Bush or Kerry?

I've said I plan to stay away from politics, but I'd like some thoughts on our vote. I'm having an honest difficulty on my vote. To be honest, I'm leaning towards Bush, but there's one big thing that's standing in my way. More on that in a minute.

Let me start with what attracts me to Bush.

He had a plan for Social Security. Not only that, but it's a plan that helps people plan for their own retirement. Of course, he didn't say how he was going to pay for it, but he has a plan. Kerry has nothing because he doesn't think there's a problem. We'll deal with it later, he says.

His health care plan. I like the medical savings account idea coupled with catastrophic coverage. One of the roots of our health care problem, I think, is the mentality that we shouldn't have to pay anything for healthcare. Pushing the actual paying onto a third party drives costs up. Kerry's huge plan and the arrogance that his plan will be so superior no one will want to keep their current one scares me.

Here's what bugs me about Kerry:

Lot's of new spending, little new revenue. He's said that he's going to cut middle class taxes, give us all great healthcare but he hasn't provided new revenue except a tax increase on the wealthy ($200K +). It doesn't add up.

Abortion. It's wrong, and he thinks so, but he refuses to get involved. It's murder John, isn't that worth taking a stand?

Flip flop. I understand that much of this is exaggerated by the Bush campaign, but I can't completely shake the idea that I'm not really sure where Kerry will stand once he's in office and the political winds change. You know where Bush stands.

Here's what bugs me about Bush:

Patriot act. The idea that we can take away rights because people scare us or we are threatened is troublesome. That we can hold 'enemy combatants' or other threatening people (in our view) without charge or access to a defense is frightening.

Arrogance. This is the biggie mentioned earlier. Bush's idea that we are the savior of the world, that we know better, that the US is somehow blessed by God to go free the world, is very troublesome. Didymus has posted some interesting articles on this idea. As much as I like Mr. Bush in other areas, when I think about this arrogance, I have a hard time staying positive about voting for him.

Notice that I didn't share anything that I like about Kerry. There's nothing that stands out. He plan for Iraq (from here forward) is much the same as Bush's. I suspect, however, that his attitude (less pride and condescension) may make him more successful in bringing allies to the table.

So what say you? Any advice?

For what it's worth, I took the quiz and got the following results:

- Dead on with Bush on Economics.
- Dead on with Kerry on Foreign Policy.
- Dead on with Bush on Culture.

(I couldn't include the results like Aaron and Justin at RC. How'd you do that guys?)

4 Comments

Being from Texas myself, I've never really understood the interpretation of Bush's demeanor as "arrogant." I see it as confident and perhaps a bit cocky at times, but he is too often self-deprecating, genuinely sympathetic and interested in others, and good humored to be considered arrogant in my book.
This is the guy who spends quality time mourning with victims of 9/11 and soldiers' families and survivors of the Floriday hurricanes. He took the time during a campaign stop to comfort a grieving little girl who had lost her mom in the WTC.

Kerry, on the other hand, seems to go out of his way to stay out of the way of the common folk.

But my beef with Kerry and support for Bush aren't built upon their mannerisms or style (for Bush has a long way to go to be taken seriously as an accomplished orator, and it's a good thing I'd rather my President be a wise leader than a charming celebrity), but upon their beliefs and convictions. I know what Bush's beliefs and convictions are and they reflect mine. So far as I know what Kerry's are (it's hard to tell from his spotty Congressional record and frequent position shifting), he most definitely does not reflect mine.

Vote your conscience; that's all intelligent and spiritually mature Christians can really expect of each other.

I guess I ought to clarify. I don't see Bush arrogant as a person, rather I see arrogance in his stance on preemptive war. The idea that America is God's gift to world freedom. That our mission is God's mission. I think that pride led hi to be hasty in his rush into Iraq. I don't think we have any mandate from God to go do anything to or for anyone else. I feel strongly enough about it that, although most everything else has me leaning hard toward Bush, I'm actually considering Kerry rather seriously.

I'm always confused about how a conscience bothered by Bush automatically translates to a vote for Kerry. Does he not bother your conscience in any way?
I can understand not voting for Bush, but I don't understand how someone can say, "I can't vote for Bush because I don't agree with him on X, so I'm going to vote for Kerry even though I don't agree with him on X,Y, and Z."

I don't recall Bush saying we invaded Iraq because God wants us to.
You are right that there is a real problem when people believe America is God's gift to the world or something. But I think what is generally missed in these debates is that historically speaking, America always has been the leading nation when it comes to bringing freedom to the world. If not for us, Hitler might have taken all of Europe. Japan might still be living under tyranny.

There's nothing arrogant about realizing we are one of the few nations left in the world who cares about the little guy. While the other navel-gazers at the U.N. worry only about themselves and how much they can profit off of corrupt and tyrannical regimes, the U.S. wants to bring democracy to the people living under those regimes.

If your problem with Bush is the doctrine of preemption, you should have a problem with Kerry too, as he has already said he would have gone to Iraq even knowing what we know now (that is, that there are no WMDs). That seems bizarre to me, to be, out of one side of his mouth, criticizing the President for going to war in the absence of "strong evidence," and then out of the other side saying he would have done the same thing even knowing the evidence was inaccurate. Weird.

Also, the difference between Bush's doctrine of preemption and Kerry's is that Kerry keeps talking about this "global test" wherein the U.S. subjects its concerns for national and world security to other nations (like the ones who were profitting off the UN/Iraqi Oil-for-Food scandal -- no wonder they didn't want us to invade Iraq!), while Bush believes the U.S. should be in charge of its own security.

Bottom line: It seems your reasons for not liking Bush should also be reasons for not liking Kerry. If you can't vote for Bush with a clean conscience, then don't. What I'm confused about is how a Christian can claim conscience issues over a Bush-vote but is conscience-clean over a vote for Kerry, a guy who voted against the partial birth abortion ban, who supports the termination of embryos for stem-cell research, who lies constantly, etc.

I just don't see how not voting for Bush automatically means you must vote for Kerry. Because if it's just about voting for the lesser of two evils, your conscience won't be clean either way.

That's a great point about why not being able to vote for Bush automatically means I vote for Kerry. But really, these are my only viable choices, aren't they? I think that my options here are to vote for the guy that I agree with the most, even though I have a couple of serious issues with him, or not vote. I think you're right, I can't translate my frustration with Bush into a vote for Kerry. There's no logic in that.



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  • That's a great point about why not being able to vote for Bush automatically means I vote for Kerry. But really, these are my only viable choices, aren't they? I think that my options here are to vote for the guy that ...

  • I'm always confused about how a conscience bothered by Bush automatically translates to a vote for Kerry. Does he not bother your conscience in any way? I can understand not voting for Bush, but I don't understand how so...

  • I guess I ought to clarify. I don't see Bush arrogant as a person, rather I see arrogance in his stance on preemptive war. The idea that America is God's gift to world freedom. That our mission is God's mission. I th...

  • Being from Texas myself, I've never really understood the interpretation of Bush's demeanor as "arrogant." I see it as confident and perhaps a bit cocky at times, but he is too often self-deprecating, genuinely sympathet...

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