First off, I consider myself a Republican. Altho I'm not dogmatic about it. I voted for Bush (sad to say) in 2000. The experience Cheney brought played a big part in my decision. So my vote this year is more anti-Bush than pro-Kerry. Reagan made me a Republican; Bush is making me a Democrat.
The following are my reasons for voting for Kerry. They are my own. I haven’t heard anyone else give these same reasons, which I list in order of importance.
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• 9/11. The fact that 9/11 occurred on Bush's watch, and that our government seemingly knew nothing of (or did nothing to thwart) the terrorist plot on 9/11 to hijack commercial airliners and crash them into the World Trade Center towers means ipso facto the administration loses the right to govern our country. We pay gargantuan sums of money for them to find and stop stuff like this. The fact that they never saw it coming suggests negligence, if not downright incompetence.
The clues were all there: the infamous PDB from August 6th, titled Bin Laden Determined To Strike in US, and the reports of Arabs learning to fly commercial airliners in our schools but not wanting to learn how to land them, and the fact that terrorists already tried to bring down the WTC towers back in '93, means our government failed to connect the dots. We pay them huge sums of money (every year) to connect dots.
Every time I hear the president give that little speech where he says, "The safety & security of the American people is a president's most solemn responsibility .. blah, blah, blah .. and THIS WON"T HAPPEN ON MY WATCH!" .. I always say out loud, "IT ALREADY DID! You blew it." Maybe if he felt that way *before* 9/11, he wouldn't have went on vacation after getting the PDB on August 6th that said Bin Laden was determined to strike INSIDE the US.
I also didn’t like that the administration opposed the forming of the 9/11 commission. It makes it seem like they had something to hide. But then we learned they had a lot to hide, so it makes sense that they'd oppose a commission to investigate.
The administration likes to use 9/11 as their biggest selling point, but I see it as exactly the opposite: 9/11 is nothing to be proud of. Rather, it's their biggest weakness. They'll go down in history as the administration on watch when the nation suffered its biggest terrorist attack on our own soil. Heck, ordinary citizens, like those on the flight over Pennsylvania, did more to thwart terrorist schemes on 9/11 than our government did. I can't help but find that pathetic.
I don't know why others aren't voicing this point. I mean, if the safety & security of the American people is (really) a president's number priority & responsibility (like both candidates *claim* it is), and a president drops the national security ball in a big way (like what happened on 9-11), then it should stand to reason that a failure of that magnitude means the presiding president (automatically) gets the boot. This would send a signal to the next president that he (she?) needs to be a little more vigilant, and pay more attention to security briefings.
• No WMDs found. Our government told us we needed to invade Iraq because Iraq had WMDs. We now know they did not. The fact that the world is better off without Saddam is ancillary. No WMDs reveals bad intelligence, which again, suggests incompetence.
If you're going to go to the UN with "irrefutable evidence", at least have your facts straight. Dan Rather made this mistake and apologized, even to no one died as a result. The administration presents their case with false information and never apologized to the people who died as a rewsult. Fact that the president refuses to acknowledge that he sold the war with false information makes me feel lied to.
The fact remains: the President sent our troops to die based on FALSE information. It's shameful. And if they knew all along the information was weak & suspect, which we now know is the case, then these actions seems almost monstrous.
We invaded and continue to occupy a country (which just so happens to have vast oil reserves) that was NOT at war with us. Does that fact that "Saddam was a bad guy" justify this aggression? when there are other even worse bad guys out there? (North Korea has nukes)
To be honest, I'm kinda surprised the government didn't drive a few tractor-trailer trucks out to the Nevada desert and slap few yellow tri-blade radiation symbols on the sides, take some photograpghs next to a camel and say, "Here they are. We found the WMDs. Here's the photos." Or maybe bring their own WMDs to Iraq, plant them somewhere where an innocent civilian would stumble across and "discover" them.
• Inability to admit mistakes and take responsibility. Am I the only one who finds the administration’s inability to admit mistakes unsettling? Remember the presidential debate, when the final question posed to president Bush by some lady was “Mr. President, Name three mistakes…” and he couldn't do it. He couldn't even name one.
Excuses are for four-year-olds, not presidents. Any child can make excuses. It takes a big man to admit he made a mistake. Nobody expects perfection. But we need somebody who will step up and admit when they make a mistake. I view the inability to take responsibility for one’s mistakes as a character flaw. Denial is a key trait of an alcoholic. The president's obvious inability to admit error is a sign that the same personality defects which led him to abuse alcohol are still there.
Have you ever heard the president address questions about why the economy sucks and why he is the first president in 70 years to preside over a net-jobs loss? It is a lengthy series of excuses: “The stock market was declining, I inherited a recession, we got hit by 9/11, corporate fraud scandals, the dog ate my homework, blah, blah, blah ...” There’s comes a point when we expect the president to accept responsibility for the state of the nation. Condoleezza’s testimony before the 9/11 commission was exactly the same: one excuse after the other.
