I originally wrote the bulk of this in an email to a Bush supporter not long ago (okay, just seconds ago, I’m on my way to bed), but I thought I’d post it here, a last-minute voting day list of things it seems Bush has done and is for. the Bush supporter said they couldn’t get behind Kerry because he was too “wishy-washy” and maybe tomorrow night, when it’s too late, I’ll make a post about what Kerry’s clear stances are on issues and what his wishy-washy ones were. Or not. Hey, here’s a guess: I bet Iain will explain Kerry’s positions clearly before I do. He does pretty well. Anyway, here you go:
I thought I’d list a few policies and issues that Bush seems to stand behind, and you tell me that you do or don’t agree with them.Again, not really looking for a fight, just clarifications for the following:
Bush is against the Kyoto Protocol for reducing carbon dioxide emissions that may contribute to global warming.
Bush’s Clear Skies initiative REMOVED restrictions on polluting the air and water.
Bush supports tariffs on imported steel, increasing construction costs for all Americans.
The Bush administration has reduced America’s involvement in “nation building” in many struggling young nations, and Bush has said that “nation building” is not something he believes American troops should be involved in, either alone or as part of an international force.
Bush got rid of the Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty, has sunk a large portion of the American military budget into building a missile defense system that would be ineffective against anything except ballistic missiles, leaving the US open to attack from cruise missiles or missiles launched from a boat or land vehicle. The Bush administration has also begun researching the creation of new types of nuclear weapons (so-called bunker-busting nukes) while threatening to invade any other nation rumored to be attempting to develop or research the creation of nuclear weapons. (Which, in my opinion is wishy-washy.)
Bush pushed for inspections in Iraq in 2002 to try to find out whether there were any WMD’s or facilities capable of producing them, but then moved to invade before inspections could be completed. Post-invasion inspections have found that there were, in fact, no WMD’s or facilities capable of producing them in Iraq, and independent studies had concluded that the decade of sanctions on Iraq and diplomatic measures had resulted in the weakening and dismantling of Saddam’s weapons programs, but Bush and his administration have said that even knowing all of this they still would have carried out the invasion in the same way. (Which is, in my opinion, just stubborn. He is taking a stand, but I can’t see the point of it. Maybe you can explain.)
The Bush administration began its relationship with North Korea by effectively telling them that existing international agreements about how North Korea would behave were not sufficient, and that the US would require additional concessions from North Korea. (That is, he initiated bilateral talks.) Either directly or indirectly as a result of this position, North Korea began developing a Uranium enrichment program that may have led to weapons systems in the future, and Bush’s reaction was to label North Korea as “Evil”. Spanish troops (at direct US request) shortly thereafter violated a North Korean shipment to Yemen, further straining relations. Almost immediately after that, North Korea kicked international inspectors and equipment out of its plutonium enriching facilities and when the US pressed for multinational talks, North Korea insisted that the nuclear dispute was a matter between the US and North Korea (which it seems to have been, to me, considering that Bush started the whole matter by opening new, bilateral talks), but agreed to meet at multi-national talks. At the third round of multi-national talks, North Korea agreed to the international demands being put on it in exchange for aid from and normalization of relations with the US, but the Bush administration refused to negotiate. (It appears to me that they are trying to stick by their initial position that the old, peaceful relationship we had with North Korea, the one where they WEREN’T building nuclear weapons and had international inspectors in their nuclear facilities, wasn’t good enough, and that they’d rather have things become monumentally worse than accept anything less than what they asked for in the first place. Again, taking a stand, but without being reasonable or willing to make concessions in exchange for concessions from other nations. Oh, and on the other hand, it’s wishy-washy because he opened bilateral talks in the first place but now refuses to accept bilateral talks as an option?)
As you said, Bush is against gay marriage. Except that he’s recently changed his position from wanting a Constitutional ban on gay marriage to proposing a Constitutional amendment defining marriage and being between a man and a woman. AND he stated in an interview that he supports civil unions for same sex couples that under law would give all the benefits that marriage would give to opposite-sex couples. (Is that wishy-washy?)
Bush is not fiscally responsible. When Bush came to office there was a federal budget surplus, but by cutting taxes while increasing spending AND WHILE AT WAR (which apparently no president has ever done before – cutting taxes during a war), Bush’s administration, with the help of a Republican Congress, has created a massive federal budget deficit. Bush has proposed and signed into law acts which would cost taxpayer money to carry out, but he has done so without cutting other programs or increasing taxes or otherwise creating a way for them to be payed for at a federal level.
