Thursday, October 28, 2004

The Final Word

October 28, 2004

I've spent a lot of this semester attacking George Bush and openly pushing my own agenda: change. I've been frank about that, and I've always encouraged my readership to go find out more for themselves, because I can only tell you what I think of what I've seen. You have to read the Taguba Report or the 9/11 Commission Report for yourself to know what you think of what they say and to know when a journalist or politician is misrepresenting their conclusions to support a partisan point. Unless you know the facts, you cannot see the spin. Here are some facts.

Bush's economic policies are crippling, and any economics student knows it. America has the highest deficit ever. Ever. And it's climbing. Bush has cut taxes and increased spending. He continues to borrow money from the Social Security fund. There is no plan to stop this trend, and he justifies it by the fact that we're at war. You know who will pay that? You. Me. Our kids. Through high taxes, cuts in government assistance (e.g. scholarships) or both. Kerry wants to repeal the tax cuts to the wealthy, which will replace a sizeable chunk of the revenue Bush lost. He also intends to reinstitute the "pay-as-you-go" policy that helped lead to the surplus of the late nineties.

But my main complaint is that Bush's administration has been dishonest with the American people at every step of the way. In the wake of 9-11, he had a country as united as it has ever been, and he has used that trust as a partisan bludgeon. Bush misrepresented the number and quality of stem cell lines that would remain available for researchers.

In his prescription drug bill, Bush pushed a private-sector plan that provided less coverage at higher cost than a Medicare plan would have. It was only after Republicans held the vote open for more than three additional hours to wedge the bill through (a theretofore absolutely unheard of procedural irregularity) that they admitted it would cost more than $125 billion more than they had initially claimed. The Republicans have attacked their critics as enemy sympathizers, and now they're regularly disseminating press releases smearing specific reporters by name.

And then of course, there's the dishonesty surrounding every aspect of the war. Bush has lost all credibility with anyone who does not follow him blindly, and I'm sad to say there are enough who do so that this is actually going to be a close race.

And Bush is squelching dissent. I've read of more than a hundred people who have been ejected from Bush rallies for something as simple as a pro-choice shirt or a Kerry-for-President button. One woman, Nicole Rank, actually lost her job with the Federal Emergency Management Agency two days after she and her husband were arrested for trying to attend a Bush rally in anti-Bush shirts. This is another sneaky shot in the publicity war, but this one's actually dangerous. Bush only gets filmed in front of universally supportive audiences, while Theresa Heinz-Kerry gets bad press for telling hecklers who were actually trying to drown her out to "shove it." This is just another example of the politically-motivated violations of free speech Bush has committed.

I cast my vote for John Kerry on Saturday, for those of you wondering, and I still say he'll win unless Bush declares martial law or interferes with the elections. I'd like to close this week with a quote from the great Robert A. Heinlein: "If you are part of a society that votes, then do so. There may be no candidates and no measures you want to vote for but there are certain to be ones you want to vote against. In case of doubt, vote against. By this rule you will rarely go wrong."

Send your election predictions, suggestions, or half-sane rantings to my new address, saucefiller@gmail.com.

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