Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"But what will a Kerry victory buy you?..."

[This was first published in 2004, but it applies generally to politics at all times, so I am republishing here in this blog. This despite the fact that Bush has turned out to be one of our worst presidents on many levels.]

My liberal cousin from Back East responded: "And I am reading this email from La La Land who elected the Terminator for Governor?? Your points are all well taken, I just cannot stand another 4 years of Bush.. the puppet to Doctor Evil (VP)."
Da Terminator actually vetoed a bunch of bills -- as he said he would -- to the astonishment of the political and chattering classes up and down the Left Coast. I figure, if politicians can't do any good (and wouldn't know how if they fell over it), at least they can veto things and provide entertainment value while we watch the pols have fits about how civilization is coming to an end. Vastly amusing.

You can't stand Bush continuing, but what will a Kerry victory buy you? Clinton was going to be the great white hope for the Dems after 8 years of Reagan and the first Bush, and he turned out to raise spending less than Reagan, didn't raise taxes much, didn't fund many new budget-buster entitlement programs -- he was a better Republican than a Republican. Bush comes in all full of small-government values and raises spending faster than any Dem in the past 40 years, adds the biggest new entitlement programs since the first Bush--heck, he's the closest thing to a Democrat you've had in the White House since Jimmy Carter! What are you complaining about?

How does Kerry differ? He won't withdraw from Iraq, he's already said that. He can't possibly increase government spending on non-defense projects faster than Bush already has, so it's a wash there. He can raise taxes and crush the economy even more than Bush and not even bring in more revenues, but where's the fun in that? He'll pontificate as much as Bush, but about different things. That's all.

You are under the illusion that there is a huge difference between these two men: There isn't. Despite propaganda on both sides to the contrary, they are both fairly centrist representatives of their political parties. The world hasn't come to an end under four years with Bush, and won't do so in the next four years, nor will it under Kerry. The rhetoric, the passion, the garment-rending are florid far in excess of the realities of either candidate, or for that matter of their parties. If you really don't like having Bush around some more, you won't get much relief with Kerry--just different stylistic flourishes.

There is no comfort or relief in voting Dem or Repub. They're both just fighting over who gets to wear the jackboots, and who gets to have the boots on his neck--that's all. Each party wants to force America to Do The Right Thing, as they interpret it. Neither can actually accomplish that. And neither will give up the effort. And we all suffer because we've got the whole idea of what the government is supposed to be doing for us -- instead of to us -- completely wrong.

Well, it doesn't matter, the heck with it -- neither is the demon, neither is the christ, so I don't care who gets the most votes, or how those votes are counted. I worry more about the extremist arguments, the intense polarization that used to be the special province of the political junkies, but is not so harmless when the general populace takes up the cry. We don't need at-any-cost extremists in our midst, and that's what it's coming to. We all need to have a drink and cool our jets.

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