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George Bush vs John Kerry
A cross profile of the two American aristocrats running for the White House
D.C. Shouter - A Classification of American Wealth - Oct 18, 2004

 



Nov 4, 2004 :   
 

'Sir' John Kerry
concedes the presidency of the USA to George Bush 'Esq' who calls the act "gracious".

Aristocratic gestures that contrast sharply with the campaigns
and with the bitter fight over Florida four years ago.
May these gestures help heal the wounds of our society.
 


See also : The "kerrybush" and how I solved it (FREE)

 

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 President George W. Bush or President John Kerry
 
Got a problem ? ... solve a kerrybush.

The profile just underlines what the media cover for some time now and what the booklist also hints to : the choice on November 2nd is going to be a difficult one. So much so that it inspires us the coinage of a new word, much in the spirit of other words created from the names of famous politicians (gerrymander is an example).

This word is "kerrybush" and the definition is as follows :

Kerrybush : a kerrybush is a problem or an important decision where the two only viable options are not perfect, often not even satisfactory, but where the worst possible outcome results from failure to decide.

Resolving kerrybushes thus generally implies choosing the lesser evil or the better "bad". This is difficult because we are naturally geared to choosing between a good and a bad option not between two good ones, let alone between two bad ones.

But that should not stop us. We have to solve kerrybushes everyday of our lives and we usually do fine. Remember, the most important about a kerrybush is not to let it unsolved.

So, using our common sense and experience to solve kerrybushes in day to day life, we should eventually have no trouble in making that important decision on November 2nd this year, as to whom we want to direct our future : John Kerry or George Bush.
 

 

How I solved the kerrybush or why deciding for whom to vote on November 2nd is not a kerrybush, after all.

The campaigns have become so intense and negative during the last weeks, that the choice looked more and more as a decision between two bad alternatives. Hence the reference to the word : "kerrybush".

So let's just take another critical but unemotional look at the two candidates, based on facts, rather than hyped political credos. To simplify, let's analyze the two alternatives as to the four major criteria :

1. The economy
2. The welfare of the American people
3. Our security
4. The US foreign policy


George Walker Bush or the Bush-Cheney administration


As incumbents, they are easier to evaluate, as this can be done on the basis of their record during the last four years.

Let's face it, the Bush-Cheney 2001-2004 record is lousy. In due time, it is likely to be considered one of the worst presidencies in American history. That is by historians, once the strong emotional aspects are removed. Sure, Mr Bush is popular, but that does not mean he is a good president. Ulysses Simpson Grant was popular, but a poll of historians made in 1962 ranked him second worst of all former presidents
1.

The economic policies of the Bush-Cheney administration must be qualified as "disastrous". Mr Bush inherited the first federal surpluses in decades from the Clinton administration. He vowed to redistribute this windfall in the form of tax cuts, which was popular against the Democrats' pledge to reserve the surpluses for bridging the social security gap and assure healthcare for every American. This was wrong and the Bush administration made it worse, as it went ahead with the tax cuts, when recession set in and the surpluses disappeared. Thus they are directly responsible for the record deficits, which now weigh on the US public finance, weaken our purchasing power abroad and mortgage our future and the lives of our kids. He stuck to his electoral promise for tax cuts. A popular stand, but wrong.

Of course they blame the burst of the Internet bubble and 9/11, but that does not remove their responsibility for choosing the wrong ways to react. So, whereas George Walker Bush relieved the wealthy of their tax burden, he enters history as the first president since Herbert Hoover to loose jobs.

On the welfare of the American people issue, security let aside, Mr Bush also failed blatantly. The centennial issues of social security and healthcare have not been addressed at all. As a whole the American people is worse off than four years ago and the gap between the wealthy and the poor has widened. Homeless Americans are outlawed in major cities, clearly the best way to turn the poor into criminals. With guns easier to get than ever after the Bush administration failed to reenact the ban on assault weapons, it's only a matter of time until we have meet them in the streets. The educational system has just barely been improved as funds were curtailed in response to budgetary restrictions. Defense spending has been increased though. Environmental control and conservation are being sacrificed, once more, to private interests in order to solve the energy crisis, so they say.

But at least we are safe ! Thanks to the Patriot Act, the civil rights of assumed terrorists have been abolished and our (legal) borders have become high technology checkpoints. All that is fine but God beware us ever to become ourselves suspected of subversive activities. How far is it from here to the anhilition of our civil rights in a society where George Orwell's 1984 looks like a child's tale. Will the voting booths be freely accessible for everybody on Tuesday, or will the ruling party deter young, black and Hispanic voters from giving their support to the challengers ?

"I was president during 9/11" seems to be Mr Bush's major claim to leadership, except taking this country to war against Iraq of course. Yet, do we want to be led this way ? Do we want to let fear direct our destiny ?

That brings us to the foreign policies of President Bush. Now guess what, that's where he has performed worst. To a large extent 9/11 already was a consequence of the arrogant way this administration treated the serious problems affecting the Arab world. Using it to stir up a needless and unjustified war on Iraq, thereby breaking with some of our closest allies and disregarding the stand of the United Nations, certainly did not make it better. The seeds of hatred we spread this way will forever supply the ranks of Al Qaeeda and other terror organizations, with ready martyrs, as they call themselves and believe in it. This is definitely not the way to win the real war, against terror, and to improve our security.

