The Electric Commentary

Monday, October 25, 2004


Although our election of head of government doesn’t carry with it the political weight of party-line voting in a parliamentary system, the executive does have considerable power on the direction of government as a whole (agenda setting, party leadership, military functions, judicial nominations, etc.). Thus, our electoral system does, to a certain extent, allow us to hold our government accountable. Based on the notion of accountability, I am unabashedly endorsing the anti-Bush ticket, specifically John Kerry. With this in mind, I will be offering little in the way of “pro-Kerry” arguments and more in the way of “Bush is incompetent” arguments. You may ask yourself, “Is this really enough of a platform to vote someone into the White House?” Let me say unequivocally, yes, it is (which is why the DNC isn’t knocking on my door offering me a “strategist” position). My campaign slogan for Kerry: “John Kerry. He certainly couldn’t be any worse.” (which is why the DNC isn’t knocking on my door at all). Let’s look at few important issues, shall we? No? Well we’re going to anyway…


To echo a fellow EC scribe, “I am not averse to pre-emptive military action per se , but the justification for it should be well articulated and well supported.” A justification that could pass a “global test” perhaps? Different reasons were given for invasion at different times: WMD, democratic peace theory, violation of UN resolutions, imminent threat, liberation of the Iraqi people, connections to terrorism, connection to al Qaeda, nuclear proliferation, one could go on. First, let’s get put on our foreign policy semantics hats here for a second because without the imminent threat of WMD this was a preventative war and not a pre-emptive war. Second, while some of these rationales have merit, others do not, and third, even if one only uses the virtuous ideas, the way the war has been carried out is inexcusable: no overwhelming force (despite the much hyped “shock and awe”), ignoring the “Powell doctrine;” no plan to win the peace or an exit strategy, ignoring the planning by both the State Department and the Army War College; no allies (save our Anglophone brethren, which provides a nice civilizational fault line for all you Huntingtonites out there), ignoring the advice of fellow conservative foreign policy specialists like William Kristol and Robert Kagan who in a 2000 National Interest article said,

“The notion that the US could somehow ‘go it alone’ and maintain its pre-eminence without allies is strategically misguided. It is also morally bankrupt.”

This administration embraces a neoconservative foreign policy approach (although some could argue is has strong hints of realism, Cheney I’m looking in your direction) but has no clue how to execute, nor can it take criticism or reevaluate its ideological stance. “Staying the course” isn’t everything with Bush, it’s the only thing.

At Home

To see the true colors of the Bush admisistration, look no further than the tax cuts: heavily tilted toward the wealthy, damaging to homeland security, and fiscally irresponsible.
Bush once said that, “The vast majority of my tax cuts go to those at the bottom.” Big *cough* fat *cough* lie. Anybody use Quicken to do your taxes? It tells you the differences: 2% less for most of you, 3.5% less of you make over $200k.
No civilization in the history in the world has had a tax cut in a time of war; we’ve had three. Bush’s priorities are politically short-term motivated handouts to the have-mores, and neglect…well everything else.
Say you’d favor a more isolationist approach to the threat of terrorism: we could use the money to protect harbors, nuclear plants, chemical plants, etc. Say you favor a more internationalist or neoconservative approach: to again draw from the advice of conservatives Kristol and Kagan,

“…to create a force that can shape the international environment today, tomorrow, and twenty years from now, will probably require spending some $60-100 billion per year above current defense budgets….In a time of large budget surpluses, [that] should be politically feasible.”

Beside the aristocratic, and national security concerns, the cuts are a fiscal disaster. Larger deficits mean more government borrowing, a symptom of fiscal overstretch, which means there is less money around for investment. Increasing deficits will decrease national savings and increase long-term interests rates, consequently lowering incomes.
If Bush was a British Conservative, he would be a Tory (the landed, moralist gentry) and not a Whig (the free-market Thatcherites). While I don’t always agree with all of the results of some free-market capitalism policies, at least there is some empirical evidence to back it up. On the other hand, I can’t stand moralistic, nationalist rhetoric and policy, especially the sanctimonious rejection of cultural relativism and the resulting ideas spewed forth by Bush, Ashcroft, Wolfowitz and other right-wingers.
So to quote another UW Law Professor,

“Whether you like it or not, this election is a referendum on the Bush presidency of 2001-04. If you approve of Bush's presidency, and want to return him to the White House, vote for anybody but Kerry. If you disapprove of Bush's presidency, and want to send that signal, you have no choice but to vote for Kerry.”
So fit this on a bumper sticker, “John Kerry. He certainly couldn’t be any worse.”

On a side note, since the entire EC (I’m forecasting here) has endorsed Kerry (though Danny indirectly) could we now be written off as a “liberal” blog? As least none of us is based in Massachusetts, then our views would be damned for sure.

Read Danny's Endorsement
Read Paul's Endorsement


  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 2:58 PM  

  • Let's try this again:

    "a “global test” perhaps?"

    Uhh, no. Just a logical test will suffice. I still don't care what the French think of us unless it is to our advantage that they like us.

    Liberal blog? My reasons for Kerry were mostly libertarian. Just because Kerry has a lefty administration doesn't mean he'll be able to govern as a lefty. And frankly, Ahren made a pretty good case for Badnarik in the comments section of my endorsement. Hmmm...

    And for the record, I am a liberal... a Classical Liberal.

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 3:01 PM  

  • I sincerely hope that we don't end up labled as a "liberal blog." In fact, I think Paul's objective when he asked the rest of us to post was to get a variety of different viewpoints contributing. When it was just the two of us it was clearly a libertarian or classic liberal blog. You and those two other guys that never post were meant to balance us out. I certainly wouldn't quote a guy I described as Michael Mooreish to support anything. I think that Pauls reasons for supporting Kerry were by no means liberal by todays defintion of the word. Mine certainly were not.

    I saw a bumpersticker on my drive to work the other day that said "Kerry Sucks Less."

    For the record, I still like beer.

    By Blogger DannyNoonan, at 3:39 PM  

  • Also for the record, that "Let's try this again" refers to the deleted comment that you see above my first comment. Blogger wreaked havoc with that one.

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 3:46 PM  

  • I would also add that if Bush wins, Kerry's lack of positive features will be the reason. People tend to prefer "the devil they know" as the saying goes.

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 3:48 PM  

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