Excuses are usually a sign that you are in over your head and need to be replaced. I discuss this more HERE. If you need to make a lot of excuses about why things are going wrong, that's probably a good sign you're not doing your job. When I was in the military, they taught us excuses are for wimps. Men, on the other hand, simply get the job done, and get it done right. Real men don't need no stinking excuses.
>>> Reporter's to Pres Bush: "What mistakes have you made as president?"
Anybody remember Kennedy's speech when he addressed the nation about the Bay of Pigs, or when Reagan addressed the nation about Iran-Contra? Did they makes excuses? No. They accepted responsibility (and their approval ratings went up). Even Arnold stood up and said, "I was wrong. I apologize." when accused of sexually-harassing women.
Nobody expects perfection from our leaders. We know they're only human. I expect my president to be able to admit when he makes a mistake and take responsibility for it. I mean, if someone can't admit when they make a mistake, they have no business sending our young men to die ... which leads to my next point.
• Our soldiers are dying in Iraq, lots of them. Soon as we learned Saddam had no WMDs, the war failed to justify the loss of life of our soldiers. Need I say more? The fact that no politician has their son serving in Iraq confirms this. I've heard people justify this by saying, "They volunteered." The volunteered to serve, not to die.
I find it shameful that are troops were sent to fight in Iraq without the proper supplies: in unarmoured Humvees, with insufficent body-armour, night-vision goggles, etc. If Rumsfeld were to drive around Iraq, do you think he would do so in an unarmoured Humvee or without body armour? Then why should our troops?
With a half-Trillion dollar military budget, our troops shouldn't have to use plywood & sandbags to fortify their own un-armored Humvees. But they are. With a half-Trillion dollar military budget, parents shouldn't have to buy their own armored vests and send them to their kids serving in Iraq. But they are. The President and Rumsfeld should both be ashamed for sending our kids to Iraq without the proper equipment, especially since they avoided the draft when it came time for them to serve. (I'll discuss this more later.)
Don’t get me wrong, I love George’s idealistic speeches about spreading democracy throughout the world. I just think he is detached from reality. I think his years of drinking damaged that part of his brain responsible for foresight. It's not his message that bothers me. His ideas are great. It's his *execution* I find appalling. In other words, I think he means well; I just don't think he has what it takes to run a country.
No politician has a son or daughter fighting in Iraq. Not a single one. And you know how many members of congress there are. If it were *their* kids dying daily, with their faces showing up every night on the evening news, you can be damn-skippy sure this war would be over right quick. Tell me I'm wrong. I dare ya.
• The Deficit. Bush inherited a budget suplus from Clinton. He quickly turned that around to the biggest budget deficit in our nation’s history. And he claims to be a "conservative". I thought conservatives were supposed to be fiscally responsible. Young voters should be most disturned about this point, because they're the ones who will have to pay this back. Halliburton's no-bid contracts play into this point, altho on a much smaller scale.
Still haven't found Osama bin Laden (remember him?), some 3 years after he murdered 3,000 of our innocent civilians, forcing some to choose between leaping to their certain death or being burned alive. The most powerful nation on the face of the planet can't find one old guy? How can this be? What ever happened to Wanted: Dead or Alive? This represents yet another failure. I would feel safer with bin Laden behind bars than Saddam.
• Both George Bush and Dick Cheney avoided the draft . They could’ve enlisted and gone to Viet Nam with John Kerry, but they chose rather to stayed home. What do they know about what it’s like to have bullets whizzing over their heads? Nothing. Kerry knows what it’s like to look a man in the eye and shot him dead. This is no reason to be president, but all this talk of GWB being "tough on terror" makes me laugh. He talks tough, but when it came time for him to demonstrate just how tough he really is, he opted to stay home with mommy & daddy. I think things would be much different if George Bush & Dick Cheney had spent time in Viet Nam. Much different.
George gives a real nice speech about how difficult it is for his to send troops into harm's way. It's probably his best speech. But it's hard to take him seriously when he refused to put his own ass in harm's way during the Viet nam war. Seems it's easier for him to send *others* into harm's way than it is to go himself or send members of his family. I mean, those are just the plain facts. While he's out playing golf, our soliers are dying. Some people see no hypocrisy there. I do.
Personally, I don't think ANY member of congress should be allowed to take vacation while our boys are in harm's way and dying daily. It's the least they can do.
Young people are concerned that Bush will re-institute the draft. I don't think they have anything to worry about, because if there's anyone who knows how to avoid the draft, it's the president and vice-president.
• The world hates us. I chat with people from all over the planet. They feel GWB has made the world LESS safe, not more. I usually don’t care what others think, but when everyone says the same thing (world is less safe with Bush, not more), it makes me think. After 9/11, the world loved us. Now they hate us. Why is that? Why is it that, if the world were to vote in this election, Kerry would win by a landslide?
• Iraq is a mess. Watch the evening news. I’m not saying nothing good has occurred in Iraq. But it just confirms my notion of planning incompetence. Even Bush-supporter Christopher Hitchens calls the post-war planning in Iraq "near-impeachable irresponsibility" (end of 3rd paragraph). Invading Iraq was never essential for our safety. The world knows this.
