Knight Ridder Election 2004
krwashington
 Around the World
 Correspondents
 Special Reports
 Washington

 Back to your local site:
 



  Related links

InstaPundit.com: Smart, lively commentary from mostly right-leaning bloggers.

Talking Points Memo: Joshua Micah Marshall's take from left of center.

Blogs for Bush: The other side's take on all the action in the Democratic primary.





Welcome to Red State/Blue State, a feature presented by The Anniston Star of Anniston, Ala., and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

In the December 2001 edition of the Atlantic, David Brooks wrote an essay titled "One Nation, Slightly Divisible," in which he suggested that America is divided largely into two political cultures, one "red" and one "blue." His idea is based on those electoral maps in 2000 that colored majority-Republican states in red and majority-Democratic states in blue. Brooks' witty essay pictures the red-state voter as trending rural, a salt-of-the-earth type, concerned with individual liberty and family values, whereas the "blue" voter trends urban, more of a book-reader, a Beltway-savvy intellectual, the environmentally conscious soccer mom or dad.

Cliches? Maybe. But Brooks does have his finger on two very strong currents in the American votership. It's not that Pennsylvania is a "blue state" or Alabama is a "red state." It's that our two political cultures don't talk to each other much, or even know much about each other. To bridge that gap, we've brought together two "red" voters - John Franklin and Cynthia Sneed - and two "blue" voters, Terri Falbo and Timothy Horner. Each week, they'll ponder and debate the issues arising in the election campaign. The hope is that they'll model an intelligent discussion, a great big conference room where red and blue sit down together.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Tim Horner, Blue Stater 

Question Number Ten: Do you like the format for the debates? Is it a "real debate"? Do we ever learn significant things about the candidates from these debates? What would you rather see?

I found this debate to be very interesting indeed. It was civil and controlled, but still very revealing. This was the first chance for the public to see the candidates unfiltered through the media. It was like a month of the news clips condensed into 90 minutes.

Debates are content-driven, but there is also a lot going with body language. Physically, Kerry looked more relaxed. This kind of exchange is his bread and butter. He took notes, nodded his head, and even smiled in a few places as if to say, "Oh, he stepped in it that time." Kerry was chomping at the bit to refute and challenge Bush. And in this way, he clearly had the upper hand. Bush, on the other hand, scowled at Kerry several times while he listened. His nostrils were flared almost all the time.

Bush was visibly shaken several times and seemed flustered by Kerry comments. (Of course, Bush hardline supporters will see this as an example of his toughness and resolve. This seems to be the only angle left for them. We get it already!) Kerry stood upright while Bush hunched forward. Several times the camera shot Bush from behind, and you could see his suit stretching across his back as he leaned into his words.

Kerry almost never looked at the camera, while Bush stared directly at it and held his gaze for a second or two after he finished before he nodded to the moderator that he was finished. In a stump speech, this would have been the place where the vetted supporters would roar, but in this setting it looked a bit odd, even eerie. Kerry did not have these kinds of gaps.

This debate revealed a fundamental difference between how these candidates operate and how deep their rivers run. There is no question that Bush is a great sound-bite President. He works the media like a celebrity and the TelePrompter like an anchorman. He has nicknames for reporters and charms them with his witty repartee. And it has paid off. Bush and those who fuel the Republican machine have learned how to use the media to their advantage. They have transformed it into high art. Hats off to Rove and company!

But in a 90-minute debate, the seams began to show, if not unravel. When you hear the same sound bite repeated over and over, it sounds artificial and false, even comic. I find it hard to believe that Bush's advisors did not see this coming. He said, "It's hard work" 10 times! (My struggling students say the same thing. How lame is that?) Even his other mantra about "mixed messages" (eight times) sounded hollow when Kerry had the time to clarify his one message. On the campaign trail these tactics work, but a debate is different, and Kerry was able to define his plan in a clear and consistent manner. Bush brought nothing to the table except the same tired tricks. The presidency has to be more than schoolboy name calling and blind repetition. People are beginning to realize this.

