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The Therapy Sessions
Sunday, February 08, 2004

Here comes President Kerry (?)

I am going into the 2004 election in a somber mood. I think Bush is fairly likely to lose in November, but that is not why I am down.

In fact, I’m a little ambivalent about that.

Bush reminds me a lot of his father: wasting government money to win over people who will never vote for him while ignoring a revolt among fiscal conservatives (whose votes he takes for granted).

Up until last month, I thought there was nothing worse than a “tax and spend” liberal.

Oh but there is: a BORROW and spend “conservative.” I am also sick of George Bush, the social conservative. I’m tired of his useless platitudes, and his superficial appeals to “voting blocks." When it comes to big government, he is a RINO (Republican In Name Only). His runaway spending threatens the future economic health of the country almost as much as the Democrat's recklesslessly idealistic foreign policy fantasies do.

But I have to vote for him anyway. I vote Republican because the Republicans are the adult party. In theory, they abhor “big government” and new spending programs. They distrust welfare and the entitlements. They are (still) the party most likely to reform Social Security and Medicare (essential step for the future of my children). When Republicans spend money, they spend it on the military – a useful investment in a dangerous and unpredictable world.

By contrast, the Democrats tell everyone what they what to hear. Consummate politicians, they cannot help but tell every group what they would do for them, and how they would help them if they were in office. Promises, promises – all soon forgotten when they get into office (if we’re lucky - - sometimes they actually keep their promises). Every interest group gets a gift, and we all get the bill. The bills for Medicare and Social Security will be paid by my children. The Democrats, predictably, would like to make that bill even more onerous by putting a government health insurance program in place.

As I see it, there are three promises John Kerry must now make if he wants to get elected (and I think he's smart enough to make them):

1. President Kerry will not abandon Iraq, and US will stay to insure that a more representative government is in place.

2. President Kerry will not “roll back” the tax cuts (except perhaps to the very wealthy), and will try to get the government to live within its means. (This is nothing but a promise – but Kerry’s "promise made" will trump Bush’s "promise broken:" a "conservative" with a record of unfettered spending.)

3. President Kerry will not pursue any bold new entitlement programs like national health insurance. (At least not yet.).

Such moves won’t please his Democratic base, but they are likely to get him elected.

They won't be enough for me. For national security reasons, the idea of Democratic president still makes me physically sick. It used to give me tremors of terror. But if Kerry makes those promises, it won’t be quite that bad: just the mild gut rumblings one gets with an attack of mild diarrhea.

There would be a certain amount of justice in a 2004 Bush loss: Politicans shouldn't squander the treasury trying to get re-elected.

Being a Democrat, President Kerry is likely to be tone deaf to that lesson.

And then maybe we'll get President McCain in 2008. His campaign finance reform silliness aside, I think he is serious about fixing entitlements, cutting pork and protecting the nation.

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