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The Tally Ho

Monday, August 30, 2004

"The Real Issue: Bush Is Incompetent"

The Real Issue: Bush Is Incompetent is the latest piece by Richard Reeves. I orginally read his previous op-ed, "When Should We Get Out of Iraq" when I stumbled along his latest. In the intro, Reeves writes:
Whether you agree or disagree with the words pouring from the podium over Americans who see reflections of themselves in George W. Bush, the real issue of this election will not be mentioned. The core issue is this: Our president is incompetent. He is not a good president.

Let me count the ways:

Reeves lists includes the following:
(4) He campaigns as a champion of smaller government, but is greatly increasing the size and role of government. Ideological conservatism, it turns out, costs just as much or more than ideological liberalism. Conservative and liberal politicians are both for increasing the reach and power of government. The difference between them is which parts and functions of the state are to be empowered and financed. The choice is between military measures and order, or more redistribution of income. Money is power.

(7) He is diminishing the Constitution of the United States. Cheesy tricks like amending the great text of freedom to attack homosexuality can be dismissed as wedge politics. But it is worse to preach against an activist judiciary while appointing more activist judges who happen to hold different beliefs, particularly the idea that civil liberties are the enemies of patriotism, security and freedom itself.

(8) He has surrounded himself with other incompetents. The secretary of state is presiding over the rape of diplomacy and its alliances. The secretary of defense has sent our young men and women into situations they were never meant or trained to handle, and now they are being ordered into battle by an appointed minister in a faraway land. The national security adviser does not seem to know that her job description includes coordinating defense and diplomacy. And then there was our $340,000-a-month local hire, Ahmed Chalabi, sitting in the gallery of our House.

This is in fact the real issue as I see it. Why does Bush deserve four more years, and what has he done to prove this? They want to run on war against terrorism. But the DoD under Bush's watch we went Blind Into Baghdad, prison abuse at Abu Ghraib, and now the allegation that an analyst with ties to Douglas J. Feith in the DoD is an Israeli spy. Yet has anyone lost their job over these events? So today the Republican National Convention begins in New York and I am wondering what to expect from Bush and the RNC. I am sure that we will hear we must "stay the course" because we have "turned the corner" mixed in with anti-choice rhetoric and reasons why we supposedly need the a federal marriage ammendment. But underneath it are they not trying to convince the public that despite having an unimpressive and controversial first term that widened the divisions within our country after 11 Sept. 2001. So I assume that the case for reelection this week will be about proposing a broad new agenda for the future as opposed asking to be reelected based on the last four years.

More: I listened a bit of Guiliani's speech tonight, and the parts that I listened to it was about 11 Sept. and terrorism. I will watch more and read some of the ones I didn't catch at all, but my impression after day one and from what i read on various sites, it was about terrorism and security. To be honest I turned off Guiliani because 1) I was busy, but 2) said that Iraq was part of the war on terror.

Also I think the Kerry campaign, which for the most part I have thought has been good, didn't have a great couple of weeks before the convention. While I admist that I have been traveling some and occupied at other times, the Swift Boaters seemed to have dominated many media cycles and distracted the Kerry campaign from the issues they really want to talk about. I realize that Kerry needs to respond to the allegations and not roll over, but at the same time I think it took Kerry away from the issues they wanted to discuss before the RNC convention. This was also the first time in a while that I didn't feel sure that Kerry was going to win in November.


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