If we look beyond the sound byte to the substance, we see that Kerry was clearly out in front. Kerry was solid on his stance on nuclear proliferation, and he made a strong connection to the war on terror. Bush could only agree with Kerry on this, but then he went on to talk about missile defense. What do missiles have to do with terrorism?

And what was all this about letting China lead the talks with North Korea? Bush said this once before: North Korea is a neighborhood thing. But Iraq is our neighborhood thing? But here we have the go-it-alone President deferring to and trusting China to deal with North Korea. I thought Bush would never let anyone make decisions for America.

Kerry, on the other hand, wants bilateral talks with North Korea. Bush doesn't? Is he scared of China? Why would we not deal directly with a country that we know has weapons of mass destruction – real ones? It looks like Bush is being cowed by China.

One of the more revealing moments was when Bush justified the Iraq war by saying that the "enemy attacked us." When Kerry made it clear that it was Osama bin Laden who attacked us, not Saddam Hussein, Bush shot back, "I know bin Laden did it!" What a juvenile comeback. Apparently, the Republican machine has done such a good job linking these events that even Bush is dizzy from his own spin.

This debate allowed the American people to see these candidates from a different angle. Bush was tipped back on his heels last Thursday. And from all accounts, America liked what it saw.

(0) comments

Monday, September 27, 2004

Cynthia Sneed, Red Stater 

Question Number Nine: What should George W. Bush in his concluding remarks at the presidential debates?


America cannot misunderestimate the degree to which freedom-loving Americans threaten terrorists everywhere. America stands for freedom, and we have a God-given responsibility to spread freedom to all nations suffering under oppression from evildoers and tyrants.

We have been attacked by bad people who want us to get out of Iraq, leaving it in the hands of terrorists who would attack all freedom-loving people if they could.

Remember: You know what I stand for even if you don’t know what I mean.

I will spend every day protecting the American people as well as I can from further terrorist attacks. We have enjoyed significant success so far defending against this threat, and I want to continue our plan to make Americans safe from terror and America unsafe for terrorists.

Here is my pledge to the American people.

The time is over for America to do nothing while terrorists plot and execute missions that kill thousands of civilians.

Terrorists hide their faces when they execute people because they do not want to die, yet they think nothing of slaughtering little children. My opponent believes that I am a fear-monger, yet terrorists murdered little children, many of them infants, in a Russian school three weeks ago.

We are fighting barbarians. The danger is real, the threat is immediate, and the consequences are certain death. We must be vigilant, we must be decisive, we must be strong, and we must be clear about our objective: to eliminate terrorist threats against our nation at home and abroad.

We are fighting a war we did not ask for, a war we did not start, but one we will finish. We will show terrorists and those who harbor terrorists that the price they will pay for attacking the United States is much higher than they are willing to pay.

I will do my best to ensure that never again will innocent Americans make those last phonecalls to their loved ones and or jump to their deaths from the 104th floor of a burning building because planes were used as bombs.

I will do my best to keep the fight on the terrorists' soil, and not in our streets. I promise do my best to protect the American people and their children.


Blue-Stater Tim Horner writes this rebuttal:


Stay the course! It is working! We are succeeding! Democracy is coming to Iraq! No regrets! Nothing to change, and nothing to improve! For a country that demands excellence in everything we do, we seem to be pretty happy with the tiniest little baby-steps toward democracy and a whole lot of chaos.

But is this really the best we can do? Are we really safer now that there are more terrorists in the world? I don't care who the president is: When Americans are dying every day, I want our leadership to do something to stop it. And if it is not stopping, I want our leaders to swallow their egos and innovate. Is this too much to ask? But all we hear is: Stay the course! Stay with me! Any change will embolden the terrorists! Just hold still and let it keep coming! It won't last forever.

What kind of leader is this? Well, apparently, the one most attractive almost half the country right now. It appears that the worse it gets in Iraq, the more people are listening and nodding when Bush says we are winning. Were it not for the loss of human life, it would be comic. The hotter the chaos, the easier it is to listen to the cool, soothing words of our President. He looks so calm and in control.

