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Republicans for John Kerry

President Ronald Reagan: "Trust but verify"

February 22, 2004

NYTimes: "Disenchanted Bush Voters Crossing Over"

It would seem as if there is a significant number of us:

In dozens 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 serious problems."

"With the nation so polarized," he added, "the defections of a few can make a big difference."

 

February 18, 2004

40% of those who voted in Wisconsin were "not Democrats."

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 a letter 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 says,

 

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 home.

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.

 

February 17, 2004

"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 international support.

 

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 not.

 

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.

 

Tony 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.

 

 

February 12, 2004

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 Presidential campaign:

 

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 convention.

           

�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 you�now.�

           

�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 Democrat.�

 

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.

 

Thank you,

John Bugay

 

February 8, 2004

 

Here is a very fine biographical article about John Kerry, by The Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

February 4, 2004

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 sound reasoning.

John Bugay

 

February 4, 2004

 

From 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 U.S

 

� 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 Korea.

 

� 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 states.

 

I 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 process.

 

John Bugay

 

February 3, 2004

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 Kay.

 

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 home.

 

"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 the discussion.

 

John E. Bugay, Jr.
February 3, 2004

 
 
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