I am almost positive that I will vote for George W. Bush next Tuesday. This does not make me very happy, to be honest, but there is no better choice (read: all the other choices are worse).
Here is my thinking.
Bush screwed up on the Iraq war by not having a real plan for the aftermath. That is plain. I wish he would admit it, because I think most rational people would take him on his word if he did. We know he made a mistake, he knows it, so why he continues to pretend that he didn't make a mistake is beyond me.
Bush had bad intelligence about the WMD in Iraq. Saddam, in his biggest shocker ever, apparently decided to destroy his stockpiles and then pretend he didn't (perhaps to use them still as a deterrant.) Everyone believed he had them. USA, Russia, France, Germany, John Kerry, Hans Blix (yes, I watched Hans Blix say that he belived that there were WMD there, but the evidence of his inspections told him something different). I am not sorry, though, that we went in. Saddam was a cancer on the face of the world and would have been a perpetual threat for as long as we have given him the freedom to do his own thing. He belongs in prison, and I am glad he is there. And, given all the same data, I would support the invasion again. Given hindsight, I would not, but we never will have hindsight in any decision, so that is useless.
Bush has the worst record on environmental policy in the history of the word environmentalism. I agreed with his larger plans, but he has allowed regulation and enforcement of many of the nations environmental policies to undermine them to the point that they are essentially facades of what they had been before he was elected. This is a big deal, and was one of the major reasons why I was considering voting for Kerry. I even wrote the Kerry campaign, asking them to tell me more of his enviromental policy committments, but alas, all that got me was on their email newsletter lists (somehow Moveon.org got my email too, so if you think they are not working together closely, well, there is the proof you are wrong LOL!)
So why am I voting for W?
First, look at Kerry. Kerry is anti-war. Anyone who doesn't believe that is ignorant to his history, or believes his constant retelling of his history. He spoke out against Vietnam vets and the war, calling himself and those he served with warcriminals. This is documented. He threw his medals away (well, not his medals, if you believe his current retelling; they were someone else's medals and he was only pretending.) I don't buy The Swiftboat Veterans for Truth BS, but what I have seen of his post-war activities convinces me that he is no more a warrior anymore than John Lennon. And I wouldn't have voted for Lennon either. Vietnam sapped any will for fight out of Kerry, I guess. The last thing we need, in the face of the only real threat to our way of life that has been upon us since the end of the cold war, is someone who is only pretending to be a warrior. Kerry is pretending. Face it. If he is elected he will pull us out of Iraq, soften our stance against terrorism, and allow it to grow again inside states that he will not interfer with. Afghanistan will happen again, maybe in Sudan, Syria, or of course, Iraq.
I have waited with baited breath for Kerry's Iraq policy. So far I have seen maybe 10,000 words on the subject, and let me summarize it for you. Kerry's position on Iraq is "I will do it better than Bush." That is it. When asked about his policies, he always presents a generality, followed by an attack on the president's record, followed by a statement that is roughly "I will do it better." That is it. If someone can show me some committments that he has made, please, do so.
Getting our "allies" to back us up? BS. Kerry would not have had to get allies to back us up, because he never would have considered invading. We would have continued with the same thing we did under Bush 41 and Clinton: if they go too far we would have used cruise missiles and claimed a minor victory. There is little doubt that France and Germany want Kerry elected. That is obvious. There is also little doubt that France was selling weapons to Iraq during the UN embargo, as well as participating in the corruption of the Oil-for-Food program. If you have not heard about this scandal, stop reading the LA Times or watching CNN for all your news.
The worst thing you can do in the face of terrorism is look weak. Reagan did this by negotiating for the release of the embassy hostages (arms for hostages), and the result was years of more kidnappings in Lebanon, marines getting blown up, etc. When we look weak we get attacked, at least until the USA changes the constitution to adhere to Sharia law. Bush was wiser and did not negotiate, and that ended that crisis--one of the rare victories we have had. Clinton was worthless. He would take action, as long as it involved hurling missiles from ships and not getting dirty. Under Clintons watch, 911 was planned and set in motion. 911 is Clinton's baby, pure and simple.
The fundemental difference is that I think Kerry really believes that terrorism against us is based on our policies. It is not. It is based on our position in the world (we are the strongest, more prosperous, and that breeds jealousy,) and our core belief systems that govern our nation. Terrorists think of us the same way that the judge thought of Bridget Biship in colonial Salam (witch trials). They hate who we are. They don't want us to change. They want us to be gone. And their blindness to the absurtidy of this goal is due to their belief that they have god on their side and cannot lose.
They are a real threat. A dirty bomb = economic recession at best, depression at worst. Their attacks are on our economy and the success of the 911 attack is evidenced in the economica state we are in today. Kerry blames our current economy on the president. That is a joke. If you had to blame a president, it would be Clinton that caused the crash. But that is wrong too. Wall Street over optimism caused the internet bubble to burst, and that drove us into recession. 911 exaserbated that horribly, causing it to drag out so long. Why are we not hiring? Why are so many jobs still lost (mine included) while the recovery is happening and we are no longer technically in a recession? Simple. Businesses are afraid of the next terrorist attack and the cost to their bottom line that will cause.
We will be attacked again. In fact, we can look forward to years of attacks. The question is how bad it will be, and where will those attacks happen. Right now, they are happening in Iraq.
Take away the threat of terrorism, and I vote for Kerry. He is a better peacetime president.
But we are not at peace. Not for a while and not unless we win some major battles against the terrorists, both militarily and economically. Kerry won't win the war on terror, because he won't fight. His words of war are a facade to get elected.
Bush will fight. He will make mistakes doing this, and it will be dirty, but the fight will be on them and not a defensive battle here at home. That is the main reason why he has my vote.