Given the choice - and we do have a choice - many prefer our big, strong W over the death toll in Iraq. Bush tells us: "Just look at me, not over there. Everything is fine over here. Don't be so negative!"

Kerry wants to tell the truth about the dire situation facing our troops in Iraq. And he is talking about change. Real change. It's much easier to look at Bush. He is so comforting. He says everything is fine and that we are getting better every day and everything will be all right. Don't you worry. Daddy wouldn't let anything happen to you. Just close your eyes and sleep tight.

Well, I'm wide awake.


Blue-Stater Terri Falbo writes this rebuttal:

Mr. Franklin has the President assert that Homeland Security is making America a safer place. This is just not true.

Extensive research and evidence shows that no real resources are being put into Homeland Security to make us safe (see "Red Alert," by Matthew Brzezinski, Sept.-Oct. 2004 Mother Jones). The office of Homeland Security is a shoestring operation that has trouble recruiting and retaining personnel precisely because it is not viewed as serious:

1. Computers are not secure and can't receive classified data;
2. Funds have not been allocated to equip all airplanes for screening
baggage for explosives (though this could be done for what we spend in only
10 days in Iraq!);
3. Chemical sites are not secure (due to lobbying by the petrochemical industry);
4. First responders are not being given equipment or training necessary to
promote safety.

To me, the evidence demonstrates that President Bush and his colleagues are not concerned about keeping the majority of Americans safe.

Ms. Sneed has the President saying we will finish the war on terror - something he has wavered on (shall we say "flip-flopped"?). She says she believes we will make the terrorists pay a higher price than they are willing to pay. What would this be, since many have been more than willing to pay with their lives?

Closing statements by both red-staters seem to be based on a naïve, cartoon-like view of the United States in relation to the rest of the world. It is a nice fantasy to believe that our country has gone all around the world doing good and that there are just these evil barbarians out there. So all we have to do is fight the evil people over there and we will be nice and safe here at home. Unfortunately, the real world is not this neat, little fairy tale.

To conduct a serious fight against terrorism, we must have a more serious analysis - and use a little logic. As long as we allow foreign policy to be influenced by the needs of U.S. corporations for super-profits, the policy will work against freedom and democracy (since most free people want things like control over resources and decent pay and working conditions - which cut into super-profits). How can we then expect that people will not turn against us? And how can we expect that at least a percentage of those who do so would not decide they are willing to die if necessary to express their opposition?

We need policies that will isolate terrorists rather than create broader potential support for them. And we need more resources put into a real Homeland Security program to make our airplanes, ports, chemical sites, and public places safer.


(0) comments

Joe Franklin, Red Stater 

Question Number Nine: What should George W. Bush say in his concluding statement at the presidential debates?

We live in perilous times, different from any in the history of our nation. We are engaged in a war with an enemy different from any we have ever known. This war did not begin with the horrendous acts of Sept. 11, 2001, a cowardly attack in which almost 3,000 innocents perished on American soil.

This war is not confined to the issues of 9/11, but rather it extends to those that allowed the terrorists to go unchecked for two decades before to the present administration took office. My opponent claims a plan to win the peace, but he has never mentioned a plan for victory. Great progress has been made in bringing democracy to Afghanistan and to Iraq, even though grave problems still exist in the Sunni Triangle and in Fallujah. We will prevail.

We need a president who will make strong, principled decisions, not one with 20 years of conflicting, indecisive actions. Thirty years ago, my opponent opposed a war half a world away. He met with the enemy while our young men were fighting, dying, and being held captive. In 2003, he said Saddam Hussein was a ruthless dictator with weapons of mass destruction. Now that Hussein has been deposed, are we sure of my opponents position? My position has not wavered.

Homeland Security is making America a safer place. Our travel is safer, and our borders are more secure. Homeland Security is helping to ensure a future that is safer for all Americans.

