Teacher's Ramblings

A potpourri of education, politics, family matters, and current events.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

If You Are STILL Undecided???

A sum up of the issues that brought many of us to the same conclusion from Megan McArdle:

In the end, it comes down to how much risk the candidates will take. The Democratic policy on foriegn policy risk has been pretty much the same since McGovern: they won't take any. They bug out at the first sign of casualties, and go in only when the foe is so tiny that we can smash them without committing ground troops.

The Republicans take risk. Bush took on a lot of it -- and with it, the possibility that something could go wrong.

What does the country need now? Someone risk averse, to shepherd us through, or someone who will take bold action and possibly land us in a disaster? I think a lot of people have concluded, from the fact that Bush's risky move has gone wrong, that risk aversion is therefore the superior strategy. But that doesn't follow. Jimmy Carter running right now would to my mind be inarguably worse than George Bush for all his screw ups. On the other hand, Bush I would certainly be preferable to Bush II.

Unfortunately, I have neither Bush I nor Mr Carter on the stump to make my choice easy. I have the choices I have: between someone whose foriegn policy has been so risky as to be foolhardy, or someone who will not take the political risk of voting his conscience (whatever that may be) on the war; between someone whose commanding ability to chart a course and stick to it veers into pigheaded refusal to admit he's wrong, and someone who takes four weeks to decide on a campaign bumper sticker design. Above all, I have to guess how Mr Kerry will be in office, because the president doesn't have the luxuries of a senator or a campaigner; he has to decide what to do without the other senators to hide behind, and he cannot just go out and talk about his never-never plans when action is required. He doesn't get to skip a vote, and dithering could be fatal to a lot more than his political career. When something goes badly wrong in Iraq, will Kerry stay the course, because it's important, or will he take counsel of his fears, and his party's left wing, and cut and run as soon as he decently can? Daniel Drezner advocates a
minimax strategy, but it's not clear to me that Kery represents a win.

Then there's the question of what message electing Kerry would send. Does it make the world love us, because we got rid of the president they hate, or does it make them despise us, because we've just held a referendum on the Iraq war, and Bush lost?

Ultimately, I've decided to take the advice of a friend's grandmother, who told me, on her wedding day, that I should never, ever marry a man thinking he'd change. "If you can't live with him exactly the way he is," she told me, "then don't marry him, because he'll say he's going to change, and he might even try to change, but it's one in a million that he actually will."

Kerry's record for the first fifteen years in the senate, before he knew what he needed to say in order to get elected, is not the record of anyone I want within spitting distance of the White House war room. Combine that with his deficits on domestic policy -- Kerry's health care plan would, in my opinon, kill far more people, and cost more, than the Iraq war ever will -- and it's finally clear. For all the administration's screw -ups -- and there have been many -- I'm sticking with the devil I know. George Bush in 2004.

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