I've heard enough, seen enough and read enough.
My mind is made up. In November, I'll vote for someone whose name is not George W. Bush or John Kerry.
Over four years, I've learned all I need to know about Bush. And I hold Kerry in equally low regard. Kerry has done nothing but make promises neither he—nor anyone else—can possibly keep.
Where is their backbone? Each daily movement is poll-driven; each statement carefully couched.
On August 24, the New York Times published an Op-ed by David Brooks about Kerry titled "The Vietnam Passion." Brooks observed that Kerry has lost whatever fire he may have had in the 1970s post-Vietnam War era.
"The passion is gone," wrote Brooks. What remains is
"the pompous prevaricator….a man so cautiously calculating not to put a foot wrong that he envelopes himself in a fog of caveats and equivocations. You see a man losing his ability to think like a normal human being…"
Voters are pleading with the candidates to show some gumption. But every day is like the one before it. We're in danger of being bored to death by the identical, predictable hackneyed speeches.
Pollsters tell us that the "undecided" voter will be the key to the election's outcome. One would assume then that Bush and Kerry would be pulling out all the stops to convince the undecided that he is the most worthy candidate.
Here are two very simple things that would quickly grab the undecided voter's attention.
Bush could issue an unqualified statement saying something like this:
"I was wrong about the reasons for going to Iraq. But I have learned from my mistakes. I think I can be a wiser, better president in my next term. Please listen to me with an open mind."
Kerry (and Edwards), for their part, could show mettle by resigning from the Senate. They could say,
"We cannot represent the people of Massachusetts (and North Carolina) while we are campaigning. Accordingly, we resign our Senate positions effective immediately."
Bush has nothing to lose by stating the obvious about Iraq. And it would put the president in a much more favorable light among those (like me) who see him as afflicted with tunnel vision.
As for Kerry and Edwards, what's the worst that can happen to them? They're multimillionaires who certainly don't need their Senate job.
But in politics circa 2004, even going such a small distance onto the ledge is too risky.
On their next puddle-hop, Bush and Kerry should read a small volume first published in 1956 titled Profiles in Courage by then U.S. Senator John .F. Kennedy.
The book is a collection of essays about eight U. S. Senators who had the courage to go against the grain of popular opinion even though they knew it spelled political doom. But to them principle was more important than career.
Their compelling stories are a marked contrast from the well-traveled path chosen by Bush and Kerry.
But this year is different. We have immediate pressing problems that demand attention. In addition to the war on terror, we have job loss, economic stagnation, a disappearing middle class, depleted natural resources and crippling deficits.
Yet the Bush-Kerry debate, to use the word loosely, is about incidents that occurred 35 years ago. The candidates should be talking about the future. Instead they are helplessly stuck in the past.
Where, Kennedy might have wondered, is Bush and Kerry's courage? Kennedy's final paragraph of Profiles in Courage could have been written about the two spineless ones: Bush and Kerry:
"To be courageous requires no special qualifications, no magic formula, no special combination of time, place and circumstance…. Each man must decide for himself the course he will follow. The stories of past courage can define that ingredient—they can teach, they can offer hope, they can provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul."
While it is not too late for Bush or Kerry to rise to the occasion, it seems unlikely that either will do so.
JOE'S FRIGHTENING SPECTER FOR VDARE.COM READERS
When the subject turns to immigration, I defy anyone to name two more cowardly politicians than Bush and Kerry.
Kerry had the audacity to promise amnesty within the first 100 days of his administration. He cannot deliver on that promise.
And as for Bush, despite all warnings from conservatives that it is an ill-conceived idea, the Republican platform committee is pressing ahead with his amnesty plan.
According to the New York Times, Richard Lessner, executive director of the American Conservative Union blasted Bush for his so-called temporary worker program.
"This unfortunate initiative allows those who enter the US illegally to become legal residents and apply for citizenship. The idea was D.O.A. among conservatives when the president first broached it and it is still offensive."
In an e-mail circulated among other conservatives, Lessner continued to heap criticism on Bush. He wrote:
"…President Bush has no broad vision—and certainly no conservative vision—for the United States. All he has is a random assortment of policy prescriptions, many of which contradict one another." [Conservatives Grumble on Planks Reflecting Bush Agenda by David D. Kirkpatrick, NYT, August 26, 2004]
What worries me is that Bush is stubborn and vindictive. I believe it is possible that if he loses in November, he may issue an Executive Order granting amnesty.
A few months ago, I bounced my idea off Capitol Hill insiders. They disagreed with me, saying that Republican leadership would plead with Bush not to do it.
But Bush doesn't care about the Republican Party or the American people.
I put the odds of an amnesty via Executive Order at 50-50.