Thursday, October 28, 2004

Mr. Supply-Side Himself Goes REB

Jude Wanniski, who coined the phrase "supply-side" economics to champion Republican tax cuts as a way to stimulate growth, endorsed Democrat John Kerry for president, citing President George W. Bush's decision to invade Iraq.

"The one big reason why I will vote for Senator Kerry next Tuesday is that he is an internationalist, as am I," Wanniski, 68, told clients in a note on his Web site. "Mr. Bush has become an imperialist -- one whose decisions as commander-in-chief have made the world a more dangerous place."

Wanniski, a political economist who helped design the tax cuts Congress enacted after Ronald Reagan became president in 1981, said his vote for Kerry will be his first for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1964, when President Lyndon Johnson defeated Republican Barry Goldwater.

Wanniski supported Bush's 2003 reductions in tax rates for capital gains and stock dividends. Kerry, a four-term Massachusetts senator, said he'd use money raised by scrapping Bush's tax cuts for families making more than $200,000 a year to help pay for health care and education. A Republican-controlled Congress won't approve Kerry's plan to roll back those tax cuts, Wanniski said.

"Wall Streeters, who would hold their nose and vote for Bush, should have the luxury of voting" for Kerry, Wanniski said in an interview. "The fact is that for Bill Thomas, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the Kerry plan would be a nonstarter."

Jason Furman, an adviser on economic policy for Kerry, declined to comment on Wanniski's endorsement. Tim Adams, policy director for the Bush campaign, didn't immediately return a phone call and an e-mail seeking comment.

Wanniski is founder and chairman of Parsippany, New Jersey- based Polyconomics Inc., which "anticipates economic events and interprets how these will affect financial markets and the real economy," according to the company's Web site. Wanniski said he's still a Republican and plans to vote for other Republican candidates on the ballot.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Doubts About Kerry?

Got this email today, with the comment "all quotes are true. Google them and see."
I did. They are.
If you have qualms about voting for Kerry, this should put them to rest.

People had their doubts about the lanky, long-faced man, the lawyer turned politician. Even his friends admitted that "his ambition was a little engine that knew no rest." His first run for office was a notable failure.

In Congress, he voted repeatedly for big-ticket spending projects.

He was taunted for his nuanced dissent on the president's pre-emptive invasion of a foreign country, which he considered a threat to the Constitution. "If today he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent the British from invading us," he said, "how could you stop him?"

Certainty was not his strong suit. "I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go," he said. "My own wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for the day."

He changed his mind often, defending himself by saying "the man who can't make a mistake can't make anything."

Nor did he seem like a warrior. He had been an officer in an earlier war, but he wasn't eager to commit troops to the present conflict. "Military glory," he said, was "the attractive rainbow that rises in showers of blood."

He was married to a rich woman who "could not restrain a witty, sarcastic speech that cut deeper than she intended."

He could be stiff, even unemotional. "Reason, cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason, must furnish all the materials for our future support and defense," was his motto.

A modern campaign of slurs, spins and propaganda would have had no trouble painting him as a flip-flopper, a friend of big government, lacking in what it takes to lead a divided nation in dangerous times.

But you know what?

Abraham Lincoln turned out to be a pretty good president.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Andrew Sullivan endorses Kerry!

Andrew Sullivan has been one of the most high-profile advocates of George W. Bush in modern media. But he just can't take it any more.

This is a major indicator of just how many conservatives have felt betrayed and abandoned by Bush. As far as public-eye Republicans go, Sullivan's about a notch below Karl Rove.

Here's a key excerpt:

I should reiterate: I do not hate this president. I admire him in many ways - his tenacity, his vision of democracy, his humor, his faith. I have supported him more than strongly in the last four years - and, perhaps, when the dangers seemed so grave, I went overboard and wilfully overlooked his faults because he was the president and the country was in danger. I was also guilty of minimizing the dangers of invading Iraq and placed too much faith, perhaps, in the powers of the American military machine and competence of the Bush administration. Writers bear some responsiblity too for making mistakes; and I take mine.

But they bear a greater responsibility if they do not acknowledge them and learn. And it is simply foolish to ignore what we have found out this past year about Bush's obvious limits, his glaring failures, his fundamental weakness as a leader. I fear he is out of his depth and exhausted. I simply do not have confidence in him to navigate the waters ahead skilfully enough to avoid or survive the darkening clouds on the horizon.

The full endorsement is here.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Bush's CIA director: "War on Iraq wrong"

Recently-resigned CIA Director George Tenet is starting to speak his mind.
Read the full report here.

BENTON TOWNSHIP, MICHIGAN -- Although he emphasized that the Central Intelligence Agency boasts "tremendously talented men and women," former CIA Director George Tenet said it "did not live up to our expectations as professionals" regarding the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the search for nonexistent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

"We had inconsistent information, and we did not inform others in the community of gaps in our intelligence," Tenet said. "The extraordinary men and women who do magnificent work in the CIA are held accountable every day for what they do, and as part of keeping our faith with the American people, we will tell you when we're right or wrong."
Tenet called the war on Iraq "wrong" in a speech Wednesday night to 2,000 members of The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan at Lake Michigan College's Mendel Center. He did not elaborate.