Besides there is the mess in Iraq that needs to be fixed and we are supporting most of the cost this time. Sure, it helps American oil companies and defense contractors but that is primarily at the expense of the American taxpayer, not of a distant foreign country. The unilateral retreat on the Kyoto agreements after ten years of negotiation and the refusal to recognize the international penal court are both popular decisions with Americans. But they are wrong. We cannot put ourselves above international law and we cannot claim the right to pollute, at the same time we expect other, poorer countries to restrain their consumption for environmental purposes.

Altogether Mr Bush did not a good job as a Chief Executive and thus he deserves not to be reelected. He is definitely a bad choice.


John Forbes Kerry or the Kerry-Edwards promise for a fresh start

It is difficult to evaluate Senator Kerry on his record, although Mr Bush and Mr Cheney take a particular pleasure in showing us, time and again, how he voted for and against the same issues. But were they really the same ? And can a summarized voting pattern of a congressman over twenty years be used to qualify his steadiness and his ability to make the right decisions as a chief executive ?

We can only evaluate his program, promises, personality and the record of his party when in power.

"Republicans are good for the economy and the stock market !"
This is a popular belief and except some well informed specialists, most Americans would probably still qualify this statement as "True". But it's a myth.
The stock market did on average five times better under Democratic administrations and the economic growth was equally more impressive
2. Contrary to some, I refuse to see these data merely as a factor of statistic error (spread). In my opinion, other economists may disagree, it is a direct consequence of the Democrats more responsible fiscal policies.

Again a tax cut for the very rich will put an additional Ferrari or Rolls Royce in their garages and make them that much happier. But it will not create jobs for Detroit's assembly lines. Improving the conditions of the poor and rehabilitating social outcasts will.

Thus, whereas we cannot qualify Mr Kerry as a better president for the American economy yet, he obviously backs the right policies.

Don't take me wrong on that. I do not believe Mr Kerry, when he claims he will not raise our taxes. It is most likely that the fiscal situation of the US will deteriorate so much further that tax increases for the well-to-do, not only the very rich, cannot be avoided. But I somewhat trust Mr Kerry to be integer enough to make the less popular choice of retracting on this promise and selectively increase our taxes if the situation requires it. If we have to restrain our present consumption to restore the fiscal balance and solve the social security and healthcare issues for the benefit of our kids, we should go for it. This is also part of what we can do for our country and for our kids.

Although he would not say a word about it now, I also trust that Mr Kerry will reduce defense spending as soon as possible. SDI and other high spending items would thus be relegated to the distant future, where they belong. Again, cutting defense spending does not seem a good measure to protect America now, but if well done, the more selective way to spend the reduced budgets may help us focus on the real threats, instead of diverting our forces according the special interests of a few influential corporations.

Will Mr Kerry be a good Commander in Chief ? Well, I don't know and there is only one way to find out.
He will definitely have a better chance to ally other nations to our cause and he may even be the only chance we get. The Bush-Cheney administration has thoroughly mined the field of international diplomacy though.

If you rate Mr Bush a strong leader because he said such famous phrases as "if you are not with us, you are against us", then you may as well take Mr Kerry's word to "hunt and kill the terrorists, wherever they are, whatever it takes". The rhetoric is the same and besides the words, there is not much credential for Mr Bush as a commander in chief, as obviously witnessed by the mess in Iraq.

I don't know if Mr Kerry will do better, but he at least still deserves the opportunity to try. He is definitely the better choice and he may even be a good one. Time will tell
3.

Editorial notes :

1. U.S. Grant carried both his first election in 1868 and his reelection in 1872 by wide margins. He got 214 against 80 electors in 1868 and all 286 electors in 1872.  But the poll of historians in 1962 ranked him second worst of former presidents after W. G. Harding. That bad ranking is certainly related to the widespread corruption and favorizing of special interests during his administration, although he himself was apparently integer.
(See : William DeGregorio "The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents")
2. Average annual stock market return for the period 1927-1998 was 11% (eleven) under Democratic administrations and just 2% (two) under Republican. GPD growth in the period 1930-2000 was 5.4% under Democratic administrations and 1.6% under Republicans. Democrats also rank better in many other criteria such as (lower) inflation, (lower) budget deficits, (higher) growth of personal disposable income and (lower) unemployment rates. Democratic presidents also had lower growth rates for Federal spending (6.96% vs 7.57%) than Republicans, surprisingly also and even more accentuated on non-defense spending (8.34% vs 10.08%). So much for fiscal responsibility and the myth of "tax and spend Democrats".
(See http://www.eriposte.com/economy/other/demovsrep.htm for details, more information and full annotations as to data sources etc.)
3. The author considers himself an independent. He was a fancier of the Kennedys, specially Bobby, whose tragic assassination deprived us of an outstanding leader. He supported Nixon in 1972, Gerald Ford in 1976 and sidestepped the 1980 election, as Ted Kennedy failed to be nominated for the Democrats. He heartily supported Ronald Reagan in 1984 and somewhat less heartily George H. W. Bush in 1988. In 1992 he swung back to the Democrats, supporting Bill Clinton, although with some hesitation in favor of Ross Perot. Mr Bush was definitely no longer a choice. He enthusiastically supported Bill Clinton for reelection in 1996 and Al Gore, whom he considers the most qualified man for the job, in 2000. He was naturally appalled by the way the presidency was handed to George Walker Bush in defiance of the basic rules of democracy. He would have seen in Al Gore a better president than in John Kerry, but he acknowledges that the latter definitely makes a better candidate now.
 

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