October 09, 2004

The Pagan Case for Re-Electing President Bush

Beliefnet is going to have two writers make the Pagan cases for the election of John Kerry and the re-election of George Bush. I would like to address the latter here.

It is difficult to make a generic Pagan case for voting for any candidate for office: Wicca is as different from Greek Reconstructionism (both Pagan religions) as Mormonism is from Wahabbist Islam (both Abrahamic religions). Different Pagan groups differ widely in their beliefs and morality, and thus on what issues are of import to them. For example, while Wiccans are extraordinarily concerned with the environment, this is hardly the case for Greek Reconstructionists. While I believe that George Bush's environmental record is actually quite good, when examined rather than blindly railed against, discussing the issue in detail is only of merit to a subset of Pagans.

There is one issue that is important for all Pagans: separation of church from State. On this issue, I believe that George Bush - who after all once said that he did not think Witchcraft was actually a religion - is easily portrayed in scary tones, but actually not at all dangerous. Why is this? Because President Bush believes in individual Liberty.

If the government has the power to regulate group social interactions (which is a characteristic policy position of collectivists), then the government's position on religion is dangerous: the government can determine which religions are valid and which are not, and can thus restrict religious freedom. But if government does not have the power to regulate group social interactions, then the government's position is irrelevant: the government cannot prohibit your exercise of religion, nor compel you to belong to a particular religion.

While you might think that the fact that the Constitutional language on religion is clear, the government has over the last 75 years taken to ignoring the Constitution regularly. For example, who could interpret "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press" to mean that it is OK for Congress to make a law restricting the ability of citizens to advertise in support of or opposition to a particular candidate for public office? Recently, the Supreme Court did just that.

The practical upshot of this is that whomever holds power in the Federal government - and in particular the President and the majority leaders of both Congressional chambers - by and large determines the degree to which individual Liberty is upheld. While the President made a terrible error in signing McCain-Feingold, he has so far steered far away from interfering in religious issues, and is likely to continue to do so.

While Senator Kerry is not particularly a believer in individual Liberties, preferring the betterment of society as a whole, under his "benign" management, it is also true that Senator Kerry is quite unlikely to support any position that would restrict Pagan practices. (Always assuming, of course, that such a position wouldn't confer immediate political benefits to the Senator.)

So if neither President Bush nor Senator Kerry is likely to prohibit, restrict or regulate Pagan practices, and if Pagan beliefs are so divergent as to prohibit a single Pagan view of whose policies would be better, on what basis is a Pagan to choose their candidate for President?

We are not only Pagans, but Americans. As Americans, we are targeted by the jihadis for murder (actually, this is worse for Pagans, because what slim hopes of mercy a "person of the book" might have are nonexistent for Pagans). Who would do a better job of protecting us against the jihadis?

During the Clinton administration, we were attacked in 1993 at the World Trade Center, in 1995 and 1996 in Saudi Arabia, in 1998 at two of our African embassies, and in 2000 in Yemen. Our response to these attacks was sufficiently underwhelming that Osama bin Laden decided America would surrender to al Qaeda if only we were hit hard enough in America. The result of that limp response was 9/11. There has not been a successful terrorist attack in the United States in three years, despite repeated attempts. John Kerry wants to return to the pre-9/11 policy of treating terrorism as a crime, rather than an act of war.

We are not only Pagans, but parents. As parents, we are concerned about the safety of the community; we are concerned about the quality of our children's education and our ability to choose their educational course. Who will do a better job of providing our kids with a safe community and an accountable educational system?

The Democrats want to extend voting rights to felons. How will they secure our communities while coddling criminals? The Democrats are in the pocket of the teachers' unions, and oppose not only school choice and homeschooling, but even such minimal measures as accountable teachers and schools! How then can we trust the Democrats with our children's education? By contrast, the Republicans generally support homeschooling, have been trying very hard to get school choice programs in place, and have been the primary proponents of No Child Left Behind, which (while flawed in some ways) has been the most effective program yet devised to improve public education within its current structure.

We are not only Pagans, but taxpayers. We want to be sure that money we earn, we keep. We want to be sure that the government can do those things only government can do (such as providing for the common defense), and that beyond that government does not act. We want to control our own charitable giving, not to have money forcibly taken from us and given to others without our ability to control or direct the use of that money. Who will do a better job of ensuring that we keep as much of our money as possible?

President Bush has obtained four tax cuts in four years. Senator Kerry promises to raise taxes. President Bush believes that money we earn is ours, and Federal funding should be limited. Senator Kerry believes that the government should have the unilateral right to take as much money from us as it needs, in order to fund an ever-expanding list of handouts, many intended primarily as vote-buying schemes for his Party.

We are not only Pagans, but consumers. We want to be able to get the things we need of the quality we want at the lowest possible price. Who will best ensure that our economy works as efficiently as possible?

Senator Kerry believes in protectionism to aid the favored few. President Bush believes in free trade to benefit everyone. Senator Kerry rails against outsourcing as if jobs were a zero-sum game. President Bush praises economic efficiencies gained by moving unproductive and low-paying work to places where it can be done better and cheaper (and in the process, raising the average wages of the countries to which those jobs are outsourced as well as getting us cheaper goods, so that our money goes further). Senator Kerry thinks we are (or should be?) working in below-minimum wage industrial sweatshops. President Bush promotes the high-paying information economy.

I don't believe that President Bush is perfect, not by a long way. But I do believe that as Pagans, and Americans, and parents, and taxpayers, and consumers, that we will be much better served by four more years of President Bush's careful stewardship, than by four years of John Kerry's active misrule. And I do know that in this election, I will be voting for George Bush.

Posted by Jeff at October 9, 2004 12:15 AM | Link Cosmos
Comments

I take exception to your characterization of "Mormonism" (technically, it's Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) as an "Abrahamic" religion. This is preposterous. I'm a "Mormon" (Latter-Day Saint) and believe me, we're Christians. It wasn't Abraham that appeared to Joseph Smith, it was God and His Son Jesus Christ. Our Prophet, Seer, and Revelator is not Abraham's spokesman but Christ's, the Church that we belong to is not headed and guided by Abraham, but by the Savior (that's Jesus Christ for those of you who may be of a leftist bent.) I visit your post every night and have yet to find something I disagree with in a substantial way, but if you're going to make assertions regarding the foundation of religions, at least get it right.

Posted by: nemesisenforcer on October 9, 2004 02:41 AM

I understand that the Mormons are officially the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Had I written that (or LDS), fewer people would have understood the reference. Since "Mormon" is the common name, that is what I used.

As to Mormonism not being Abrahamic, all Christian religions are Abrahamic, as are all Judaic sects and all Muslim sects. Abrahamic religions are those that worship the god of Abraham, variously rendered by commonly referred to as Yahweh, Jehovah or Allah. If you've got a better name for the group of religions all of whom worship that particular god, but which have very little else in common, I'd be glad to hear it.

Maybe I should have said "People of the Book" (that's the Muslim term for other Abrahamic religions than Islam).

Posted by: Jeff on October 9, 2004 08:59 AM

Jeff, nice case. A nearly identical case works for Hindus, Buddhists and Members of most western magickal groups.

Posted by: Oscar on October 9, 2004 09:43 AM

Interesting analysis, but it shows a distinct bias towards Bush that is, unfortunately, indicative of the Republican party.

For one, you gloss over his environmental policy, saying "it's not that bad". But you thus ignore the fact that he supported opening ANWR to his big oil cronies. You ignore his active retreat from the Kyoto treaty. You ignore his lifting of EPA restrictions that date back to the 70's.

For two, you have not done your research into Bush's tax cuts. The average American received less than $300 in benefits from his tax cuts. Americans in the lowest tax brackets got NO tax relief. There is no evidence that this paltry return has done anything to boost the economy, but has been a major contributor towards moving our budget from a a few trillion in surplus to even more into debt. Yet George W. Bush saved himself $67,000 in taxes. Kerry is for *rolling back* tax cuts to those people with incomes over $200k. He is for returning the tax exemption on corporate dividends, which do not affect the average American. This is not raising taxes; this is returning taxes to the levels they were at in 2000.

Now, why pagans should not be interested in voting for Bush. Bush came into office promoting his "Faith-based Initiative". However, Bush is a born-again Christian, who does not fully believe in the freedom of religion. He believes in the freedom of Christian religions. This can be shown by the people he keeps. The man he chose to lead the Faith-Based Initiative was on public record as saying that he didn't think any pagan groups would ever receive any federal funding because he "never met a pagan group that ever cared about anyone else".

Bush and his group have continued to promoting the renewal of the PATRIOT Act, which the Supreme Court has already deemed has being largely un-Constitutional.

