam Hussein
was a danger."
According to the story,
The purpose of the trip was to honor
the sacrifice of Americans fighting, and dying, in Iraq and
Afghanistan -- and to gird the military for more. "My
resolve is the same today as it was on the morning of September the
12th, 2001," Bush told thousands of cheering soldiers, many of them
from a Guard unit heading for Baghdad. "My resolve is the same as it
was on the day when I walked in the rubble of the twin towers.
I will not relent until this threat to America is removed. And
neither will you." (emphasis added).
Responding to a Thomas
Friedman piece in which John Kerry is imagined to be interviewed
on Meet the Press,
and saying, "We will not run,"
George McGovern, in
to the Editor suggests that the US "compromise, and walk out of Iraq." That
doesn't mean "run," and that doesn't mean "stay." He
This determination to stand and fight
is tempting to political leaders. The trouble with this appeal is
that brave young Americans do the bleeding and dying � not the
political leaders who committed them to a mistaken war. Terrorists
are killing American soldiers in Iraq because our Army is in Iraq. I
hope that President Bush, with the help of the United Nations, will
find a way to return Iraq to the Iraqis and bring our Army
Thousands of young Americans bled and died in Vietnam to keep
a series of political frauds in power in Saigon. Let's not go down
that road again, claiming all the while, "We will not run." How
about a compromise? Let's walk out of Iraq.
"Muscling" our way through the next four years
George Bush defined THE issue in the
coming campaign, in his Meet
the Press interview last Sunday:
RUSSERT: Biggest issues in the upcoming campaign?
BUSH: Who can properly use American
power in a way to make the world a better place; and who
understands that the true strength of this country is the hearts and
souls of the American citizens; who understands times are changing
and how best to have policy reflect those times.
The issue is, American power.
Not American influence. Not "American ideals.
Power. What does he mean by "power"? He qualifies it by
referring to the "hearts and souls of the American citizens" who
understand that the times are changing. Maybe that's a reference to
9/11/2001, which "changed everything."
I would submit that there are some
things that have not changed, and one of those things is what
constitutes a just war, and what constitutes an unjust war. I am
writing a piece about this and I hope to have it up in the near
future. But for now, if the US wants to win allies by demonstrating
the moral superiority that George Bush professes constantly, then
"exaggerating" intelligence (at best) to start � to sell the
public on the need for � an unnecessary war, is going to send a
confused message to the world (allies as well as enemies):
Thank goodness that the Republican-led
Senate Intelligence Committee is going to look at "whether top
administration officials had exaggerated or misused the intelligence
on Iraq's weapons programs. Whatever horrendous errors the
intelligence analysts made were surely compounded when the president
and other senior officials emphasized unlikely worst-case scenarios
to win support for the invasion."
The common thread here is that
the Bush administration took unlikely worst-case scenarios and
inflated them drastically to justify an immediate invasion without
Do Americans think that the purpose of
having a military like the one we do, is to use it?
The purpose of the Peacekeeper missiles was certainly not to
use them. The purpose was to provide deterrence. Or do they think that American
power confers some kind of moral authority on the US, in the
sense that might makes right? I certainly hope
Yes, the issue was the on-going safety
of the American people; but safety involves long-term interests as
well. It truly can be said that some good came out of this war, but
far more damage was done, to American integrity, believability,
respectability, and more.
Karon of Time Magazine writes:
Nobody watching the issue unfold from the summer of 2002
could doubt that the decision to fight a war of choice against Iraq
had been made before the inspections even started � indeed, the
administration had to fiercely debate whether to go back to the UN
at all, and President Bush did so only once he'd been convinced that
it would bring more allies to his war effort. The invasion force
was already being deployed in the region even before the first
inspectors returned. (Emphasis added.) And the time frame
Washington allowed for the inspection was determined not by the
outcome of the inspection process, but by the duration of the
weather conditions that allowed for a ground war before the summer.
February 15, 2004
The real thing about Mr. Kerry's
military service and subsequent anti-war activities, is that he
knows and respects what it is he'd be sending our people into � or
NOT sending them into. I believe we need that kind of leader � one
who will know how, and why, to wait to pull the trigger.
From Gerald Seib's "Capital Journal" (subscription required) column
in the WSJ, re. a potential Kerry "vision":
Two things Mr. Kerry speaks about
with special passion are the need to work better with allies
abroad and the need to finally achieve energy independence that
will disconnect Americans from Middle East oil. Perhaps that adds
up to a new strategy to make the world safer: Hook up with old
friends, and unhook from the oil addiction. Let Mr. Bush spend
your money going to Mars, he could say; I'll invest it in a future
free from oil and smog, and wars in the Persian Gulf. It is a
thought, at least, and a big one.
Also, here's an item from the New
York magazine, about the kind of money needed to fund a
The Bush team has already signaled that if
and when Kerry emerges as the clear winner, it will mount a huge TV
ad campaign �defining� (punditspeak for �sliming�) him as a
paleoliberal on taxes and welfare�Mike Dukakis with a Bergdorf
Goodman haircut. The onslaught could begin as soon as March, which
means Kerry needs enough money to launch an air and ground campaign
in weeks�and fund it through the
�If we don�t get the money now, Bush is going
to get too far ahead of the curve on us,� says John Catsimatidis,
the supermarket mogul and a major Kerry supporter. �It�s time for
all good Democratic fund-raisers to come together. We need
�I�m only a movie guy, but it�s important
that Democratic fund-raisers start rallying around Kerry as soon as
possible, if we�re going to be competitive against the Republican
money machine,� adds Weinstein, who notes that he also holds John
Edwards and Wesley Clark in high regard. �A Kerry-Edwards ticket is
clearly the one that would be the most appealing. But without the
necessary financing, it will be that much harder to elect a
I hope you'll consider supporting John
Kerry, and you can do so at this link, here. As well, if you would like to help me as I
self-fund this website and effort, please consider helping me out here.