It is true that our times are perilous, different from any our nation has ever
experienced, but with principled leadership, our nation will endure.


Blue-Stater Tim Horner writes this rebuttal:

Stay the course! It is working! We are succeeding! Democracy is coming to Iraq! No regrets! Nothing to change, and nothing to improve! For a country that demands excellence in everything we do, we seem to be pretty happy with the tiniest little baby-steps toward democracy and a whole lot of chaos.

But is this really the best we can do? Are we really safer now that there are more terrorists in the world? I don't care who the president is: When Americans are dying every day, I want our leadership to do something to stop it. And if it is not stopping, I want our leaders to swallow their egos and innovate. Is this too much to ask? But all we hear is: Stay the course! Stay with me! Any change will embolden the terrorists! Just hold still and let it keep coming! It won't last forever.

What kind of leader is this? Well, apparently, the one most attractive almost half the country right now. It appears that the worse it gets in Iraq, the more people are listening and nodding when Bush says we are winning. Were it not for the loss of human life, it would be comic. The hotter the chaos, the easier it is to listen to the cool, soothing words of our President. He looks so calm and in control.

Given the choice - and we do have a choice - many prefer our big, strong W over the death toll in Iraq. Bush tells us: "Just look at me, not over there. Everything is fine over here. Don't be so negative!"

Kerry wants to tell the truth about the dire situation facing our troops in Iraq. And he is talking about change. Real change. It's much easier to look at Bush. He is so comforting. He says everything is fine and that we are getting better every day and everything will be all right. Don't you worry. Daddy wouldn't let anything happen to you. Just close your eyes and sleep tight.

Well, I'm wide awake.


Blue-Stater Terri Falbo writes this rebuttal:

Mr. Franklin has the President assert that Homeland Security is making America a safer place. This is just not true.

Extensive research and evidence shows that no real resources are being put into Homeland Security to make us safe (see "Red Alert," by Matthew Brzezinski, Sept.-Oct. 2004 Mother Jones). The office of Homeland Security is a shoestring operation that has trouble recruiting and retaining personnel precisely because it is not viewed as serious:
1. Computers are not secure and can't receive classified data;
2. Funds have not been allocated to equip all airplanes for screening baggage for explosives (though this could be done for what we spend in only 10 days in Iraq!);
3. Chemical sites are not secure (due to lobbying by the petrochemical industry);
4. First responders are not being given equipment or training necessary to promote safety.

To me, the evidence demonstrates that President Bush and his colleagues are not concerned about keeping the majority of Americans safe.

Ms. Sneed has the President saying we will finish the war on terror - something he has wavered on (shall we say "flip-flopped"?). She says she believes we will make the terrorists pay a higher price than they are willing to pay. What would this be, since many have been more than willing to pay with their lives?

Closing statements by both red-staters seem to be based on a naïve, cartoon-like view of the United States in relation to the rest of the world. It is a nice fantasy to believe that our country has gone all around the world doing good and that there are just these evil barbarians out there. So all we have to do is fight the evil people over there and we will be nice and safe here at home. Unfortunately, the real world is not this neat, little fairy tale.

To conduct a serious fight against terrorism, we must have a more serious analysis - and use a little logic. As long as we allow foreign policy to be influenced by the needs of U.S. corporations for super-profits, the policy will work against freedom and democracy (since most free people want things like control over resources and decent pay and working conditions - which cut into super-profits). How can we then expect that people will not turn against us? And how can we expect that at least a percentage of those who do so would not decide they are willing to die if necessary to express their opposition?

We need policies that will isolate terrorists rather than create broader potential support for them. And we need more resources put into a real Homeland Security program to make our airplanes, ports, chemical sites, and public places safer.



(0) comments

Terri Falbo, Blue Stater 

Question Number Nine: What should John Kerry say in his concluding remarks at the presidential debates?

