Why I won't vote for Bush - An Essay from a Republican

Excellent OP, Blackclaw. I’m liberally :smiley: sharing the link to this thread. Hopefully it will knock a few people off of the fence AND recruit some fresh Doper blood…

Put the (debatable) limited vision of the current document aside then. Bush seeks to transform the Constitution into a means with which to establish an exclusive heterosexual country club of marriage. How very "compassionate"of him to not only ignore the need for the hard work it will require to reach some sort of legislative consensus on the issue, but he also seeks to increase…signifigantly…the difficulty of reaching that consensus, along with increasing the time and energy it will take to do so.

I don’t think the fight itself was sound. The rationale for the fight was, but the execution was disasterous. We not only did not go in hard enough soon enough to catch the very people we were invading to capture and kill in the first place, but we lost interest long before we had accomplished those objectives. And compared with the massive amounts of money, men, and resources that we threw at Iraq, our meager operations in Afghanistan stand out even more in hindsight as ridiculously underwhelming. We went in slowly, moved slowly across territory, mostly let VERY untrustworthy, corrupt, and brutal people do most of of the work for us, and were far too sparing in our actual involvement with anything other than air power. If anything, we should have had the MOST political will for Afghanistan operations. Instead we went in light, meager, and quickly pulled out long before any of the major objectives were secure (it is undeniable that the buildup in Iraq pulled away key resources and attention from unfinished objectives in Afghanistan). Afghanistan was attacked for being a safe harbor for terrorists. But many parts of it still remain so to this day.

Just a note: in October of that year, a certain Senator said all of this on the Senate floor. He said that we were letting “them” get away and that we needed more boots on the ground: if there was any cause for which we should be willing to sacrifice American lives to win, it was capturing Osama. At the time, the peacenik left thought him a warmonger, and the right would not tolerate any suggestion that anything Bush chose to do was anything less than the perfect decision by God. But that Senator, in retrospect, was exactly right: by half-assing the operation, by continuing to lack the will to put troops on the ground and REALLY get the job done, we let most of the real threat escape to have years more of gleeful plotting and recruiting. If only that foresighted Senator had run for President… oh wait, he did. Of course, HE is the one being inexplicably painted as soft on terror and unwilling to support actual military involvement in important objectives.

But lack of planning is, of course, something that Rumsfeld actually BRAGS about, because, as he says, the future is uncertain. Apparently thinking you can predict the future is something that only arrogant liberal policy wonks do, so its bad. Well, okay. But not having contingency plans, or scoffing at those which exist, is just plain dumb. We could have had the power in Iraq back on within days instead of months if we had just followed the plan laid out by the Pentagon’s own planners. I still have yet to see any plausible reason why such plans were simply thrown out, other than that implementing them would have taken another week or so, which I can’t see would have affected anything.

As a registered indepent who has voted mostly republican (and occasionally libertarian) I agree with almost everything you have said.

My one disagreement is with this:

My argument is very much akin to your argument about theocracy - you become mighty uncomfortable with this philosophy when your army is not the one on the attacking side. In my mind, it is exactly this attitude which ‘justified’ the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Your argument that it was an illegal attack on peaceful civilians carries no weight with Al Qaeda. You might say they have no qualms about the destruction of western hegemony.

Which is NOT to say that I believe Saddam was a good guy in any way. I do believe there were better ways to support a democratic Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam than an outright invasion.

Freedom, peace, and democracy are not gifts that the U.S. Armed Forces can dole out at will.

If the military languished so badly, how is it that it has done so well (at least in the war part…not necessarily in the aftermath part) in both Afghanistan and Iraq? Did less than a year of the Bush Administration miraculously fix it?

You seem to have some confusion about ideology in that you call Carter a liberal Democrat. And, you get this opinion on the basis of what exactly? (You also seem to imply indirectly that you might think that Clinton is a liberal Democrat?)

The main source for the “languished” military claim came from Bush, who in 2000 complained that some divisions weren’t combat ready. He of course forgot to mention that this was mostly because they had recently completed actual combat operations in Europe. As Bush runs for re-election far far more of the military is “non-combat ready” by the exact same measure. Yet for some reason he isn’t bringing this fact up again this time.

I find these to be very solid points. Perhaps our intial actions in Afghanistan would have paid off if we had used the successes we had to drive Al Qaeda into a net, but unfortunately, we never placed the resources on the ground to prevent their effective dispersal.

I notice, Blackclaw, that you did not even mention the budget deficit, which I would have thought would be a matter of grave concern to many Republicans. Doesn’t being conservative mean being fiscally conservative?

Bush is the only president in U.S. history – perhaps the only national leader in the history of any country – to cut taxes right at the start of a war! Is this conservative thinking?

Many conservatives also are uncomfortable with Bush’s immigration policy – but mostly nativist paleoconservatives, like Pat Buchanan. Which I don’t think are a factor to be discounted. In fact, I think we’ll be hearing from them more and more in the coming decade.

I’m surprised no one else has pulled out the C-word, namely Cite??, instead of lining up to congratulate Blackclaw on his OP. (Who will you be voting for in November, Blackclaw, if it’s not for Bush?)

