October 2004 Archives

The War at Home

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The wars abroad, the elections, the economy, and fears of threats to our Constitutional liberties, are all coming together to create a war amongst Americans here at home in the U.S.A. CNN News today has video clips of folks punching others in the face at political rallies, threatening gestures with vehicles, acts of vandalism toward others who post a political support sign, and even the use of those signs as weapons against political opposites at demonstrations and rallies.

A vote for Bush is a vote for Koffi Annan remaining the head of the U.N. or his being replaced by another nation's nominee. A vote for Kerry is a vote that opens the potential of former President Bill Clinton being nominated to lead the United Nations as its new Secretary General. I have had a hard time finding any really important reason for supporting Kerry aside from sending Bush back to Crawford. But, now that there is some reliable scuttlebutt from United Press International about Clinton going for the U.N. position, supporting Kerry just got a whole lot more palatable.

State of the Election

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One helluva mess appears to be on the way. This election is going to be unprecedented in many ways. Dirty tricks, hostile and distorted rhetoric have been commonplace in American elections since we began having them. Even splits between the Electoral College and the popular vote have occurred in our history. But this election will be unique as it builds upon the 2000 election in its inclusion of the courts, and the general public awareness of voting irregularities which went largely unnoticed by the national electorate in the past.

On Fear and Flip-Flops

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Fear -- While many Americans are fearful of another terrorist attack, there may be a much larger bogeyman casting its shadow over Americans cloaked in new data from the Treasury Department. And while Pres. Bush focuses on reelection calling his rival a flip-flopper, it would appear he does not notice how like a fish out of water he is acting as a result of his speech writing ventriloquists.

Kris Kobach (R) has come out in support of a policy I have advocated since before the invasion of Iraq. Kobach is calling for putting troops on our borders and shutting out potential terrorists and a huge drain on the American economy through illegal immigration. Finally, a Republican who has taken up the right side of an issue which I can wholeheartedly support.

This debate was largely a draw. If the intent by either candidate was to overwhelmingly win over swing voters, they failed. Largely, this debate was a success for both candidates in regards to playing to their base. For swing voters however, they were left with a clear choice. Senator John Kerry was more effective in driving home his commitment to domestic issues and continued to stress women and children as priorities on his agenda in terms of health care, wages, jobs, and education.

President Bush says we are at war against terrorists, people who hate. People who know no values, morals, and who have no desire but to kill Americans. It is a simple definition which has 30 second sound bite appeal. But, it is also a simple understanding of a situation America faces which is anything but simple. President Bush has not demonstrated an ability to understand or identify the real enemy behind such labels. And this portends a very dangerous situation for America.

It was a great debate. The President performed far better than his last debate in terms of composure and body language. His confidence however, stood loudly as a weakness in his defense of his decision to invade Iraq. But, many other topics were discussed, and both candidates were on top of their game on those issues. Both hammered each other's positions effectively, both misled on their opponents records, and both held their own with their constituents.

So much focus on 'Kerry said, No, Bush said', it is easy to lose sight of a huge number of other political events taking place as we move closer to Election Day. It seemed appropriate to address some of the news that is falling under voter's radar. Libertarian presidential candidate Badnarik is on the ballot in Texas I discovered last night. Texas is a heavy Republican state, and Badnarik is a very conservative candidate. Given Bush's far less conservative actions on many issues, it will be interesting to see if Badnarik picks up a Republican protest vote in Texas.

It was a very good debate, more evenly performed than the previous one in both style and content. Both V.P. Cheney and Sen. Edwards remained composed, on message, and unflustered. Both appeared confident and very well prepared. Both sides scored points on purely technical debate issues and both lost points, mainly from not directly addressing the questions posed. But, as far as altering base or swing voters minds, this debate was a wash and 'don't mean a thang'.

In these days of great change, challenge, and tumult, it is understandable that Americans are confused by the dizzying amount of news and counter-news, legislation and counter-amendments, and the too often complete disconnect between what we expect of government and what we get from government. A great deal of this confusion stems from our incredible degree of dependence upon what others tell us about what to think and how to think about it.

Apparently, Pres. Bush is hopping mad at Kerry for besting him in their first debate. The Toronto Star carried an Assoc. Press story entitled, Bush Rips Kerry In Post-Debate Attack, which states Bush took "a more aggressive approach than he had in the previous night's debate". However, on the campaign trail, Bush plays to loyal supporters only, so it appears he hasn't the same constraints on the campaign trail that he did in the debate to appear rational and calm.

The first debate between Sen. John Kerry and President George W. Bush is now history and CNN has the transcript. Who won? They both did. However, a post debate poll indicates Kerry had the edge. Overall, Sen. Kerry and Pres. Bush held their own regarding their loyal constituencies. That is to say, there were no major gaffs, no unruly behaviors, and no zingers to harm the support of their base voters. In fact, the only noticeable event outside answer content was one occurrence of Bush's "deer in the headlights" stare and pregnant pause as he collected his thoughts. But it was not significant in context.


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