Here is a very fine biographical article about John Kerry, by The Pittsburgh
I have been asked,
"why don't you support a third-party candidate whose views align
more closely with your own?" I am less interest in sending a
"message" as in making my own ballot count.
In this country,
"people rule." As in, "We the people..." Sometimes there is despair. You ask,
"what can one person do?" Well, I am one person, and I am
hoping to persuade as many people as I can, through common sense and
The World As It Isn't
Wall Street Journal:
February 4, 2004
Larry Korb, Assistant Secretary of
Defense under President Reagan, makes the case that President Bush's
national security policy is based on ideology, and not on reality.
Here is his overview:
Issued in September 2002, President Bush's
National Security Strategy has three pillars: the right to take
unilateral preemptive military action against terrorists and
tyrants; the need to maintain global primacy; and the need to make
the world democratic. This strategy suffers from four defects that,
unless corrected, will cause long-term security problems for the
First, by conflating our enemies into a monolith and threatening
preemptive military action against all of them, the strategy
has diverted our forces and attention away from the primary threats
to our security. It has made us less secure by giving other states
the right to take preemptive actions against their enemies.
Second, the strategy has been implemented inconsistently. By
attacking Iraq -- less of a threat than North Korea -- the U.S. has
given North Korea more time to develop nuclear weapons and hurt
international support not only for the Iraq war, but for potential
armed action against North
� Third, by attempting to maintain
global supremacy unilaterally and to impose democracy and free
markets, the U.S. has begun to overextend itself. As we enter the
third year of the war against terror and the second of the war in
Iraq, we have a trillion-dollar deficit and an active and reserve
Army near breaking point.
Fourth, by overemploying the military component of our strategy, we
have paid insufficient attention to the threats posed by
proliferation of WMD, global poverty, international crime, and the
isolation of the U.S. from like-minded
mentioned below that I believed President Bush has been neither a
good Republican, nor a good president. Mr. Korb's analysis helps to
confirm that notion. I believe President Bush and his Administration
have failed in the task that they have been given, and that he
deserves to be actively removed from office by the election
I am a Republican who will not
hesitate to vote for the Democratic nominee, whoever it is, as a way
of sending a warning signal to the Bush administration. That doesn't
mean I will necessarily vote Democrat, nor do I think a Democrat
will have a good chance to defeat President Bush. But I do think
that neither Howard Dean nor John Kerry (nor any other Democratic
candidate) could do more harm to the Republican agenda of a strong
national defense and sound fiscal policy, than Bush has done.
For a year now, various generals have
warned that the military is stretched to the breaking point, and
with 58,000 Reservists headed for Iraq, it will not easily be able
to respond in case of a genuine emergency. An America that is feared
and hated in the world � the result of Bush foreign policy � is
going to be much less influential than an America that could have
been strong and respected. The federal deficit has skyrocketed, both
because of the war in Iraq, and because of discretionary spending in
which billions of dollars have been handed out like candy in support
of votes. It is hard to believe that a Democrat could do worse.
Not only has President Bush not been a
good Republican; the case can be made that he has not been a good
president. Who remembers the interview last summer in which he said,
"we've found weapons of mass destruction ... we found the two
trailers..."? Does that sound like principled leadership? Or does it
sound like a dissembling politician?
President Bush has learned well from
his predecessor how to use verbal fog as a smokescreen to obscure
the meaning of what he is saying. His State of the Union speech last
week was laden (and leaden) with examples of it. Even the editorial
page of the Wall Street Journal � a strong Bush supporter in his tax
policies and the war on Iraq � admitted, "much of the rest of his
agenda read like a litany of tiny, poll-tested programs of the kind
that Dick Morris used to gin up for Bill Clinton."
This Bush administration rightly had
the support of the American people after the terrorist attacks. The
country rallied around the president, but he squandered his
legitimacy. Iraq never should have been a part of the "war on
terror." Since the State of the Union speech, the chief weapons
inspector, David Kay has resigned and has said that there never were
any weapons of mass destruction. Secretary of State Colin Powell,
who gave an impassioned speech to the UN on the need to go to war in
Iraq because of WMDs, now doesn't believe he can contradict
The question to ask is not, "is the
middle east better off without Saddam"? A better question would be,
"if Saddam were in a "death spiral," as Kay suggested he was, how
much simple patience on the part of this administration would have
been necessary for the Saddam regime to fall apart? Surely, this
administration had other options than to go to war. I wonder, will
President Bush now call for an investigation to find out why his
administration was supplied with such faulty intelligence?
A strong Democratic candidate would be
a powerful indictment on the excesses of the Bush administration.
Presidential administrations tend to "move to the center,"
especially when they are working with a congress of the opposing
party. Bill Clinton balanced the budget and signed a Republican
welfare bill, two worthy Republican goals. On the other hand, a
"conservative" George W. Bush has not only pursued a war policy that
is harming the military and damaging our international credibility,
he has also allowed the deficit to become a menace at
"Checks and balances," according to
Alexander Hamilton, "are means, and powerful means, by which the
excellences of republican government may be retained and its
imperfections lessened or avoided. (Federalist 9.) Another writer
says, "by so contriving the interior structure of the government as
that its several constituent parts may, by their mutual relations,
be the means of keeping each other in their proper places."
(Federalist 51.) Our two-party political system was set up to enable
the Republic to right itself, and this election cycle offers an
ideal opportunity to test the founders' theories.
Of course a Democrat will support
things that Republicans won't want to support. But it should be
painfully obvious that there is no such thing as a "perfect
candidate," and we should set our priorities and gird ourselves for
John E. Bugay, Jr.