Monday, October 11, 2004

Flaming Liberal?

I've never considered myself a strong partisan. I'm a registered independent, and I like to listen to opposing points of view and make up my mind about things.

But this election cycle has spurred something in me. George W. Bush called himself a "uniter, not a divider" during the 2000 campaign. He was wrong. He has polarized the nation. If nothing else, he has inspired such ire, such revulsion, in ordinary, free-thinking people like me, that we are rising up and taking action. Well, at least I am.

I have jumped from centrist to left-of-center. This means I have given enormous amounts of money -- more than I can afford, frankly -- to John Kerry's campaign as well as to the DNC. I see young, idealistic people on street corners downtown saying, "Do you want to help get George Bush out of office?" and I can't keep myself from stopping and providing my credit card number. I spent some volunteer time at John Kerry's campaign headquarters. I attended my first rally: The NARAL March for Women's Lives.

I am so angry at this administration. It literally hurts my head to think of it.

I have watched all the debates thus far. George W. Bush is an idiot who can't string together two sentences without flubbing. For some reason, the American public seems to think that John Kerry's ability to speak foreign languages makes him less attractive as a political leader. A man who can barely speak English is preferable. Remember my past post about stupid voters?

During the first debate, George W. came across as moronic and uninformed. He was clearly annoyed and is not used to being challenged. If you dare challenge the administration, you are deemed traitorous. John Kerry wiped the floor with W., appearing presidential and calm, and commanding a solid grasp on the issues. W., on the other hand, looked stupid.

The vice-presidential debate was of a completely different character. Cheney and Edwards were both in solid command of the facts. Neither of them really answered any of Gwen Ifill's questions, of course, but at least they were generally articulate. Cheney definitely seemed strong and firm in his convictions, yet professional and decidedly boring. Edwards, on the other hand, came across as the personable one, charming, smiling and animated. Both were charicatures of themselves -- Cheney unlikeable in his woodenness; Edwards freakishly saccharine. Sadly, the substance of the debate was a little lost just because no one responded adequately to the questions, and Ms. Ifill failed to reign in irrelevant responses.

Wait, I'm sure "You may not reign in irrelevant responses" was a rule imposed upon Ms. Ifill. Still, it looked stupid.

The second presidential debate was relatively dull to watch. George W. did better (after all, he had no place to go but up), but again he clearly demonstrated that he's not used to being challenged. It was painful watching his face; he was clearly coached very strongly to avoid smirking or otherwise looking annoyed. After a season of "campaigning" -- i.e., picking out Bush loyalists for "town hall forums" which feature laughable softball questions ("I'm going to toss this very large beach ball to you ver-r-r-r-y slo-o-o-o-o-ow-ly....") -- he's clearly not used to having to actually answer the hard questions. Interrupting the debate moderator was classic. "No, shut up, I want to talk, so daggone it, I'm going to talk!" And the man was completely unable to come up with ANY mistakes committed during his administration. NONE. Admitting defeat is for "girlie men," I'm sure. It's all about the talk, and the talk is "we're never, ever wrong."

Don't get me wrong, Kerry didn't do that well, either. He had a few attempts to hit W. out of the ballpark and didn't pick up on them. He had some great points, though, so I guess he did all right. He really should have taken down W. on the Supreme Court question, though. Did W. really say, "I want them to like me because I want them to vote for me?" -- a man who had the presidency handed to him on a silver platter by a court rather than by the electoral college should not be making jokes like that. (By the way, did someone say something about being against "activist" judges?) And why didn't Kerry mention W.'s track record for judicial nominees already? Screw the Supreme Court -- the Supreme Court hears under 100 cases every year out of the thousands that seek their review. What that means is the real law is made by the thirteen courts of appeals and the handful of district courts, each of which also are composed of presidential nominees who are put there for life. W. has shown that he's prepared to push for placing radical, right-wing judges all over the judiciary. The Supreme Court is drop in the bucket. The lower judiciary is a bigger threat.

Oh, and Dred Scott? I may be mistaken, but that case held that slaves really were property. After a slave escaped his master, the Court ruled that he could be lawfully returned to his master against his will without running afoul of any right afforded to him by the Constitution. (Of course, this was before the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments, but still.) Did no one notice that the Dred Scott decision is actually perfectly consistent with the "strict interpretationist" crap that W. thinks is so great? W. just pretty much said the Dred Scott decision was a great one, since it read the Constitution for exactly what was there -- meaning that poor runaway slave was screwed. Since Dred Scott, most of the advances we've made toward civil rights in this society have come from the courts, not the legislature.

I'm frankly disappointed that the polls are still so close. There's actually a huge population of people out there who actually like the direction this country is taking: record deficits, net job loss, tax breaks to millionaires, baseless wars.

All I can say is, if worse comes to worst, I need to prepare to move to Canada come November 3.


Anonymous said...

Another decent blog ruined by ultra-radical political rhetoric. Such a shame . . .

Matthew said...

I'm in your corner, Dennis. I used to be centrist and am now, much like yourself, left-of-center, for many of the same reasons.

Take care.

p.p. said...

Matthew, interesting how we seem to like similar blogs. Dennis!, I totally agree with what you said in this post; but, especially about the Crts of Appeal. Kerry had free reign to wipe his ass with Bush's choice of nominees. And, what the hell was the Dred Scott comment about? The man is seriously fucked in the head.