Sunday, October 17, 2004

The Conservative Case for Kerry

I am not feeling creative tonight, and another long night is in front of me, grading quizzes and lab here is something I got via e-mail, that may be helpful in persuading some mugwumps:

"The conservative case for Kerry "
Clyde Prestowitz
Washington, DC

As a former Reagan-administration official, registered Republican, born-again Christian, and traditional conservative, I am going to vote for John Kerry. So are many other old-line Republicans. Here's why.

While the Bush administration calls itself "conservative," its use of the term is frankly Orwellian. It not only deprives the word of meaning, but also presents the administration's philosophy as the opposite of what it actually is.

Conservatives have always believed in fiscal responsibility: in being sure you could pay your way and in providing for the future. Conservatives pay down debt, rather than adding to it. This doesn't necessarily mean balancing the budget every year, but at a minimum it means striving toward balance as a top priority.

The Bush approach is completely at odds with such thinking. If any proof were needed, it was amply provided in the president's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. With Congressional Budget Office projections showing oceans of red ink for the indefinite future, President Bush promised more tax cuts. His audience cheered.

Conservatives are often well off, but they understand that the best way to preserve the society in which they are doing so well is to ensure that all its members can survive at a reasonable standard of living. It was the conservative Otto von Bismarck, after all, who first introduced social-security programs in 19th Century Germany for just that reason.

Conservatives do not loot the Treasury or bet the future health of their society on the chance that the best-case scenario will actually materialize. They provide for the worst case. So a conservative would have expected that the president's tax cuts and promises of more to come would at least have been accompanied by plans for cutting expenditures.

That expectation would have been disappointed, however, as the president promised about $1 trillion of new spending programs that, given his tax cuts, can be paid for only with red ink.

Which brings us to a second fundamental principle of conservatism: small government. From the founding of the Republic until now, conservatives have feared the threat to liberty posed by big government. Conservative icon Ronald Reagan came to power primarily by focusing on big government as the source of most of the country's problems. But the Bush administration has presided over a steady increase in the size of government, as federal expenditure has risen as a percentage of gross domestic product, after declining in the late 1990s.

Conservatives have never been enthusiastic about foreign adventures or
about messianic undertakings. John Adams made the point early in our
history when he emphasized that "America does not go abroad to slay

It was the liberal Democrats Woodrow Wilson and John
Kennedy who committed the United States to making the world safe for
democracy and to "bearing any burden and paying any price to assure the
success of liberty." These are fine-sounding words, but they are not the
words of conservatives. Thus, when President Bush promises to democratize
the Mideast, conservatives cringe. So much so, in fact, that several former
high-ranking officials of the Reagan and first Bush administrations have
told me that they are not supporting the president for re-election.

This is because they know that, administration rhetoric to the contrary
notwithstanding, we are not safer today than we were three years ago.
Far from destroying al-Qaida and cutting its alleged links with Saddam
Hussein, we have made Iraq into a magnet for terrorists. Worse, there is
a real possibility that Osama bin Laden could gain control of our ally
Pakistan, with its nuclear weapons and operational long-range missiles.
Safe? Not on your life.

Nor are we freer. Conservatives are nothing if not steadfast defenders of individual rights, rule of law, and due process. Yet the Patriot Act and the procedures at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere have visibly infringed on all of these. It is ironic that even as it preaches about widening the circle of freedom abroad, the administration is reducing it at home.

Before the current campaign, it might have been argued that at least in affirming the importance of faith and respecting those who profess it the administration had embraced traditional conservative views. But in the wake of the Swift Boat ads attacking John Kerry, even thisargument can no longer be maintained. As an elder of the Presbyterian Church, I found thatthose ads were not at all in the Christian tradition. John McCain rightly condemned them as dishonest and dishonorable. The president should have, too. That he did not undermines his credibility on questions of faith.

Some say it's just politics. But that's the whole point. More is expected of people of faith than "just politics."

The fact is that the Bush administration might better be called radical or romantic or adventurist than conservative. And that's why real conservatives are leaning toward Kerry

There's more:

Demand Letter Sent To Bush By Corp CEO

Karl Schwarz and the Mysterious Patmos Nanotechnologies

A funny thing happened on the way to 'The Truth'

30 Fantastic Questions that will never be answered.

How George W. Bush has betrayed conservatives' most cherished principles.

Update 2:

On the other hand, only a rabid ostrich would think this:

"Am I the only one who thinks that this guy is a liberal pretending to be a conservative?"

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 8:44 PM | permalink | (3 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink