Why I'm not voting for George W. Bush

Sun 31 October 2004 by Kevin van Haaren

you probably assume from the domain name for this web site that i’m some sort leftist liberal that would never vote republican, but the truth is the domain name is more of a joke, and I have voted republican in the past.

I voted George H. W. Bush and on other occassions in lower races. I’m a big believer in split government, the more congress, the president and the judiciary argue the less gets done and the less governement that gest done the better off we all are.

Of course, from the statement that I believe in less government one would assume I would vote straight rebublican, after all they claim to be for a smaller government. Unfortunately I’ve found this claim by the republicans to be bogus. The republicans aren’t for smaller governement, neither are the democrats, republicians are just for increasing the size of different areas of government than the democrats are (quick name a republican president that actually reduced the total number of government employees or spent less money at the end of their presidence than at the beginning.) So where the democrats might decrease the size of military and increase the size of social services departments, the republicans are for the opposite, decrease the size of social services and increase the size of the military. Unless of course you’re GW Bush, in which case you pass everything that’s presented to you (by a republican congress no less) AND ask for more and more money, AND cut taxes. All of which adds up to a fiscal irresponsibility that makes the typical American’s credit card addiction seem minor. Perhaps the President should enroll in a Consumer Credit Counseling service.

My next complaint with Republicans in general is their claim that they fight for the freedoms of American’s. Frequently they point to the “political correctness” crap of some left wing people, especially on college campuses. The republicans are raising an old issue from the 90’s that rarely occurs any more. Additionaly they seem to miss the fact that the supposedly leftist organization the ACLU fought these issues (the ACLU’s 1994 article on campus regulations about hate speech: http://www.aclu.org/StudentsRights/StudentsRights.cfm?ID=9004&c=159). Finally in a completely hypocritical turn about school students today are frequently being expelled or punished for wearing anti-republican clothing: http://www.aclu.org/LesbianGayRights/LesbianGayRights.cfm?ID=15675&c=106, http://www.aclu.org/FreeSpeech/FreeSpeech.cfm?ID=13913&c=87. And yet at the same time this leftist organization continues to fight for pro-republican issues too: http://www.aclu.org/StudentsRights/StudentsRights.cfm?ID=15680&c=159. Not to mention all the anti-free speech proposals/amendments the right likes to offer around campaign times such as outlawing flag burning.

And again the president has managed to take a typical hypocritical republican stance that the left is anti-free speech and taken it to the extreme. Expressing any opinion against the president brands you, at worst a terrorist, at best anti-american. Simply to attend a campaign rally requires signing a loyalty oath and wearing a Kerry/Edwards shirt will get you kicked out. So much for free speech.

Yet the anti-free speech stance of the Bush administration is nothing compared to the load of crap the Patriot Act put on the American citizens. The 9/11 commission has shown that the failure of the intelligence community in picking up on the plan to hijack planes and run them into the world trade centers was not in the low end finding out significant information, it was in properly analyzing and disseminating that information. So of course the response of the administration was to pass the Patriot Act which simply focused on making easier to spy and gather information about Americans, while at the same time removing checks and balances to ensure these expanded powers are used properly. Simply take a look at one of the first uses of the powers — Tom Delay asking the FAA to hunt down a plane of democratic Texas state senators that had fled the state to prevent a quorum being reached on the Texas redistricting plan (which was then thrown out by the courts anyway….) Oh heck no, wasting Homeland Security personnel on a personal political mission when they should be working on terrorist issues is not an abuse of power.

Additionally I think the Patriot Act will actually reduce the effectiveness in finding the next terrorist plot. In radio systems there is a term called the Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR), the signal is the part you want to receive, the noise is the unwanted static you want to get rid of. The more signal the better the reception and the easier it is to understand the signal. The Patriot Act will increase the amount of total documents to be analyzed, but assuming the amount of terrorist activity remains the same (an unlikely proposition at the current time in the US as I imagine most terrorists still in the country are currently trying to disappear until some of the heat blows over) then all the Patriot Act has done is increase the amount of noise (or non-terrorist documents) that have to be analyzed.

Additionally neither the Patriot Act, nor the president, has done little to increase the number of analysts, or provide methods for improving analysis (i.e. bringing on additional translators). All this adds up to is a set of laws more likely to be abused for personal gain while making actual findings of terrorists less likely. Yes, the democrats did vote for the Patriot Act, but it is the Republicans that are currently offering extensions to the Patriot Act that extend it’s problems not solve them.

Next up on my list of issues with GW Bush is his appointments. He appointed John Ashcroft as Attorney General. This is they guy who’s department has written such upholding of the American way memos as how torturing prisoners is OK. As passé as the comparison is, this guy is a closet fascist. As a resident of Missouri I’m one of the people that voted for the dead Mel Carnahan over Ashcroft. Only to have the guy appointed Attorney General.

Then there is Dick Cheney, who’s campaign methodology is to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt and scare you into voting for him. I’m not going to cower because he wants to tell scary bedtime stories.

Donald Rumsfeld who apparently thinks winning a war ends when the other side surrenders and then magically the defeated country will turn into a right-wing democracy over night. Way to go.

Thomas Ridge, Homeland Security. I’ve no real problems with Ridge, other than he seems to raise the terror alert level everytime there is bad news for the President. I don’t know if he’s trying to pull attention away from the bad news, or like Cheney just enjoys sowing the seed of FUD.

I think my primary problem with George W. Bush is his whole attitude towards the presidency. Actually I think it’s his whole attitude towards leadership. I think Bush wants to be in charge of things, but he doesn’t actually want to do the actual work involved in being in charge. Look at all the businesses he was invovled in, all failed, needing to be bailed out by daddies rich friends, except one. The one was when he was in charge of the Texas Ranger’s baseball team. And that job just inolved him being the front man, the glad hander. He wasn’t making real day-to-day business decisions.

This is the same way he does the presidency. Before 9/11 he spent over 40% of his time on vacation. All reports of his mangement style seem to indicate he surrounds himself with yes men and doesn’t want to hear any negative news. He refuses to read newspapers, claiming they’re “filters”. That leaves him with his news coming from the biggest filter of all — the government bureaucracy. Bureaucracies are great at passing good news up the line while covering up bad news. This means the President hears only good news from underlings, while bad news is covered up until it explodes. The end result is an uninformed President that can’t troubleshoot problems, only react to bad news that comes out at just the wrong times.

In 2000 Bush ran on a policy of not being a nation builder. I guess that’s one promise he kept — since 9/11 he’s invaded 2 countries but failed to build anything successful in either. Afghanistan is back in control of the warlords that ran the place into the ground (making way for the Taliban to take over) after the Russians were driven out. Afghanistan is back to providing a majority of the opium for the United States. Iraq is even worse off. Way to go Mr. President.