George Bush defeated Al Gore, encumbered with Bill Clinton's follies, by one Supreme Court vote. Since then, Bush has presided over an expensive gratuitous war and a jobless recovery, with a disproportionate share of the few jobs that have been created being in low-paid domestic services.
Bush's invasion of Iraq is sucking $200 billion out of taxpayers' pockets or out of government services such as health care and education. The invasion and "reconstruction" have spawned numerous no-bid contract scandals involving Republican cronies.
The US has suffered humiliation throughout the world as a result of prison torture bordering on war crimes.
Iraq has been reduced to chaos. US casualties, dead and wounded, are approximately 6,000. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has issued a carefully researched report that concludes that none of the reasons used by the Bush administration to justify the invasion are valid. Iraq possessed no WMD and had no terror links to al-Qaeda.
US puppet rulers in the Middle East report that the invasion has turned Muslim opinion against the US and generated unprecedented hatred of America. The invasion shattered 50 years of US diplomacy and destroyed the credibility of US intelligence agencies.
And now the Bush administration is promising to carry the war to Iran.
US civil liberties are being shredded by the Patriot Act and unconstitutional behavior by federal authorities.
This has to be a dream scenario for Democrats.
Yet, they are making nothing of it.
Instead, Kerry is working full time to strengthen Bush's constituency. Kerry promises to raise taxes, and he is associated with gun control legislative proposals that the NRA says would ban all semi-automatic shotguns and all semi-automatic rifles fed by a detachable clip.
A person can only wonder who dreams up these positions for Democrats.
The guns Kerry wants to ban are owned by 40% of the population. In an economy where jobs are scarce and prices are rising faster than incomes, the prospect of higher taxes scares everyone.
Not even the leftwing weekly, The Nation, can get Kerry off the dime. Concerned that Kerry is missing his opportunity, The Nation's editors asked 22 luminaries to come up with a platform that would challenge Bush. [A People's Democratic Platform, August 2, 2004]
The luminaries produced a platform that would reelect Bush: "balanced treatment" for gay and transgendered people, more rights for minorities, women, and labor unions, more money for environment, renewal energy, and education, re-regulation, national health care, corporate democracy, the franchise for US territories, a phase-down in military spending and termination of the missile shield program.
Alone, James K. Galbraith mentioned jobs. No luminary suggested holding Bush accountable for a war based on deception or for the assault on civil liberties.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, 40% of Americans still think the invasion of Iraq was justified. Kerry shows no signs of contesting this 40%. Clearly, the Democrats are making no effort to deconstruct the shaky Republican coalition.
Globalization seems to be taking a toll on America's higher income jobs. Stephen Roach, chief economist for Morgan Stanley, reaches the same conclusion (More Jobs, Worse Work, July 22 New York Times) as I have: low pay, low skill jobs account for twice the normal amount of job growth in the current recovery.
In the past several years computer engineering enrollments in our country's premier engineering schools—M.I.T., Georgia Tech, UC Berkeley—have dropped an average of 43% (Tech Bust Zaps Interest in Computer Careers, By Alex Pham, Los Angeles Times, July 20)!
The unemployment rate for computer engineers in the US is higher than the national unemployment rate.
Neither political party will come to grips with the employment implications of globalization. Neither party will acknowledge the fact that Palestinians are a captive people and that American indifference to their fate is the cause of Muslim terrorism.
Neither party will address the domestic police state implications of the "war on terror."
Neither candidate deserves to win the election.
Has America acquired Imperial Rome's inability to produce leadership?
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Paul Craig Roberts is the author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice