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August 10, 2004

What's Done Is Done

I took Moms to brunch Sunday in Culver City, she asked me what I'm going to do in November, and I've been thinking about it myself. Today the answer is, most definitely abstain.

There are a number of reasons for this but the one that stares me starkly in the face is that the best thing I can imagine George W. Bush doing, he has already done. He pulled the trigger on Saddam Hussein. He put our nation on alert to deal with terrorism from 9/12 forward. He put a nice tax break in my pocket in 2003 when I needed it most. He kept Greenspan who juiced the economy basis point by basis point until it turned around (mostly). But GW Bush does not impress me as a man with a plan for the future. He is running on his record and frankly, it's just not good enough.

On all the big issues, the President did the right thing except for the budget. I look at Iraq as a ground rule double that because of his speed and single-mindedness he stretched into a triple. If he would have found the WMDs, then he could have stolen home. But now Iraq is stuck on third. All Kerry has to do is bunt to score on Iraq. The big hit has already been made.

But on the little thing, the details that make the difference between luck and polish, I could go on with a surfiet of negative quibbles and bits. I'm not satisfied that he runs an open enough White House. He's less articulate than Puff Daddy. I think he's a pretty rotten administrator. He did nothing notable on the domestic side of the house but protect steel and fire O'Neill. He didn't fess up or crack down on the Plame leak. But there are also two big mistakes. He broke the budget and he destroyed Colin Powell.

Bush does not stand on the right side of the principles that I hold the Republican Party to primary of which is fiscal responsibility and noblesse oblige. That's more of a problem with the Party than with the man, after all, the Republican controlled Congress co-signed all of this spending malarky. But as the so-called leader of the Party, he should be held to account. My vote was for McCain in 2000 and the Party didn't deliver then either. It's tough being in the minority, but principles are principles.

I remain convinced that history will show Bush as a mediocre president, much maligned and deserving of little of the flack he's gotten over the War in Iraq. And I am even pleasantly surprised that as inimical as Ashcroft has threatened to be to civil liberties, most of us are OK. Most of his damage can and will be undone. Compassionate Conservatism turned out to be a big goose egg, but Trent Lott got pimpslapped properly. Arnold turend out to be the big winner for Moderates like me - even though I expect that complications will soon overtake him as well.

What stands out most in my mind is that the lesson of GWBush is that at no time should one vote for a president someone you think would make a nice president if things go the way you think they ought. Events always overtake the presidency and one ought to always hedge the bet, because omissions of skills at the presidential level always come back to bite somebody. More specifically, I don't want my vote going to somebody who is not some kind of Washington insider - the Executive Branch is too serious and complicated for that. And it is in Bush's mismanagement of that which I feel bears the greatest weight in my argument. Here is a man who has failed not only to win the popular vote, but to keep public opinion with him during wartime. How do you do that when Lee Greenwood is on the charts? How do you get your personality outshone by your VP, your political strategist and your house majority leader? Anyway, I don't want to beat up on the president, I think it's enough to say that I don't think he deserves another go 'round. He can't even answer questions about what oil is doing at $45/bbl and he's supposed to be an oilman.

Being a Republican, my vote was the president's to lose, and he's lost it. There's no way possible that Kerry can earn it. But there are two things a Democratic president can do for me.

1. Is put the Republicans in congress back on their toes and halt spending.
2. Undo Ashcroft's overzealousness by guaranteeing sunset provisions in the Patriot Act.

I expect little from either side this November, and I'll probably always be harsher on the Republicans, because I expect lots from them. It's a damned shame that I honestly believe that it will take a Democrat president for Republicans in the Congress to start getting stingy with tax dollars.

Now I'm sure somebody will be able to explain the economics of deficit spending with regard to economic stimulus, but don't forget whom you're talking to. I don't get government contracts. Throw me a bone and we'll talk.

