Just for fun, and coming off of a weekend surrounded by true-red Lefties, I decided to see how Reason’s reasons affected my voting decision.
1. The war in Iraq. In their world, Iraq was never a threat to the US, and that’s enough to make it to the top of their list. Nothing about the very real WMD evidence that’s turned up, the recently rehabilitated yellowcake intelligence, the ten years of daily attacks on planes patrolling the no-fly zone, the mass graves, or the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have not been raped, tortured, or murdered by their own government since the war.
J’s response: vote for Bush.
2. Abu Ghraib. They assert, without much backing, that the documented abuses there are merely the tip of the iceberg, and that widespread torture and abuse are the result of official Bush administration policies. Setting aside the contrary evidence that’s been very quietly reported, I have to ask: if this was official policy, why is it that a soldier assigned to Abu Ghraib not only blew the whistle on it, but his superiors then ordered a full investigation and courts martial, months before the media ever knew? Did they all fail to get the memo?
J’s response: no demonstrated connection to Bush, no influence on vote.
3. Indefinite detentions. Yup, there are some problems here, but sorting out the truth of the matter (including the reasons for the majority of the detentions) is non-trivial, and ongoing. More to the point, there’s not a shred of evidence that a Gore administration would have done anything differently under the same circumstances.
J’s response: “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.” No effect on vote.
4. The culture of secrecy. The government is concealing a great deal of information during a war. Some of this information has proven to be either trivial or embarrassing, and quite unrelated to national security.
J’s response: “Well, d’uh.” A lot of these ass-covering bureaucrats were just as inept when they worked for Clinton, and will continue to screw up for the next four years, no matter who’s elected. No effect on vote.
5. Patriot and its progeny. It’s bad law. Everyone knows it’s bad law.
J’s response: Most people realize that it’s a laundry-list of things that federal agencies have been asking for for decades, and wet their pants with joy when they finally had an excuse to get them. I think it’s highly likely that a Gore administration would have supported a substantially identical bill, so how is this Bush’s fault? No effect on vote.
6. The war on speech. The Campaign Finance Reform Bill stifles political speech, and Bush signed it into law.
J’s response: …and if you read his official statement about it, he makes it very clear that he considered it a flawed bill with some very real constitutional problems:
I also have reservations about the constitutionality of the broad ban on issue advertising, which restrains the speech of a wide variety of groups on issues of public import in the months closest to an election. I expect that the courts will resolve these legitimate legal questions as appropriate under the law.
Meanwhile, the bill was sponsored by two Democrats and two Republicans, passed the House 240 to 189, passed the Senate 59 to 41, and yet somehow it’s all Bush’s fault. No negative effect on vote; slight positive effect based on Bush’s public recognition that Congress passed a bill with some constitutionally dubious provisions.
7. The drunken sailor factor. The Bush administration has spent money almost as fast as John Kerry promises to.
J’s response: What, you thought Bush was a fiscal conservative? Slight negative effect on vote, outweighed by the likely consequences of electing another Democrat.
8. Cozying up to the theocrats.
J’s response: bullshit. The Christian Right largely seems to think Bush is a compromising pansy on the issues they care about most.
9. Protectionism in all its flavors.
J’s response: Yes, Democrats have proven to be so good at resisting the protectionist urges of threatened industries and labor unions. Mild negative effect on vote, but only until I consider the alternative.
10. He’s making me root for John Kerry.
J’s response: Funny, every time Kerry opens his mouth, he makes me root for Bush.