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Why George Bush Should Win

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 2:01 AM

He refuses to realize that it was the law of the land since 1996, as signed into effect by President Clinton, that Saddam Hussein was to be ousted. He refuses to recall his 1997 Crossfire position that unilateral removal of of the Baathist regime was acceptable if the world wouldn't join the cause. He refuses to admit he has had nine distinct opinions on the war in Iraq since announcing his run in the presidential race. He feels he can say it was the “wrong war, at the wrong time, in the wrong place,” but at the same time there have been numerous points since the fall of Baghdad that he has supported the war, just like many of the other top Democrats that now oppose it.

He talks about bringing in allies while he attempts to ruin John Howard. He trivializes the contributions of Poland, Australia, Britain and 27 other nations as the coalition of the coerced and the bribed. Not perhaps completely out of character for one who once spent his time testifying to the Congress that Vietnam vets were “war criminals.” Kerry loves to glory in things as he attacks and demeans them (he sure loved playing up his part in “war crimes” at the Democratic Convention).

The French and the Germans have said even a shift to Kerry will not get them to enter the fray in Iraq. Look, they don't want to get involved, that's their prerogative and it is not likely they will flip-flop just because a guy who says he opposed the war while he supported it gets elected. What about other allies? As President Bush noted, “So what's the message going to be: 'Please join us in Iraq. We're a grand diversion. Join us for a war that is the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time?'”

Without veering too far off my point, consider this: do we want a president who advocates potentially disastrous treaties like Kyoto and the International Criminal Court merely to increase the respect of the world? Kerry's argument for Kyoto was not its merits but how it made us look in the world community — what is this nation sized peer pressure? Or is it better to have a president like President Bush who can strongly disagree with leaders such as President Putin of Russia while maintaining a good rapport with him (the warm relationship between the two presidents is no secret)? President Bush wisely pointed out this last night — a president should get along with the world without compromising to the world.

But back to my main points. In this debate, as John Kerry fired off baseless attacks on the very policies he advocated, I became even more convinced that John Kerry is the wrong leader at the wrong time and the wrong place. President Bush may not be right on everything, he might not be able to beat Kerry on an IQ test either… but his sincerity is clear and he isn't a dummy that should be misunderestimated either. Every bit of sincerity and truthfulness that was apparent in him last night was doubly apparent when I saw him in person in July. President Bush is the “real deal.”

If John Kerry came out and said, “I made a mistake on the intelligence, the president made a mistake, now lets move on. I have a plan and this is what it is…,” I could respect him. Instead, he is doing quite the opposite — he places all the blame, including that entitled to him, on the president. Someone who lies and misleads (even, I would note, on the claim he made that he had never called the President a liar using that word) to try to present an anti-war facade over his support of the war, even before Bush was president, is hardly praise worthy.

That is why George Bush should win.


By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:25 AM

Well, tonight was the first debate. I love debates, as anyone who knows me would guess. Tonight's debate was mostly uneventful. As David Gergen noted to Larry King afterward, “there were no memorable lines, at least that I can remember.” I do not think there was a clear victor, although both candidates did a good job of holding their ground.

I do think that President Bush clearly communicated his views and effectively highlighted John Kerry's flip-flopping. He also highlighted the critical issue of Sen. Kerry's undermining of our allies (which includes a present, tragic process by which the Kerry campaign is trying to undermine Prime Minister John Howard of Australia in their upcoming elections).

The president also clearly continued his laudable rejection of the International Criminal Court that would, essentially, impair our sovereignty. I honestly do not understand how Mr. Kerry can possibly support a system that would allow our citizens to be brought under a court that does not have to adhere to our standards and is not under our laws and selection of judges.

On the other hand, John Kerry did a good job of spreading mistruths about President Bush. For example, that accusation that the President mislead us into the war. While President Bush correctly countered with the fact that Sen. Kerry also supported the actions toward Iraq until it became politically preferable not to, a presidential candidate should not be attacking their opponent for the very thing they supported and promoted for years before it finally happened.

President Bush's main failing in this debate with the fact that he appeared overly aggressive and somewhat nervous in responses for the first few questions for no particular reason that I can think of (other than the fact that millions of people were watching — but that's nothing new for either of the candidates). On the other hand, I think Kerry started doing the same thing somewhat during the last part. Odd.

So, I'm voting for President Bush as the winner — both in truthfulness and overall substance, but it would appear John Kerry's mistruths might help him with this debate.

