Wednesday, November 01, 2006

One more clueless voter

Today's San Francisco Chronicle carried a letter to the editor from Sandy in San Mateo:

Why I will vote for GOP
Editor — I will vote Republican for two reasons — taxes and terrorism. I am sticking with the party that has kept us from another attack in this country for more than five years. The Democrats will raise our taxes and I am not willing to give the government any more money to waste.
Let's look at those claims.

Read more... I was watching Tucker Carlson on MSNBC a few days ago, and he kept asking his guests, Doesn't President Bush deserve some credit for the fact that we have not had any further terrorist attacks on U.S. soil since 9/11? [or words to that effect] My answer is a resounding no. Al Qaeda's last attack on U.S. soil before 9/11 was in 1993, more than 8 years before 9/11. Major terrorist plots don't hatch overnight. But there's a more fundamental reason that I don't think the Republicans deserve credit for preventing a terror attack on our homeland. One of the maxims of politics is, if your opponent is digging his own grave, you should stand back and let him dig. Bush and the Republicans are digging a grave for America faster and better than any al Qaeda attack could dream of doing. We have set up a living, breathing combination recruiting poster and target practice in the persons of the U.S. soldiers currently occupying Iraq. We are alienating the entire Muslim world — the very people who are the most essential allies to win over if we are to defeat this strain of violent extremism that comes out of their midst. Bush and Karl Rove are feeding the terror level of the American people more deftly than Osama bin Laden ever could; indeed, they are giving his proclamations a podium and a microphone for the purpose of frightening Americans into voting Republican. Have Bush and the Republicans made meaningful progress in securing our ports against threats that might be hidden in cargo ships? Have Bush and the Republicans done a good job of securing our airports? Have Bush and the Republicans done a good job of securing our borders with Mexico and Canada? One of the planned Millennium attacks on the west coast was foiled by an alert customs agent at the Canadian border, after all, and it would be trivially easy for terrorists to slip in from the south in the midst of a group of illegal immigrants. Have George W. Bush and his lieutenants demonstrated sound judgment about anything other than winning elections? Katrina alone punctures that myth. So, no, I do not give Bush credit for keeping us safe.

The second claim is perhaps even more laughable. Waste of government money has reached astounding new heights under the Republican domination of the last six years. The United States government has engaged in more deficit spending in the last six years than in the preceding 224 years combined. Even if the Democrats wanted to be more wasteful than the Republicans, it's doubtful they could manage it, especially with a hostile President. Yes, the Democrats will probably try to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, and I certainly hope they will reinstate the inheritance tax, because those are fiscally responsible measures in the face of a crushing national debt. The Democrats might also put the brakes on the no-bid contracts that the Republicans have been lavishing on companies like Bechtel and Halliburton.

Which party is better prepared to protect our country against terror? That would have to be the Democrats, by default.

Which party is likely to be a better steward of our tax dollars? Again, the Democrats, by default.

It's not that I'm a cheerleader for the Democrats; I certainly have some disagreements with the way they've handled themselves. It's just that at this point the Republican Party is so completely morally and intellectually bankrupt that any alternative could hardly help but be an improvement.

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