In any disagreement, there’s a way to have a polite discourse. Once you’ve resorted to name-calling, the effectiveness of the argument is lost. For instance, I feel calling Michael Moore a liar is valid as long as I have evidence he is purposefully misleading people. I see some bloggers calling him “fat”. While that’s true, it has nothing to do with the argument. Peter Jackson is also fat, yet many people loved the “Lord of the Rings” movies. The weight of the director in either case shouldn’t come into play.
When the NAACP said the Republicans “idea of equal rights is the American flag and the Confederate swastika flying side by side,” it’s crossed over the border of ideas and into the realm of insults. “Confederate swastika” invokes images of slavery, concentration camps, slaughter of people based on religion, etc. Is there any truth that Republicans want slavery to return when Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, and Rod Page are in Bush’s cabinet? Are we rounding up people of certain ethnicities and gassing them to death? Of course not – so this is “partisan rhetoric” designed to inflame emotions. It should be denounced by both sides – partisan rhetoric leads to hate.
There’s nothing wrong with being partisan though. You can support Kerry if you wish, it’s perfectly American to support the candidate of your choosing. I’m supporting Bush, I think by far he’s the better person for the job.
I’ve criticized Kerry frequently; I don’t think he’ll be good for America. I think he engineered his 3 Purple Hearts for political gain, I think he straddles the issue of abortion for political gain. I think he’s trying to be both pro-war and anti-war at the same time. I think he flip-flops on a wide majority of issues for political gain – yesterday, the Washington Post quoted Kerry as pandering to the Jewish community when he’s spent years criticizing Bush’s policies and calling Arafat a “statesman”. But each of those criticisms comes with backup and sources to justify my opinion.
Can Bush be criticized in a civil manner? Of course he can. I don’t fault him for the deficit; I believe the recession was caused by a stock market bubble bursting (I don’t even fault Clinton for that), and that burst caused the drop in revenue and 9/11 made it worse, and the additional military spending was required to fight the battle. I *do* criticize him for additional social spending. I’m not sure Bush has actually run on a platform of fiscal conservatism; he’s generally been labeled a “neo-con” that favors spending on conservative issues, but I can still be critical of the Medicare spending and farm subsidies and steel tarriffs, etc. Kerry’s not a solution to those issues since he wants to spend a *lot* more. I saw New Gingrich (ok, so he’s not exactly bi-partisan) on Fox this week who counted Kerry’s promised social programs and said they added up to $2 trillion. Ouch.
The Iraq war is winding down; I don’t believe in criticizing a sitting President’s war-time decisions, but the Iraqis are sovereign again and questions can be asked. Did Bush lie, as some liberals have said? I don’t think so – Bush said Saddam had WMDs; not only have we found sarin, mustard gas, long range missiles, and enriched uranium, but the bipartisan 9/11 Commission unanimously said that Bush relied on CIA intelligence and didn’t force them to reach a specific conclusion. In fact most liberals themselves believed Saddam had WMDs before the war. Everybody did. To call him a liar, then, is again unfair partisan rhetoric. I’ve heard a liberal friend call it “Bush’s daddy’s little war” as though this was some sort of revenge. I think that’s delusional if you think that was the overriding reason the US went to war. Some liberals have tried to claim that Bush lied about Saddam’s ties to 9/11, but that is also untrue – Bush never claimed that; Bush only claimed that Saddam had ties to Al Qaeda, and that part is true.
Can you criticize Bush over his handling of the war? I think so; a valid criticism might center around his ability to sway European people to the US point of view. I wouldn’t subscribe to that point of view; I think it’s obvious now that the corrupt U.N. Oil-for-Food program and other oil service significantly affected France, Germany and Russia, and any attempt to shut down this corruption was going to cost them billions of dollars. I think Bush did a good job at trying to make his point at the U.N. based on the intelligence at the time, but France was *never* going to support us. It would cost them too much money.
If you’re pro-abortion, I think a valid concern would be Bush’s pro-life agenda. I’m pro-life and think that Bush’s agenda is more than acceptable, it’s about dang time. But if you’re pro-abortion, that would be an acceptable criticism. I don’t think Kerry’s much of a solution here, either – he says he believes in pro-abortion, he believes life begins at conception, and he believes he shouldn’t vote his beliefs. He’s voted Pro-abortion as a Senator from Massachusets, but with a Republican congress he’s likely to sign pro-Life bills anyway.
Is Bush a moron? The loonier liberals like to claim that, too, but that’s untrue. Bush’s wealth and family connections might have gotten him into fancy colleges, but all the connections in the world won’t get you a degree. He has a undergrad degree from Yale, a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard, and he can fly an F-102. He might not be the best speaker in the world, but he’s hardly a moron. Criticize his speaking abilities – but I don’t think Kerry’s got him beat there. Bush has malapropisms, Kerry’s boring as wood.
But any valid liberal criticism of Bush is lost in the vast wasteland of the liberal hysteria – Bush lied, he’s a Nazi, he’s racist, he’s blah blah blah. Liberals have the ability to make valid criticisms and Bush certainly has traits that could be criticized, but any valid criticism has been completely drowned out by partisan liberal hysteria. I look forward to the days that the ultra-left wing hysteria is replaced with a more rational but patriotic liberal. Rational disagreements are good for our country; calling the President a Nazi is not.