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Bush's barriers to the White House
By Henry Lamb
George Bush's vision that someday, all people should be able to choose and control their own government is sufficient reason for terrorists, communists, devout socialists, and many Democrats to hate him. What is more difficult to understand, is why many conservatives who share his vision, have found reasons to oppose him.
Perhaps the most bizarre scenario now circulating is the idea that George Bush heads some kind of secret society of international intrigue that orchestrated the September 11 attack, to prepare Americans to accept the Patriot Act. Now that the homeland security apparatus is in place, another pre-election attack is being planned, to justify the final take-over of America by military and police forces under Bush's control. Once America is under control, so the theory goes, the global advance will spread from Iraq, across the Arab world, and to final global conquest.
Nearly as ridiculous is the notion that the entire Bush family, all the way back to Prescott, is the instrument of Satan, on this earth for the purpose of propagating evil. Evidence offered in support of this notion is Bush's college affiliation with the "Skull and Bones" society.
Another reason offered to urge conservatives to abandon Bush is the idea that Kerry should be elected so he can hasten the transformation of America to socialism so that conservatives will see how bad socialism really is, and "wake up" and throw the bums out, once and for all.
Similar to this reasoning is the idea that the White House should be held by the opposite party in control of the legislative branch - in order to promote gridlock. The idea that no legislation is better than any legislation is appealing to many people.
Then comes the "lesser of two evils" argument that urges people to vote for a third party candidate, or to stay at home, since neither major candidate rises to their ideal. The ever-present third party appeal fails to recognize that if its argument cannot persuade the major party from which it departs, it has even less chance of persuading a majority of the electorate.
There is also a wide array of "Because he has not..." done any of a variety of specific things that people think he should have done. There is an equally wide array of "because he..." did a variety of things that people think he should not have done.
Collectively, the conservatives who gravitate to one or more of these ideas constitute the greatest barrier to Bush's second term. Perhaps these people should take a lesson from Ronald Reagan who told a trusted ally: "I'd rather get 80 percent of the goal than to ride off the cliff waving a flag."
Conservatives who choose to stay at home, or vote for a third party candidate may well be riding off the cliff while waving whatever flag they follow. Regardless of the arguments advanced, the next president will be either a Republican or a Democrat. No third party candidate has the support that Ross Perot had in 1992 - 19 percent. Still, all Perot could do was spoil the reelection of George H.W. Bush, and send the nation into eight years of policies bitterly opposed by the very conservatives who abandoned the Bush ship to vote for Perot.
Even though there is a significant minority of people who sincerely believe that there is no difference between the two candidates, there is a vast difference. The difference that matters is not in the details of any particular program, but in their distinctly different visions of the world, and America's place in it.
Based on his rhetoric and record, John Kerry believes that the United States should be a compliant member of the global village, under the authority of the United Nations. He has never repudiated his 1970 statement to the Harvard Crimson:
Based on his rhetoric and record, George Bush believes that the United States should lead the world in the defense of freedom, acting in the interests of the United States, with or without the United Nations. Bush says:
No honest, objective person can examine these two candidates and conclude that there is no difference between them. One or the other will be the next president of the United States.
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