“Polls show that nine in 10 Republicans approve of [Bush’s] job performance — a level of partisan loyalty unmatched by any president.”
— Howard Fineman, “Best advice for Kerry: Be invisible,” 6/16/04
There’s no polite way to ask this: Are 90% of all Republicans really dumber than a dog drinking antifreeze? How can anyone with an IQ higher than room temperature actually believe Bush’s job performance is anything more than frog-puking sick? Just today the 9/11 Commission stated there was no credible evidence linking al Qaeda and Saddam, yanking down yet another pillar of Dubya’s justification for marching into Baghdad, to put into the pile along with those non-existent weapons of mass destruction. Bush’s response was instructive: He pointed to the possible presence of al Qaeda in Iraq today as proof.
Well, Mr. President, not to get nit-picky or anything, but we’ve been in control of Iraq for well over a year now. Maybe you’ll want to have Condi brief you on that fact. The presence of al Qaeda in Iraq today says more about the US’s inability to keep them out than it says about their supposed — and now evidently mythical — relationship with Saddam. The fact that Bush is clueless enough to believe it doesn’t, or simply rather cynically believes if he says it, then people will believe it, should give everyone with the ability to think for themselves the cold shakes. Presumably most Republicans do have the capacity for self-directed thinking, even if they’ve been trained like button-pressing rats by Karl Rove against it.
I know Republicans as individuals; I like Republicans as individuals. I’ve even voted for Republicans — more than once, even. And this is why I say, with all sincerity, that I find it absolutely impossible to believe that 90% of Republicans honestly believe that Bush is somehow doing a good job. Earlier in the year, I asked this, and I think it bears repeating:
We all know why Democrats won’t vote for Bush. But let me ask the Republicans: Why on earth would you vote for a guy who wants to expand the size of the federal government, increase deficit government spending, curtail personal liberties, bring the government into your homes and churches and then stick your children with the bill? With the exception of Bush’s mania for lower taxes, is there anything about the man that is in the least bit Republican? Or to put it in another way: If anyone but Bush were planning to expand the size of the federal government, increase deficit government spending, curtail personal liberties, bring the government into your homes and churches and then stick your children with the bill, would you vote for him?
All we have add to this litany is “and seems to think torture is just peachy keen” and I think we’re reasonably current.
In my earlier entry talking about John Kerry’s “problem” with an unarticulated platform not actually being a problem, I got some blowback from folks who pointed out that merely not being the sitting President shouldn’t be enough to propel someone into the White House. And of course, normally I would heartily agree, but on the other hand the current Bush administration isn’t normal. It is, in fact, spectacularly bad, the sort of bad that’s the presidential equivalent of a 100-year flood. If nothing else, this administration is an object lesson in why presidents actually should be elected rather than appointed by the Supreme Court as a matter of political expediency. John Kerry does not arouse a swelling passion in my chest, but there’s really nothing in his political and personal history that suggests he would be a president of such monumental incompetence as the current office holder. Yes, I would agree that “probably not monumentally incompetent” is hardly a recommendation, but really, it’s come to that. If all a President Kerry does is not be as blindingly bad as Bush, his four-to-eight will be looked upon kindly.
(For the record, I do imagine that Kerry would be better than “probably not monumentally incompetent,” but that’s for another time. For the purposes of this entry, “probably not monumentally incompetent” is good enough.)
For me, it’s not a matter of Bush being a Republican or a Democrat. It’s a matter of his administration being the worst administration I’ve ever had to live through. It’s unfathomable to me that 9 out of 10 Republicans are willing to set aside their ability to think in order to unquestioningly approve of Bush when he’s clearly a terrible president, and worse, a terrible Republican. Look, I don’t want to suggest I think Republicans should vote for Kerry; I think that would be an unreasonable request. But I think Republicans should seriously consider not voting for Bush: Just go into the voting booth, go through the ballots for every other position, and then just leave the presidential portion blank. Honestly, the House and Senate are likely to stay safely in the hands of the GOP. Kerry’s not likely to get away with much pinko stuff. It’s a safe protest.
I mean, if you really do believe Bush is doing a good job — a genuinely good job — then vote for him. But if it’s just that you can’t stand the idea of someone who’s not a Republican being in the White House, well, you know. Take one for the team today and get someone new for 2008. Someone who is not incompetent and actually supports Republican ideals — and American ones, too.