On Media Bias

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 11:59 PM

Because I've seen, during this whole Rathergate thing, a lot of people either arguing that the media has no bias or that it is controlled by a vast conspiracy, I felt it was high time to present again what I feel is a more realistic view. Before I get to that, let me link to two must read editorials on the issue, both from former CBS News employees:

I wanted to present the view that I believe most conservatives and some liberals — at least those who have taken time to formulate a position about the media — will agree with. That is the view best expressed by Bernard Goldberg in his books Bias and Arrogance. It has also been expressed by Bill Sammon of the Washington Times and, yes, even Rush Limbaugh. Mr. Goldberg, as you may know, is a former CBS News reporter and is also, at least according to himself, a life long Democrat (which, as he notes in the book, means his motivation has been from concerns for good journalism rather than political partisanship).

Essentially, Goldberg and others who agree with him, believe the media is not part of a vast conspiracy (right wing or left wing), but rather certain key non-conspiratorial factors lead to a general left leaning world view within the press. Broken down into their basic forms, they are:
  1. Mindset: Why do journalists get into journalism? Many say that it is because they want to “make a difference” rather than to “report the facts” or “inform people so they can intelligently make up their own minds” (not that they imply they do not feel they are reporting the facts, simply that does not seem to be the main objective). This often seems to be a left leaning activist type mindset to challenge the “establishment.”
  2. Education: The major journalism schools, such as Columbia School of Journalism, have professors who are generally acknowledged to be liberal either by themselves or others analyzing their records.
  3. Location: Most of the major reporting takes place in two of the most liberal cities in America: New York and Washington, D.C. Even Republicans in New York are often liberal, perhaps to the point where they would vote for Democrats if they lived in Missouri and voted by the issues rather than by the name of the party. The press lives and works within these liberal cities and are likely to be at least somewhat impacted by the world view of the place they live in.
  4. Colleagues: This is what causes some of the biases to perpetuate. Each generation of reporters presumably comes up under the leadership of the last (at least most of the time). So they are impacted by the methods and beliefs of those they work with and respect. Since the major networks generally do not tap outside talent (say, a bunch of conservative reporters in the Midwest, for instance), this creates a situation where the ideology that media members believe in continues through the ranks over time. This has a lot in common with argument three. This is not a case of being forced to believe a certain way so much as a case of being influenced over time by those around you.
The net result here is that in a poll that Mr. Goldberg cites, from the late eighties or early nineties, approximately 10% of media correspondents in, I believe it was Washington D.C., who voted in the 1984 election said they voted for President Ronald Reagan. This provides a very stark example of how bias could occur without any conspiracy, simply because there are not enough opposing voices in the media to call into question common beliefs and assumptions of that group.

Thus, for example, if it turns out that [it was still questionable when I originally wrote this — I meant to post this several days ago] Ret. Lt. Col. Bill Burkett was the producer of the documents, a group composed mostly of liberals might be less prone to questioning the credibility of Mr. Burkett (if he says what they assume to be the truth — that President Bush lied about his National Guard record) than a group composed with a strong mix of liberals and conservatives. This isn't accusing liberals of anything — people just see what they want to see. Fox News is good proof of that on the conservative side.

Now let me slip in one bit of defense here, because I know the common objection to this position: “The media sure gave Clinton a hard time.” That is true, but the thing is, that does not conflict with this theory. Remember, this argument suggests that the media is generally biased because of the views of the individuals in it, not by a top-down conspiracy that forces the issue. Thus, if President Clinton could be used as a vehicle for a journalist to gain fame and a glowing promotion that only a breaking story could provide, that will probably override even their political leanings. Everyone wants to get the big story. Bill Sammon, on the other hand, argues he feels the media felt “betrayed” by the Clinton Administration since most of them presumably voted for President Clinton and then they had to watch different scandals occur. I do not agree with that latter theory, but I present it in addition to the former to show that there are several ways to explain the press's treatment of the former president without explaining away a liberal bias.

Wictory Wednesday

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 11:37 PM

RNC Day 2: Governator

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 11:39 PM

I'm not feeling energetic enough tonight to cover days 2, 3 and 4… so I'm just going to do day two right now. Tomorrow, perhaps I'll do both of the remaining days. On a side note, it seems a new Time poll is showing our President with a 11 point lead of likely voters even before his nomination! Exciting, huh?

Arnold Schwarzenegger might be a liberal Republican who is pro-abortion, pro-gay rights and so on, but he is still a very big asset for the GOP, I think. He seems to get along well with the more conservative portions of the party and his name and speaking ability makes him a great way to get people excited about the GOP. If Arnold, liberal or not, can get more people to vote for a pro-life, pro-family President like President George W. Bush, that's great.

His “How to Tell If You are a Republican” part of the speech was great. His humor was good and — dare I say it? — his speech was every bit as energetic and engaging as Barak Obama's was in July. I have no doubt that if the constitution allowed it, that Ahhhnold could win the presidency after his term as governor. He really rallied the troops, so to speak, at the RNC, but he also had non-Republicans excited. He emphasized some fiscally conservative policies, too, which was great.

