Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Right Choice

More than six years after their oh-so-close election fight, Bush and Gore are still in the news. Gore got an Academy Award and was the darling of Hollywood. Bush got his usual hammering. You know the drill: He’s a moron, warmonger, liar. As dozens scramble to replace him, our president’s foibles are out there. I don’t see him as a moron, a liar, or a warmonger, but many of his policies are way off. Twice I voted for him, however, and would again given the same choices.

Mr. President? Here’s where you’ve messed up so far:

You’re wrong on government spending first and foremost. There’s very little government can do for people that they wouldn’t be better off doing for themselves.

You’re wrong on the prescription drug benefit. We simply cannot afford it.

You’re wrong on aid to agribusiness and small farmers. Let farmers sink or swim on their own like everyone else.

You’re wrong on aid to education. The federal government should not be in the education business except for perhaps one function: Design a test to measure what every student should know and be able to do in each grade, K-12. Don’t require that every student take it; just put it out there so everyone knows about it. If states or local districts really want to see how their students measure up, they’ll use it. If they don’t, they won’t. Government can’t make schools improve. Only the communities in which those schools exist can do that.

You’re wrong on illegal immigration. What part of the word “illegal” don’t you understand? Look at the map. Borders define our country. If we don’t control them, we won’t be a country. Legal immigrants are fine and they’re the only ones who should be here. Deport the rest. All of them.

You’re wrong on the war: You’re not aggressive enough. Reread your speeches from the fall of 2001. The “Bush Doctrine” was right on the money. “If you support terrorism, we’re coming after you,” you said. Iran and Syria are supporting terrorism and you’re not going after them.

Other than those things, I’m with you, and I know you’re not as dumb as you look sometimes. Meanwhile, you can take some consolation knowing your opponents in 2000 and 2004 are making asses of themselves. Next to them, you still look good. Kerry dropped out the 2008 race because people got to know him and they don’t like him. Even though he called you dumb, your GPA at Yale was higher than his. He still thinks he’s a genius though and that irritates people. Those remarks about our soldiers being “stuck in Iraq” because they didn’t do well in school? Dumb. Very dumb.

Then we have Al “Save the World” Gore. He’s telling us all to ride bikes and cut down on electricity while just one of his mansions uses more than twenty times what an average American home does, and he has three of them. Meanwhile, your ranch in Crawford is an ecological wonder compared to Gore’s Nashville home. According to a 2001 article in the Chicago Tribune:

[Bush’s] 4,000-square-foot house is a model of environmental rectitude. Geothermal heat pumps located in a central closet circulate water through pipes buried 300 feet deep in the ground where the temperature is a constant 67 degrees; the water heats the house in the winter and cools it in the summer. Systems such as the one in this ‘eco-friendly’ dwelling use about 25% of the electricity that traditional heating and cooling systems utilize. A 25,000-gallon underground cistern collects rainwater gathered from roof runs; wastewater from sinks, toilets and showers goes into underground purifying tanks and is also funneled into the cistern. The water from the cistern is used to irrigate the landscaping surrounding the four-bedroom home. Plants and flowers native to the high prairie area blend the structure into the surrounding ecosystem.

In a free society, hypocrites like Gore get smoked out eventually.

When Bush won the 2000 election, I was at a directors’ meeting of an education-reform group called “The Southern Maine Partnership” at a fancy restaurant in Portland. I was the only person there who voted for him. The others were depressed as they speculated, ominously, that Bush would advocate vouchers in public education - checks to parents for about half the amount it would cost to educate students for a year in public school. Parents could use vouchers for private school tuition.

“I think vouchers are a good idea,” I said. There was silence as everyone looked at me incredulously. “Gore sent his kids to private schools but he’s against vouchers that would enable others to do the same thing. Meanwhile, Bush sent his kids to public schools but he supports vouchers that would allow many more parents to make the same choice Gore did. Bush is pro-choice on education and so am I.” My term on the board ran out shortly after that and I wasn’t invited back.

My votes in 2000 and 2004 don’t keep me up nights. President Gore? President Kerry? Now those are scary thoughts.


Anonymous said...

I, too, voted for the President twice and would do so again if the alternatives remained the same. So here are my comments of your critique.
GOV. SPENDING..........Right. Cool the spending.
PRESCRIPTION DRUGS........Wrong. The cost of drugs these days is exhorbitant, due it seems, to the avarice of the Pharmaceutical companies whose charges exceed any other on the globe. People(mainly the old) really do have to make the decision as to whether or not they will eat or doctor themselves. This by any standard is immoral.
AGRICULTURE...........right/wrong. The small farmers should be helped; they appear to be the only bulwark against the industry being taken over by the huge cartels. When that happens it will be similar to the pharmaceutical industry where a few, very large companies monopolise the market.
EDUCATION...........right. This has become the most sacred of the sacred cows. Educators can do no wrong despite the "dumbing down" of our schools. Time to hand over ALL aspects of education to states and local authorities.
A country which doesn't have the will to defend it's borders does not deserve to stand.
Unlike Hillary I acknowledge I approved of the war to dislodge Hussein. However we have lost our way, largely because we have no idea of how to handle the situation. But we should NOT escalate nor should we become more aggressive. Iraq is an old and proud country, we should treat them with respect and listen to what they want within the borders of their own country. The most urgent thing we should do is to look at the larger picture, particularly the Palestinian problem which seems at the heart of the entire Islamic unrest. We should lean on our friend, Israel, to get to the peace table and to establish a firm and permanent peace.

Tom McLaughlin said...

Thanks for the feedback, Gordon.

We should respect Iraq when they tell us what they want within the borders of their country. Right now, their elected government wants us to stay until the radicals, both Shiite and Sunni, as well as the ones from the outside, are under control. If they ask us to leave, we should.

A Proud Infidel said...

Just happened to stumble on by here and have to say, you are an excellent writer and I will be stopping by often.

As a former HS teacher myself, you are right on the money with your education and illegal immigration stance. I remember back many years ago, when CA Rep. Sonny Bono passed away. There was a clip of him in a House sub-committee meeting and every one hashing around thought and Sonny just nailed it, "If it's illegal immigration why are were even talking about it? It's ILLEGAL."

I am surprised that you have lasted this long with all the liberals in the Teachers' Room at school. I avoided that place like the plague.

Carry on!

tomax7 said...

How much longer will we tolerate Syria and Iran?

With Putin warming relations with Iran, I can only see Biblical items coming true about Gog, Magog, and Persia.

As for 'lean on Israel' comment, maybe the writer should go over there and see how small that country is.

No one wants the Palestinians. Why not ship them back to Syria? They don't want them either.

Anonymous said...

TO Tomax7: How big or small Israel is, is not the point. If things continue as they are currently, there will be no Israel,eretz or minz. Whether we like it or not; despite all the propaganda pointing to other reasons, when young arabs and other Muslims are asked why they are willing to throw their lives away the primary reason given is, PALESTINE. Gordon