I drove Nancy nuts today by wanting to talk about that Walter Russell Mead article on "The Jacksonian Tradition" in American life and American foreign policy that I mentioned in yesterday's entry. Well, we had a good discussion about it over coffee on our back deck, but she really didn't want to talk about it any more after dinner tonight. We ate at her mother's house along with her sister Janet, Janet's son Mike and Mike's girlfriend Liz. (Mike is a computer programmer, mid-20's and Liz is a college student around my daughter's age.) Nancy and her mother left Janet and me and Mike and Liz to discuss politics after dinner.
I doubt that Mike and Liz agree with many of my positions on Iraq -- they tended to be against the war -- and had both supported Nader in 2000 -- but the discussion was more about the Democrats and the 2004 presidential race.
Nancy and I had been discussing that issue a few days ago -- she is a registered Democrat (although she voted for Nader in 2000 -- as did our daughter -- so who were those folks who voted for Gore?) and she agreed with me that there was not a single Democratic candidate who -- at this moment in time -- had a prayer of defeating Bush in '04. (Just for the record, I did not vote for Bush in 2000, I voted for the Libertarian candidate...if there hadn't been a Libertarian candidate I probably would have voted Vegetarian or Socialist Labor or anything other than Bush or Gore.)
My sister-in-law said she thought Lieberman was the best of the candidates and also was someone who had a possible chance of actually winning an election. Mike and Liz seemed to agree with that, although I don't think he pushed any hot buttons for either of them. I think Janet is right, that Lieberman is the best of the lot, but I don't think he can win the nomination and, if he were somehow to get the nomination, that he could not win the election (unless there is some really major event in the meanwhile).
In fact, if any of the other current Democratic hopefuls were to win the nomination, I think there is a chance they could lose just about everywhere except Rhode Island and the District of Columbia (both being "Yellow Dog" areas -- that is, they'd even vote for a yellow dog just as long as he was on the Democratic ticket).
Now I happen to have a lot against Bush... besides the fact that I did not vote for him in 2000 and the only good thing I could think of to say about him then was that at least he wasn't Al Gore.
I don't think highly of his handling of national security -- within the United States -- that is, this ridiculous bureaucratic monstrosity called Homeland Security, headed by that total jerk Ridge. (What's that matter with Ridge? Well, here's just one thing, but it shows how wrong he is... He wants to use Homeland Security to track down child porn peddlers and Internet perverts. My goodness, how could there be anything wrong with that? Well, what does that have to do with national security? We have a multiplicity of police forces to handle ordinary crimes. Homeland Security was supposed to be about protecting us from terrorists, you know, 9/11... So if the terrorist problem is so under control that he has to go looking for other jobs to keep his minions busy, well let's just save a few billion dollars and dissolve his agency instead.)
Other things against Bush? Not the tax cuts. I think tax cuts are good... but I am upset about the budget deficit. All my life (at least when Democrats were in the White House) I've heard Democrats and big government spender types telling me that budget deficits were good and balanced budgets were bad while Republicans sang the praise of balanced budgets. Now the once balanced budget is deeply in deficit again and Democrats have suddenly become born-again fiscal conservatives, whining and crying about the unbalanced budget (although they never seem to propose any spending programs for cutting, all they want to do is jack up my taxes again) -- while Republicans sort of blush and stammer and try to change the subject. How about that dumbass Air Travel Reduction Administration, uh, I mean the Air Travel Insecurity Jokers, uh, no, I mean the National Nail Clipper Confiscation Agency. How about the Patriot Act? Are you a Republican? Do you approve of it? Do you really? Okay, now let's imagine Janet Reno as Attorney General again but this time with the powers of the Patriot Act. Yeah, this time nobody better dare to criticize her for the bloodshed at Waco. Dead women and children. Hmmm, you must be a terrorist sympathizer. International trade? How about the administration's pandering to the the steel interests with steel tariffs?. And don't even get me started on No Child Left Behind....
There could be a lot of complaints against Bush -- but instead the Democrats seem to be concentrating on attacking his strength, the war against terrorists. For all of my complaints against Bush -- and much to my surprise -- I find that I admire his leadership and resolve in the aftermath of 9/11. Frankly, I think the left has gotten so wrapped up in their unreasoning hatred for Bush that they rejoice when bad things happen in Iraq and are sorrowed when things go right. I take their attacks on Bush as being attacks on the country... and as personal insults to me as an American citizen. Lieberman (and I am not a Lieberman fan) is the only Democratic candidate who does not make me feel the urge to spit in his face with contempt. (No, wait, I am wrong in that -- of all people, I must add that Al Sharpton, has not to my knowledge said anything that upset me that much.) As for the rest of them, their behavior over the past few months and their outrageous biased partisan attacks sicken me.
So here we are, more than a year to go before the election... but if it were held this week I would have to vote for Bush -- which means that for only the second time in my voting life I may vote for the winning candidate (in what will be my 11th presidential election) -- and I know of three or four Nader voters who would be looking to vote for him again rather than vote most members of that sorry lot of Democrats.