Posted by mbowen at August 10, 2004 11:11 PM

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COBB COMMENTARY: What's Done is Done from Booker Rising
The moderate Republican will probably abstain from voting in November. He likes President Bush on Iraq, the war on terrorism, tax breaks, and Federal Reserve. However, Cobb says he doesn't deserve re-election because he doesn't run "an open enough Wh... [Read More]

Tracked on August 11, 2004 11:12 AM

Count Him Out... And He's Not Alone from Infinite Monkeys
Fellow Bearflagger Cobb reports that he plans to stay home on November 2. "Bush does not stand on the right side of the principles that I hold the Republican Party to [...] primary of which is fiscal responsibility and noblesse... [Read More]

Tracked on August 11, 2004 10:17 PM

Stay home! from Quae Nocent Docent
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Tracked on August 12, 2004 03:39 AM


An absention is half a vote for Kerry. And there's a hell of a lot President Kerry can do, whether the Republican (for now) Congress wants him to or not.

Then again, it's not as though Bush was ever in any danger of carrying California to begin with.

Posted by: Xrlq at August 11, 2004 08:55 AM

Even in foriegn policy there is a lot that only Bush can do, which kerry wont. I recommend your read



Posted by: Scott at August 11, 2004 10:29 AM

It's a damned shame that I honestly believe that it will take a Democrat president for Republicans in the Congress to start getting stingy with tax dollars.

Excuse me while I laugh.

Posted by: DarkStar at August 11, 2004 05:23 PM

If you are concerned about illegal immigration then why not write in Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo for president. Don't forget your matricula consular on electon day. ;-)

Dexter M. Duck

Posted by: Dexter M. Duck at August 11, 2004 07:46 PM

I'm not concerned about immigration. I'm only concerned that our internal third world doesn't get overtaken by the external third world. See I'm against the minimum wage. So I actually supported Bush's amnesty plan. I just think it didn't go far enough.

Plus, the more people who vote democratically the better. Republicans should be the ones they vote for first. But then again, some would like to give that all away to the liberals.

That's about as deep as I get on the matter, I still have to read Victor Davis Hanson.

Posted by: Cobb at August 11, 2004 11:06 PM

I respect your honosty, although I do not agree with you. In my opinion Bush could spend 3 time what he already has (I am not saying he will) and still have my vote.

This Presidential election comes down to one question, and one question only. Who is best equiped to finish the war on terrorism. For eight years, they had openly declaired war on us, culminating in the loss of more than 3,000 of our citizens ON OUR SOIL!

President Clinton sat on his hands. President Bush did not. I fear that a Kerry Presidency will take us back to the days of Clinton, where the attitude was, "If we don't address the problem, is there realy a problem?"

My other question for you touches on one of the other comments. For you to sit this election out will not make a huge impact on the presidential race here in Caifornia, but what about the other candidates and measures on the ballot?

Do you plan on staying home that day, of are you just skipping the top of the ballot?

Posted by: Miller's Time at August 12, 2004 09:12 AM

Oh I'll definitely be in the booth, I just can't think of an overwhelming reason to vote for Bush that isn't simply partisan.

I'm not particularly afraid that Kerry would fumble the WOT because I see it as an international police action which is primarily enabled via sharing information with multiple government spy agencies. I am not convinced that the career people who do those jobs are going to be whiplashed into a radically new direction by a change in the administration. Again, here is where Bush and events have already put the pressure on.

And now that I think about it, to be honest, I don't know how comfortable I am with Bush getting to create Homeland Security AND this new National Intelligence directorate. He's not the master architect of bureacracies, he was the governor of bare-bones Texas fer chrissake.

I have simply run out of enthusiasm for hyping Bush's future based on past performance. I need to see a new prospectus.

Posted by: Cobb at August 12, 2004 09:27 AM

I agree with you on a lot of what you wrote. My decision to vote for Bush this fall (I voted democrat in the last three elections), will be because I know how he will act against threats to our country and I have no clue how a President Kerry will act or even react.

Posted by: Dave at August 12, 2004 09:52 PM