Despite proclaiming to be "as forthcoming as I can," Tenet made light of a question about whether or not the United States made an error in committing intelligence to the search for nonexistent WMDs in Iraq rather than exploring terrorism elsewhere.

Tenet apologized for being rude but did not answer the question.

He did add that he doesn't think the Iraq war was wholly bad.

"When I look at the regime (Saddam Hussein) ran, and the elaborate depth he took to deny us the ability to build our intelligence, I can't say it was a waste," Tenet said. "I believed he had weapons of mass destruction. He didn't. At the end of the day I have to stand up accountable for that. In the meantime our nation needs to honor the commitment we made in Iraq."

Tenet was faulted in April's 9/11 Commission report for not having a strategy to battle terrorism before the terrorist attacks. He also took responsibility for a later discredited line in President George Bush's 2003 State of the Union address, which alleged that Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Africa. Tenet said the CIA had seen and approved the speech in advance, and he assumed responsibility for the error.

Tenet said that while the Iraq war was "rightly being challenged," the CIA was making important strides toward success in the greater war on terrorism.

Kentucky's REB Senator: "This administration cannot be trusted"

Will the last Republican supporting a Bush re-election please turn out the lights? It's beginning to sound like a broken record: One by one, the experienced and honorable leaders of our party are breaking out of partisan lockstep to endorse John Kerry. Here's the latest, from former Kentucky Senator Marlow Cook, published in yesterday's Louisville Courier-Journal:

I shall cast my vote for John Kerry come Nov. 2.

I have been, and will continue to be, a Republican. But when we as a party send the wrong person to the White House, then it is our responsibility to send him home if our nation suffers as a result of his actions. I fall in the category of good conservative thinkers, like George F. Will, for instance, who wrote: "This administration cannot be trusted to govern if it cannot be counted on to think and having thought, to have second thoughts."

I say, well done George Will, or, even better, from the mouth of the numero uno of conservatives, William F. Buckley Jr.: "If I knew then what I know now about what kind of situation we would be in, I would have opposed the war."

First, let's talk about George Bush's moral standards.

In 2000, to defeat Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. — a man who was shot down in Vietnam and imprisoned for over five years — they used Carl Rove's "East Texas special." They started the rumor that he was gay, saying he had spent too much time in the Hanoi Hilton. They said he was crazy. They said his wife was on drugs. Then, to top it off, they spread pictures of his adopted daughter, who was born in Bangladesh and thus dark skinned, to the sons and daughters of the Confederacy in rural South Carolina.

To show he was not just picking on Republicans, he went after Sen. Max Cleland from Georgia, a Democrat seeking re-election. Bush henchmen said he wasn't patriotic because Cleland did not agree 100 percent on how to handle homeland security. They published his picture along with Cuba's Castro, questioning Cleland's patriotism and commitment to America's security. Never mind that his Republican challenger was a Vietnam deferment case and Cleland, who had served in Vietnam, came home in a wheel chair having lost three limbs fighting for his country. Anyone who wants to win an election and control of the legislative body that badly has no moral character at all.

We know his father got him in the Texas Air National Guard so he would not have to go to Vietnam. The religious right can have him with those moral standards. We also have Vice President Dick Cheney, who deferred his way out of Vietnam because, as he says, he "had more important things to do."

I have just turned 78. During my lifetime, we have sent 31,377,741 Americans to war, not including whatever will be the final figures for the Iraq fiasco. Of those, 502,722 died and 928,980 came home without legs, arms or what have you.

Those wars were to defend freedom throughout the free world from communism, dictators and tyrants. Now Americans are the aggressors — we start the wars, we blow up all the infrastructure in those countries, and then turn around and spend tax dollars denying our nation an excellent education system, medical and drug programs, and the list goes on. ...

I hope you all have noticed the Bush administration's style in the campaign so far. All negative, trashing Sen. John Kerry, Sen. John Edwards and Democrats in general. Not once have they said what they have done right, what they have done wrong or what they have not done at all.

Lyndon Johnson said America could have guns and butter at the same time. This administration says you can have guns, butter and no taxes at the same time. God help us if we are not smart enough to know that is wrong, and we live by it to our peril. We in this nation have a serious problem. Its almost worse than terrorism: We are broke. Our government is borrowing a billion dollars a day. They are now borrowing from the government pension program, for apparently they have gotten as much out of the Social Security Trust as it can take. Our House and Senate announce weekly grants for every kind of favorite local programs to save legislative seats, and it's all borrowed money.

If you listened to the President confirming the value of our war with Iraq, you heard him say, "If no weapons of mass destruction were found, at least we know we have stopped his future distribution of same to terrorists." If that is his justification, then, if he is re-elected our next war will be against Iran and at the same time North Korea, for indeed they have weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons, which they have readily admitted. Those wars will require a draft of men and women. ...

I am not enamored with John Kerry, but I am frightened to death of George Bush. I fear a secret government. I abhor a government that refuses to supply the Congress with requested information. I am against a government that refuses to tell the country with whom the leaders of our country sat down and determined our energy policy, and to prove how much they want to keep that secret, they took it all the way to the Supreme Court.

Those of you who are fiscal conservatives and abhor our staggering debt, tell your conservative friends, "Vote for Kerry," because without Bush to control the Congress, the first thing lawmakers will demand Kerry do is balance the budget.

The wonderful thing about this country is its gift of citizenship, then it's freedom to register as one sees fit. For me, as a Republican, I feel that when my party gives me a dangerous leader who flouts the truth, takes the country into an undeclared war and then adds a war on terrorism to it without debate by the Congress, we have a duty to rid ourselves of those who are taking our country on a perilous ride in the wrong direction.

If we are indeed the party of Lincoln (I paraphrase his words), a president who deems to have the right to declare war at will without the consent of the Congress is a president who far exceeds his power under our Constitution.

I will take John Kerry for four years to put our country on the right path.

The writer, a Republican formerly of Louisville, was Jefferson County judge from 1962-1968 and U.S. senator from Kentucky from 1968-1975.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Another Governor goes REB!

[William Milliken was Governor of Michigan, 1969 to 1983. From the Traverse City Record-Eagle.]

Statement by William G. Milliken
October 17, 2004

As a lifelong Republican, I have had mounting concern watching this year's presidential campaign.

I have always been proud to be a Republican. My Republican Party is a broad-based party, that seeks to bring a wide spectrum of people under its umbrella and that seeks to protect and provide opportunity for the most vulnerable among us.
Sadly, that is not the Republican Party that I see at the national level today.
My Republican Party has always been a party that stood for fiscal responsibility. Today, under George W. Bush, we have the largest deficit in the history of our country - a deficit that jeopardizes economic growth that is so desperately needed in a nation that has lost 2.6 million jobs since he took office.

To make matters even worse, this president inherited a surplus, but squandered it with huge tax cuts structured primarily to benefit the wealthy and powerful.
My Republican Party is the party of Michigan Sen. Arthur H. Vandenberg who helped forge a bipartisan foreign policy that served this nation well and produced strong alliances across the globe. This president has, in a highly partisan, unilateral way rushed us into a tragic and unnecessary war that has cost the lives of more than 1,000 of our young men and women. In this arrogant rush to war, he has alienated this nation from much of the world.

What's worse, the basic premises upon which we were taken to war proved to be false. Now, we find ourselves in the midst of an occupation that was largely unplanned and has become a disaster from which we cannot easily extricate ourselves.

My Republican Party is the party of Theodore Roosevelt, who fought to preserve our natural resources and environment. This president has pursued policies that will cause irreparable damage to our environmental laws that protect the air we breathe, the water we drink and the public lands we share with future generations.
My Republican Party is the party of Lincoln, who freed an enslaved people. This president fought in the courts to strike down policies designed to provide opportunity and access to our own University of Michigan for minority students.

My Republican Party is the party of Eisenhower, who warned us to beware of the dangers of a military-industrial complex. This president has pursued policies skewed to favor large corporations in the defense and oil industry and has gone so far as to let those industries help write government policies.

My Republican Party is a party that respects and works with the men and women of the law enforcement community who put their lives on the line for us every day. This president ignored the pleas of law enforcement agencies across America and failed to lift a finger to renew the assault weapons ban that they strongly supported as an essential safeguard for public safety.

My Republican Party is a party that values the pursuit of knowledge. But this president stands in the way of meaningful embryonic stem-cell research that holds so much promise for those who suffer from diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, spinal cord injuries and other conditions.

My Republican Party is the party of Gerald R. Ford, Michigan's only president, who reached across partisan lines to become a unifying force during a time of great turmoil in our nation's history. This president has pursued policies pandering to the extreme right wing across a wide variety of issues and has exacerbated the polarization and the strident, uncivil tone of much of what passes for political discourse in this country today.

Women's rights, civil liberties, the separation of church and state, the funding of family planning efforts world-wide - all have suffered grievously under this president and his administration.

The truth is that President George W. Bush does not speak for me or for many other moderate Republicans on a very broad cross section of issues.

Sen. John Kerry, on the other hand, has put forth a coherent, responsible platform of progressive initiatives that I believe would serve this country well. He wants to balance the budget, step up environmental protection efforts, rebuild our international relationships, support stem-cell research, protect choice and pursue a number of other progressive initiatives that moderates from both parties can support.

As a result, despite my long record of active involvement in the Republican Party, and my intention still to stay in the Republican Party, when I cast my ballot November 2, I will be voting for John Kerry for President.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Republican Governor: I Can't Vote for Bush

From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Elmer L. Andersen was Minnesota's governor from 1961 to 1963.

