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Presidential Election, Take 1

As the Presidential election starts to heat up, let me summarize my current position. I wonder, as November approaches, if my analysis will change.

Issues facing the US:
  1. Role of government in civil society (long-term)
  2. Islamo-fascism (medium-term). This is not the religion of Islam, but rather the Islamic face on fascism. There are other enemies to freedom in the world, but this particular set has threatened the United States over and over, and we are currently engaged in a war against it.
  3. Entitlement programs (SS, Medicare, etc) (medium-term)
  4. Tax / cost of government (short-term)
  5. Government solvency, i.e. debt (short-term)
  6. Trade (short-term)
  7. Long-term growth of civil society / science, art, philosophy, etc (long-term)
Reasons to vote for Bush:
  1. Responded to the threats of al Queda (Isalmo-fascism) with a principled long-term vision, and backed that vision with action.
  2. Destroyed Iraq dictatorship, and is moving forward with principled long-term plan for Middle East peace. US security requires Middle East peace. Middle East peace requires free nations in the region. (Free nations do not attack each other, as they are bound by ties of commerce and mutual self-interest.) Free nations in the region require democratic governments and a strong civil society. Democratic governments and strong civil societies in the Middle East require the elimination of fascist and totalitarian governments.
  3. Reclaimed the position of moral superiority for the US. Bush labeled the totalitarians and fascists appropriately ("Axis of Evil"). This moral stance led to some victories with no costs, e.g. Libya. (Why does the assertion of moral superiority bother some people? The enemies of society try to establish moral superiority… Why should we let them do that, when the facts are in our favor?)
  4. There has not been a successful terrorist attack in the US since the September 11 attacks.
  5. Libertarians are an important part of the Republican constituency, and the Republican party usually gives some consideration to ideas such as the reduction of the welfare state and limiting the role of government.
  6. He appears to be a leader, in the sense that he advocates certain policies and sticks to his word. Even if I disagree with his policies, I think that I understand what those policies are. I believe that Bush would hold to those policies even if popular opinion polls disapprove.
Reasons to not vote for Bush:
  1. He has allowed the welfare state to expand (e.g. the prescription drug bill).
  2. He has demonstrated a willingness to use federal power to manipulate society (e.g. freakish proposal for a Constitutional amendment against gay marriages).
  3. He has not taken a principled stand on free trade (by maintaining existing tariffs such as the sugar tariff, and utilizing steel tariffs as a leverage).
  4. He is limiting stem-cell research, which is an important scientific advance.
  5. There has been an expansion of the police state under Bush. I do not believe that the tradeoffs between cost and security were made intelligently, which resulted in little improvements in security at high costs (e.g. airports).
Reasons to vote for Kerry:
  1. Maybe he wouldn't use government power to intervene in certain aspects of civil society (such as scientific research, maybe).
Reasons to not vote for Kerry:
  1. He does not have a firm principled stand on anything, other than the wish to become President. As one (damning) example: here
  2. He has advocated (at one time or another) restrictions of free trade (in the "outsourcing" debate).
  3. Socialists are a part of the Democratic constituency, and so the Democratic party usually gives some consideration to ideas such as the expansion of the welfare state and increasing the role of government.
  4. I do not believe that he would have taken a principled stand on the issue of Islamo-fascism after the September 11 attacks. I believe that he would have increased the role of the United Nations in the Iraq war (if he advocated it at all), which would have made it less likely that Iraq would end up a free nation. (The UN is a forum for nation-states, and is open to states of nearly any political credo. While it may be useful in that role, it is NOT a force for freedom and democracy, nor was it really intended to be.)
  5. If he loses, it will annoy people that I don't like.
Why can't there be a candidate that has the strengths of Bush without the problems? Isn't there anyone who wishes to expand freedom and individual rights within the United States, as well as outside it? I will probably vote for Bush, because he has done well over the past four (very challenging) years, and because he is taking a principled (and, in the long-run, pragmatic) course in foreign policy. Kerry would, at best, be a vote against Bush and offers very little.



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Jeff --- I am gratified that one so young can see the world so clearly. You left another reason to vote for Bush. In fact, you only referenced this major issue indirectly (e.g., free trade) and that is the issue of the economy. Bush is not inclined to hamper entrepreneurial innovation which is the US'competitive advantage in the global job market. In fact he is trying -- a la tax policy -- to encourage that same spirit which gave us the rise of the Internet.

That's the only way to overcome the gradual shift of fungible jobs to lower cost countries. Newt Gingrich is instructive in this regard.


Incidentally, I predict a rapid rise in employment over the next 3 months, a total collapse of the Kerry campaign as people fall asleep during his speeches and a Bush victory by 3% (a landslide).

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