I originally wrote this to a friend after he snarked at me for my "damnable wrong-headed politics!" Upon reading my response, it seemed like it would be a good post. It's been edited for content and to run in the time allotted. We join our letter already in progress...
As for political wrong-headedness: Tell ya what, I would LOVE to hear a damn good reason to vote for Bush this year. So far, all my Republican friends (outside of you and ____) have only touted the party line and haven't given me any good reasons to vote for him, considering Bush's policies, war effort, and tax cuts for the rich. In other words, it's just "liberals are evil" and stuff like that, nothing about policy.
I don't like his administration's attacks on civil rights and the emphasis on privacy on issues that have nothing to do with the war effort. John Ashcroft should be fired and the PATRIOT Act retired (except for the one provision about being able to tap ANY phone owned by an individual or group - that ONE part made sense). I don't like ANY of Bush's monetary policies. I don't like the vilification of Americans who aren't Republican - these attacks on my patriotism and my love for the US are beyond the pale. I'm ambivalent on his record on the environment and the war, with the exception that lives are now being lost for no reason, imo. If we're gonna occupy a nation, we should retaliate against any internal attack with such force that it gives them pause - or get the hell out and let them chew each other up.
I am against the privatization of social security, because I don't think there's enough of a regulatory presence to insure that private companies would be good stewards of those kinds of funds. Think Enron. In my experience, with all of its flaws, the government is the only body that seems capable of not running away to a tax haven with everyone's savings.
I am for public schools, libraries, PBS TV and radio, tax relief for the middle class, an open society - all things opposed by current Republicans. School vouchers are still just a tax scam, which is why every civic vote to allow them has been a landslide defeat.
And, yes, I think health care should be extended so that everyone can get it (with the proviso that exotic procedures that save 10% of those treated just can't be done on the govt. dime - and crap like $1,000-a-day AIDs medications are not included). When I got laid off last year, along with over half the people in my culdesac, there was a space of a few months where none of us had access to any health insurance. And all of us have kids. It is obscene that all these parents and children had no place to go. My unemployment was high enough that I didn't qualify for any other assistance. And COBRA has been so gutted that it's worthless (the original idea and practice was that you could continue on health care at the rates you had when employed - it's been changed so that companies can charge you the full amount paid to the company, which is usually thousands of dollars a month). We have no excuse, given the wealth of our country, to allow that kind of situation.
So, given that, I am serious about getting one good reason to vote for Bush. If you have one, please let me know. If anyone could come up with a cogent reason, you could (or ____ of course).
And, please, don't read any sort of strident or angry tone into the above. There was a time when I was greatly alarmed at this presidency, and I still think it's the worst one we've experienced in my lifetime (with perhaps the exception of Carter, but at least he wasn't a freakin' storm trooper). Now, however, I'm not afraid of Bush being president again - like a lot of liberals are - I just don't like, at all, the direction he will take the nation. So, to me, this is the standard "it's the policies, stupid" kinda discussion, and not "those bastards are EEEEVIL I tell you! EEEEEVIL!" Some of my best friends are Republican, and I don't hold that against them.