Why this Republican ex-governor will be voting for Kerry
by Elmer L. Andersen
October 13, 2004

Throughout my tenure and beyond as the 30th governor of this state, I have been steadfastly aligned -- and until recently, proudly so -- with the Minnesota Republican Party.

It dismays me, therefore, to have to publicly disagree with the national Republican agenda and the national Republican candidate but, this year, I must.

The two "Say No to Bush" signs in my yard say it all.

The present Republican president has led us into an unjustified war -- based on misguided and blatantly false misrepresentations of the threat of weapons of mass destruction. The terror seat was Afghanistan. Iraq had no connection to these acts of terror and was not a serious threat to the United States, as this president claimed, and there was no relation, it's now obvious, to any serious weaponry. Although Saddam Hussein is a frightful tyrant, he posed no threat to the United States when we entered the war. George W. Bush's arrogant actions to jump into Iraq when he had no plan how to get out have alienated the United States from our most trusted allies and weakened us immeasurably around the world.

Also, if there as well had been proper and careful coordination of services and intelligence on Sept. 11, 2001, that horrific disaster might also have been averted. But it was a separate event from this brutal mess of a war, and the disingenuous linking of the wholly unrelated situation in Iraq to 9/11 by this administration is not supported by the facts.

Sen. John Kerry was correct when he said that seemingly it is only Bush and Dick Cheney who still believe their own spin. Both men spew outright untruths with evangelistic fervor. For Bush -- a man who chose to have his father help him duck service in the military during the Vietnam War -- to disparage and cast doubt on the medals Kerry won bravely and legitimately in the conflict of battle is a travesty.

For Cheney to tell the hand-picked, like-minded Republican crowds in Des Moines last month that to vote for John Kerry could mean another attack like that of 9/11 is reprehensible. Moreover, such false statements encourage more terrorist attacks rather than prevent them.

A far smaller transgression, but one typical of his stop-at-nothing tactics, was Cheney's assertion in last Wednesday's vice-presidential debate that he'd never met Sen. John Edwards until that night. The next day -- and the media must stay ever-vigilant at fact-checking the lies of this ticket -- news reports, to the contrary, showed four video clips of Edwards and Cheney sitting next to each other during the past five years.

In both presidential debates, Kerry has shown himself to be of far superior intellect and character than Bush. He speaks honestly to the American people, his ethics are unimpeachable and, clearly, with 20 respected years in the Senate, he has far better credentials to lead the country than did Bush when he was elected four years ago. And a far greater depth of understanding of domestic and foreign affairs to do it now.

Not that the sitting president has ever really been at the helm.

I am more fearful for the state of this nation than I have ever been -- because this country is in the hands of an evil man: Dick Cheney. It is eminently clear that it is he who is running the country, not George W. Bush.

Bush's phony posturing as cocksure leader of the free world -- symbolized by his victory symbol on the aircraft carrier and "mission accomplished" statement -- leave me speechless. The mission had barely been started, let alone finished, and 18 months later it still rages on. His ongoing "no-regrets," no-mistakes stance and untruths on the war -- as well as on the floundering economy and Bush administration joblessness -- also disappoint and worry me.

Liberal Republicans of my era and mind-set used to have a humane and reasonable platform. We advocated the importance of higher education, health care for all, programs for children at risk, energy conservation and environmental protection. Today, Bush and Cheney give us clever public relations names for programs -- need I say "No Child Left Behind? -- but a lack of funding to support them. Early childhood education programs and overall health care are woefully underfunded. We have not only the largest number ever of medically uninsured in this nation, our infant mortality rates, once among the lowest in the world, have worsened to 27th.

As taxes for the wealthy are being cut, jobs are being outsourced if not lost and children are homeless and uninsured, this administration is running up the biggest deficit in U.S. history -- bound to be a terrible burden for future generations.

This imperialistic, stubborn adherence to wrongful policies and known untruths by the Cheney-Bush administration -- and that's the accurate order -- has simply become more than I can stand.

Although I am a longtime Republican, it is time to make a statement, and it is this: Vote for Kerry-Edwards, I implore you, on Nov. 2.

When Bush Talks, Conservatives Cringe...

from the Providence (RI) Journal:

The conservative case for Kerry
Clyde Prestowitz
Washington, DC

As a former Reagan-administration official, registered Republican, born-again Christian, and traditional conservative, I am going to vote for John Kerry. So are many other old-line Republicans. Here's why.

While the Bush administration calls itself "conservative," its use of the term is frankly Orwellian. It not only deprives the word of meaning, but also presents the administration's philosophy as the opposite of what it actually is.

Conservatives have always believed in fiscal responsibility: in being sure you could pay your way and in providing for the future. Conservatives pay down debt, rather than adding to it. This doesn't necessarily mean balancing the budget every year, but at a minimum it means striving toward balance as a top priority.

The Bush approach is completely at odds with such thinking. If any proof were needed, it was amply provided in the president's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. With Congressional Budget Office projections showing oceans of red ink for the indefinite future, President Bush promised more tax cuts. His audience cheered.

Conservatives are often well off, but they understand that the best way to preserve the society in which they are doing so well is to ensure that all its members can survive at a reasonable standard of living. It was the conservative Otto von Bismarck, after all, who first introduced social-security programs in 19th Century Germany for just that reason.

Conservatives do not loot the Treasury or bet the future health of their society on the chance that the best-case scenario will actually materialize. They provide for the worst case. So a conservative would have expected that the president's tax cuts and promises of more to come would at least have been accompanied by plans for cutting expenditures.

That expectation would have been disappointed, however, as the president promised about $1 trillion of new spending programs that, given his tax cuts, can be paid for only with red ink.

Which brings us to a second fundamental principle of conservatism: small government. From the founding of the Republic until now, conservatives have feared the threat to liberty posed by big government. Conservative icon Ronald Reagan came to power primarily by focusing on big government as the source of most of the country's problems. But the Bush administration has presided over a steady increase in the size of government, as federal expenditure has risen as a percentage of gross domestic product, after declining in the late 1990s.

Conservatives have never been enthusiastic about foreign adventures or about messianic undertakings. John Adams made the point early in our history when he emphasized that "America does not go abroad to slay dragons."

It was the liberal Democrats Woodrow Wilson and John Kennedy who committed the United States to making the world safe for democracy and to "bearing any burden and paying any price to assure the success of liberty." These are fine-sounding words, but they are not the words of conservatives. Thus, when President Bush promises to democratize the Mideast, conservatives cringe. So much so, in fact, that several former high-ranking officials of the Reagan and first Bush administrations have told me that they are not supporting the president for re-election.

This is because they know that, administration rhetoric to the contrary notwithstanding, we are not safer today than we were three years ago. Far from destroying al-Qaida and cutting its alleged links with Saddam Hussein, we have made Iraq into a magnet for terrorists. Worse, there is a real possibility that Osama bin Laden could gain control of our ally Pakistan, with its nuclear weapons and operational long-range missiles. Safe? Not on your life.

Nor are we freer. Conservatives are nothing if not steadfast defenders of individual rights, rule of law, and due process. Yet the Patriot Act and the procedures at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere have visibly infringed on all of these. It is ironic that even as it preaches about widening the circle of freedom abroad, the administration is reducing it at home.

Before the current campaign, it might have been argued that at least in affirming the importance of faith and respecting those who profess it the administration had embraced traditional conservative views. But in the wake of the Swift Boat ads attacking John Kerry, even this argument can no longer be maintained. As an elder of the Presbyterian Church, I found that those ads were not at all in the Christian tradition. John McCain rightly condemned them as dishonest and dishonorable. The president should have, too. That he did not undermines his credibility on questions of faith.

Some say it's just politics. But that's the whole point. More is expected of people of faith than "just politics."

The fact is that the Bush administration might better be called radical or romantic or adventurist than conservative. And that's why real conservatives are leaning toward Kerry.

Bush I's Security Advisor calls current wars "A failing venture"

Brent Scowcroft was not only the National Security Advisor under George Herbert Walker Bush, he is widely credited with being Condoleeza Rice's mentor.

As quoted in USA TODAY and on the Associated Press wires:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The national security adviser under the first President Bush says the current president acted contemptuously toward NATO and Europe after Sept. 11 and is trying to cooperate now out of desperation to "rescue a failing venture" in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Scowcroft said the Bush administration's "unilateralist" position was partly responsible for the post-Sept. 11, 2001, decline of the trans-Atlantic relationship.

"It's in general bad," he said. "It's not really hostile, but there's an edge to it."

Early on, he said, "We had gotten contemptuous of Europeans and their weaknesses. We had really turned unilateral."

Although slightly diminished since then, the unilateralist policies remain fundamentally little changed, Scowcroft said. Recent overtures to cooperate in Afghanistan and Iraq with the United Nations and NATO was "as much an act of desperation as anything else ... to rescue a failing venture."

Save the Republicans, Vote for Kerry!

Andrew Sullivan shares this telling email with his readers at

I completely understand your frustration with the current administration and President. I too, am a classical conservative who feels completely abandoned in this campaign by the Republican platform, and am surprised how far right the dems have moved in recent months adopting so much of the opinions I find important. Although I still am hesitant to cast a vote for Kerry – I’m at this point abstaining out of protest – I find myself leaning much more towards Kerry than Bush.
Have you ever thought a Kerry election might actually save the party from the Fundamentalist Idealism that plagues the current administration? I think a witty slogan on your site might be: Save the Republicans, Vote for Kerry. Maybe a Kerry election will force the Republican brass to see they can no longer win national elections catering to their bigoted and close minded base, and thereby force them to adopt a more Reaganite approach to economic policy as well as finally dismissing its attacks on certain groups to enrage and engage this base.