Certainly, it did not hurt that he managed to fit in the phrase that terrorism will be terminated. Same goes for the story about the wounded soldier that told him that “he'd be back.”

The good governor also is exactly the type of person Democrats don't want the GOP to have. They see themselves as the party for immigrants. Well, guess what? Here's an immigrant that said that when he arrived in the U.S. he became a Republican because he thought the Dems' policies sounded too much like the socialist policies of the Soviet bloc he was familiar with. They see themselves as the preferred party in California. Well, guess what? Their candidate was recalled. They see themselves as the party of those whom John Kerry called the “heart and soul of America” — Hollywood. Well, guess what? One of Hollywood's biggest stars seems to have no love loss for the Dems. And the bitterest pill of all, I am sure, for the Dems: thanks to Ahhhnold, a Kennedy has set foot in the RNC. How's that for an accomplishment?

Overall, he was the highlight of the night. Although I shouldn't overlook the very good speech made by the first lady. Her speech was far less self absorbed than Mrs. Kerry's speech in July and focused most of its attention on her husband (whereas Mrs. Kerry seemed to focus more on herself and her late husband the Republican Sen. John Heinz). Unfortunately, Mrs. Bush had to start off her speech on a very low note.

All the momentum of the night up to that point was just thrown away thanks to the Bush daughters. Their incoherent, horrible example of a bad speech was the worst I've seen in a long time. The ten or twelve year old who spoke at the Democratic convention did a far better job than the Bush twins. They came across as immature brats. It would have been far better if they had just not said anything at all, and someone else, perhaps nephew George P. Bush, had given the introduction speech.

His speech earlier that night was very good. I got the same impression on Tuesday that I did in 2000: if he so desires, George P. Bush has the public speaking skills to do well in politics. I expect to see more of him in the future. Perhaps the GOP finally has its equivalent of the Kennedys in the Bushes.

RNC Days 2, 3 and 4

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:56 AM

Unfortunately, not today either. Tomorrow…

RNC Days 2 and 3 Tomorrow

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:05 AM

No time to write about them tonight. Need sleep. Goodnight.

RNC Day 1: Slowly We Start

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:18 AM

The Republican National Convention day one was somewhat disappointing to me. It just seemed to start and move very slowly and in a disorderly fashion. The Democratic Convention 2004's first day was a lot more organized. Day one was saved by John McCain and Rudy Giuliani, part of the RNC's “showcase of moderates,” but two people should not have to carry the whole program to the extent that they did.

John McCain is a likable guy and it was good to see him getting the spotlight for awhile. His speech came across as sincere and, unlike many more partisan politicians, McCain can pull off a call for bipartisan unity without seeming like a hypocrite (I'd add that being politically partisan and being firm on your values aren't the same thing). I particularly liked his comment,
I don't doubt the sincerity of my Democratic friends. And they should not doubt ours.
His speech was eloquent and well thought out. The most noticeable part, I'd suggest, though, was not really his speech per se, but the booing directed to Michael Moore (who is present at the RNC) when McCain quipped:
It was between war and a graver threat. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Not our critics abroad. Not our political opponents.

And certainly not a disingenuous film maker who would have us believe that Saddam's Iraq was an oasis of peace when in fact it was a place of indescribable cruelty, torture chambers, mass graves… (Emphasis mine)
It took a long time after that comment for the crowd to calm down, and for good reason. Michael Moore is a fruitcake. And I do mean that with all the due respect I can possibly afford him. I'd love to see how Moore spins that in his RNC “coverage” in USAToday (fair and balanced, I'm sure).

Rudy offered a good speech as well. Much of it had similar content, only with a bit more humor and less eloquence. His speech, like McCain's is worth listening to at if you haven't already heard it. On the other hand, be warned that it is a lengthy speech — a bit too long in my opinion. Overall, however, it was good and again supported the idea of unity while respectfully disagreeing. He emphasized the need for the war on terrorism as well, just like McCain did. Of course, all of this was done with the New Yorkian attitude and style that makes Giuliani who he is.

Overall, I'd say the Dems outdid the pachyderms on the first night in style, but not content. Tomorrow, I shall aim to provide some remarks on RNC Day 2, including the Governator's speech.

Something to think about...

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 7:54 PM

ALAN KEYES, IN MY ESTIMATION, is probably one of the most eloquent conservative figures presently in politics. Frankly, he was my favorite in the GOP Primary in 2000, alas he never garnered more than 10% of Republicans' support in polls, even at the best of times. Of course, he was running against two folks with far better political machines. Now that we have McCain and Bush working together so that we don't have to face four scary years of Kerry, the most liberal member of the senate, and his running mate, the fourth most liberal member of the senate (“the balanced ticket” they say…), it looks like the final member of the GOP 2000 trio is back in action too.