America needs to be strong. Strength demands that we tell the truth to the American people - that the war on Iraq is not the same as a war against terrorism. Instead the war in Iraq has hindered the war against terror and diverted resources away from fighting terrorism - both at home and abroad. Known terrorists remain at-large, and precious little funding has been devoted to first-responders or to ensure the safety of our airplanes, ports, chemical sites, and public spaces.

We need to develop specific strategies and tactics to capture and isolate known terrorists. To isolate terrorists, we need to have the strength to stop those policies that are likely to cause broad-based outrage against the U.S. and that could possibly result in any increase in support for terrorists.

But we are deeply entwined in Iraq now. So we need to have a serious strategy for moving forward.

1. We need to stop relying on and promoting Iraqis who were former CIA informants. There are Iraqi-Americans and Iraqis all over the world who are pro-democracy and who were opposed to both the Saddam Hussein regime AND to the war. We need to convene a meeting of all pro-democracy Iraqi organizations to help devise a thorough strategy for the future of the country.

2. We need to implement a reconstruction program that brings more benefits to the Iraqi people. Iraqis with jobs are less likely to shoot at our soldiers. More than a year ago, $18 billion was allocated for reconstruction, yet only 5 percent of those funds have actually been spent.. We need to get rid of the officials responsible for mismanaging the reconstruction effort and order a reassessment of the whole reconstruction package and implement quick-impact projects. Pro-democracy Iraqis should play a major role. We need to stop paying companies under investigation for fraud or corruption. We need to use more Iraqi contractors and workers, instead of big corporations like Halliburton. We need to work with our allies to forgive Iraq's multibillion dollar debt.

America needs a foreign policy and Homeland Security that is most likely to really protect the whole of American people instead of mainly special interests. We need to adequately fund a real Homeland Security. We need to put the values of democracy and freedom in the forefront - in actual policy and actions, not just words. We need to stop using foreign policy to serve corporate profit-making interests. In Iraq and the world, we need to stop supporting dictators whose main purpose is to gain markets for U.S. corporations and to keep the cost of labor and resources low.

America needs to be strong. I have the strength to make the essential changes in our foreign policy and homeland security necessary for a stronger, safer America.

Red-Stater Joe Franklin writes this rebuttal:

In 2003, Sen. John Kerry stated that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction, described him as a ruthless dictator, and essentially said he needed to be removed from power. Now he makes an issue of the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. If he truly believes this and is honest, why doesn't he say, "I was wrong, I was duped," and bring the troops home? He can't. He has changed positions too many times!

The 9/11 Commission found no evidence of a connection between Iraq and September 11th according to Secretary of State Colin Powell. But he acknowledged that in recent years there had been several contacts between Saddam's regime and the terrorists. For years the Iraqi National Coalition, an independent group supporting democracy for Iraq, has said Saddam is connected with the terrorists, supported terrorists' activities, harbored and trained terrorists on assignations, explosives, and hijacking planes in terrorists' camps in Iraq.

Bin Laden is still at large, but hundreds of terrorists have been killed or captured. He will be found. After all, it took seven years to find bomber Eric Rudolph in the hills of North Carolina. Al-Qaeda was never the only group killing Americans, and the "war on terror" did not begin with 9/11. It began before the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983.

Indications are that the economy is gradually improving, with unemployment being the lowest since 2001. Please note: The wealthy have always sat pretty, and both Kerry-Edwards and Bush-Cheney sit among them.

I have no problems with Sen. Kerry's self-enhanced service on the battlefield. I do have a problem with his collaborating with the enemy after returning home from Vietnam. He met with the North Vietnamese in Paris after his active duty. You can be assured that if one of our service men returning from Iraq flew to Paris and mets with al-Qaeda, he will be facing a court-martial and a long prison sentence. Sen. Kerry made his trip to Paris while in the Naval Reserve, a part of his military record that will never be revealed to the voters. Did he attend drills while in Reserve status?

As for Bush's prior 20 years, everyone knows he was in the oil exploration business, a general partner in a baseball team, and governor of Texas while Sen. Kerry glided through three terms in the Senate without sponsoring any significant legislation. Why would he do more than the minimum as president when his performance as a senator was less than the minimum?

