Point & Counterpoint

Courtesy of the RNC, here are some highlights (or low lights, depending on your viewpoint) of what the false face of the GOP will be saying.

Up first is that darling of liberal fantasists everywhere, John McCain.

On President Bush:

” … He has been tested and has risen to the most important challenge of our time, and I salute him. I salute his determination to make this world a better, safer freer place. He has not wavered. He has not flinched from the hard choices. He will not yield. And neither will we.”

While I yield to few in my respect and appreciation for McCain, Bush hasn’t risen to the key challenges of our time. Someone else put this very bluntly: Bush has failed his first term; must we be condemned to repeat it? Explain to me where a chaotic Afghanistan & Iraq means he’s risen to the challenge. Explain to me where allowing the deficit to explode so his friends & families tax bills could be shrunken–and this in the middle of a war, mind you–means he’s made the hard choices.

McCain’s right–Bush will not yield. Faced with a collision course with the hard, tragic reality that we are, in fact, worse off than we were four years ago, Bush will not yield–and America is much the worse for it.

On soldiers and other servicemembers:

” … the sacrifices in this war will not be shared equally by all Americans. The President is the first to observe, most of the sacrifices fall, as they have before, to the brave men and women of our Armed Forces. We may be good citizens, but make no mistake, they are the very best of us. It’s an honor to live in a country that is so well and so bravely defended by such patriots. May God bless them, the living and the fallen, as He has blessed us with their service.”

McCain’s right: the sacrifices won’t be equal. But is it too much to ask that some of the burden be shared by everyone? Right now, we’re the only ones bearing all of the burden. It’s very easy to applaud our service–anyone can do that, it only takes a little bit of your time, it makes you feel good about yourself, which then lets you conveniently forget about us five minutes later, when the applause has died down.

I’m not blaming McCain for saying this–but I’d rather have a decent wage, with a decent roof over my head, than a ribbon tied ’round the tree, a welcome-back/see-you-later parade, and a few empty words of praise. The lowest three paygrades in the military (E-1 through E-3) are all eligible for food stamps and AFDC. Half a billion dollars has been slashed from the military housing budget. VA health benefits are being slashed just as thousands of us are returning from war–the same wars that the President claims we have won.

On 9/11:

“No American alive today will ever forget what happened on the morning of September 11th. That day was the moment when the hinge of history swung toward a new era. The opening chapter was tinged with great sadness and uncertainty. It shook us from our complacency in the belief that the Cold War’s end had ushered in a time of global tranquility. But an absence of complacency should not provoke an absence of confidence. What our enemies have sought to destroy is beyond their reach. It cannot be taken from us. It can only be surrendered.”

I know I won’t. I lost friends that day. But at the same time McCain’s saying we shouldn’t surrender our confidence and our freedom, he should remember that the President and his cronies have been at the very front of the parade screaming “Wolf!” at the top of their lungs, trying to smash that same confidence McCain celebrates. And then there’s that small assault on our liberties known as the PATRIOT Act. It would seem that the President is in an unseemly haste to give away that which cannot be taken.

On to Giuliani.

On Bush’s vision of a safer America:

“In choosing a President, we really don’t choose a Republican or Democrat, a conservative or liberal.

“We choose a leader.

“And in times of danger, as we are now in, Americans should put leadership at the core of their decision.

“There are many qualities that make a great leader but having strong beliefs, being able to stick with them through popular and unpopular times, is the most important characteristic of a great leader.

“Winston Churchill saw the dangers of Hitler when his opponents and much of the press characterized him as a war-mongering gadfly.

“Ronald Reagan saw and described the Soviet Union as ‘the evil empire’ when world opinion accepted it as inevitable and belittled Ronald Reagan’s intelligence.

“George W. Bush sees world terrorism for the evil that it is and he will remain consistent to the purpose of defeating it while working to make us ever safer at home.”

Nothing wrong with this, except that a leader has followers, and nobody’s following the lead of the President. 20 soldiers from Guinea-Bissau, 10 from Liechtenstein, and 2 from Kiribati do not a coalition make. Nobody’s out there–except for members of the President’s own party–celebrating his vaunted leadership.

And I beg to differ with Giuliani–who, unlike Bush, who was running like a scared little boy ’round America, actually had massive, Empire State-sized stones in staying in NYC on 9/11–but nobody’s denying that world terrorism is evil or is a challenge. Bush isn’t a lonely voice in the wilderness, shouting “al Qaeda! bin Laden!” into the gale force winds of public opinion.

We just happen to think that his administration, both before 9/11 and after 9/11, has been spectacularly incompetent in handling terrorism. With the exception of our military campaign in Afghanistan from October 2001 through December 2001, the President’s record has been one unmitigated record of disaster. We think terrorism is evil, but we disagree with his approach toward the problem.

We can do better, and, God willing, on November 2, we’ll have the chance to do so.

4 responses to “Point & Counterpoint

  1. “We can do better, and, God willing, on November 2, we’ll have the chance to do so.”

    I would change that to:

    “We can do better, and, the Democratic party willing, on November 2, we would have had the chance to do so, but now I am not sure we can.”

  2. To Oscar:

    I’d change it to “We can do better, and, the American voters willing, we will.”

    The DMC is doing all it can. The wild card in this election is the 5% or so of voters who do not read newspapers or books and who are not used to thinking at all. God help us!

  3. Debra,

    Kerry’s diplomatic skills, as evidenced by the assurances he got from Madame Binh that her government’s aims were peaceful (only 2M killed), and wringing an anti-communist commitment from Daniel Ortega a week before the latter went to Moscow to get his latest aid package, makes me wonders why his getting promises from Iran, as unveiled yesterday by Edwards is going to work any better.

    The DMC did not do everthing they could: they nominated a loser. Just like as they ’72 they had a beatable opponent and blew it. The original JFK must be spinning in his grave.

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