The Electric Commentary

Friday, October 29, 2004


Okay, I started this a few days ago, but wasn't able to finish. Actually, I fell asleep writing it. I couldn't figure out where to cut off my disapproval of the current administration and ended up rambling a bit, but there you go. Everything in italics is old.

That said, I did the deed yesterday. Thank goodness for early voting in the city of Chicago. I was surprised to find the traditional punch-card ballots (that's not just on the South Side, Paul), and immediately thought about what a mess it would be today when thousands of people have to go through that process. I only hope it's a clear-cut race. The only thing worse than a Bush win in my mind is an outcome that is decided in the courts again.

Well, finally I have some time to endorse a candidate. Is Miller still running for president of beers? Oh right, they were disqualified by the citizenship rules.

Anyway, I have to say that I really hate this. I hate that I hate this. I hate that Paul and Ryan were only able to endorse not voting for Bush. I hate that Danny endorsed Kerry for two beers. Let's face it though, that's a lot more thought than many people will put into the process prior to pulling the lever/punching the chad/touching the screen on November 2nd.

I love my country and I hate being cynical about it. I've been Elsewhere and frankly, Elsewhere sucks. Well okay, there are some parts of Elsewhere that aren't so bad, like Denmark. God bless Scandinavian genes. For the most part though, we are the lucky ones. We have the luxury of single-digit unemployment. We have the luxury of worrying about whether or not we should have actually invaded another country and toppled its leader. When was the last time someone in Myanmar worried about that? People aren't even allowed to worry there. We have so much, and yet cynicism is rampant. Paying attention to any form of media may be enough to convince you that hope is waning and that the American Dream is a mirage. Looking at the two major candidates shows why we've been reduced to this.

Bush: In foreign policy, Bush has isolated us from our closest allies and set forth a dangerous precendent validating preemptive action. And he did all this based on poor evidence and an even worse PR strategy. He sold a war on its two weakest legs: WMD and Iraq's ties to terrorists. As business men, Bush's entire cabinet should have understood the risks and formed a solid mitigation strategy. However the most damning issue is the administration's inability or unwillingness to adapt and respond to the changing realities. Every leader, be they CEOs or Generals understands the value of gathering and understanding new information and then facing it head-on. Sun Tsu wrote: "The ability to gain victory by changing and adapting according to the opponent is called genius." That would make Bush's strategy the opposite of genius. Frankly, I have no confidence in the current administration's ability undo the damage it has caused.

Despite displaying strong leadership skills in the aftermath of 9/11, Bush's overall domestic policy performance has been an unqualified disgrace over the past four years. I have not yet found any indication that this would change going forward. Homeland security is underfunded, No Child Left Behind is in fact leaving entire school districts behind, and environmental policies have regressed. There are actually times during the week when there are a grand total of seven State Police troopers on duty in the entire state of Oregon. Seven. Bush has been running on the fear factor, but the problem is that I think he is partially at fault for the fear many people feel. He wants us to be afraid because he knows that when people are afraid, they vote for the known quantity.

Kerry: Vote for Kerry, he's better.

He's not great, but he's better. It's like the Avis advertisements. They try Harder, and apparently that's good. They don't claim to be the best, they just claim to try harder than the other rental companies. I view Kerry the same way. He's certainly seems smarter and I believe he will try harder to do the things that are really important to me, namely restoring our credibility in the world community, reacting properly and confidently in an ever-changing foreign policy environment, improving environmental policy, and restoring fiscal discipline. If you're really lucky, we'll get all that and a weekend car rental to offset the tax increase.


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