Thursday, November 04, 2004
Well, it's over now. The guy I really didn't want to win has won, and won decisively. His majority is a slim one, but it is a clear majority. Bush said yesterday that he will work hard to "earn my trust." Here are some steps he could take to make me feel better about his second term.
1. Retire Rumsfeld and Ashcroft.
Rumsfeld had one major responsibility, Iraq, and he's blown it. The entire country hates us, the security system is so desperate that most educated Iraqis with the means to get out of the country have gotten out, and the insurgency is growing and spreading. This was Rumsfeld's operation and for whatever reason, it hasn't gone well at all, so he has to go.
The fact that Ashcroft has spent any of his time trying to stop Californians from getting high, even those sick with AIDS is reason enough for his ouster, but there is growing evidence that he is not a very effective AG when it comes to pursuing terrorist cases. There have been no convictions, and the ongoing cases are not being prosecuted very effectively.
2. Do tax code reform right
I would love it if you reformed the code, but please don't simply shift the burden from one place to the other. Simplify it. It's a disgusting mess of special interest gifts, and that's what needs to be reformed.
3. Get Iraq right.
The politics of Iraq are gone now. You've got to get this right. I don't care how much is spent. If the deficit is a trillion dollars and it's all spent to improve the lives of Iraqis, I won't complain. We've invaded them, killed many of them, bombed their existing infrastructure, it is our greatest responsibility now to make Iraq a much better place for the people living there. Anything else is secondary.
4. Be mellow on judicial appointments, especially the supreme court.
You've got control of the legislature and the executive branches, but that doesn't mean you should appoint more Scalias and Thomases to the Supreme Court. Please don't. Appoint conservatives, sure, but try to accomodate the Democrats in the congress, throw them a bone. It will grease the wheels of the rest of your legislatve agenda, and show that you actually care about the views of the opposition.
5. Actually reach out to the opposition
Getting democrats to vote for your proposals is not the same thing as actually working with the opposition. To really work with those that oppose you, you have to make some concessions. You can't simply offer those of us who disagree with you the chance to agree with you. You have to give a little ground, otherwise we're simply doing your bidding. Although more people voted for you than any other candidate in history, it is also true that more people voted against you than any other candidate in history. There are a lot of us, and you shouldn't ignore us.
Monday, October 25, 2004
If a team commits 8 errors in two games, and still wins both games, they can no longer be considered "cursed." These aren't the Red Sox I grew up with, and while I am happy for all those Boston fans who are experiencing new and exciting emotions like "hope" and "joy," I can't help but feel that the familiar fabric of the game I love is being rended. We will probably learn that last year, the Yankees had dealt some middle-reliever to the Red Sox. We'll call him George Herman Gonzalez. This trade will begin the great "Curse of the Gonzo," which will result in the Yankees not winning a single World Series for the entire 21th Century, and the Red Sox winning thirty. Oh, and a freak genetic mutation will enable people to commute to and from work on flying pigs.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Stand By Your Man
It is no secret to anyone who knows me that I am far from convinced that Kerry will make a great president. Near as I can tell, he's a smart guy, a hard worker with good intentions and I am willing to give him a shot. I won't pretend to anyone that he's the second coming of Abraham Lincoln. There are many conservatives who point to the fact that most of Kerry's support is more anti-Bush than pro-Kerry. They say this with an inexplicable pride, somehow swelling up with the notion that half the country is so disgusted by their man that they're casting a vote for a less-than-inspiring candidate to keep him from retaining the office. "At least I'm for my candidate, instead of merely being against yours," they might say, to which I would respond: who the hell cares? Why do you get points for that? You're for a complete hack, you want applause from me for that? I'm voting in the best interest of the country, as I see it, and so should everyone else. If the Bush supporters can delude themselves into thinking Bush is a deeply principled leader and a brilliant visionary, that's they're problem. Actually, it's my problem too, but one I can do little about.
Monday, October 18, 2004
A Senator from Massachusetts
Here's another thing that really bugs me about the president. It really annoys me the way he keeps referring to Kerry disdainfully as a "Senator from Massachusetts." I know that Bush has no chance of winning in Massachusetts, but that's hardly the point is it? Last time I checked Massachusetts was one the United States that Bush is supposedly president of. How does he get away with insulting his constituents this way? It's probably because he's such a "uniter." I wonder what would happen if Kerry referred to Bush using the phrase, "only a former governor from Texas." I'd bet conservatives would be literally rending their garments on live television. That's why conservatives do so well politically. They have mastered the art of the organized freak out. If some Democrat somewhere does or says something that might be construed by some conservative somewhere, there is a sudden cry from millions of conservatives. "How dare he this" or "how dare he that"? Non-conservatives aren't nearly so organized in their flipping out, and so it's not nearly so effective. There was the Trent Lott example, I suppose, of Liberal freaking out, but it does seem to me to happen less frequently than an organized conservative mind-losing.
Doesn't this Mary Cheney flap remind you of the old phrase "The Love
that Dare Not Speak it's Name."?
While it is true that Kerry probably invoked Mary Cheney to score some
political points, and that in itself is probably not the prettiest
thing, the Cheneys are feigning outrage at Kerry's basically harmless
remarks to score far uglier political points, they're doing it to bring
out the gay-bashing vote. That is the real political scandal, but the
Bushies will pay no price for it, and it won't be mentioned, not even
on "liberal" media outlets like NPR. That's the real shame, to my
mind. If speaking kindly about the daughter of one's political opponent to score political points really deserves all this outrage, what was Alan Keyes's remark that Mary Cheney was a "selfish hedonist" worth? I don't know how much outrage it was worth, but I know how much it got from the Cheneys. 0.
Saturday, October 16, 2004
As I look at the pictures more closely, it seems it's likely just a pucker in his suit. It's not as a good a story, but it seems the most likely.
Friday, October 15, 2004
What was it?
In the comments below, please indicate what you think was under president's jacket during the debates. Like Kevin Drum, I am seriously very curious. Why has no one asked the president? Not even during a gaggle?
Thursday, October 14, 2004
A Good Debate
I thought it went pretty well. At first, Bush looked sort of unstable, head bobbing up and down, pounding the podium with his open hand, and at times looking altogether way too proud of himself for not screwing up immensely. There was a point where he seemed about to take a shot at the moderator's employer, CBS, thought better of it, and spit out a nervous "never mind." The second half of the debate the president settled down, and really showed that while the polls give him an edge in foreign policy, he is really most comfortable when talking about kitchen table issues, mostly education, where I thought he was at his best. Still, I think you have to say that Bush lost this debate, as the early polls indicate. Kerry looked more steady, assured, and presidential, which is bad for Bush, who is the president.
I was very pleased at how few outright lies and blatant distortions the president used. This worked some magic on me, but I'm not voting for him anyway, so I wonder if he did himself any good by playing Mr. Nice Guy. There are plenty of Republican who vote for Bush and Democrats who would vote for Kerry if they were both revealed to be heroin addicts. Those people don't count, politically. In this debate Kerry did a better job of reach the others, and for the past week he has done a better job of this, while Bush has been busy keeping the base together. Bush looks like he's in some serious trouble. I wonder what Rove has planned?