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My Opinion of the Moment

The Case for Kerry

On second thought, I think I'll have a president who isn't a moron. Gals, I'm voting for Kerry!This is it, the day before election day. This is the last chance to appeal to non-voters to vote, and to the persuadable to pick Kerry and a Democratic Congress. I haven't written a whole lot about Kerry in my blog, The Raven's Blog, because my focus has been on some specific issues like Republican attempts to steal the election, lying about opponents, lying about the war in Iraq, and abuse of prisoners. Even when I've said good things about Kerry, or about Democratic politicians or left wing media, it's been in the context of refuting Republican lies. Nonetheless, to bring someone over to voting my way it's not enough to show Bush is a problem, but that Kerry would do better. One caveat: on my blog I have details and links to sources to back up my facts. I can't repeat my whole blog here, so if for more information I refer readers there.

Kerry has been criticized for being the most liberal senator. That designation depends on what votes get counted, what years get counted, and it's a title that definitely can be twisted. Then again, he is liberal. For those who hate choosing between similar candidates, these two are very different. Conservatives control the entire federal government. Even if you're not sure what a liberal is or believes, it has to be better. If you're a progressive who, like me, worried that the Democratic party had become Republican lite, and indeed I supported Ralph Nader in 2000 and voted Green in other races, those days are momentarily gone. Thanks to the effect of Nader, the threat from the Greens, the insurgent campaign of Howard Dean, and of course the shock of Bush, Tom Delay, Dick Cheney etc., the party has moved left. If it's not left enough, then we still need everybody of every opinion who opposes Bush pulling together. If Kerry is the number one liberal, good.

I like to say a word about Kerry's scandals, but there aren't any. The best his opponents can do is twist his words or outright lie. Some hate him for opposing Vietnam when he got home, which he did and it's anyone's right to disagree, but he showed conviction not just in fighting but in telling the truth when he got home. He's accused of calling fellow vets war criminals, but listen to his testimony. He repeated what other vets told him, and made plain that's where his information came from. It seems that in that atmosphere, leading the protests took a great deal of personal courage, just like he showed courage under fire. Speaking of that, unlike Bush who just sat on 911, Kerry showed he keeps his head in a crisis. In the Senate, Kerry was part of the Iran Contra investigation, and though this caught some people in his own party, he investigated the BCCI scandal. I bring these up because I'm convinced Kerry is a scrupulously honest man. Character counts, and there's no question where the better character is. The best attacks Bush can manage besides trying to make liberal a bad word is to claim he didn't do much. In the last debate, he said Kerry had only five bills, Kerry claimed 56, and it took fact checkers just minutes to find 58.

Kerry is attacked for a reluctance to go to war. I think that's a good thing. Unlike the chickenhawks who keep wanting to start things, he shows the caution I've noticed in many combat vets who know what they're asking of soldiers. Kerry's focus on foreign policy in the Senate is good preparation for the problems that every president finds takes up more of his time than he anticipated, though this time Kerry probably knows that already. Domestically, I won't go into every plan Kerry has, but I will point out that he can think about complexity and detail, a quality infamously lacking in the acting president.

That's not to say Bush didn't make me an Anybody But Bush voter. There's no question Bush, not Kerry, is driving the high turnout this year. I listed broad categories of problems in the first paragraph of today's entry, and I won't go into details since that's what the rest of the blog is for. I will explain a bit so you know what I meant.

Bush's party is trying to steal the election. This attempted theft has come in several forms.

Lying about opponents has usually come as twisting words, like "global test" "sensitive war" in the presidential race. There's the tactic of saying something your opponent never said, like Minnesota 6th district Representative Mark Kennedy saying Patty Wetterling opposed the war in Afghanistan because she received money from a group which includes members who hold that opinion. There's the half-truth, like saying Kerry voted against some weapons systems without saying Cheney opposed them as secretary of defense. There's Enron-like accounting, like the number of times Kerry voted for tax increases. Last of course is the outright lie, like the Swift Boat Vets for Truth. All involve the repetition of the lie so it gets believed, or at least the public doesn't know what to believe, therefore assuming everyone is lying which is fine for those really lying.

Lying about the wars is easy to explain. They told us they did everything possible to stop 911 when they didn't lift a finger. They stonewalled the 911 commission and it turned out there was a lot to hide. They said Iraq was working with Al Qaida when it wasn't. They said there were weapons of mass destruction when there weren't. They pulled out inspectors when they were finding nothing and could have confirmed the charges. They said we have a big coalition when aside from Britain, a few countries have added token forces and that's it. None of that even went into the incompetence of how the war is being run.

The abuse of prisoners could be considered just part of the incompetence in running the wars, but it stands apart, and not merely because it relates to the war in Afghanistan too. We're supposed to be the good guys, yet under the Bush administration the U.S. has become a human rights abuser. Detainees have been tortured and sometimes killed in custody. The acting president has not merely turned a blind eye, but internal memos that have come out show the administration deliberately set up an atmosphere where the rules regarding prisoners no longer applied. At a minimum this constitutes malign negligence, ruins the country's reputation, and endangers Americans who are captured.

I know, I didn't go into civil liberties violations at home, education policy, environmental policy, health insurance, tax cuts, poverty, college costs, energy policy, the deficit, or lots of other issues. I can't go into everything here, but I can say to anyone who doesn't plan to vote that all this stuff affects you. It may affect you very directly. Tomorrow is your best chance to take matters into your own hands.

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