Thursday, November 04, 2004
They're Americans, what did you expect?
So, the Yanks have re-elected George Bush, proving that just over half of their voting electorate are red-necked, gullible half-wits who've been suckered into buying the "We're under threat / at war / all going to die" line - rather like their President has, one might suggest (representative government at its most literal!). I predicted (with a heavy heart and an overwhelming sense of the inevitable) a Bush victory by 10 - I was surprised the victory margin was as large as it turned out to be; that said, it was clearly all over when Florida came in Republican, and it serves the Democrats right for selecting such an uncharismatic mong as their candidate. Emphatic though Kerry's victories were in the debates, US politics seems to come down to the sound-bite, and "good ol' boy" Bush had that licked where Kerry seemed wooden and forced.

One thing that puzzled me throughout the campaign was the contradictory messages coming from both sides. Bush preaches "small government", yet advocates increased state interference in the lives of their citizens by restricting abortion and the like and foisting onto people his own hard-line pro-Christian agenda through government investment in such choice items as "faith based" projects, etc. Not to mention the fact that he's taken a $2 billion budget surplus and turned it into a -$5 billion deficit in four years, or that levels of state expenditure have mushroomed during his presidency. Hey! - he implemented tax cuts, so that's ok...

The Democrats are just as bad, however. They seemingly advocate nothing short of a welfare state - idiocy, surely, given the example of the unmitigated disaster of the welfare state in this country. Yes, a basic level of healthcare is needed for your poorest citizens, but steady on! It's a fine line between taking care of the most needy and creating a cash-sucking NHS-style drain on the state and Kerry seemed to be leaning towards the latter.

And the horrible hypocrisy of the Democrat position is evident in their rhetoric; they preached equality of opportunity for all, and talked about creating "One America" - yet they advocate positive discrimination, the best way of creating resentment and socially engineering a deeply unfair selection method for jobs, university places and the like. America's social problems are clearly far more deeply rooted than university places and jobs; they stem from poverty and poor basic education levels and constructing a false system of selection further along the line doesn't address the problem at the base, it merely creates a facade of equality for a lucky few, leaving behind those most needy.

So, pity America for having to make a choice between a intellectually-challenged, gung-ho simpleton and a bien-pensant, head-in-the-clouds liberal do-gooder. I still fear that, as far as the rest of the world is concerned, they made the wrong choice.

Hello from one of the half wits...
I just love all these know it alls about America and it's politics.

Turns out you know jack..
oh well ,what could I expect.
No, I'm afraid I don't know this "Jack" person you're talking about. It's good to see that you have have the usual command of written English that one has come to expect from our transatlantic cousins, i.e. minimal. If you're going to post on this blog, at least try and maintain SOME sort of lip service to the usual rules of grammar and syntax. And, for the record, paragraphs are a Good Thing.

Look! Here's a new one! Finally, for the record, my father is Texan and I studied US politics at University (I what the vice president does [well, apart from ensuring record profits for Halliburton, obviously] and how the electoral college works and EVERYTHING), so I have a rather better notion of what I'm talking about than most from this side of the Pond.

So there.
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You are exactly what is wrong with
so called "educated" people.
You really believe that everyone else is
just not worthy of anything.

I find it highly obnoxious.
My money,blood sweat and tears goes as far as
Unfortunately,mine goes farther.
I can't buy my way out.

Buck up limey !
open your eyes,you might learn something from someone
not as bright as you.
You see,your schooling doesn't provide what you can get
for free.

Hurry now,delete this too..
before you really look at it closely and see it fits
you to a T.
Now, you see, that's slightly better. At least you're making more of an effort rather than merely slinging insults around like an out-of-control power hose. What, exactly, upsets you so much about this post (other than polysyllables)?

I've merely made the point that in the US elections, policies and rhetoric on both sides didn't necessarily match up; I think the American people were conned by Bush on the security issue and showed an unusually high level of gullibility; I didn't like John Kerry either; I felt sorry for the USA for having to choose between two such poor candidates; that said, I prefered Kerry to Bush (just).

The post was a reasoned opinion; I gave my view, and said why I hold it. Why the massive chip on your shoulder?
Let me get this straight. You're a self-defined Right-winger who objects to a US administration that (and effectively BECAUSE of these facts):

- pursues a peace-through-strength, strong-defence foreign policy

- governs in conformance with the society's moral consensus (i.e., most people being believing Christians)

- makes significant tax cuts, including on capital

I'm with you on the deficit (that should be trillions, not billions, though). You forget though that he promised entitlement reform - if he achieves that, then he'll have restored America's long-term fiscal health. You seem to have a problem with his support for a moderate bit of anti-abortion legislation (that stops people who've gone through most of a pregnancy but then decide they don't want the kid having the poor mite's brains sucked out - strange!).

But most of all though, you seem to have bought into the Guardian/Michael Moore picture of Dubya. Now, hey, I know what it's like... you're Right-wing but you want to be loved, so you follow the crowd. But maybe you should give some credit to a guy who's won the presidency twice now in elections he should by any normal analysis have easily lost.

And maybe too you shouldn't disparage half America's active citizens as "red-necked, gullible half-wits," including a majority of college graduates. Maybe you should respect the fact that they have their own way, their own 'values' as the language goes, and like their country run their way. Just as me and you like our country run our way, and not from Brussels.
Good points, one and all. Thanks for your contribution. Dealing with your arguments roughly in turn:

1) Yes, I strenuously object to Bush's foreign policy (and I reject the term "defence" policy). The US was under no threat from Iraq. There was no immediate WMD threat to the UK or the US from Iraq, and there were certainly no Iraqi links to the 11/9 attacks (in the case of attacking the latter, you'd have needed to start with Saudi Arabia...) - all of which we were assured was true.

Yes, Saddam was a deeply unpleasant fellow and on balance, it's good that he's gone. My primary objection over Bush's foreign policy is that he insists on dragging other nations along with him, and that
"we the people" were lied to about the reasons for going to war (and, given, that's equally as much Blair's fault as it is Bush and Powell's).

2) "Governing with the moral consensus..." Hmm, not so sure about that. In principle, I'm as deeply worried about Christian fundamentalism as I am Islamic fundamentalism; OK, in practice the latter is undeniably far worse, but it all ultimately comes down to wanting to force your own religious beliefs upon someone else. I don't believe a) that religion has any place in government, and b) that government should fund religious activities.

3) I don't think credit for winning the election should go to Bush; it's undeniably Karl Rove who is the genius mastermind behind the victory. He a) got out the God squad vote in droves, and b) got people believing the "America is under threat; only Bush can keep you safe" line. Credit to him.

4) I wouldn't deny for a second the fact that the USA has the right to run itself; it doesn't necessarily mean I have to like the way they do so, though, particularly when it means dragging the UK into wars in which our military has no place. And when that happens, it means that the Brits have an unquestionable right to pass comment thereupon.
Right back at ya...

1) As you allude, it was Blair's decision for us to join the war, and allegedly Bush offered Blair the chance to get out without any consequences.

Is your objection primarily moral or pragmatic - i.e., do you think war is a part of statecraft? I won't go into the detail here - suffice to say I disagree with you and think it was reasonable. If you're interested, go to my blog ( and look to a post of about 2 weeks ago, Britain and Iraq, where I give my reasons, etc.

2) Religion has no place in government? What about morality? Or are we to be left with Mill's "experiments with living," and all the damage they've done in western societies? I'm with George Washington on this one - that it's foolish to think that we can sustain moral virtue without religion.

The idea of wholly severing religion from politics is a liberal absurdity. Politics revolves around value conflicts - are you suggesting only Atheists and Plato-worshippers can bring their values to the table? So, as long as you don't religiously justify, anything is OK - surely you realise that religion frames a moral discourse for most people?

Btw, what was your view re Buttiglione?

3) Rove is a genius and deserves a lot of credit - but Dubya shouldn't be underestimated. He is a very focused guy - governs on the basis of a few priorities (tax cuts, war on terror) and railroads them through. Right-wing voters like that - to paraphrase Mencken, they know what they want and they want to have it given to them, good and proper. On your (b), I think Rove was as much following as leading here. 9/11-11/9 (whichever way!) changed the American political psyche massively. Yes, the Administration probably did some things to help it along - but there is a real effect here.

4) Fair enough, although I go back to (1) about it being our choice to join in the war. My point is less about you commenting than about your criticising America for voting a government that will keep to their values. That, after all, is democracy. It's more intellectually direct for you to question those values.
Hey,you won me over..
I think we can be friends.
I disagree with the line used about the 'war on terror'. If it were true, then, as Foxy rightly says, we would have gone to war with Saudi. Not sure how BAe systems would have felt about that, however. Still, if the US goes to war with Iran, they won't have to worry about their hypocracy over SA, I suppose.

I think it should be made clear. The Iraq 2003 invasion was not a pre-emptive attack. It was not self-defence in response to the terrorist attacks on september 11th(which would have involved shooting the planes out of the sky)and it was not a reprisal. It was an illegal invasion.

Clever ol' karl, though. He Got Bush re-elected inspite of all this!
To Anonymous:

1. The idea of running foreign policy (or indeed any policy) on rigid doctrinaire principles is absurd and dangerous. Saudi Arabia is no outward threat, and would be difficult to invade politically (both because it is not outwardly threatening and because of Mecca, etc). Also, the wider environment created by US policy has forced a crackdown on some terrorist activities in the Kingdom.

2. If you say that Iraq was an "illegal invasion," you should seek the prosecution not only of Blair (which you might be OK with) but every military officer concerned. Remember that "I was only following orders" is not a legitimate defence for an officer if the orders themselves are illegal. I don't think it is an illegal invasion, for reasons that I'm not going to get into here, so I don't have to campaign for these brave soldiers and airmen to be locked up. On the cause of war, I'm happy to accept it was neither self-defence nor a reprisal. There was a pre-emptive aspect to it, but there were other purposes (for example, show of strength).

"Clever ol' karl" - the danger with this line of argument is that you're blinding yourself to the fact that people genuinely voted for Bush because they think or thought he was doing the right thing. By reducing everything to Karl's (undoubted) talent, you miss the underlying facts.
Sigh. I was amazed by the turnout of rednecks at the polls as much as anyone else. I mean, they had previously kept to themselves and to their own families (in more sense than one I'd imagine..), safe in their little trailers away from the rest of the world; being spoon-fed their opinions outta the good ol' TV who tells nothing but truths I'm sure. But for this election they all came charging out in force, thumping their bibles and shootin' their rifles as they went. If only the hippies weren't at home smoking their pot, maybe they'd have gotten to the polls on time and we wouldn't be stuck with G-Dub for another four.
I wasn't too fond of either candidate, but I sure as hell didn't want this one to win yet again. One can only hope that he has another pretzel incident in the near future... Until then I think I'm going to wear a paper bag over my head to hide my embarrassment on behalf of HALF our country's gullibility.
Fuck off you nazi thug people who call people mong are evil scum. Facist turd
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