I am not familiar with promoting Iraqi CIA agents. Prime Minister Allawi had CIA connections, but I have never heard him referred to as an agent. He has the support of most pro-democracy groups as well as the majority of the Iraqis. However, he is criticized for his past CIA connections. Give the man a chance!

The United States leads a multinational effort to reconstruct Iraq and to forgive its debt. Is it government bureaucracy or mismanagement that has slowed the spending of the $18 billion for reconstruction?

Halliburton's subsidiary, Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR), formerly Brown and Root, has been awarded wartime contracts since World War II. They were award contracts during the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War, and the Balkans War. Most of these were awarded by Democratic administrations. The company has been accused of sweetheart deals and faulty accounting for decades. Brown and Root was a big supporter of Lyndon B. Johnson. Halliburton, along with other American companies, traded with Iraq through foreign subsidiaries after the Gulf War. Trading with Iraq resumed during the United Nations oil-for-food program, which, apparently was legitimate.

I have read that Vice President Cheney's statements on trade with Iraq were contradictory. Maybe he flip-flopped! That's one for Bush-Cheney and dozens for Kerry-Edwards!

So what's the Blue Staters' problem with Halliburton? Is it that we now have a Republican administration? Is it that Cheney once served as Halliburton's CEO, or that Halliburton and KBR are among the largest non-union employers in the country? Organizing their employees would be a jackpot for big labor!

America is strong, and will continue to grow in strength. The plague of terrorism will not stop with these debates, this administration or the next administration. Diplomacy will not end terrorism.




Red-Stater Cynthia Sneed writes this rebuttal:


I believe that the differences between those who support President Bush and those who support Sen. Kerry (I deliberately did not say "Republican and Democrats," because there appear to be large numbers of both parties on either side) are so diametrically opposite, the chasm so vast, that the differences are irreconcilable.

Bush haters believe he is a liar; Bush supporters believe he is a leader. Bush haters believe he is a warmonger; Bush supporters believe he is a warrior defending our country.

Bush haters believe that the Iraq war is not part of the global war on terror; Bush supporters believe that the entire Middle East, wherever terrorists are provided safe harbor to plot to kill "American infidels" is the battlefield.

Bush haters believe he is stubborn; Bush supporters believe he is stalwart. Bush haters believe he is a "fear-monger" who is frightening the elderly and little school children for political gain; Bush supporters believe he is a ferocious fighter who will do everything in his power to protect us from the real and imminent threat of terrorism.

Oprah did a show on terrorism on Sept. 23. I was expecting one of the hand-wringing, "Kumbaya," "Why on why do they hate us" shows to boost John Kerry's campaign. I was dumbfounded when she interviewed reporters and people at the Russian orphanage. One reporter told the story of the dehydrated children and one little girl, just seven years old, who ran out of the building - not to safety, but to the water fountain. The terrorists, trained by al-Qaeda (those who want to kill you and yours) gunned her down with a machinegun because she wanted a drink some water.

Another woman told of being made to choose between her two children by the terrorists. She could take one out but leave the other. No doubt she begged to stay herself and let both children go, but no. We are not dealing with Mr. Rogers. These are terrorists, and their purpose is to terrorize.

U.S. armed forces in Iraq found al-Qaeda training videos on how to take over elementary schools and kill children. These videos dated back to the mid-1990s, and they were accompanied by maps of the United States, Britain and Russia. Not in Iraq, not since 9/11, but years before. That is how long these people have been working on these terrorist attacks.

It is well-documented that John Kerry harped and harped on how dangerous Saddam Hussein was when President Clinton was president. He even went as far as to note that the French, Germans, Russian and Chinese were useless in helping us control and remove Saddam Hussein (1997).

Today he has done a complete about face, now Saddam is not/was never a threat, there were no terrorists in Iraq even though the 9/11 Commission Report said there were, the French/German/Russians will "help" us in Iraq although it was the wrong war at the wrong time in the wrong place.

