Please get out and vote this fall (and make sure that you vote for Gore/Lieberman)!
The decision on who to select to be President for the next four years is pretty clear. But the race is still distressingly close. Hopefully, as people focus on the issues, and see how scary George W. Bush is, the American voters will make the right decision.
But let's start with the positive. This is not at all a choice between the lesser of two evils. Al Gore is exceptionally well qualified for the position, and he would make an outstanding President. He's clearly a very intelligent person with a deep understanding of complex domestic and foreign policy issues. And among the major candidates, Al Gore is the one who, throughout his life, has demonstrated the highest moral character, personal standards, and devotion to serving his country.
Al Gore's positions are progressive and realistic. He recognizes the importance of maintaining the economic growth of the last eight years, and understands that this growth provides unparalleled opportunities to improve access to health care and education, protect the environment, and reduce the national debt. He will use the surplus that has developed over the last eight years to maintain economic growth and to create opportunities for those who have been left behind, while Bush would use the surplus on tax cuts in which most of the benefit would go to those who are already the wealthiest. Gore will protect important civil rights, including a woman's right to choose. And he supports sensible gun control measures. Al Gore is clearly the best candidate for the presidency of the United States.
George W. Bush
So what about George W. Bush? Electing him would be an absolute disaster. He's against abortion rights, he's against gun control, and he's against sensible environmental regulations -- all things that mainstream Americans support. His record in Texas is abysmal: environmental degradation has increased (Texas now ranks last in terms of air quality), Texas is next to the bottom in access to health care for children, recent studies have revealed major problems with Texas' education system, and Bush has overseen the execution of nearly 150 people in the short time he has been governor (many of which have raised serious questions about the fairness of the trial and/or guilt of the defendant). Now he wants to do for the country what he has done for Texas.
Plus, he has a plan for social security that he can't explain how he will pay for and that leading organizations of economists have dismissed as impossible (he has basically promised 1 trillion dollars to young workers for them to invest in the stock market, while that same trillion is promised to retired people to keep social security solvent). And his tax cut plan gives most of the surplus to the richest Americans who need it the least, while leaving schools, health care and other necessary programs underfunded, and crippling our ability to pay down the national dept (that was primarily created by his Republican predecessors).
The next president is likely to have as many as four Supreme Court vacancies to fill. This will allow a right-wing president to guarantee a Court majority that would overturn Roe v. Wade, strike down affirmative action, allow state-funded religious indoctrination in public schools, overturn environmental regulations, etc. Electing George W. Bush could have negative consequences that could last for decades.
Recognizing that he is not as smart as Al Gore, and not as experienced as Al Gore, and not as in-synch with views of mainstream Americans as Al Gore, Bush has tried to focus on the "character" issue. But George W. Bush is no poster boy for high moral standards, and the hypocrisy of the conservatives that support Bush is pretty amazing. Bush is a supposed "born again Christian" who uses profanity to describe a reporter who wrote an article critical of Bush's record in Texas. He used cocaine and drank excessively until he was at least 40 years old, and now pushes "zero tolerance" policies and mandatory incarceration for minor drug offenses (if he held himself to his own purported standards, he would likely still be in prison today). Bush has continually opposed affirmative action and "social promotion," but he has not been shy about using his family's wealth and influence to avoiding service in Vietnam, to get into Yale despite grades that would normally be inadequate, and to secure "sweetheart" business deals despite his purported lack of business acumen.
|"George W. Bush is probably the least qualified candidate ever to be nominated by a major party. What is his big accomplishment - that he is no longer an obnoxious drunk?" Ron Reagan, Jr.|
George W. Bush is simply not up to the task of competently leading the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world.
What about Ralph Nader? Not that there's a realistic chance of him actually winning, but some people apparently feel that they should cast a protest vote. Admittedly, he does have good positions on several issues. Like Al Gore, he's pro choice and for strong gun controls. Unlike either Gore or Bush, he is unequivocally opposed the death penalty, and among these candidates, he is the strongest on church-state separation. He is reasonably good on the environment, but ironically, for the "Green Party" candidate, he does not put much emphasis on environmental protections, and his positions are not nearly as well thought through as Al Gore's (it is telling that every major environmental organization has endorsed Al Gore rather than Ralph Nader).
On the negative side, Nader is against free trade and, strangely enough for a consumer advocate, he is against the right of Microsoft to design their products in ways that provide increased functionality and ease of use for consumers. The ultimate result of Nader's anti-trade, anti-corporation jihad would be a degraded national economy. Less profitable corporations mean fewer jobs, less investment in research and development and therefore less innovation, and fewer product improvements. And a slower economy means less tax revenue to support the progressive governmental programs that actually could benefit people.
But most importantly, a vote for Ralph Nader is a vote for George Bush. The Christian Coalition, the NRA and big polluters would just love to see lots of liberals and moderates voting for Nader. The race between Gore and Bush is far too close for right-thinking people to squander their votes on a candidate that cannot win. If you don't care about a woman's right to choose, if you don't care about protecting the environment, if you don't care about sensible controls on guns, if you don't care about maintaining a good economy, then go ahead and cast your "protest" vote. But realize that you may be directly responsible for 4 or more years of a George W. Bush presidency. Don't underestimate the damage that he could do.
Yikes! He's an isolationist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-choice right-wing zealot - a very scary man. Pat Buchanan gets this web site's official award for Worst Possible Presidential Candidate.
22 July 2005