28 January 2004

Down With Conservatism! And Calobis Monkeys!


Time to delve into the political realm here.

I'm voting Democrat this year. I'm not a Democrat, but I am a Liberal, and frankly, I don't think Bush is doing much of a great job. I also don't think the Democrats have all the answers; not nearly. But I do think we need a new direction. Why?

1) Economy--Everyone is lauding the Bush Administration for this "huge" economic recovery we've had. I don't know the world about business, but I can tell you this: not everything comes down to a slowly rising Stock Market Index and low interest rates. Fact is, Middle America is suffering. I know--I live here. The Manufacturing Sector is in its worst shape in over 50 years. Layoffs are coming down in droves all over the place. People here (who don't really know about politics, they just stick to one party or the other because they always have), when asked about Bush's tax cuts, give him all the credit in the world. "Hey, got a $200 credit last year! Got a cut this year! I might not be around next year, so that works for me." Which is exactly the idiocy that makes people OK with Tax Cuts that never actually solve a problem. Most people don't understand what a dibilitating situation this deficit is really going to become unless we get it under control. Along with this we need to reevaluate our Trade practices. NAFTA has got to go, and Bush's New Idea with Mexico is absolute crap. If we can't get our manufacturing capabilities up, we are in trouble. As my friend T. Richardson Brown, Banker will tell you, we cannot have a steady economy based on services and working-class jobs farmed out to foreign countries.

So are tax increases necessary? It seems to me to be a temporary evil to fix a $500 billion-plus deficit and make some real changes FOR THE FUTURE. Now, if everyone would just f*cking listen to me and force Washington to institute a Flat Tax, we'd all be much better off. And don't give me any guff about Trickle-Down Economics, which is wishful thinking on par with Communism.

2) Administration--These people suck, flat out. I'm tired of watching Bush appoint Ultra-Conservative pundits to key positions. All this does is drag America further under the tarp of Christian "Morality". You don't think John Ashcroft is dangerous? I don't want uberSocialists appointed to these positions either, but I cannot stand this influx of zealots who are going to influence laws about how I should act.

As per this, I want to issue this challenge: Someone give me one good, solid, secular reason as to why Gays and Lesbians should not be allowed to marry. One.

I won't get started on Haliburton, as I had that conversation the other night, but I'll say this: you've got the Top Corporation in the World in this area, the best at what it does, and you're going to try to tell me that they landed this massive government project because they made a clerical error on their proposal, giving them only about 3.4% profit out of the whole deal? Please.

3) The War--I want to say this: I think Bush did an absolutely phenomenal job handling the fallout of Sept. 11th. No question, and the job he did should never, ever be forgotten.

I also fully supported Military Action against Iraq. Saddam was dangerous. The world is a better place without him.

Here is what I believe: I believe we knew that Saddam was not an imminent threat. I believe that so many Congressmen and women voted for the resolution giving the President the power to use force because they believed such would be carried out properly. I believe we should have waited at least long enough to give the world time to catch up to our intelligence before bursting in there, nearly unaided, and alienating ourselves from a global community--which we worked with for 80 years, orchestrating the end of the Cold War to establish a good rapport--in the process. After all of that, all the Shock and Awe, we've lost our focus on Afghanistan and Al Qaeda and they're regaining power. All because we had to do it right then. It just doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I think Bill Mahr put it best: "Why are we attacking Iraq when they haven't bothered us for twelve years? Isn't Al Qaeda the real threat right now? Why aren't we doing more in Afghanistan? It's like saying you lost your keys in the living room, but you're going to look for them in the garage because the lighting is better."

On a related topic, this Terror Alert System is mostly a sham. It's is merely a blanket under which this Administration wants us to crawl so we believe we need them to make everything OK for us. Honestly, when they raise the color from Yellow to Orange, do you take extra precautions? Al Qaeda continues to attack American interests overseas and I seriously doubt that another attack at home will be thwarted because we see a damn Red Bar on the screen.

