Democrats & Liberals Archives

Integrity, Above All Things

I don’t despair at Bush’s new lead. Not at all. This what we were told to expect, and what we could expect from a convention that revived the old mythology of Bush’s leadership. Despite the nervousness of some party members, I know one thing that gives me peace as I face the two months ahead- the truth of what Bush has done is on the Democrat’s side. Bush can speak of his persistence, but that persistence has been carried out to foolish ends, and we must remember those if our election is to be one carried out with integrity.

Pride in Bush's patriotism or admiration for his overt commitment to defense will not make our foreign policy succeed. His decisions will be the determinant of that. Iraq was a mistake. I'm not sure how you'd call it otherwise. We went there thinking that we faced an immediate threat to our shores. What we found was no such thing. Given that it was a pre-emptive strike, meant to take out an existing threat, the absence of that threat makes the war a mistake.

Bush could have played along with the public, acknowledged growing doubts, and by doing so defuse their anger towards him, but instead, he made support of this mistaken war a test of one's loyalty to one's country. This is the source of much anger among those who are loyal to their country, but not to this president. Why should we sacrifice our integrity by supporting a war we would have never supported in the first place, if we had known better? Senator Kerry did his duty in giving the President the authorization to go to war, given that two conditions were true- that Bush had researched the issue and concluded there was a danger, and that given this research, the UN council failed to act on it.

I don't fear for our chances in November, because I know that while my candidate did his duty and gave the president the ability to fight a war once he proved the threat, and inspections had truly failed, President Bush took the language out of the introduction of the authorization bill, and dishonestly posed that as the research he needed to do to go to war. Then, that having been done, the president did not allow inspections to take their full course. Kerry lived up to his duty once again, Bush failed to do what little he had to do, given his supposedly fearsome case for war.

I don't fear for our chances in November because the record of what happened in Iraq is plain for all to see. Bush can have his little apparent inconsistency in how Kerry voted, because what Kerry did not vote for was a direct result of Bush's failure to plan for the aftermath of the War. His people said all along that oil proceeds from Iraq would pay for the reconstruction. They said we would be greeted as liberators, that Saddam's armies would melt away before us, offering little resistance. They said we would have POWs from the Iraqi army to do the work of reconstruction too. Much of this information came from a source they trusted, named Chalabi. Chalabi told them what they wanted to hear. To bad what he told them was mostly untrue. Too bad he turned out to be a power hungry wheeler dealer, who sold us out to Iran when he no longer had our trust.

I don't despair because statistic prove that Bush's "economic improvement" has been a disaster. The Middle Class has been squeezed, the ranks of those in poverty have risen, average salaries are lower and wage growth is stagnant. He will be the first president since Herbert Hoover to have a net loss of jobs on his watch.

He can blame 9/11 to some extent, but 9/11 was a shock we've recovered from. What's really wrecked us is the burden of financial activities brought on by the weak opposition to corruption in the corporate culture. Bush's only solution to the problem is to create another bubble by telling people to spend more, consume more, despite huge problems with debt. Unfortunately he doesn't connect qualitative growth with quantitative, that as the business grow in the quality of their relationship with their customers and stockholders, that growth will create the growth in dollars people seek.

I can rest easy because the term fiscal conservative doesn't fit Bush. Bush has piled on one program after another, granted the largest entitlement increase since Lyndon Johnson, and created a higher deficit that the stereotypical spendthrift liberal ever could. How some people could call Bush a fiscal conservative boggles my mind. You cannot knowingly cut taxes three times and increase spending like he has, to the point where we are almost half a trillion dollars in deficit and call yourself fiscally responsible. Did I mention that he delved into the social security dollars, as he promised not to do?

I am confident in my party's chances, because I know this: Like so many trailers I've seen as an avid moviegoer, the Republican convention was a slick, wannabe hip, and more or less false in its representation of what it was selling. Perhaps it will get a good opening weekend, but as we Democrats remind people of what Bush has really done, the voters will see the diminishing returns we got for electing Bush in the first place.

So if you're looking for a campaign on the issues, we're game. We know what we got on our side- a candidate who has been good on his word, who sticks to his principles even when it doesn't look consistent to those unfamiliar with the contents of the bills and the legislative process itself, convoluted as it is.

Kerry has taken on the terrorist bankers at BCCI, when other legislators were too compromised to do it themselves. Kerry took on members of the Reagan administration who bargained with terrorists and Iran during the Iran Contra Affair.

The most important thing, is that if you listen, really listen to Kerry's campaign, when he makes the promises he does, he always qualifies things to say that if the facts go otherwise, so will he. We need a president who responds to world events by making the necessary changes in policies, not by denial, doubletalk, and demonization of his critics.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at September 5, 2004 4:28 PM