home > archive > 2004 > this article
Why George W. Bush will win in 2004
By Trevor Bothwell
Republicans are growing increasingly anxious about the reelection of President George W. Bush this November. Their concerns are entirely valid given the president's spending history, his leniency toward illegal immigrants, and some recent opinion polls showing John Kerry leading Bush. But while it's never wise to underestimate the competition, they should bear in mind the president's primary advantage: Most Americans understand -- or will realize come autumn -- that this election is about national security.
Incidentally, Democrats realize this too, which explains their incessant attacks on Bush's Air National Guard service during Vietnam, where Terry McAuliffe accused the president of going AWOL despite the fact he was granted an honorable discharge. Attacking George W. Bush's military record during the 2000 election didn't work, so they're apparently resorting to their favorite strategy: Repeat lies often enough until you can convince people they're true.
We've seen this strategy played out repeatedly during the past two years: Bush is "stupid"; he "lied" us into war; "Big Oil!" The problem with this infantile slandering is that President Bush isn't an idiot -- he has an MBA from Harvard Business School (say what you want about his intellect; many a privileged son have gotten the boot from HBS); Americans know it takes skill and character to be a fighter pilot; and they understand that Congress -- the same Congress that granted Bush permission to declare war on Iraq -- had available the same intelligence data on WMDs that Bush had.
So even if Democrats feign patriotism and hawkishness (to wit: as in the 2002 midterm run-up) from now until November, there's every reason to believe that their relentless maligning of the current commander-in-chief has already begotten their ruin.
However, assuming the Democratic Party in general hasn't already driven away too many moderates to regain the presidency, there are still several reasons their prospective nominee might (my prediction: a Kerry/Edwards ticket).
First, John Kerry is almost as exciting as a barium enema. Have you heard his speeches following his primary wins? The guy looks like he's going after the Walter Mondale Award for Motivational Speaking instead of the highest office in the land. I think this is one big reason we've seen John Edwards close the voting gap after the primaries in Virginia and Wisconsin. Aside from that sexy boyish grin, Edwards' stump speeches at least keep voters awake long enough for them to hear him promise to arrange some slip-and-fall suits should a Republican Congress refuse to increase welfare subsidies during his term.
Second, assuming the new JFK gets the nod, Kerry's insistence upon degrading Bush's previous military service (during a war, of all times) is not only indicative of his apparent disdain for our military, but it demonstrates an absence of character that I'm not sure we even witnessed in Bill Clinton (seriously). Any "leader" who is so self-absorbed as to not only tout his own military record, but berate those who have served their country in any capacity -- the irony of Kerry's self-congratulation regarding Vietnam after famously badmouthing his fellow veterans notwithstanding -- does not possess the integrity required to befit the office which he seeks.
In short, only a liberal would attempt to imply that Bush's military service 30 years ago is a greater issue than his current war record -- which in only two years includes the successful overthrow of the Taliban, the capture of Saddam Hussein, and the elimination or capture of two-thirds of al-Qaeda terrorists, not to mention the liberation of the Afghan and Iraqi people. Ironically, the leadership Bush exhibits today likely was fashioned in large part by way of the military service John Kerry et al. are again attempting to disparage.
Which leads to my final point. Whereas President Bush possesses clarity of vision, John Kerry shifts positions frequently. Kerry voted against the Gulf War in 1991, but now says he favored it; he voted for the Iraq war, but now says he's opposed; he says he favors reconstruction in Iraq, but voted against the $87 billion to fund it; he used to think the Patriot Act was the best thing since marrying a gazillionaire, but now condemns it as an assault on civil liberties. Look, its one thing to change your mind after history proves you wrong; it's totally another to be an opportunist willing to talk out both sides of your mouth.
America is finally on the offensive in confronting terrorism, led currently by a president who has strayed from his base on occasion, but who nonetheless remains true to his convictions where it counts -- keeping us alive.
Whether the Democrats can convince enough Americans to buy into their irrelevant accusations before the November elections is not the issue. The fact that their rhetoric is being used to conceal their complete absence of a better war strategy, or a better overall path for the security of the country, is.
The Democrats know this is their problem. I'm betting that most Americans know this, too. And that's why President Bush will win. Again.
Get weekly updates about new issues of ESR!
© 1996-2018, Enter Stage Right and/or its creators. All rights reserved.