BTW, did you know that the Bin Laden family was responsible for funding all of Bush's failed business ventures before he was President? He has close ties to the Bin Laden family; they were the first people allowed to fly after 9/11 -- the family was evacuated from the United States. But he never asked them if they knew where Osama Bin Laden was. Never. Bush put 11,000 troops into Afghanistan to bring down the man responsible for 9/11 -- but he put TEN TIMES that number of men into Iraq. Isn't it suspicious that Bush has not been committed to finding Osama Bin Laden, that he has not put the full might of the US Armed Forces into his "War on Terror", but he invaded the second largest oil reserve in the world on false pretences?

I'm not saying Kerry is a peach. But I don't think you can say that Kerry would "actively misrule" the United States, when a) he hasn't ever ruled the United States in the first place, and b) he probably couldn't end up with a record worse that Bush's.

...Paul

Posted by: ...Paul on October 9, 2004 11:28 AM

I guess I should make clear that I am not a Republican. Nor did I vote for George Bush in 2000. Nor is it a useful rhetorical technique to say that "Republicans support George Bush so their support is irrelevant" (in the same way that saying the same about Democrats and John Kerry would be less than useful). Since I make clear that I support George Bush in this election, it follows that my writings will show some bias in his favor. That said, he's done many things I disagree with, such as the steel tariffs he imposed and the odorous McCain-Feingold act which he signed.

I actually support President Bush on ANWR. We have to get energy from somewhere, and the question is how to do it most responsibly. I'd say that fixing the nuclear materials storage problem and using large-scale nuclear power generation would be the cleanest alternative currently available (and capable of supplying the kind of energy needed in the places needed and at the times needed). Outside of that, we have to get oil from somewhere. I'm all in favor of pulling it out of the deserts and the tundra wherever possible, because that means less mining of coal in Pennsylvania and less extraction of oil from western Texas and Oklahoma, where there is more wildlife and where people actually live. If you don't support drilling in ANWR, what do you propose as an alternative?

As for Kyoto, it is a non-issue. The Senate made clear it would never be ratified, and Clinton didn't even present it to the Senate for consideration. So all that George Bush did was to make clear that the United States would not agree to Kyoto, which policy had been made before he even came into office. Why was this policy made? Simply, it would condemn the United States almost alone to crushing economic rollbacks, and the attendant rises in poverty and poverty-associated problems, in order to make an insignificant difference to the end-state temperature, and without any evidence at the time that this difference would mean anything in environmental terms (and in fact, more recent research indicates that the miniscule temperature difference pales in comparison to the temperature change generating by the sun, currently putting out more energy than it has in thousands of years). Kyoto is a "shiny thing", useful for rhetorical beatings and nothing else.

Of course, tax cuts generated most of the dollar benefits at the high end. It is the high-end income earners who pay the taxes in the first place. If you start taking away less money, the ones who'll get the most not taken away are the ones who were paying the most. So Bush saved $67,000 in taxes (I haven't checked, but I'll accept that figure unchecked), while I saved a few thousand dollars. And? I don't pay $67,000 in taxes to begin with, and I suspect that after the tax cuts I still don't pay close to what President Bush pays in taxes. However, I pay less than I used to, and I like that. It's not the government's money: it's mine.

Kerry would raise taxes, if he can get the Congress to go along. He would put the rates up, and that is definitionally raising taxes. They wouldn't be as high as they have been in the past (pre-Reagan), but they would still be higher than today. Saying they won't be higher than some other time in the past is irrelevant.

I'm waiting to see on the faithed-based initiatives. I don't think that the government should stay out of religion as if it were poison, so much as I think that the government should take no account of the religious nature or non-religious nature of any person, organization, or physical object. I haven't heard much on how these are turning out in practice. As a general guide, though, if no Pagan groups have applied for funding under these programs, then the official you paraphrase was correct in effect if not in cause. If Pagan groups have been granted funding under these initiatives, then your thesis is wrong. If Pagan groups have applied for and been denied funding on some non-neutral grounds, then you have a point. It's not a big deal to me personally, but it would nonetheless be a valid point.

I haven't seen anything about the PATRIOT act that indicates a problem to me. Do you have more specifics?

The point about the bin Laden family sounds suspiciously like BS to me, so again I'd like to see some specifics and evidence. This is particularly true since the evacuation of the family, to the extent it happened, was approved by Richard Clarke, far below the level and without the influence of the President. I don't want to get into an extended discussion of Iraq here - there's been quite a lot of my reasoning about that in past posts - but I think that taking down Iraq was the right thing to do, and I think that Iran is the right thing to do next, and after that (assuming no one else decides to go for nuclear weapons or take over Iran's role in sponsoring terrorism), I think we can let nature take its course. The War on Terror is a bad name: this is a war on Islamic fascism, under the guise of the jihadi ideology.

When judging how someone would likely rule, when they have not ruled before, you have to judge based on their stated positions and their past behavior. Neither Kerry's stated positions nor his past behavior indicate to me that Kerry would do better than "active misrule." Active, because Kerry believes in collectivism to a very large degree, and thus would get the government involved in more and more areas of our lives. Misrule, because Kerry's judgment on past issues such as Viet Nam, the nuclear freeze movement, how to confront communism and how to confront terrorism have all been dreadfully wrong. Putting such ideas into practice, with the government meddling in every possible area, constitutes active misrule.

As to not ending up with a record worse than Bush's, I believe that by any standard you could apply (assuming you are not Brezhnev), Carter had a far worse record than any President after him, so it's not like Bush is at the bottom of the barrel, even if you don't agree with his positions on issues.

Posted by: Jeff on October 9, 2004 12:32 PM

Well said.

Posted by: Mark on October 10, 2004 10:51 AM

2 comments.

1)Since when is changing our constitution, ie the amendment banning gay marriage, not interfering with our lives? What's the next ban in the amendment? Religious freedom? The reason for the ban on gay marriage is that in the Bible it says that it is wrong that a man lay with a man. Sorry I think GW WILL take away our religious freedom, not keep it.

2)The jobs being outsourced aren't just the low paying jobs, which btw would be good for kids just out of high school, but they are high paying jobs. These include software engineer, electronics technician, office work, among others. Sorry but that one doesn't fly with this Pagan.

Posted by: Dragnlady on October 10, 2004 01:08 PM

Perhaps you failed to notice that the Constitution wasn't changed?

There are a number of Constitutional amendments I'd support, and which would irritate a large number of people, but it doesn't matter because I don't have a role (other than cheerleading for or against) in passing an amendment. Oddly enough, neither does the President. That's up to the Congress (both chambers) and the legislatures of the various States.

But there's a more important point here. Even if you support legalization of gay marriage, as I do, the proposed amendment (at least the wording I saw) would not have banned gay marriage. It would have prevented courts from ruling on the issue, thus tossing it to the legislatures, where it belongs. In other words, this is fundamentally a political issue (as is abortion), and does not need to be decisive. It's only becoming decisive because it's winner-take-all in the courts, and no compromises are possible. Given that environment, this issue will become as divisive as abortion, and for similarly useless reasons.

To your second point, I work in enterprise-level IT. I'm quite familiar with how outsourcing works, and also offshoring (which is what I assume you meant: jobs being sent overseas), as both started primarily in IT. What is happening is that utility jobs (such as maintenance programming, implementation of a finalized design, phone support and so forth) are being sent overseas, to be done more cheaply, with the benefit being more high-paying jobs here. After the programming is sent overseas, the company that sent those jobs over has more cash in the bank that they can use to hire designers, architects, pro-serv guys and the like. In other words, if you cut development costs in half by sending jobs overseas, you increase your sales/development cost ratio, which means you need more high-end guys for follow-on design and implementation. Meanwhile, there are plenty of lower-level jobs to generate experience to create new high-level guys.

The only people in IT I see not getting good jobs are those that are unwilling to move for a better opportunity, those that have poor enough skills that they can't do a more high-demand job (this particularly describes a lot of people who came into IT during the bubble, and have a very limited aptitude and skill set), people who have developed a bad reputation for reliability and value, and those that are unwilling to take a job out their comfort zone. The flexible, adaptable, high-value IT guys are turning down offers right and left, or are picking and choosing.

Regardless, what is the option? These decisions are made by corporate management, not by politicians. Are we going to forbid firing people? Are we going to forbid hiring overseas workers? Are we going to tax companies based on their overseas workers so that it's cheaper to hire people here? All of those are either easy to work around, difficult to enforce, damaging to the economy or all of the above.

Posted by: Jeff on October 10, 2004 08:40 PM

Interesting and well said. I disagree that President Bush's support of the FMA doesn't count because it didn't succeed, though it's true that he alone cannot amend the Constitution (thank the Founding Fathers and God, in my case). I also disagree that President Bush "believes federal funding should be limited." Where has President Bush demonstrated this belief? He has expanded funding for everything as he panders for votes. (Kerry would probably be no better, but that doesn't let Bush off the hook when it comes to vote "buying"). Lastly, the growing divide between the very wealthy and the very poor should be a concern for all of us. And President Bush's policies not only increase this divide, they practically celebrate it.
Anyway, thanks for an interesting post.

Posted by: ggw on October 12, 2004 10:22 AM

Good write-up. I disagree with Bush on almost everything except the war, but that's so much more important that I'll be voting for him.

Posted by: Karl Gallagher on October 12, 2004 10:58 AM

Exactly, Karl. I disagree with Bush on a great many things, but he understands what has to be done about the terrorists, while Kerry absolutely does not. (Plus, I think Kerry is being downright irresponsible with the promises he's making.) That's why this Pagan is voting for Bush.

Posted by: Stephanie on October 12, 2004 11:12 AM

You do not back up your claim that Bush believes in individual liberties. You put a lot of faith in this claim but really where is the proof? How has Bush promoted individual liberty? By proposing a consitutional ban on Same Sex Marriage? By not allowing us to buy perscription drugs from Canada? By appointing John Ashcroft to the Justice Department? Come on. Other thatn his tough talk, Bush has done nothing to convince me he is concerned about my personal liberty.

Posted by: ed on October 12, 2004 11:25 AM

Some things to conside:
1) Yes, Bush gave us tax cuts but those tax cuts represent 2/3 of the current budget deficit, which is more than any past president. He has bankrupted the govt. Sure, we could cut some spending, but it is also shortchanging the amount we can spend on national defense. He is fiscally imprudent and in effect borrowing on a credit card. Our kids will have to pay off this debt, which we owe to Chinese investors in our bonds. I am not comfortable with such a debt.
2) Everything about this administration seems focused on promoting Christianity. Bush speaks in evangelical code like "wonder worker" and other biblical phrases. His faith based initiatives are direct financial payments of our tax dollars to Christian groups. He has talked about being appointed by God and there are movies that have compared him to Christ. This makes me very uncomfortable as a pagan.
3) This administration has approved many policies to cut down forests, despoil land, spew crap into the air and otherwise destroy the earth, our mother. Our resources are not infinite, and his environmental policies are very bad. I cannot support this.
4) While it is true that Kerry would repeal the tax cuts for the wealthy (I saw little tax relief under bush, apart from those cheks that got mailed), he has promised tax relief for the middle class.
I find that I get enough write-offs that I don't fine my taxes all that onerous, frankly. I would rather see the money spent to secure our ports and do more to protect us against terrorists. I was appalled that Bush in the debate said we could not afford this. That's nuts. Kerry's health insurance plan is actually quite sensible (and no it is NOT govt-run health care, that's a lie, see his web site).
5) The PATRIOT act is a major deal to me, I think many of its provisions -- secret proceedings, secret law, sneak and peek searches etc -- are un-American. I am not happy that Kerry supported it, but he has vowed to fix the bad parts of the law.
6) Utlimately it comes down to this -- Bush seems dumb. He doesn't read newspapers or books. He called the head of Italy "Servio Belasconi" in the debate. He is a very angry looking man.
He seems nasty to me. I will vote for Kerry this time, and perhaps he will get us out of the economic and military mess we are in. And if he does not, then a much better Republican will run the next time, one who is a bit more libertarian (my taste),
someone like Giuliani or McCain.


Posted by: Joe Pagan on October 12, 2004 12:24 PM

Joe Pagan,
McCain author of the McCain/Feingold bill? Are you aware of the 1st Ammendment? I think the worse thing Bush did was to sign that bill.

I am hoping that the only reason he signed it was because politically he thought he had to do so, in order to appoint constitutional minded judges.

Posted by: kwais on October 13, 2004 03:22 AM

Jeff,
Very well said! I only wish the president could make those same points so clearly during the debates.
I was refered to this article by from a reference at reason.com. So to get a reference I looked up 'pagan' in the dictionary and this was basically the definition

" not acknowledging the God of Christianity and Judaism and Islam"

Surely there is more to it?

Posted by: kwais on October 13, 2004 03:32 AM

Holy Crap! You people are buying into the Republican party line without ever questioning it! Isn't the reason most of us *are* pagans is that we questioned the religion our parents gave us? Why no questioning of Bush's 4 years? If all the news you get is from Bush's mouth, you're clearly hearing about a slanted reality.

Posted by: Mark on October 13, 2004 08:17 AM

Mark, by "You people..." are you lumping together everyone who may not agree with you? There's ample evidence above that many question Bush on different points, but still find him the better candidate when all is considered.

Posted by: Curtis on October 13, 2004 11:14 AM

That is certainly where I fit in. I have a lot of problems with Bush, not as a person so much as as a President. But I think he's the better candidate. Why?

First, Kerry takes every side of every issue, so it's hard to tell where he really stands. To the extent that Kerry takes solid stands, or his record makes it possible to determine his stands, there is only one issue on which I am more in agreement with John Kerry than George Bush: abortion rights. Even there, I'm not totally in agreement with Kerry. I think Roe v. Wade should be overturned, and the State legislatures should be allowed to come to some kind of political compromise on the issue. But if the government is going to pick one or the other, I'd rather government have no regulatory involvement at all.

That's it. Everything else where I disagree with Bush's policy, Kerry would be worse.

Had the Democrats nominated Lieberman, I would likely be voting for him. I'd consider voting for Zell Miller. I'd consider voting for David Boren. But at this point, I won't vote for any Democrat until they purge themselves of the extremist Left. (Just as, FYI, I didn't vote for hardly any Republicans for years, until they purged themselves of the extremist Right.)

But right now, I cannot even vote for Libertarians, my general preference, because of their stance on the war.

Posted by: Jeff on October 13, 2004 11:53 AM

I think you're wrong on many, if not most of your points. Just to pick on one: "Senator Kerry believes in protectionism to aid the favored few. President Bush believes in free trade to benefit everyone." Where do you get this? Bush has favored all manner of protectionism, from steel tariffs to "favored status" for friends' companies contracting in Iraq. I could cite more specific details, but I've already exceeded the support you gave for your assertion.

I would think that Bush's unreconstructed bible-thumping would be a sufficient condition for rejecting him, but if not there are plenty of other reasons to reject him.

Because I can't resist ranting on, I'd remind you: Federal debt is your debt too. When the govt runs a deficit, it costs everybody. Your few thousand dollars of "savings" in taxes won't amount to much when we have 10% inflation or more due to the sagging dollar in world markets. You can spin that as an advantage, I suppose: it makes the US more "competetive" in those third-world markets you seem to like so much.

Posted by: björn on October 14, 2004 01:38 PM

Well done, Jeff. Very good points.

Bjorn, Bush has made mistakes in interfering with the free market, but has been checked by the international community (re: steel tariffs). I'd point out though that this was done to protect American steel workers, precisely something Kerry would do according to his rhetoric (not that it makes it right). Concerning the issue about non-supporting foreign contractors in Iraq after the war -- I have to agree with that action, and consider it outside the scope of free trade. Our family members died over there without support of these nations. If corporations are going to clean up, it would have been bad juju to let companies from unsupportive nations milk any profit from our own and the Iraqi's wounds. Today, foreign corporations are allowed in, so again, your point becomes moot. As stability increases, I expect Bush will have little power or desire to regulate trade in Iraq.

Now Kerry. Kerry clearly hasn't demonstrated a good understanding of the offshoring issue. He wants to raise minimum wage -- precisely a contributing reason corporations are looking for cheaper labor overseas. Refer to Jeff's Oct. 10 comment about this issue. Spot on, concerning the dynamics of the IT industry, which I'm also familiar with. Kerry has suggested penalizing companies who take work out of the nation -- clearly he doesn't believe in the dynamic market or the benefits of free trade. This is a larger issue than this comment section, but I'd direct you to an article written in 1999 by Virginia Postrel, titled "After Socialism". Google it, and you should be able to find it rather easily. It was written for Reason magazine, so can probably be found there as well. The alternative suggestion to free trade sounds like some form of economic isolationism. But then Kerry is never very clear on his plans, just his criticisms.

Concerning the deficit, it is a bad situation. But you're assuming that Kerry would have done a better job handling the collapse of the .com economy and the economic impacts of 9/11. This is an assumption on your part, and a tough one, considering Greenspan has agreed with the tax cuts as a viable stimulus. To presume another course of action within the power of the presidency could have been taken to make a comparable impact is a leap on your part.