4) I just mentioned this elsewhere, but add to this that Environmental Standards have been relaxed nationwide, we still have the worst Health Care system in the civilized world, our urban public school systems are decrepit, our Civil Liberties are being threatened by the Patriot Act, and in the middle of an international crisis, we are talking about going to the Moon.

Do I think the Dems can solve all of our problems? Of course not. I just think that we need to focus more on Homeland issues, get our troops the hell out of Iraq (turning the rebuilding process over to the international community), and start to move in another direction. No one is going to cure all of the ills that wear our country down, but I do think we can move in a much better direction. That said, I'll rank the candidates as to what I think of them right now:

1. John Edwards--I like not only the things he says but the way he says them. I like the fact that he is trying to take issues away from the current Administration and fight on his own ground. He doesn't seem to be influenced by special interests. I also like the fact that he's not a career politician. He's very well-versed on the issues (and no, I don't really find the Defense of Marriage Act to be much of an issue right now) and has an all-encompassing platform. His social ideas worry me a little, as they're...well, a bit Socialist, but he makes a good point: humans are fallible. It's nice to hang to the theory that the rich get richer and the poor are out of luck, and in a perfect world we could overcome that, but in a real world society you can't have 7% of the population owning 93% of the wealth. I believe there is a way to resolve this as fairly as possible while not only providing affordable Heathcare for every American but also weaning people the hell off of Welfare.

2. John Kerry--I have him neck-and-neck with Edwards, but what bothers me is his constant chastising of "this President". You can't blame it all on one guy; it's an entire Administration. He seems to be making this a much more personal battle than it needs to be. But someone asked me how anyone in the Military could respect any of these Democratic candidates. Well, aside form others with qualified credentials, Kerry is a War Hero and well-decorated Veteran. George Bush conveniently slid through the cracks of the draft by signing up with the Texas National Guard and then never reported for duty. Who should respect whom?

3. Howard Dean--I like this guy a lot as a person. I think it's great that someone says what he means all the time. I think it's great that he went nuts at a rally of his supporters and campaign workers after they finished third in Iowa. I don't think he has a temper problem. But there are three issues. First, he has no idea about foreign policy. None. Second, running the entire country is a bit different than running the relatively sheltered state of Vermont. Third, I don't want a President that runs on emotion as fervently. He scares me. I don't want a President hat runs on so much gut.

4. Joe Leiberman--I like this guy a lot too as a person. I can't argue with a lot of his politics. This is a sh*tty reason to have him fourth, but God's honest truth, I just can't see him as President. It's that simple. I don't think he's very strong on economics, either, or at least he doesn't address the issue enough.

5. Wesley Clark--Has really slipped in my opinion recently. He's well-spoken and any General has qualities you want in a President. However, he didn't distance himself from crackhe...er, filmmaker Michael Moore when he endorsed Clark, calling Bush a "deserter" in the same sentence. Big mistake, as that moniker is off base at best. He also is strictly a one-issue candidate. Maybe in 8-12 years he can figure out exactly what he believes and run again with better success.

6. Dennis Kucinich--Another one-issue Candidate. His only concern is American jobs. No foreign policy. You can't do that.

7. Al Sharpton--I have to say I have a newfound respect for Al. In the debate before the Iowa Caucuses he was very impressive. He answered every single question that came his way and didn't dodge anything. He's a smart guy. Unfortunately, he's overzealous on the race issue and doesn't have a clue about anything else. He can host the f*ck out of Saturday Night Live though, huh?

Again, I believe Edwards or Kerry could lead this country in a better direction. Hey, maybe George Bush is the most honest guy in the world and he has great intentions and has done a great job. I also don't believe that either of these guys will win against Bush. What I believe Bush has done a remarkable job of is keeping the American shee...er, people glued to him, thinking they need him to survive and to keep our country safe at any expense.

I just personally don't buy any of that, and damn, I wish Colin Powell would just get off his ass and run.