An independent swings to "Kerry's vote to lose"

Was a Bush guy in the last election; am fairly middle of the road (in that I have relatively staked out positions, but they tend to split between the two parties’ platforms). If I’m being honest, I probably lean conservative, but in an odd way (the fairly common social liberal/fiscal conservative with variations). Bush vote in 2000.

Well, I saw the second debate last night. Kerry won, to the point where he’s now in this position for me: Kerry has my vote unless he does something stupid enough to lose it (or Bush does something spectacular, truly spectacular, not like “Oh, we capture Osama 1 day before the election”).

It’s not that Bush is a bad public speaker - he is, but I’ve never equated that with being stupid, as so many have. I still don’t think he’s stupid, I think he is willfully ignorant. While he continues to hammer home his “selling point” of consistency and determination, it’s becoming painfully clear that his administration does not actually have anything of the sort. Consistency and determination does not mean muddling along without thought or plan, because we’ve already plunged in.

I can’t stand his major point, which rather than being phrased as “tenacity,” is phrased as “don’t examine anything after you’ve made your decision, even if it appears to have been the wrong one, just assume it was the right one.” While I’ve always viewed Iraq as his personal white whale, done to get back at the guy who tried to kill his dad, I could at least respect the administration if they said, “We’re there, we need to stay there to keep face and avoid a complete disaster; we’ve analyzed the situation and here’s the action plan.” Instead, we get, “We’ve made our decision, we’ve got a bunch of guys over there, uh, can’t question the decision, guys will lose morale, um, the guys will stay over there, and will, ah, win.”

Oh, and then top it off with the fact that the guy has somehow managed to hit the opposite of my mixed up political views; he’s a social conservative, and a fiscal liberal (and with normal fiscal liberals, at least there are lazy government workers getting paid $40,000 a year to do nothing to show for it; I have no idea what Bush has spent the money on).

The unexamined life isn’t worth living, and god knows we can’t have that in a president.

Excellent and well thought out post, SlyFrog. I enjoyed reading it very much and not just because I am a Kerry supporter (welcome - we will try to live up :slight_smile: ) but because your post showed the kind of thougtful decision we all need to put into our vote. I especially liked your comment about ‘an unexamined life’…the power of our Presidency must require constant examination and re-examination. The world is not static.

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds. – Emerson

I have to take exception to this one point. We are not all lazy do-nothings. Most of us do our jobs, and then have to do the jobs of those few who are lazy. We also have to deal with obstructive and counterproductive policies, regulations and procedures that make those jobs even more difficult. Don’t paint all of us with the same brush.

It may offend you, but I have the misfortune of working with government employees across a wide area of job types every day. I’m pretty comfortable, from my own first hand knowledge, along with having plenty of family members and friends who also work or have worked for governmental organizations, of using that wide brush.

Don’t get me wrong, except out of intentional exaggeration for effect (which I would hope was fairly clear in my original post), I would never say that every government employee is a lazy bastard. I’ve dealt with plenty of fine, hardworking people who, through their work, are a benefit to the larger society they serve.

Unfortunately, it is certainly an area where I know from first hand experience (and from a wide enough array of experiences and experiences of others that I’m comfortable it is only one-off anecdotal evidence) that there simply is not enough pressure to perform for pay, particularly when compared to the outside world. There is a lot of really grotesque entrenchment of people who simply do not perform their jobs satisfactorily, either through laziness, incompetence, or otherwise, and yes, I would say to a much greater extent than the private market.

Slyfrog, this week my 62 year old husband received his first voter registration card. He is voting for Kerry for some of the same reasons that you have described.

I agree with you that the President is not a stupid man. If willfully ignorant is the same as ignorant out of stubborness, then I am in agreement with you on the source of much of the problem. In his efforts to be unwaivering, he has become inflexible.

I’m just still trying to figure out if Mr. Kerry is for the war or against the war.

I think he is for the war, but would have went about it a different way then the Bush adminstration. Right… a different, more efficient way to kill people.

Against the war. Always has been.

(He never voted to go to war. He voted to give the pResident the authority to use force after all else had failed, which is a very different thing, though the White House and Republicans have been trying very very hard to obscure that fact.

This article explains his position very well.

These are some of John Kerry’s remarks made on the Senate floor before the vote. It’s a great speech, well worth reading. Like much of the country and most of the Congress, he believed the pResident and the staff members who were giving such dire warnings (“mushroom cloud!”) but he was also very very cautious. I especially love these quotes.

Obviously, Kerry was right to be cautious and like many of us, felt betrayed by the pResident.
It’s easy enough to find out John Kerry’s view on the issues. Just go to and look around.

Btw, I highly recommend the documentary Going Upriver. It’s not a campaign video; it’s not even mentioned that Kerry is running for the presidency, and the present day John Kerry is not interviewed or even shown except in a still photograph at the end of a montage that runs over the closing credits, and it’s not so much about Vietnam, as about the 5-day protest of Vietnam Veterans Against the War held on the Mall in April 1971. It’d be fascinating even if Kerry were now a retired shoe salesman. It’s a little slice of history that few remember or even know about. It’s very moving and I was in tears many times (and no, those times had nothing to do with Kerry. He wasn’t on-screen).
I went in thinking that I really didn’t need to know anything more about Kerry because he had my vote. I also went in kinda dreading the Vietnam stuff because I’d heard enough. My surprise came when the film hurried through Kerry’s early years and service in Vietnam, then settled in to talk about and show a gathering that I knew nothing about. I was only 13 and didn’t pay much attention to the war. Kerry was a small part of what happened those 5 days, though he became the mouthpiece with his Senate testimony. Again, it was all very moving, such as when a Gold Star mother pleaded with an enraged veteran to please please calm down, because violence from the protesters would hurt the demonstration. The veteran was upset because the government closed Arlington National Cemetary to the Gold Star mother, whose son was buried there. It was also moving when office workers poured out of the buildings and surrounded the veterans to protect them when there was a threat of mass arrests. It’s very powerful, and even if I’d never heard of Kerry, I’m glad I learned something about an event that was so important in the anti-war movement.

It’s playing in theaters now (I’ve seen it twice in Chicago).

The DVD will be out October 19.

It’s also legally available via free download, authorized by the director, at or

That was all for naught, Equipoise… **SPOOFE **was just trotting out the flip-flop accusation that every Bush supporter has latched onto with such tenaciousness.

I dunno . . . my mother works for the state, and with cuts in federal funding to child welfare agencies, and with the reduced staff of her agency, she works her goddamn ass off, as do all her co-workers. Her office, at least, is staffed so thinly that everyone there does the work of two jobs at least.

My father and I work for our state senate staff, and our office doesn’t seem to be filled with slackers either, but being directly employed by the legislature, it’s an entirely different phenomenon: most of the rules that apply to state workers have an exemption for legislative staff, and we’re fairly closely supervised by our boss, a senator.

It’s not my experience that many people slack off in state government at least, but I would agree that perhaps the pressure is smaller than in the private sector, but I have seen little to indicate that this leads to lower performance. I think the idea of the lazy government worker is a useful fiction that makes the public more willing to see jobs cut even when those workers are performing essential public services.

Yes, I know (though hope springs eternal). My post wasn’t really for SPOOFE, but for all the silent lurkers who might want the information.