Sullivan adds: "If Bush wins this election, on the other hand, all bets are off. "

Friday, October 15, 2004

It's Time for Bush to Get Worried

Excerpted from the Oct. 14 issue of Financial Times, a well-respected voice of fiscal conservatism. Frank Luntz is a pollster and president of the Luntz Research Companies. Key points to note are highlighted in this color.<

It's time for Bush to get worried
By Frank Luntz

The big story of the US presidential election up to Thursday was how few undecided voters there were. Now the final presidential debate is over, these voters have essentially made up their minds - and it is George W.Bush who should be worried.

If John Kerry is elected the 44th president, it will be because of a single night in Miami, Florida, when he came to debate and Mr Bush came to - well, no one is quite sure. The double-digit lead that Gallup polls, long considered an authority for presidential polling, gave Mr Bush after the Republican convention was fully erased by that fateful 90-minute confrontation.

Step by step, debate by debate, John Kerry has addressed and removed many remaining doubts among uncommitted voters. My own polling research after each debate suggests a rather bleak outlook for the Bush candidacy: many who still claim to be "undecided" are in fact leaning to Mr Kerry and are about ready to commit.

Can Mr Bush turn the tide in just 18 days?

Absolutely, but his candidacy must address voters who still harbour economic and national security concerns. But that requires a fundamental shift in the president's strategy and message. Asserting that the economy is strong and Iraq a success is simply not credible to the majority of Americans or to the stubborn 5 per cent who remain uncommitted.

The first thing Mr Bush should remember is to forget about using statistics to prove the economy is on the right track. Uncommitted voters, who tend to fall below the US average in education and income, just do not buy it. They feel squeezed by reduced employee benefits and higher prices. The president must articulate their frustration and, in the words of Bill Clinton, "feel their pain". But that is not enough. Mr Bush has explicitly to outline his plan to improve voters' daily lives.

From the "outsourcing" of US jobs overseas to rising budget deficits and spiralling costs of petrol and health insurance, America's remaining uncommitted voters want more "solutions" and less rhetoric. The candidate who offers more of the former stands a very good chance of winning. Here, Mr Kerry has the advantage. In the first two debates, he perfected an effective technique of agreeing with the president on the problems and the principles behind them but then disagreeing on solutions and execution. In all three debates, uncommitted voters preferred Mr Kerry's consensus-building style to Mr Bush's confrontational approach.

Mr Bush, to recover the voters he lost in the debates, must put the domestic policy debate in the wider context of the war on terror where he is still more trusted than his opponent. He has repeatedly missed opportunities to pivot from Iraq to terrorism, and he never effectively drew the link between national security and economic security. If Mr Kerry repeats his line that the president should not have chosen tax cuts over national security, Mr Bush should counter by noting Mr Kerry's lacklustre 20-year record in the Senate. That is a proposition that swing voters could readily sign up to.

On the economy, Mr Bush cannot afford simply to defend his record. He must offer hope for the future. As statistics do not work, he must talk about the economy through stories of real Americans employees, small business owners and family farmers explaining how a second Bush term would boost the economy. Outsourcing, whether Republicans like it or not, is the key economic issue of 2004. The Bush administration got off to a bad start by appearing to defend the practice as a beneficial part of free trade. While that may be good economics, it is terrible politics. The president's current response, to offer better education as the solution, is no solace to voters in swing states such as Ohio who have lost their jobs.

The president started well at articulating a Republican solution to outsourcing in his second debate when he said: "America must be the best place in the world to do business." But without more detail, he is just not credible. Better education is a start, but he needs to talk about how oppressive taxation, regulation and litigation systems are sending jobs overseas and how he can fix that. Another big issue is healthcare. Here, Mr Bush repeatedly scored points by focusing on how rising medical liability premiums are driving up healthcare and health insurance costs.

On certain key issues, Mr Bush would do well to position himself in contrast to the "special interests" in Washington who oppose reform. On education, on taxes, on energy as well as on healthcare, the president sits on the opposite side to such interests. If he outlines his plans for a second term, he could paint himself as the reformer to Mr Kerry's defence of the status quo.

Mr Bush was right to stop the angry, dismissive facial gestures that hurt him in the first debate. But if he wants to be the speaker rather than spectator at the next presidential inauguration, he will need to turn in a perfect performance every day from now through the election...perfection that has eluded him so far.

What's interesting is what Luntz considers Bush's last hope: running as a "reformer" and painting Kerry as "the status quo." In other words, run as a challenger!

I've got news for you, sir: George W. Bush is the status quo. There are entrenched special interests in Washington, all right, but any desperate last-minute attempt to reposition Bush as a "reformer" would only be a huge public exercise in hypocracy.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

WWVFJ: Who Would Vote For Jesus?

Originally uploaded by jazzbiker.
Let's face it: there IS a line when attack ads don't just hack away at the opposition, they tear into everyone's humanity.

latenightowl says
Excellent! I think this image deserves to be forwarded on to some of the folks who have sent me email lately. I get really tir... oh, never mind, you probably know the rant already.

robbrocolli says
he is alien to christian concepts... he just knows how to act 'holier-than-thou' and condemn others
nice one!

