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One Radical Opinion

by "Radical" Russ Belville
Sunday, September 19, 2004

"Radical" Russ Belville was born on the first day of the Tet Offensive of the Vietnam War in the town of Nampa in the "red" state of Idaho, where any opinion to the left of Reagan gets you labeled as "radical". He currently resides in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon (a.k.a. "Little Beirut") where he works in Information Technology. In his spare time, he enjoys writing about current events, playing the six-string bass guitar, and volunteering for liberal political causes. You can contact him via e-mail at letters 'at' radicalruss.net.

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I was surfing around the blogosphere one day when I found an interesting challenge from one Bush supporter:

If you support Kerry for president, I invite you to write a guest post for this blog explaining why. Here's why it's a challenge:

To be published, you must explain why Kerry is to be preferred in terms that do not simply say he's not Bush. This is not an invitation to rage about Bush; it is an invitation to be positive about Kerry.

Like the Swift Boat Veterans for Revenge, here's another attempt from the Right to run away from Bush's record. Why is the repudiation of a president's failed policies not enough of a reason to vote for his opponent? I'm not falling for the bait. Agreeing to those rules is ridiculous.

If we had a parliamentarian system or viable third parties, then there might be some merit to this line of reasoning. We might have more than two choices, so we'd need to focus on which one was better, not which one isn't worse. But in America, you get Republican choice vs. Democratic choice. Some call it "the lesser of two evils". So be it. I'll pick John "the lesser" Kerry.

If Adolf Hitler was running against Richard Nixon, would it be unreasonable to point out the Holocaust, the police-state, the empire-building, the war, and implore people to vote for the guy who is not Hitler? Or would I have to come up with the positive reasons I'd be voting for Nixon? (Note: before you flame me, I'm not equating Bush to Hitler. Hitler was legally elected and won the popular vote. Bush is no Hitler. But Bush does give me new appreciation for Nixon -- I can name a few good things Nixon did.)

I don't look at elections as a choice about which candidate I think will do a better job, except when both the candidates are not incumbents. When the race includes an incumbent, the election is a referendum on the policies and performance of the incumbent. This incumbent president is a miserable failure on the issues of diplomacy, war planning, intelligence gathering, job creation, economic revival, public health, social issues, and much more.

Maybe I should just flip this logic back at the Bush supporters: Explain why Bush should be preferred in terms of how much worse Kerry would be. How would Kerry lose more than one million jobs? How would Kerry take us into deeper levels of federal deficit than Bush? How would Kerry lead our nation into war against some other brutal dictator who was not behind 9/11? How would Kerry go farther in justifying regime change by misrepresenting flawed intelligence on WMD's? How would Kerry make an even better sweetheart deal to pharmaceutical companies with respect to Medicare coverage of prescription drugs? How many more covert CIA operatives and al Qaeda double-agents would Kerry expose?

What is it that John Kerry's going to do that will be so much worse than Bush?