Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Politics and another bayonim challenge

Note: I am going to write about politics for a few days. If this causes you displeasure, I apologize, and hope that you will please take this opportunity to enjoy some of my previous posts, posts I am sure you will enjoy. We'll go back to blogging about the Jewish condition next Sunday.
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I am a swing voter. (Yes, even in politics I am a man in the middle) I voted for Bush in 2000, but I've turned against him. Back in 2000, Bush seemed like a decent enough fellow, and there was something about him that seemed grounded and trustworthy.

Now, four years later, I am alarmed by his administration's attacks on civil liberties, by the poorly planned and poorly executed war, by the gleeful disregard for the environment, and by the the tax cuts, which so nakedly benefit the very few to the detriment of almost everybody else. I'm also particularly repelled by Bush's professed "Christianity," even as his administration repudiates almost every value that the great religions represented.

But I have a problem. Even though I think Bush has been an atrocious president, I can't ignore that Kerry is an atrocious candidate. What does Kerry stand for? His record in the Senate offers no clue. His statements on the campaign trail aren't helpful either. Will Kerry be like Clinton and offer sound fiscal policies, shrink the government and bring Israel and her enemies to the brink of peace? Or will he live up to the very worst GOP caricatures of a namby-pamby, tax and spend liberal? I just don't know.

I don't like Bush. The president has given me dozens of reasons to vote for a replacement, but Kerry hasn't won my support. I'm in the middle.

So, Readership, here is my proposal: Do what the president and his challenger have not done. Convince me.

Over the next few days I'll list my problems with Bush one by one. If you favor Bush, tell me why I'm wrong to worry. If you favor Kerry, tell me your man is better on that particular issue. Argue forcefully. Argue vehemently. Pretend that I live in Ohio, and that my one vote might decide the entire election, and with it the fate of the free world. Take no prisoners. Fight for your man.

For today, we'll start with a wildcard: All visitors to the blog are invited, and strongly encouraged to answer this question: Why does either candidate deserve my vote?

Comments that disparage the other candidate will be deleted. I want to know why your candidate is better, so please don't waste my time telling why the other guy is no damn good. Outstanding comments will be posted on the blog itself, and at the end of the week, the commenter who's done the best job (to be determined arbitrarily) will be listed on the sidebar among the ranks of honored bloggers and contributors who have won baynonin challenges. (If you choose to post anonymously, please use a pseudonym)



Comments:

Bush is the best bet for the Jews. He's pro Israel like no one else, and will fight those islamaniacs to the death.

BushFAN  

Hey bushfan - what proof do you have?? HOW is bush best for jews / israel??? what the has he done?  

Bush won't bend over and hand over half of the holy land to the terrorist monsters. That's why. It's the best argument to vote fo rthe best guy, Adam.

BushFAN  

"bending over" is the best argument?
Honestly, I cannot comprehend this. Oh and by the way - he DOEs support giving aweay land, he is for the gaza pullout. So whgich is it?
I mean, in 4 years of bloodshed he has done nothing to help israel so how is he the best?  

Crier:

You are the Jewish webs most famous pro-Kerry partisan. Can't you provide an argument in his favor?  

Senator Kerry Has a 100% pro Israel voting record during his entire house career. Never did he pass up a chance to vote on the side of favor to Israel. That is a much stronger and solid record than Mr. Bush.
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/US-Israel/kerryrecord.htmlConsistency does not equal correctness. Mr. Bush himself said 2 weeks ago that Mr. Kerry "changes his mind to reflect public opinion." Oh, you mean Kerry listens to what people want from him? Notice how the "flip flop" claim from the bush camp has disappeared since then.

There are many many issues and points to discuss and consider. A wealth of information and insight is offered at
www.njdc.org to help you understand. I'd also direct your attention to www.johnkerry.com/jewish (where is bush's jewish outreach forum?)

Senator Kerry represents the poicies and fiscal programming that have enabled the Jews to become as prosperous and as powerful as we have had the luxury of becoming in this country. If the economic policies of the Bush admin. continue, the entire Kollel culture will go to pot and the frum community will experience poverty that could never have anticipated.

Senator Kerry Best represents the example of a politician who is religious who does not enforce his own personal beliefs on others - something we jews are most sensitive to. As we have often been victims of such stupidity, we live and enjoy and prosper in this country by the mandate of "v'chai bahem" and we should treat others as we would expect them, to treat us.  

