Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Sullivan article on the Bush clan's campaign tactics

This is really scary stuff. Is this democracy???

Garton Ash was right

When I read In defence of the fence back in February, 2003 I thought to myself: "This is my stance on the Iraq war". I just re-read it, and it is amazing how accurate his predictions have been. From sceptisism to the quality of intelligence, to the post-war quagmire and ethnic rivalries, it seems to me that Garton Ash pretty much saw what was going to happen and why Bush did what he did.

So, given that a mere British historian was able to predict what would happen in Iraq, why couldn't Bush/Cheney? They had access to intelligence reports, the state department, heads of state, and millions of federal workers. The answer is, of course, that they didn't care about accurate predictions of what would happen. Their own agenda was their only concern (as Blind Into Baghdad - a long read but well worth it - details).

Why is this relevant? Well, the ability to predict both "the future" in general, and the consequences of one's own actions in particular, is a critical factor when judging COMPETENCE. And the Bush administration has basically proven itself INCOMPETENT, blinded by its own stubbornness.

Perhaps Kerry should stop talking about issues such as his Vietnam record or the Economy altogether. His campaign seems to be aimed at making people like him, which just isn't going to happen. He's not a very strong candidate, as commentators are increasingly pointing out. But I believe he has a basic grasp of the issues, and that he would be a COMPETENT president. That's a much easier sell, especially if they focus their attacks on all those areas where Bush has had good intentions and the right rhetoric but he's screwed up in the execution...

European vs American views on Terror War

Good update on US vs European views.
The key difference is now clear. All American leaders think we are at war; most European leaders think we are still at peace.

The Washington Monthly

Pretty funny comment on a quote from House Speaker Dennis Hastert. As Kevin Drum says: "This is what the leadership of the Republican party has become."

Sullivan on GOP convention

I am beginning to understand why andrewsullivan.com is the most widely read blog. For instance, I didn't watch the GOP convention last night but because of entries like THE GOOD SENATOR I feel I don't have to!

Monday, August 30, 2004

Wiring the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy [Or: The on-going demise of the Dem Party]

Wiring the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy talks about how the Democrats are basically screwed in the long run since they have not strategy or vision. So a bunch of rich people are funding organizations outside the Democratic party such as moveon.org that run racy ads attacking Bush. My two cents: I don't think this is the way to go. Democrats stooping to the same low level as the Republicans is not going to do the country any good. What they need to do is to raise the level of the debate. If that means losing the election, so be it. In the long run the Republicans will lose as long as Bush is in charge (see 'More on Bush and GOP below').

It is no longer about taxes or the Iraqi war or abortion. The Bush administration is challenging the very institutions of Democracy that keep the US (and hence the world) free.

Exhibit A: The Constitution envisions that Congress provide a 'check' on executive powers. Contrast that with House Majority leader Tom DeLay's definition of his job:
How do I advance the president's agenda?

More on Bush and GOP

More good arguments for good Republicans to leave Bush.

George Bush and Democracy

The best story I've seen so far on how George Bush' presidency has eroded democracy's checks and balances. Unfortunately it is The Economist premium content.
Mr Bush came to office arguing that restrictions on presidential authority, especially since Watergate, had harmed decision-making. The implication is that good government requires a certain period of privacy in which officials can thrash out policies. The public should judge only the result. In 2002, his vice-president, Dick Cheney, said, “I have repeatedly seen an erosion of the powers and the ability of the president of the United States to do his job.” He said he and Mr Bush had talked about the need to “pass on our offices in better shape than we found them to our successors.” They have succeeded, after a fashion, but at a heavy cost.

The Seattle Times: Politics: Former GOP officials urge party to "come back to mainstream"

Further evidence that today's Republicans are extreme right-wingers.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Fareed Zakaria on Kerry's Iraq position

I think Fareed is the best political commentator in mainstream media, I get very excited whenever he appears on George Stephanapoulis' "This Week" (ABC on Sundays). I haven't read much of him thus far but this piece makes me think I should.

Ferguson on Bush in Vanity Fair

Great article "The Monarchy of George II" in Vanity Fair. Would have never seen this if my wife didn't buy the magazine. Really is too bad we can't link to it.