Political Games

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

With the American election getting ever closer, the political games will continue to increase. If we’ve managed to stumble about in naiveté for the last three years, now is the time to wake up, and smell the cynicism.

There have been a number of folk who have tried to generate discord in the “Anyone but Bush” solid front by questioning whether Kerry would be a good President. They say, what are the positive things about Kerry that would make him a good leader? After all, can’t elect a man just because he’s not George Bush, can we?

The hope is that they’ll pull the more liberal or seemingly liberal of us about and get us thinking that, why of course we shouldn’t vote for someone just because they’re not someone else. They pro-Bush camp is joined by Ralph Nader and his supporters in this effort to drain off just enough of the votes from Kerry to put Bush back into the White House, while giving Nader the ego boost he seems to desperately need.

What the parties involved forget is that for many elections, people vote for the best of a lot we don’t generally care for, making a determination that we’d rather have someone who is inactively good, than actively bad.

I am voting for Kerry and Edwards because, first of all, they are not Bush and Cheney. Even if Kerry spent the next four years, comatose at his desk and didn’t do a damn thing, he would be a better President than George W. Bush in the White House for four more years without the constraints of worrying about a future re-election. An unconstrained Bush is the stuff of nightmares. (Puerile humorous pun unintended.)

If Kerry just sat in his chair, contemplating his navel, he wouldn’t be attempting to work around the decisive support for ANWR (Alaska National Wildlife Reserve) by opening up the rest of the Arctic for devastating damage via oil drilling infrastructure (thanks Julie.)

If Kerry spent the time playing Solitaire, at least he wouldn’t be invading other countries on shallow pretexts, and then find a handy scape goat when things don’t go according to a badly thought out plan. Or inviting in big time financial supporters to change the course of the environmental and energy policies in this country, until such time as the supporter gets busted.

If Kerry and Edwards spend all their time traveling the country, appearing in nightclubs as a singing act called “The Breckettes”, hopefully they would fire that incompetent Ridge first, with his deliberate manufacturing of fear through vague and unspecified threats; not to mention thoughts of bloodless coups. Then some kid who happens to be the wrong skin color can go back to finishing his photo assignments without being arrested.

(By the way, I didn’t mention this earlier, but half of my photographs that will be appearing in the August issue of Missouri Life were of bridges. I figure this should help sales–all those brown skinned terrorists in this country, you know.)

No, if Kerry spent most of his time finger-painting on the walls of the Oval Office using ketchup, he at least wouldn’t be harrassing gays in order gain a few extra votes from those who like nothing better than to interfere in the lives of others. In the name of God, of course. Don at Hands in the Dirt had it right:

This was about election political posturing at the expense of a minority segment of the population.

And since Kerry is under threat from being denied religious comfort for being a leader to the people rather than a good Catholic, perhaps the righteous religious in this country will have to go back to practicing their religion, all that golden rule stuff, rather than trying to force the rest of us into their beliefs.

(Oh, and for those critical of Edwards and Kerry for not being present for this vote, be aware that the members of Congress almost always know how a vote will go before it happens. A favorite election year gambit is to use this knowledge ahead of time to make those who are running for office seem negligent when they aren’t available for a vote. Members of a party will actually change their vote on a measure to make the vote seem much closer than it would really be, just to generate bad publicity for a candidate. Yeah, I know: devious. And both parties are guilty of it. So take the cries of, “But they didn’t vote” with a grain of salty sand.)

No, I reckon a dead Kerry is worth more than a live Bush in office. After all, we thought a dead man was worth more than Ashcroft when he ran for Congress in Missouri.

But having said this, I think a live Kerry will do a lot of good. I think he’ll put back many, if not all, of the environmental protections we’ve lost over the last three years. I also think he’ll reduce the office of Homeland Security to it’s proper role, and roll back many of the paranoid acts that have been foolishly passed. Contrary to unfounded implications, I expect that he’ll be a strong leader in case of conflict, if needed; but I also don’t think he’ll go looking for a fight.

He knows that healthcare is an issue, needing more effective legislation than that foolish Medicare drug reform that just so happens to benefit yet more Bush supporters. He also knows that we’ve botched our handling of the military needs for the Mideast and will hopefully stop punishing the same military by yanking them about with little regard and even less pay.

He’ll make tough choices – like eliminating some of those tax cuts. Mario Cuomo did a brilliant TV interview this weekend saying that only the top 2% of the country really benefits from the tax cuts. The problem, he said, is that the top 20% of income earners think they’re in the top 2% income bracket. So about 18% of the people think they’ll benefit from tax cuts, when in reality the benefit is negligible.

Most of all, I think both Kerry and Edwards will listen to others, and be prepared to change their minds when new facts arise. Some people call this flip-flopping; I call this learning from experience, and being willing to admit you made a mistake.

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