On Friday, Kerry said that terrorists are pouring into Iraq that he will "find and hunt down" the terrorists to win the "global war on terror" but not Iraq - where he just said they all were. John Kerry today said he would "win the global war on terror" - but apparently Iraq is not on his globe. John Kerry - who has said this Iraq war was a mistake, a quagmire, and that we need to get our American boys out of there but have said the French and Germans will send their boys in to die.

Sen. Kerry, if, as you say, Iraq is a quagmire, a lost cause, the wrong war, not worth losing American lives, then the French, Germans and Russians are not coming to help you. European diplomats have already said time and again they will not now or ever send troops into Iraq. One supposes their hope is that Saddam will be restored to power and the oil-for-loot program can be revived.

George W. Bush he has hunted down and killed more terrorists in the last three years than any American leader has over the last 30. He did it to protect us and because somebody somewhere has to stop the cancer, the plague of people who act as if they are living in the 11th century in the year 2004.

President Bush has for the first time made these people pay a price for their acts. He has sent the message that America, under his leadership, is willing to expend its blood and treasure to punish, destroy and discourage those who would plot and plan against the United States.

I know that the next elementary school or daycare center could be my child's. I know my husband may be on the next airplane used as a missile. I know it could be my mother jumping from the 104th floor of a burning building. The next person kidnapped and beheaded may be me. The 9/11 Commission revealed that there are numerous sleeper cells in America waiting for orders to wreak havoc and kill Americans.

President Bush knows it as well.
(0) comments

Tim Horner, Blue Stater 

Question Number Nine: What should John Kerry say in his concluding remarks at the presidential debates?

This election is about integrity, leadership, and trust.George W. Bush received the trust of a nation when he took office. In the events following the atrocities of 9/11, the nation needed him to be a leader with foresight, sound judgment, and honesty. We needed a president who would lead with calm intelligent strength.

But I am here today because that did not happen.

The authority granted to him by the Senate was abused. And we rushed to war with Iraq: A country that had nothing to do with 9/11 and was not an immediate threat to the United States. The trust given to him by the American people has been fractured by his lack of foresight. His judgment was impaired by his longstanding personal hatred for Saddam Hussein. And today, Iraq is on the verge of civil war.

No one can question the President's resolve, but we can question - and I do - his methods and the results of his actions. We both want to protect the American people. We both want what will keep America strong. Any suggestion that either of us would do anything to make a terrorist attack more likely is nothing short of shameful. This is about keeping promises. And George Bush has not delivered on his promises: Bin Laden is still at large. Al-Qaeda is now only one of many terrorist groups killing Americans every day in Iraq, and our economy has not responded well to this administration’s careless, unchecked spending habits.

Our veterans are worse off now than before, and our military is being worn out by recalls and extended tours of duty. The only group who seem to be sitting pretty are the very wealthy. America needs change, and we need it badly. Change will not cost more lives; it will save them!

If I am called to be your president and serve this country, I will not run away from my call to service. There has been a lot of attention on my lifetime of public service both in the field of battle and in the Senate. I have committed my life to the service of this country. What does George Bush have to show for his 20 years leading up to his presidency? What does he have to show for the last four years? As president, I won't do just the minimum to get by. I will not surround myself with the elite and call them my core. My core is the American people; every single one you are my core. I promise to serve and protect you as if my life depended on it. And if anyone dares to question that resolve, then bring 'em on!


Red-Stater Joe Franklin writes this rebuttal:

In 2003, Sen. John Kerry stated that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction, described him as a ruthless dictator, and essentially said he needed to be removed from power. Now he makes an issue of the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. If he truly believes this and is honest, why doesn't he say, "I was wrong, I was duped," and bring the troops home? He can't. He has changed positions too many times!