I read this paragraph three times, and didn’t see “Bush” anywhere. Care to explain how the FCC “crackdown” is Bush’s fault?

I’d also like a cite about the firing of intelligence specialists simply for being homosexuals.

For such a lengthy and detailed essay, I was hoping for at least a couple of links, or something.

I’m curious about what you are referencing. I don’t consider debating the ideological alternative to GWB as a hijack, so I felt free to ask. My apologies to anyone who disagrees.

I hold that Saddam was not a sovereign entity because he could only maintain power by force and threat of force and even then was unable to hold full control over the territory of Iraq. Should George Bush decide to lay waste to states that oppose his re-election, than I’ll worry about the results of possible foreign armed intervention.

Operational tempo problems manifest themselves in personnel areas almost immediately. Advances in technology and training will close the experience gap created by mass departures to a degree in a short period of time, but will not solve the problem entirely.

Debating the Carter presidency would be a hijack. I was in my teens during his presidency, so my opinions are based more on hindsight than personal recollection.

That’s not the only confustion in my view. Evil One will vote for Bush on ideological grounds in the face of demonstrated incompetence but can castigate “liberals” because he says, “The fact that many liberal positions are based on ideology rather than reality bothers me very much.”

Go figure.

George Bush appointed Michael Powell as the head of the FCC. George Bush is Michael Powell’s boss and therefore is responsible for his actions. If Mr. Bush wished to rein in FCC control, he could do so.


Incompetence is too strong a word for me for GWB. I thought the tax cut was a mistake and I wish that there had been more international consensus for the war in Iraq. But Saddam would have had to be dealt with at some point soon in the future. He had a lot of money and the will to be a huge strategic pain in the ass. And it was obvious that those who were profiting from associating with him were not interested in disturbing the status quo.

It was interesting to see you put the word liberals in quotes…an attempt to delegitimize it, perhaps. The bottom line is that I disagree with many more liberal positions than conservative ones. I don’t march in lockstep, but when you consider the two alternatives, you have to choose the one closest to what you want in office.

To be fair, the whole Paladin/crusader self propelled howitzer mess can originally be traced back to pork in congress. The army has always wanted something more akin to the British Light Mobile Artillery Weapons System. Congress just keeps on giving them Cadilacs when all they want is a moped.

But they’ll take the Caddy if the choice is that or nothing. Rummy’s pulling of the rug was ideological, not reasoned. So by a different route, I agree with you.

That article says they were fired for violating the Army’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which as I recall, was enacted during the Clinton Administration.

Not that I agree with the decision to fire them, but I’m still having difficulty pinning the responsibility on President Bush. OK, analogous to the FCC issue, he could have reversed the decision. Except that I doubt Bush is that much of a micro-manager.

Just another voice applauding Blackclaw’s well-written OP. While I don’t agree with everything he wrote, I can certainly respect his position and the reasons behind it.

As for Clinton and the USS Cole, he has repeatedly said the reason he didn’t order a military response to the incident was because it occurred on the eve of the 2000 election, and he didn’t want to start a conflict that would get lobbed onto the new incoming President. I also believe that Richard Clarke has said that evidence linking the Cole to Al Qaeda wasn’t available until late January 2001, so perhaps a response from Clinton might have seemed premature at the time.

First of all, congrats on the OP. If more Republicans were like you, I’d still be one. However I cannot morally stay in a party that would support the stuff Bush has done.

As for the above, I am sure Saddam was not alone in maintaining power by force (and it was not a massive amount of force, either.) His lack of control over parts of Iraq was a result of Gulf War I, not his inability to control them. However, there are defined means of dealing with a government so illegitimate that it needs to be overthrown, through the UN. Say what you will about France, but we couldn’t even get a majority in the Security Council.

Considering the lack of WMDs, I doubt that many countries regret their position.

This is not to say that we should passively accept UN direction. The actions of Bush I and Powell before the first Gulf War show what can be done when your position is strong. But the world is full of nasty dictatorships, and you’d have to ask why Iraq and not Congo. I think the answer has to lie in a grudge that the neocons had, and the weakness of the Iraqi army which made the invasion feasible. Pretty poor reasons, if you ask me.

It should noted that Bush 1 had done the same thing to Clinton: left him with Somalia. There is, coincidentally, a letter to the editor in a local paper here today from a Limbaugh that claims that Clinton started the war in Somalia in order to shift attention from the Lewinsky scandal. Apparently, listening too much to right wing radio disolves your ability to properly date events (the Somalia conflict was over long before the scandal broke, and started before Clinton even took office or began his affair).

Not retaliating for the Cole was a grave mistake on Clinton’s part… but there’s no way to say that and then not find it to be an even BIGGER mistake for Bush’s people: they had even more reason, evidence, and justification to take action once they got into office, and they did nothing. It didn’t fit easily into the missle-defense script.

Except “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was a political compromise. Clinton originally planned to issue an executive order that just allowed gays to serve. The Joint Chiefs and a bunch of conservatives foresaw the collapse of the military if you had to shower with an openly gay man (which is being trite about it - the issues are omewhat more complex than that and difficult to completely dismiss out of hand) and the compromise was “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Maybe you could blame Clinton for not standing his ground, but he was basically being told most of the senior staff was going to resign if he did.