Bush pushed through a change to the Medicare system that, while creating a complex and confusing system of “prescription discount cards” with no underlying system, also freed pharmaceutical companies to shift the baseline of their pricing structure to cancel out the effect of these discounts, AND which made illegal the previously common tactic of combining private insurance with Medicare to help cover the portions of payments that Medicare would not cover, including prescription medications. In my own family the net effect of this has been that my grandparents can no longer afford to take the drugs they need, including pain relief for my grandfather with bone cancer and anti-psychotics and anti-depressants for my grandmother whose brain was damaged by multiple strokes. In addition to this, with the shortfall of availability of flu vaccine which the Bush administration was notified about over a year ago and which the Bush administration took no action to try to correct for until it became a campaign issue, my 73-year-old grandmother and NOT MY 77-YEAR-OLD GRANDFATHER was able to get the flu vaccine. My grandmother actually got the very last shot when over 100 seniors were turned away.
The Bush administration is very proud of the No Child Left Behind Act, which ties federal funding for schools to students’ ability to take standardized tests, but offers no suggestions or programs or funding to schools to get their staff and curriculum in line with the new system. In many municipalities across the nation school districts are having to create new taxes to pay for new programs to attempt to teach their students to be able to pass these standardized tests. (To my mind, this is like pointing out a problem and offering an ultimatum that the problem must be fixed and then turning a deaf ear when asked for guidance or assistance. It doesn’t seem right. Yes, American schools are failing to teach – but what are we going to do about it? Withholding funding doesn’t seem like a solution, it seems like a punishment. Offer a right way.)
The Bush administration has repeatedly asked for scientific studies only to throw out the results when it does not match with their policies. This has occurred quite publicly on issues such as stem-cell research, nanotechnology, and global warming, and less publicly in several other areas. (Personally, I tend to trust the scientific method over GWB’s firm stances; if new evidence shows that one has been incorrect, I believe one ought to be willing to change their stance, throw away their hypotheses.)
Bush called for an expansion of the exploration and colonization of space once, not suggesting any realistic means of funding such an expansion, or ever mentioning this idea again. (Wishy-washy, or prudent? I’d sure like to go to space, but if he stopped talking about it because he didn’t want to further increase spending without finding an income source to cover it, that’s better than his other positions seem to be.)
I keep hearing that during the Bush administration not 1 “net job” has been created, and considering my own experience and the experiences of people I know personally and online, I would certainly believe it. The recession that started a few months into the Bush administration and which was worsened by the events and aftermath of 9/11 are one thing, but the economy is still (by some indicators) getting worse. When the left-wing people emphasize that the unemployment numbers (which are dropping) do not include people who have been unemployed for so long that they can no longer claim unemployment benefits (people unemployed more than a full year, generally), I tend to believe them since I was personally unemployed for 21 months. When the left-wing people point out that many of the new jobs are at significantly lower pay than the jobs that were lost, I tend to believe them because I know the job I found four months ago pays roughly half what I was earning when Bush took office. When people talk about conspicuous spending being down, I can’t help but agree because as I was living full-time taking care of my grandparents and their property (including multiple small commercial rentals – retail shops that local people sold to the tourists from, and which we had no trouble keeping full and profitable from 1962 through 2001) I could literally see fewer and fewer people shopping, and then when the number of people shopping stopped dropping the amount they were spending kept dropping. People couldn’t afford to spend $10 or $20 on small items, and then after a time they couldn’t afford gas anymore either and stopped going up north almost altogether. When economic policy effects one personally in so many different ways, one cannot help but seek the source. This doesn’t cover my friends and neighbors and former co-workers and their problems in the Bush economy, but here, just say you’re for or against the way Bush has handled the economy.
I’m tired. I’ve got to sleep. I’m sorry if this was long and awful, but I’ve been talking to so many people lately about what’s going on. I could probably write an equally long email about Kerry, but … I doubt there’s a point. How could I change your mind? I’d have to know what you thought Kerry was “wishy-washy” about so that I could explain how he is or isn’t. And why would you believe me?
Sigh. To sleep.