As far as the future goes, Kerry hasn't convinced me he has a plan of significant difference from Bush. His loose promises not to raise taxes for people earning less than 200k / year are reckless words considering what little detail he has given about a 'plan', and our own human experience - Bush's father promising similar things. This sparse details of Kerry's improvements that have so far been given (and we're weeks away from an election), as it has been said, "remain a potential, and that's the key word, while the loss (of the positives we have now in Bush) is certain."

My gut instinct is that pulling a project manager off a project in the middle is a bad decision even if some mistakes have been made. Putting in an unproven and muddled one as a replacement would be an even worse mistake.

Posted by: hotmamma on October 17, 2004 07:16 AM

How can any pagan who believes in freedom of speech, religion,sexuality or personal liberty wish to vote for a man who has in all his actions done nothing but try to undermine and distroy these rights.
If you dont know whats wrong with the partiot act try reading it. It alone is a reason not to vote for Bush. If you agree with his enviromental policies you obviously are not a enviromentalist.
Before you decide who to vote for why dont you take a political science class this can give you alot more reading material then i think you've seen.
No human is perfect but consider this, while bush is completely agaisnt a woman's right to choose because of his religion (ie not separating church from state) john kerry went against his church to stand up for this right.....against his church...... no party, no person is or ever can be perfect. Please consider this without jumping to defend yourself. Read up on what has been written, in my opinion you are glossing over too many problems with a practiced air.
Any one who insists their views are right based solely on their religion is not fit to rule over a country populated by many religions. As a member of a different religion then GW perhaps you should consider your stand in another light.

Posted by: Tristen on October 18, 2004 12:03 AM

Tristen, I'd be willing to spend some time on this if we could move past the ad hominem attacks and focus on reasoned debate. (Otherwise, there's no point.) For example, I have some questions:

What actions has President Bush undertaken to destroy or undermine freedom of speech, religion, sexuality or personal liberty? Be specific: Patriot Act is meaningless as a debating point. Instead, if this is your evidence, cite the sections that concern you and why, please.

I have in fact read the Patriot Act. Again, citations would be helpful if you actually would like a response. As to Bush's environmental policies, I'd again like a cite as to what Bush has done that you disagree with. If your argument is that he should not have withdrawn from Kyoto, I'd love to know what evidence you have that the Senate would ever have ratified this treaty. For that matter, I'd love to see evidence that it would have done anything useful, or would not destroy the US economy. If you've got something else in mind, please share.

So, John Kerry believes that abortion is murder (religious view of Roman Catholocism), but he's OK with that? Who else would John Kerry believe that it is OK to murder and under what circumstances? Or, to be more reasonable, what has President Bush done to limit or end abortion that is unreasonable? To my way of thinking, the partial birth abortion ban is perfectly reasonable, as I've seen no evidence of medical necessity for this procedure, and it is a gruesome murder by any reasonable interpretation. Please don't assume from this that I am anti-abortion; I am actually pro-choice. But I believe that there needs to be a balance struck. In actual fact, no President can change the current environment on abortion except at the margins, because Roe v. Wade removed abortion from the realm of political effect. (Actually, I think that's one reason it's so widely and bitterly argued over: there can be no accomodation by either side, and there are no consequences to espousing any view, no matter how extreme, because the policy is not subject to the political process.)

If you think that's glossing over things, I'd like to see what specifically has George Bush done wrong, and I'd like to know why going with your religious beliefs is deplorable while going against them is noble.

Posted by: Jeff on October 18, 2004 02:42 PM

I love George W. Bush! I volunteered for him in 2000 and am volunteering for him now. I am also very active in the local Pagan community, which baffles many. So much for liberals having open minds.

W is a strong supporter of the 2nd amendment and conservation groups. He is backed by the NRA and my favorite hunting magazines. He's an outdoorsman who is improving the environment. (protecting forests and lowering mercury emissions) My path is tied into hunting. I use a bow. It is one right I do not want infringed. There are many hunters who consider it spiritual.

I am confident tax cuts/reforms will eliminate the national debt and deficit as long as government waste is cut. The president wants to eliminate tax loop holes for the super rich, streamline the tax code, and cut taxes. On the other hand, Kerry will raise taxes on everyone and leave the loop holes that allow his wife to pay around 13%.

I do dislike Mr. Kerry and his "plans" but I am not voting against him. I am voting for President Bush and his policies.

Posted by: Lori on October 20, 2004 10:30 AM

Well, Bush won.. ;)

Posted by: Hotmamma on November 3, 2004 11:57 PM
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