Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The Jeff Recommends: President

Given the huge number of people running for office out here, you have to get an early start on recommendations for the various offices. I’ll start at the top and work down. The choices should not surprise those who know me, but here goes:

For President, it comes down to the big two: Voting AGAINST BUSH or FOR KERRY.

Against Bush has a lot going for it – This administration is fouled up beyond all recognition. The economy remains craptacular, and the Dow Jones has taken up residence at the sub-10,000 level. Gas prices have settled comfortably at the 2-buck level, oil prices continue to rise. The war is continuing to consume resources and lives as we try to turn our fast-response army into an occupational force. We have not only become tolerant of the loss of American lives, we are getting that way with prison torture and beheadings. We’ve cheesed off most of our allies, such that one of the few groups speaking up for the current administration is the Iranians (Axis of Evil, anyone?). And then there are the open files – Anthrax and OBL and Plame Affair. And through it all, the administration response as been “Its not our fault.” The most recent example is the flu shot balls-up, a Bilandic Snowstorm of a screwup, which they saw coming in plenty of time and still dropped the ball. But they want you to know: Its not their fault, and only they are capable of fixing their screwups.

So there’s a lot to be said for voting against Bush. On the For Kerry side, there is the simple fact that the more I’ve discovered about him, the more I like him. Not in a “Hey he panders to my viewpoint” way or “I’d like to go drinking with him” way (He’d probably be the designated driver), but in a “Yeah, I can deal with him” sorta way. Part of it is the weathering the relentless bombardment of the other side’s noise machine, attack after spurious attack fails to work – Botox, Alex Polier, flip-flops, ribbons versus medals, “foreign leaders support”, his record in the Senate, votes twisted against him, rabid accusations made, lies told. And of course, the Swift Boat thing – ABC News committed an outrageous act of journalism by actually visiting the village where he earned his Silver Star, and (quelle surprise!) the villagers back up Kerry’s story. All in all, after these, he comes out looking better. He is not just merely good – he is most sincerely good. His positions seem rational, and more importantly evolving – he is based in the real world.

The debates strengthened this feeling. Both men were not only contrasting themselves to each other, but to the image that their opponents had created for them. Bush lived down to his rep, presenting different faces, all of them worrisome. Kerry looked, sounded, and acted presidential without being wooden or pedantic.

One last thing that showed up on the radar recently, in connection with his Senate experience. Kerry not only was involved in investigating Iran-Contra, he went after BBCI (Bank of Commerce and Credit International), which was funding a variety of illegal activities including (this was hot at the time) the Narcotics Trade. While the headline bad guys of the age were the Columbian Druglords, the BCCI also funded other quasi-legal operations, including handling the funding of one Osama Bin Laden. So, he was fighting OBL before it was even fashionable to do so.

So I’m going to recommend you don’t vote Not Bush, but rather vote John Kerry. I think its time for a “No More Excuses” president.

More later,