Patriotic Ben Atop Brasstown Bald

You can't get more patriotic than this, right? Taken at the top of Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia, and a heck of a climb, actually.

About No Child Left Behind

A Heart in San Francisco
Originally uploaded by jamison.
Mister President, last night (in Debate Three), you made multiple references to the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). In fact, you went so far as to say it's not just an education program, it's a jobs program.

If you believe in NCLB so much, then why did you UNDERFUND it by 28 BILLION dollars below the amount you promised?

Thoughts on Debate Three

Mister President, I hear you. When you say that there are reasons why you didn't extend the assault weapons ban, I understand. When you say "I hope it's not my adminstration's!" when asked whose fault it is for the skyrocketing cost of healthcare--I sympathize. I would hope that too...but that would be denying reality.

On every topic, your bottom line seems to be: That won't work. Trust me, we can't do anything more than what we're doing now.

Mister President, can't we try?

I'm no fan of Kerry's approach, which is to say "I have a plan" and offer little detail, if any. But why can't you present an alternate plan on issues--not a litancy of complacency? What's wrong with saying, "We've done well. But we can do better."?

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Another REB in the Cradle of Liberty

[This letter ran in yesterday's Boston Globe. When a member of the Republican State Committee decides to support a Democrat for the first time in his life, it's worth a listen.]

October 12, 2004
I HAVE been a faithful Republican since I registered to vote many years ago. I have been a member of two Republican town committees, a member of the Republican State Committee, and a state representative. I have always supported Republican state candidates.

Unfortunately, as to the national Republican Party, I have not deserted it, it has deserted me. The fiscal policies of this administration have been totally contrary to historic Republican conservative policies. The administration introduced a completely unfair tax cut favoring individuals with annual incomes over $200,000. That cut, coupled with the $130 billion cost to date of the Iraq war, has converted a $150 billion surplus, when President Bush took office, to a $500 billion deficit, which is growing fast.

The foreign policy of this administration has been disastrous. By refusing to sign the Kyoto Accords and the Test Ban Treaty, and by attacking Iraq without the support of the United Nations, we have lost the support of our traditional allies, except Britain.

After the administration attacked the Taliban in Afghanistan, we reneged on our promise to make that entire country safe. Instead of establishing ourselves in Afghanistan we pulled out some of our troops for the war against Iraq.

Invading Iraq was a great mistake because all the justifications for doing it have been proven incorrect. Since taking Baghdad, we have made every conceivable mistake, and lives are being lost every day. We are mired in an endless war with no plan for an honorable exit.

John Kerry has the requisite qualities of integrity, intelligence, and proven courage to be a great president. For that reason my wife and I are supporting a Democrat for the first time in our lives.


Sunday, October 10, 2004


Originally uploaded by tomeppy.
This says it all.

Eisenhower Endorses Kerry!

from the New Hampshire Union Leader, September 9, 2004

Why I will vote for John Kerry for President
Guest Commentary

THE Presidential election to be held this coming Nov. 2 will be one of extraordinary importance to the future of our nation. The outcome will determine whether this country will continue on the same path it has followed for the last 3½ years or whether it will return to a set of core domestic and foreign policy values that have been at the heart of what has made this country great.

Now more than ever, we voters will have to make cool judgments, unencumbered by habits of the past. Experts tell us that we tend to vote as our parents did or as we “always have.” We remained loyal to party labels. We cannot afford that luxury in the election of 2004. There are times when we must break with the past, and I believe this is one of them.

As son of a Republican President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, it is automatically expected by many that I am a Republican. For 50 years, through the election of 2000, Iwas. With the current administration’s decision to invade Iraq unilaterally, however, I changed my voter registration to independent, and barring some utterly unforeseen development, I intend to vote for the Democratic Presidential candidate, Sen. John Kerry.

The fact is that today’s “Republican” Party is one with which I am totally unfamiliar. To me, the word “Republican” has always been synonymous with the word “responsibility,” which has meant limiting our governmental obligations to those we can afford in human and financial terms. Today’s whopping budget deficit of some $440 billion does not meet that criterion.

Responsibility used to be observed in foreign affairs. That has meant respect for others. America, though recognized as the leader of the community of nations, has always acted as a part of it, not as a maverick separate from that community and at times insulting towards it. Leadership involves setting a direction and building consensus, not viewing other countries as practically devoid of significance. Recent developments indicate that the current Republican Party leadership has confused confident leadership with hubris and arrogance.

In the Middle East crisis of 1991, President George H.W. Bush marshaled world opinion through the United Nations before employing military force to free Kuwait from Saddam Hussein. Through negotiation he arranged for the action to be financed by all the industrialized nations, not just the United States. When Kuwait had been freed, President George H. W. Bush stayed within the United Nations mandate, aware of the dangers of occupying an entire nation.

Today many people are rightly concerned about our precious individual freedoms, our privacy, the basis of our democracy. Of course we must fight terrorism, but have we irresponsibly gone overboard in doing so? I wonder. In 1960, President Eisenhower told the Republican convention, “If ever we put any other value above (our) liberty, and above principle, we shall lose both.” I would appreciate hearing such warnings from the Republican Party of today.

The Republican Party I used to know placed heavy emphasis on fiscal responsibility, which included balancing the budget whenever the state of the economy allowed it to do so. The Eisenhower administration accomplished that difficult task three times during its eight years in office. It did not attain that remarkable achievement by cutting taxes for the rich. Republicans disliked taxes, of course, but the party accepted them as a necessary means of keep the nation’s financial structure sound.

The Republicans used to be deeply concerned for the middle class and small business. Today’s Republican leadership, while not solely accountable for the loss of American jobs, encourages it with its tax code and heads us in the direction of a society of very rich and very poor.

Sen. Kerry, in whom I am willing to place my trust, has demonstrated that he is courageous, sober, competent, and concerned with fighting the dangers associated with the widening socio-economic gap in this country. I will vote for him enthusiastically.

I celebrate, along with other Americans, the diversity of opinion in this country. But let it be based on careful thought. I urge everyone, Republicans and Democrats alike, to avoid voting for a ticket merely because it carries the label of the party of one’s parents or of our own ingrained habits.

John Eisenhower, son of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, served on the White House staff between October 1958 and the end of the Eisenhower administration. From 1961 to 1964 he assisted his father in writing “The White House Years,” his Presidential memoirs. He served as American ambassador to Belgium between 1969 and 1971. He is the author of nine books, largely on military subjects.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Kill first, blame Clinton later

Originally uploaded by ray.
[I promise to track down the proper attribution for this soon.]

30. Rome was not built in one term.
29. 4 more wars; we know what's good for you.
28. Saddam was bad, very very bad.
27. Kill first, blame Clinton later.
26. We don't need no education, just da Bible, da flag and da bomb.
25. Leave no crony behind!
24. Halliburton's hiring!
23. Lying about war is a family value.
22. It's what Jesus would do.
21. If it ain't broke, we'll fix that.
20. You don't want to exercise your democratic rights now, do you?
19. Liberals will turn you into a homosexual devil worshipper.
18. Who would you rather sleep with...Ann Coulter or Hilary?
17. Help us free the world, one illegal invasion at a time.
16. Don't have no healthcare? move to Canada or Russia.
15. We need a man who can act, not think!
14. We love diplomacy...unless the country can't defend itself and big money is involved.
13. Orwell was about 20 years.
12. Cause even your brother might be a terrist.
11. A vote for Kerry is a vote for Bush...we'll see to that.
10. Peace is for pussies.
9. Evolution is not part of our plan.
8. The rule of law, the Geneva Convention--that's so Old Europe.
7. Care about the environment--hug a tree.
6. Get rid of liberals forever, support the Patriot Act.
5. Admit it; we offer the best entertainment value.
4. Be skeered; be very skeered.
3. Better halftime shows, we promise!
2. Why settle for 1 boob, when you can have two.
1. What? You wanna go back to reality?

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Birth of a REB

A Picture Share!
Originally uploaded by doctor paradox.
On the Republicans for Kerry board, Mark notes that criticism of Bush policies isn't confined to liberal commentators.
There have been numerous conservative commentators cited here, I know, because I've been one that has cited them. I've cited George Will, Robert Novak, Pat Roberts, the Cato Institute, and the Heritage Foundation. Others on this board have posted articles by conservative commentators (did you miss the dozen posts on Charley Reese?) They have all been very critical of Bush's fiscal and/or foreign policies. I don't think anyone would characterize them as being "liberal media."

Many of us on this board have a very long GOP history. I have been a card carrying Republican for 25 years ... I voted enthusiastically for W in 2000, Dole in 96, and Bush 1 in 92, and Reagan. I've worked for a Republican congressman's local office, I've never voted for a Democrat for the House or Senate.

The fact is, coming to the decision to support Kerry has been difficult for many of us, because of our GOP background. So you can imagine how disgusted we must be at the the direction of our party, and the personal attacks on people who dare question the President or his failed and dangerous policies. I think you have to expect some venting here, many of us feel as if our party principles have been betrayed.

But it's not ALL anti-Bush ... personally, I support Kerry mainly because I believe he will help return us to sane fiscal and foreign policies. I am a deficit hawk, and I believe Kerry when he says trimming the deficit is a top priority.


This is where we compile quotes relevant to today's leadership crisis from prominent Republicans.

I will veto again and again until spending is brought under control.
- Ronald Reagan

To announce that there must be no criticism of the President is unpatriotic and servile.
- Theodore Roosevelt
Someone must stand up to those who say, "Here's the key, there's the Treasury, just take as many of those hard-earned tax dollars as you want."
- Ronald Reagan


I'm opening up this site for all the REBs out there. You can express your disappointment with our current President, and make it clear to the world that his performance and priorities in no way reflect true conservative values.

Deciding not to renew Bush's lease on the White House doesn't make you a Democrat. It makes you a truly patriotic American. George Bush is NOT going to drag the Republican Party down with him!