Thanks Crier. Now, where are the Bush supporters?  

Shouldn't the primary question in this election be which one of these candidates is best for America? A candiate's position on Israel is very low on my list of priorities.  

Kerry will speak an understandable form of english. A vote for him is an act of rachmanos on elementary school teachers who cringe every time Bush opens his mouth.  

i've liked kerry through his whole career. i live in la,ca and jfk came here to speak in 1984(i think) before the newly organized agudah of calif and he spoke very forcefully about his commitment to us . since then he has voted with us almost 100%. for me the clincher is: look at this man's bio. anybody who has made the choices he's made when there were easier roads to travel shows himself to be a man of great substance, which is what i think we need for the coming years ahead.we do not know what situations will face us in the years ahead so at best we should feel confident that the man in charge is a serious man who will give each decision he has to make its proper consideration.i believe jfk is such a man.  

I feel very comfortable supporting John Kerry. As has already been noted,his voting record vis a vis israel has been totaly supportive.
Further, he has outlined a plan to improve health insurance coverage and how he will pay for it. He discussed it in the third debate.
His record has always been one of steady fiscal policies, and he was one of Clinton's staunchest supporters regarding fiscal policy in the Senate.
The idea of tax and spend is really a false accusation for anybody. Since the 1960's, presidents of both parties have been steadily reducing the tax burden. We all speak of reducing government spending except for our own personal issues, so why don't we just admit it?
I am sympathetic with those who feel gratitude towards Bush for his blank check support of Sharon's policies, but I have yet to be convinced that anyone's interests have actually been served by his total withdrawal from dealing with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  

I feel like another man in the middle. I don't feel warmth for Kerry and I don't feel much for Bush. I haven't any concern about speech, what is important is the substance of what is said.

What I appreciate about Bush is that it is very clear what he believes in. But clear beliefs are not an indicator of sound reasons to hold those beliefs.

I do not like most of Bush's social policies. I find them to be stilted and repressive.

Frankly I liked hearing Kerry say that we are going to seek out the terrorists and kill them.

But, none of this really hits one out of the park. What will be the defining moment is yet to be seen.  

A few items that might be helpful:

Arafat Backs Kerry, Israelis Favor Bush http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewForeignBureaus.asp?Page=%5CForeignBureaus%5Carchive%5C200410%5CFOR20041019a.html

A President Kerry would be a disaster for Israel
By Martin Peretz
http://www.jewishworldreview.com/1004/peretz_2004_10_18.php3

From an Iraqi Blog:

"Now, do we have a right, as Iraqis to express our opinion about the U.S. elections, which are of course an entirely internal affair for the American people? Or are they?
It seems to me, that since this matter is going to have a direct impact on our lives and very existence and since the U.S. government and people have seen fit to intervene and initiate this profound revolution in our country; it would not be extravagant nor incorrect for us even to demand to take part in those elections, rhetorically speaking of course.

So, I have been, personally very attentive to the debates and positions of both candidates, and I have some thoughts which I would like to share with you, my American friends. To start with, Senator Kerry may be a very good man and quite patriotic. Also we have to respect the almost 50% of the American people who lean towards the democrats. I don’t know much about domestic issues in the States so naturally, as might be expected, the position of any Iraqi would be mainly influenced by the issue that most concerns him. Thus, regardless of all the arguments of both candidates the main problem is that President Bush now represents a symbol of defiance against the terrorists and it is a fact, that all the enemies of America, with the terrorists foremost, are hoping for him to be deposed in the upcoming elections. That is not to say that they like the democrats, but that they will take such an outcome as retreat by the American people, and will consequently be greatly encouraged to intensify their assault. The outcome here on the ground in Iraq seems to be almost obvious. In case President Bush loses the election there would be a massive upsurge of violence, in the belief, rightly or wrongly, by the enemy, that the new leadership is more likely to “cut and run” to use the phrase frequently used by some of my readers. And they would try to inflict as heavy casualties as possible on the American forces to bring about a retreat and withdrawal. It is crucial for them to remove this insurmountable obstacle which stands in their way. They fully realize that with continued American and allies’ commitment, they have no hope of achieving anything.