As you've all undoubtedly heard, Keyes is running for the senate seat in Illinois being vacated by Sen. Peter Fitzgerald ®. Jack Ryan might have been the original choice of the people of Illinois, but I think Keyes could be the really great blessing in disguise of the whole scandal mess concerning Ryan. Keyes has the oratorical skills needed to compete with Barak Obama, and his national renown should help fund raising efforts (a very important thing since he has to raise enough to compete with Obama's $10 million dollar war chest in just three months).

One thing Keyes would like to do is abolish the IRS. That's right, read his lips… no [income] taxes. Not “no more taxes,” but no IRS taxes at all. The interesting thing here is that this has been desired by conservatives for years, but never came to the mainstream until just last week. Last week, speaker of the House Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill) started talking about pushing a plan to abolish the IRS in favor of a national sales tax if President Bush is in office over the next four years (because tax hiking liberal Sen. Kerry would never go for it).

Here's the deal. For most Americans, you'd probably pay the same amount to the government every year. Because, most Americans don't save their money, they spend it. So why is this a good thing? First, let's consider the obvious: does anyone really enjoy filling tax returns? Your time, money spent to pay for tax filling services and programs and so on are all things you would be saving. Most importantly, the money would stay in your pocket for longer. If you aren't self employed, most likely, your tax payments are coming right out of your check and straight into government coffers. With a sales tax system, it would stay in your pocket until you bought something — thus you'd make interest on your money.

Furthermore, many important things such as education and services aren't taxable. That makes Sen. Kerry's proposed tax credit for college education look down right small. Unlike a tax credit, you'd keep the money rather than waiting for a refund check to get your money back. You'd keep your money in your pocket where it should be. It would also encourage people to invest in the stock market and other long term investments because you wouldn't pay capital gains taxes when you pulled your money out to buy things after already paying taxes on the money when you earned it. It'd be the end of the death tax (double taxing at its worst) and the marriage penalty.

Something tells me if Americans vote for more positive change through four more years of Bush-Cheney, and Illinoisans vote for two more years of Rep. Dennis Hastert and six years of Alan Keyes, we could see some really great common sense changes to the tax system. Let's hope this happens!

The Results Come In: Victory, Mostly

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 2:06 AM

The Marriage Amendment seems to have passed enthusiastically (based on 3700 of just under 4000 precincts reporting). It seems it passed with a small margin even in Kansas City and St. Louis counties, failing most notably in St. Louis City (no, I'm not contradicting myself here, St. Louis city isn't in any county, St. Louis County boarders the city limits). Anyway outside of KC and St. Louis county, it seemed to win counties by an average of a 60 point advantage. St. Charles county voted for it with a 40 point advantage (which is, incidentally, the state wide margin of the win 70 to 29).

The casino amendment failed (more good news — it would have been a shame to ruin the Branson Tri-Lakes area with a casino) by a 12 point margin 44 to 56. This passed, not unexpectedly, in both St. Louis City and Kansas City, but failed in St. Louis county and seemingly most every place else).

Now, about the bigot comment above. Martin Lindstedt was running as, in his own words, a “racist candidate” for governor with a platform of eliminating benefits to all but Caucasians. He said he wanted to return the state to “1875 when that white man was superior.” This guy even had a militia that he bragged about on his candidate information page on the Post-Dispatch web site. Scary. But here's the thing: many would probably say he'd do better in, say Stone and Taney counties (in the Ozarks) than in St. Louis City. But throw away those notions of country conservatives. State wide, this scary fellow won 1.1% of the Republican primary vote for governor. That's about what he got in Stone and Taney counties (and most other counties — in St. Charles County he got .9%), but in urban, liberal St. Louis City, he earned nearly 2%!

And finally about “Guv Bob.” I feel sorry for him. Yeah, I don't agree with him on most issues. I think he did a bad job on a lot of things. But I don't think he was a terrible governor. As a person, he seemed just fine, free from any scandals or corruption as far as I know (I can be politically across the aisle and still like politicians — brace yourself — I admit on occasion to liking President Clinton). It just seems like a cruel political fate to lose your reelection bid to an overzealous person of your own party during the primary. Claire McCaskill seems to have almost the same views as Holden, but is a new face, which I think voters thought would be more “electable.”

While I admit I thought this too, and was hoping for that reason he'd win the primary instead… I also kinda hoped so just because I thought he deserved the chance to win or lose because people either agreed or didn't agree with him as compared to Republican challenger Matt Blunt, not because democratic voters apparently thought his mediocre term might be a liability necessitating a new face on the same policies. Ending one's political career in the primaries after several decades working one's way up to governor seems to be the worst possible way for a politician to go.

So, yes, I sort of hoped he would keep “holden on”… until November, of course.

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