Monday, October 25, 2004

An indictment

No...I'm not talking about the serving of a supoena to Tom DeLay, the most crooked member of the GOP in the HoR (and an awful, awful human being)...though that is interesting. No, I'm talking about a written indictment of the Bush Administration (and a pseudo-endorsement of John Kerry for President) by The New Yorker. Over the last few months, my favorite magazine (and, arguably, the best magazine in the United States - bastion of the 'New York liberal' ethos [Harper's being the bastion of the 'Boston liberal' ethos, in case you're curious]) has come out harsher and harsher against El Presidente and his cronies (aka...administration). This from a magazine that was rather lukewarm in its support of Al Gore in 2000. Indeed - I'm not sure if they exactly endorsed Gore four years ago as much as they ripped both candidates as being a choice between two shades of clear.

Not so this year. Oh, don't get me wrong...the editors of The New Yorker find some things about Kerry to be disappointed in - his uneven campaign performances on the stump, his troubles clarifying his position on Iraq, his "overcautious" strategy. However, they clearly identify him as the better choice between the two candidates - and their endorsement is one that is as strongly pro-Kerry as it is anti-Bush (unlike yesterday's lukewarm Washington Post endorsement of Kerry - which was expected, though interesting considering the paper's support of the decision to go to war in Iraq - which was more anti-Bush in nature than it was pro-Kerry). The editors of The New Yorker find much to admire in Kerry:
But when his foes sought to destroy him rather than to debate him they found no scandals and no evidence of bad faith in his past. In the face of infuriating and scurrilous calumnies, he kept the sort of cool that the thin-skinned and painfully insecure incumbent cannot even feign during the unprogrammed give-and-take of an electoral debate. Kerry’s mettle has been tested under fire—the fire of real bullets and the political fire that will surely not abate but, rather, intensify if he is elected—and he has shown himself to be tough, resilient, and possessed of a properly Presidential dose of dignified authority. While Bush has pandered relentlessly to the narrowest urges of his base, Kerry has sought to appeal broadly to the American center. In a time of primitive partisanship, he has exhibited a fundamentally undogmatic temperament. In campaigning for America’s mainstream restoration, Kerry has insisted that this election ought to be decided on the urgent issues of our moment, the issues that will define American life for the coming half century. That insistence is a measure of his character. He is plainly the better choice.
Indeed...what makes this endorsement interesting is it's total indictment of George W. Bush and his Administration - a top-to-bottom ripping of one of the worst Presidents and most disastrous administrations in recent history. They start this in the first paragraph, identifying the Bush campaign as the reason why this election has been so bitter and nasty:
The ugliness has flowed mostly in one direction, reaching its apotheosis in the effort, undertaken by a supposedly independent group financed by friends of the incumbent, to portray the challenger—who in his mid-twenties was an exemplary combatant in both the Vietnam War and the movement to end that war—as a coward and a traitor.
They begin by recounting the events of 2000 and what many have called the worst Supreme Court decision since Dred Scott, the undemocratic 5-4 decision in Bush v. Gore that handed the Presidency to George Bush which was filled with faulty reasoning and clear partisanship. The article goes on to chastise El Presidente for governing like nothing had happened - as if he had actually received the most votes and had a mandate from the people.
the damage would have been far less severe if the new President had made some effort to take account of the special circumstances of his election—in the composition of his Cabinet, in the way that he pursued his policy goals, perhaps even in the goals themselves. He made no such effort. According to Bob Woodward in “Plan of Attack,” Vice-President Dick Cheney put it this way: “From the very day we walked in the building, a notion of sort of a restrained presidency because it was such a close election, that lasted maybe thirty seconds. It was not contemplated for any length of time. We had an agenda, we ran on that agenda, we won the election—full speed ahead.”
This virtual indictment of the administration continues...going through the whole gamut of Bush Administration mistakes, disasters, bad decisions, and decisions contrary to popular will. From the massive tax cuts that overwhelmingly favored the rich, the weakening of environmental regulations, the pro-evangelical Christian agenda, the squandering of America's international opportunity post-9/11, his cynical portrayals of Democrats as friends of terrorism in 2002, the balloning debt and deficit, the assault on basic civil liberties, the mess in Iraq... The list goes on and on.

The article is an excellent read - a full-on assault against everything that the administration has said, done, or failed to do for the last four years. It is long - far longer than I recall was their assessment of Bush and Gore in 2000. It is openly harsh against the President. And it is all true. Check it out.

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