Tuesday, November 16, 2004

I Would Vote Republican - Again

[In the time since I wrote this editorial in November 2004, I have grown so totally disgusted with the republican party that even the most outstanding and capable republican presidential candidate would would not inspire me to take a chance on him, that is as long as republicans still control both houses of Congress. Even if democrats were to gain control of both houses in 2006 or 2008, it is possible that I would still not trust even the most honest republican due to their collective criminal record in the last few years. That's a sad commentary on the present state of affairs in our American "democracy," isn't it?]

At least one reader is under the false impression that I am both a sore loser and a liberal democrat. I am neither one; however, I can see how Bush lovers would get that impression of me. I was going to set the record straight several days ago, before that reader [over at my original blog] made her comment, but then I got lazy. Now I am once again inspired to get my rear in gear.

Five-Time Election Loser
I have voted for the losing presidential candidate in four elections prior to 2004, but I never lost a moment's sleep in any of those elections simply because the other guy won (I did briefly debate the possibility of losing some sleep in 2000, but then, not yet fully grasping the extent of the disaster that is Bush, I quickly fell asleep anyway). Such behavior doesn't describe someone who has a history of being a sore loser. Let's look at it in a different way: What if Americans had elected David Duke, the former head of the KKK (and a neo-Nazi) as president? Would those of us who mourned his victory and had contempt for those who voted for him be considered sore losers? I don't think so.

[NO, I am NOT comparing Bush to Duke. I am merely using Duke for the sake of my "sore-loser" scenario.]

As for my being a liberal democrat, I'm not. I'm an independent. In fact, the first time I ever voted for a president, I voted republican. I later voted for Clinton in 1992, and then against him in 1996, choosing an independent candidate instead. In 2000, I voted for an independent candidate again because Gore was a completely uninspiring, pro-special-interests, career politician; while, his chief opponent, Bush, was (still is) supremely unqualified to hold such high office (and extremely pro-special interests, too).

Any Republican
I can define my present political values as follows: For the year leading up to the recent election, I dreamed of Americans getting a chance to vote for almost any republican presidential candidate except Bush. I even imagined (briefly) a scenario in which I would actually vote for the ultra-fanatical, dark-ages conservative Pat Buchanan over President Bush (like me, Buchanan has been [now seemingly was, since Bush won reelection] extremely critical of Bush's Iraq policy, not because he is bleeding-heart, liberal dreamer, but because the invasion was a world-class strategic mistake, and even an extremist like Buchanan could see it). If I absolutely had to choose between them, I would choose Buchanan. And that, my readers, is the true, down-and-dirty, absolutely ultimate definition of the phrase: ANYBODY... BUT BUSH!

For a person such as myself to contemplate voting for a radical nut like Buchanan shows just how terrible I believe Bush and his cabinet advisors/puppet masters are.

Two Favorite Republicans
My favorite candidate in either party in 2000 was republican Senator John McCain of Arizona. I have admired him greatly for the past ten or fifteen years, and I've wanted him to run for president ever since. I was extremely disappointed when he lost in the primaries (thanks in part to dishonest and unethical attacks by the Bush campaign and also in part due to the vultures in the media).

In the 2008 election (depending on how the present republican congress has handled the economy in the meantime), I would consider voting for either Sen. McCain or Sen. Chuck Hagel (R) of Nebraska -- if either one should decide to run. Neither one plays that insane game of supporting their party 100 percent of the time with blind and reckless abandon, a procedure which is so popular these days, especially amongst repulicans. As far as I can tell, they are both ethical politicians, too (as ethical as politicians can be). With them leading the country and the republican party, I would not be as worried about the self-serving influence of the religious right as I am now (among other things).

[Update: 8/26/2005: Senator McCain appears to have "sold out" on a number of isses in the past year (supporting Bush's reelection, "Intelligent Design," etc.), seemingly in an effort to appease the man with all the power. I lose a lot of respect for people who compromise their ethics on serious issues.]

Only One Favorite Democrat
Former three-term governor from New York, Mario Cuomo, is the only democratic politician that I have ever admired without any reservations -- at least among those candidates that were still active after I reached voting age. No other politician, from either party, can compare to him in terms of common sense and intellect. Why he refused seemingly endless requests to run for president, I'll never know; but I will always sincerely regret his decision not to run. You might read his new book Why Lincoln Matters: Today More Than Ever. It is actually a commentary on today's politicians (in both parties) rather than merely a biography of Lincoln.

Unproductive Insults
Americans should keep in mind that no president is perfect, no matter what party he (or she) is from. Some presidents are worse than others. In America today, supporters of presidents from both parties hide their candidate's mistakes behind partisan bickering. In other words, any criticism of any president, NO MATTER HOW VALID, is condemned as being nothing more than the selfish whinings of "sore losers" from the other party. Not only is that an insult to thoughtful critics everywhere, it is also one heck of a convenient way for any president to be a walking disaster area without having to face the consequences of his actions. It is not wise to dismiss the criticisms of a president just because that president is from your favorite political party.

One of the benefits of being an historian (which I am) is the fact that one can see when a president should or should not cause history to repeat itself. Bush, who is anti-intellectual and plainly proud of it, clearly doesn't know his history (a bachelor's degree in history should definitely be a pre-requisite for any presidential candidate). If he had known his history, he would have realized that Iraq was a disaster waiting to happen (and on a much larger strategic scale than just being "stuck there," although that, too, will eventually become an even worse nightmare than it already is). You don't need the CIA to tell you such a thing. That's just common sense. But let us say, for the sake of argument, that Bush really did know his history, yet he was still determined to engage our military forces in that disaster anyway (practically alone, as we are now). If that were the case, then he should have at least known the best way to try to win the peace once we were there (and there were a number of ways to do that, all of which would have been far better than the way he has handled it so far). But he was completely stubborn and completely clueless on that account also. The fact that he had only one cabinet advisor (Powell) who knew the real consequences of invasion also shows that he doesn't know how to surround himself with qualified advisors.

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