Imagine the catastrophe the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld team would've wrought during the Cuban missile crisis .
There are other reasons (such as the Pat Robertson quote, and the White House's close ties with Key Lay and the other crooks at ENRON who stole widow's retirements, and the prisoner abuse scandal at Abu Gharib, and the candidates respective performances in the debates), but those pale in comparison.
If George gets re-elected, I won’t be disappointed, because I actually think it would be good for him to have to get himself out of this mess he created. The scary thing is that, if George *does* get re-elected (*shudder*), Colin Powell will no longer be there to provide his level-headed insights. Remember that he's the only one close to the Pres who said, "Dude, are you *really* sure you know WTF you're getting into? If you break it, you own it." Colin has already informed the Pres that he doesn't want any more of his reputation tarnished by being associated with an incompetent administration. Without Colin there, the nation will ... we'll, I'd rather not think about it.
Just about every metric you can use to measure the country’s health has declined since Bush took office. He’s literally running the country into the ground. I mean, if someone were *trying* to ruin this country, I don't think they could do a much better job. If Bush get defeated in this election, he will leave the country in a much worse state than he found it.
The state-of-the-nation has suffered under the leadership of George W Bush. Some people don't blame him for that. I don't see how you can't. If the people don't hold the president responsible for what happens to the nation under his watch, then they are part of the problem, like a political co-dependent. (Side thought: if GWB's drinking problem continued for some 20-odd years, like I've read, then the first lady, Laura Bush, obviously knows what it's like to be a co-dependent.)
The evangelical vote is powerful (because they all actually vote). George knows that he can get elected on the evangelical vote alone. My evangelical friends don't seem very concerned with facts. They say they're voting for the President primarily for religious reasons, which most people can't understand. I quote them the scripture that says: "Ye shall know them by their fruit." The Bush administration is presiding over the worst crop of fruit (death, debt, deficits, international animosity, increasing poverty, record oil/gas prices, the worst job-loss record since Hoover, unaffordable health care costs) this nation has seen in a long time, maybe ever.
Claiming to be a Christian does not make one immune from mistakes, nor does it qualify one for the Presidency. There's a little more to it than that. "What would you rather have?" I ask, "a competent heathen or an incompetent Christian?" If God is really on the President's side, why does he have to campaign so vigorously? or attack John Kerry so much?
I came to my conclusions after trying to focus on what we know to be the facts, while attempting to avoid political spin. I realize it's not always possible, but I tried. And the biggest *fact* that I can't ignore is that 9/11 occurred on the President's watch.
I've conducted a poll of my own. It's highly unscientific, but you might find the results interesting. Before asking people WHO they plan to vote for, I ask them how much research they've done.
WITHOUT FAIL, the people who've done no more research than watching commercials on TV are planning to vote for Pres Bush. On the other hand, every one of the people who've read the report published by the 9/11 commission all plan to vote for Kerry. Moreover, it follows that the more independent research people have done, the more likely they are to vote for Kerry. Conversely, the less independent research people have done, the more likely they are to vote for the President. What does this tell you?
People who vote in the Presidental election (*any* election) should take the time necessary to research the issues for themselves and not simply listen to (one-sided) political ads on TV. For example, one poll shows that 62% of Americans still believe that Saddam has some connection to 9-11, a myth that has long-since been dispelled by the finding of the (bi-partisan) 9-11 commision. 62% of Americans still believe a lie, which tells me most Americans are POORLY INFORMED.
Even Cheney, who rode that lying horse (Saddam connected to 9-11) into the ground, admitted there was no connection in his debate with Edwards. I was surprised to see the VP finally dismount that dead horse. The fact that so many people are still pulling for Bush tells me that most of the nation DOES NOT KNOW the facts. This is frightening, because GWB himself is the nation's biggest threat to national security.
Will Kerry make a better president? Even if all the bad stuff his opponents say about him are true, I truly believe he still can't be any worse that George. I'm so concerned about the direction George has taken this country that I'm actually *praying* for Kerry.
There is a sticker stuck on the door to the SandPiper, here in Laguna Beach, that says: Fighting for peace is like f*cking for virginity. =) That's the thing that made me decide to blog my views on voting (which people usually keep private. I walked past the SandPiper on my way back from Wahoo's, where I had a couple fish tacos for lunch.)
If there's one thing everybody agrees on, it's that this election is about *negatives*. And George W. Bush wins that fight in a landslide. In other words, Bush-hates hate Bush far more than Kerry-haters hate Kerry. The President simply has much more to hate. And with that said, I think the nation will be most surprised this election about the youth vote. The are online. They share facts & ideas. Just watch & see what I mean.
Let me just say, before closing, if I could have my druthers for Pres, I pick that guy from Connecticut: Chris Shays. He is level-headed, talks straight, and makes the most sense of any politician I've heard. Arnold for VP (for the entertainment factor). Even better, Colin Powell (notice they are all Republicans). I have never yet voted for a president who lost.
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