The Democratic battle cry has long been “Anyone But Bush!” Hell, Howard Dean energized a party and nearly clinched the nomination (well, according to Gallup) just by saying how much Georgie sucks. But it seems Republicans don’t like that message too much. They say John Kerry spends too much time on the downside of Bush and too little on his own upside.
Well it says here that that’s a damn good platform. Sometimes a ruler is so atrocious that anything is better (for all you hawks out there, think a certain mustachioed dictator in the Middle East). For Monty Brewster and Ralph Nader in 2000, their mantra was “None of the above!” For America in 2004, the choice is – whether it’s a good thing or not – Bush or Not Bush.
Kerry seems to be an ideal Not Bush. He’s a passionate leader, he cares about people who don’t have a seven-figure income and he tends not to fabricate wars. But I wrote about that last week; this is about why Bush’s deficiencies are more important than Kerry’s strengths.
If the left seems to have an exceedingly negative view of America, that’s because it does. Bush has done more to disgrace this country than anyone since Joe McCarthy. If you ask most Democrats whose regime is more of a threat to American security, Bush’s or Saddam Hussein’s, the answer would not exactly equate to a vote of confidence in our President.
Bush has not done one thing right. Al Qaeda: ignored. Afghanistan: abandoned. Tax cuts: unfair. Iraq: not only unjust, but also un-funded and unplanned. Even when he got close to doing something right, like No Child Left Behind, it had a neat little twist to make it unworkable: Hey, let’s say that all our school children will be held to higher academic standards, but then take away funding from schools whose students do poorly. That way, they’ll be more motivated to do well in their deteriorating school staffed with third-rate teachers! Awesome!
And while Bush can point fingers at Condi and Rummy and they can point fingers at the CIA and FBI, the chain of command still goes somewhere, and 9/11 did still happen. What they’ve been saying to Tom Kean (Jersey represent!) and the rest of the 9/11 Commission makes Bil Keane’s Jeffy and Dolly look like pillars of truth.
What this country needs is more than a change in leader. It needs a change in leadership. Other columnists might be right; we might not need Kerry. But we do need the Democrats, and they come under the banner of “Anybody But Bush.”
Patrick Gibbons can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.