Sunday, October 31, 2004

Time to commit: As my fellows have done, so will I. I don't think it will surprise anyone, but I'll tell you why I've decided to vote for Bush.

First, while I wasn't biased at the start of the campaign, I did feel that any challenger to Bush had to convince me why they deserved my vote. I needed to be sold, otherwise I was sticking with the president we've got. That hasn't happened.

The situation in Iraq is troublesome, indeed, but I was supportive of the reasons for going to war in the first place and I still believe there is a lot of good being accomplished there and a lot more to be accomplished in the future. So we haven't found the not-yet-smoking gun of WMD; that doesn't mean that Saddam wasn't a threat, it just means the threat hadn't entirely manifested itself. Terrorism was a problem long before 9/11, and I don't think John Kerry was unaware of the problem, nor do I think the Clinton administration is to be held at fault entirely. Our collective thinking on security hadn't evolved to take into account the type of attack we were hit with the next day. It's easy to look back today and see how wrong we were, but none of the presidential candidates in 2000 made terrorism a central issue to their campaign, especially not Bush who ran against excessive overseas involement and "nation-building." I agreed with him then, and I've changed my tune as well. No, we cannot go everywhere or oust every distasteful despot, but the events in the Middle East have a newfound meaning in our lives and I want a president who is willing to take the fight overseas when it is to our advantage. I've seen nothing from John Kerry, in his record during the cold war, during the 1991 Gulf War, nor during his campaign that makes me feel he is of a similar mind. Many others have made the same argument better than I can, so I'll just say that I believe Bush is capable of "waging the peace" (there's a phrase I never thought I'd use) despite the fact that it's been difficult to this point.

On domestic issues, they're like chocalate and vanilla - different, but neither one is all that interesting or new. I think David Hogberg's Libertarian Guide is a pretty good wrap-up of most domestic issues and Bush wins by his standard which is good enough for me at this point. While I'd like to hold Bush accountable on things like steel tariffs and farm bills, as well as his inaction on real reform of education, healthcare, or social security, I think Kerry would be worse. Meanwhile, there's war to win and that's a little more important to me.

I flirted with the idea of voting for Michael Badnarik, even as purely a protest vote that in my small way chastises Bush for his domestic failings and mistaken planning (though not nonexistent as Kerry would have one believe) in Iraq and falls short of endorsing a man, Kerry, I have little common ground with ideologically. But third parties that are so unorganized and full of internal squabbles, as the Libertarian Party is, are not worth supporting just because they won't win. The fact is, one of these two men is going to win, and I felt I needed to cast a vote with one or the other. There are a lot of thoughtful, learned, and nobly intentioned people who have decided to cast their votes the other way, and, though they may not believe it, I think I've heard and understood their arguments. Some I don't agree with, others I simply think are for a different time with a different set of candidates. In the meantime, I agree with another George, that for all his faults, it must be Bush.

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