On the other hand if President Bush is reelected, this will prove to them that the American people are not intimidated despite all their brutality, and that their cause is quite futile. Yes there is little doubt that an election victory by President Bush would be a severe blow and a great disappointment for all the terrorists in the World and all the enemies of America. I believe that such an outcome would result in despair and demoralization of the “insurgent elements” here in Iraq, and would lead to the pro-democracy forces gaining the upper hand eventually. Note that we are not saying that President Bush is perfect, nor even that he is better than the Senator, just that the present situation is such that a change of leadership at this crucial point is going to send an entirely wrong message to all the enemies."

http://messopotamian.blogspot.com/2004_10_01_messopotamian_archive.html#109796772942861120

And last - A Jewish liberal New Yorker on why she is voting for Bush
http://www.command-post.org/oped/2_archives/015908.html  

Regarding Bush, Kerry, and Israel: Bush supports Israel because he feels the U.S. and Israel have much in common: both are democracies, both are free, both have Western values, both are fighting terror. These are solid reasons that are unlikely to change. Bush's support has nothing to do with fundamentalism, because he isn't a fundamentalist (though many of his supporters are). And though some in the Bush camp favor the Arabs on account of oil, Bush himself doesn't, and he's his own man.

Kerry supports Israel because he's a Democrat and Democrats need Jewish votes. But his gut instincts are those of the left. He mistrusts the use of force, even (or especially) by America. His earliest, formative political experience was opposing the Vietnam war. He believes that all conflicts can and should be settled by negotiation. But of course Israel is in a position in which the use of force is necessary and negotiation may be impossible. And his administration will include at least some people from the left who see Israel as the cause of trouble in the Mideast.  

OY! Kerry HAS ALWAYS SUPPORTED ISRAEL long before he was ever even considered a possibility for the presidency! See this speech he gave in the senate several years ago - http://kerry.senate.gov/bandwidth/cfm/record.cfm?id=182857"Mr. President, I am proud to be a cosponsor of the resolution introduced by Senators Lieberman and Smith demonstrating our continued solidarity with our ally, Israel, in its efforts to defend itself against terrorism. Suicide bombings and the taking of lives of innocent civilians are terrorist acts by anyone's definition. No moral or political justification exists for the bombing of civilians on buses or in restaurants or at religious celebrations. This resolution makes it clear that we oppose these acts of terrorism and that we recognize and support Israel's right to defend itself against them...
And it is equally important that those Arab states who say they want to work with us in the war on terrorism do all that they can to help bring about an end to all forms of terrorism. They must make it clear that like us, they too oppose suicide bombings and that they expect the leadership of the Palestinian authority to live up to its responsibility to bring them to a halt...
Israel exercised its legitimate right to self-defense when it used force to root out and break up the terrorist networks threatening its own civilians."

AND FYI -
Pat Buchanan (yemach shmo) Endorses Bush -
http://www.amconmag.com/2004_11_08/cover.htmlIRAN Endoreses Bush! http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=694&ncid=696&e=1&u=/ap/20041019/ap_on_el_pr/iran_us_electionsEven Jesus From Mel Gibsons Movie is in commercials for BUSH http://washingtontimes.com/national/20041019-123226-2184r.htmSo we can all play that game.
In the end of the day - Bush's record this past 4 years on matters of concern to American Jewry is deplorable, as is his record on most everything that concerns Americans. A vote 4 Bush is a vote to re-elect all of his cronies for a another 4 years. I don't know about you, But I am NOT better off than I was 4 years ago, and as an American and a Jew I dont want ANY of them - Rice,Rumsfeld,Cheney,Powell,Ashcroft in office anymore.  

Hey anonymous LEARN SOME HISTORY
Kerry was a soldier in combat who also got hurt. When he returned, like many veterans, he opposed the war. (like many people retuyrning from iraq no do)
He was supbenaed by the US to come and to testify as to what he witnessed in vietnam as well as his own activist against the war. He became a successful attorney and congressman after that.

When Bush was that age, he was drunk, cracked and losing money. He failed at oil, he failed at baseball, and got to be governor buz his dad was veep and prez.  

Adam Ragil,

I thought you were going to delete needlessly negative comments on this topic?

My own thoughts will be forthcoming shortly.  

My response to the challenge can be found at:

http://biurchametz.blogspot.com/2004/10/swinging-baynonims-vote.html  

Ok Bush HAD to go to war.. how the hell else would all of this been cleared up?! Unlike Clinton, Bush has a spine and is standing up for our country.. I'm behind him all the way!  

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