The 9/11 Commission found no evidence of a connection between Iraq and September 11th according to Secretary of State Colin Powell. But he acknowledged that in recent years there had been several contacts between Saddam's regime and the terrorists. For years the Iraqi National Coalition, an independent group supporting democracy for Iraq, has said Saddam is connected with the terrorists, supported terrorists' activities, harbored and trained terrorists on assignations, explosives, and hijacking planes in terrorists' camps in Iraq.

Bin Laden is still at large, but hundreds of terrorists have been killed or captured. He will be found. After all, it took seven years to find bomber Eric Rudolph in the hills of North Carolina. Al-Qaeda was never the only group killing Americans, and the "war on terror" did not begin with 9/11. It began before the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983.

Indications are that the economy is gradually improving, with unemployment being the lowest since 2001. Please note: The wealthy have always sat pretty, and both Kerry-Edwards and Bush-Cheney sit among them.

I have no problems with Sen. Kerry's self-enhanced service on the battlefield. I do have a problem with his collaborating with the enemy after returning home from Vietnam. He met with the North Vietnamese in Paris after his active duty. You can be assured that if one of our service men returning from Iraq flew to Paris and mets with al-Qaeda, he will be facing a court-martial and a long prison sentence. Sen. Kerry made his trip to Paris while in the Naval Reserve, a part of his military record that will never be revealed to the voters. Did he attend drills while in Reserve status?

As for Bush's prior 20 years, everyone knows he was in the oil exploration business,
a general partner in a baseball team, and governor of Texas while Sen. Kerry glided through three terms in the Senate without sponsoring any significant legislation. Why would he do more than the minimum as president when his performance as a senator was less than the minimum?

I am not familiar with promoting Iraqi CIA agents. Prime Minister Allawi had CIA connections, but I have never heard him referred to as an agent. He has the support of most pro-democracy groups as well as the majority of the Iraqis. However, he is criticized for his past CIA connections. Give the man a chance!

The United States leads a multinational effort to reconstruct Iraq and to forgive its debt. Is it government bureaucracy or mismanagement that has slowed the spending of the $18 billion for reconstruction?

Halliburton's subsidiary, Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR), formerly Brown and Root, has been awarded wartime contracts since World War II. They were award contracts during the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War, and the Balkans War. Most of these were awarded by Democratic administrations. The company has been accused of sweetheart deals and faulty accounting for decades. Brown and Root was a big supporter of Lyndon B. Johnson. Halliburton, along with other American companies, traded with Iraq through foreign subsidiaries after the Gulf War. Trading with Iraq resumed during the United Nations oil-for-food program, which, apparently was legitimate.

I have read that Vice President Cheney's statements on trade with Iraq were contradictory. Maybe he flip-flopped! That's one for Bush-Cheney and dozens for Kerry-Edwards!

So what's the Blue Staters' problem with Halliburton? Is it that we now have a Republican administration? Is it that Cheney once served as Halliburton's CEO, or that Halliburton and KBR are among the largest non-union employers in the country?
Organizing their employees would be a jackpot for big labor!

America is strong, and will continue to grow in strength. The plague of terrorism will not stop with these debates, this administration or the next administration. Diplomacy will not end terrorism.




Red-Stater Cynthia Sneed writes this rebuttal:


I believe that the differences between those who support President Bush and those who support Sen. Kerry (I deliberately did not say "Republican and Democrats," because there appear to be large numbers of both parties on either side) are so diametrically opposite, the chasm so vast, that the differences are irreconcilable.

Bush haters believe he is a liar; Bush supporters believe he is a leader. Bush haters believe he is a warmonge;, Bush supporters believe he is a warrior defending our country.

Bush haters believe that the Iraq war is not part of the global war on terror; Bush supporters believe that the entire Middle East, wherever terrorists are provided safe harbor to plot to kill "American infidels" is the battlefield.

Bush haters believe he is stubborn; Bush supporters believe he is stalwart. Bush haters believe he is a "fear-monger" who is frightening the elderly and little school children for political gain; Bush supporters believe he is a ferocious fighter who will do everything in his power to protect us from the real and imminent threat of terrorism.

Oprah did a show on terrorism on Sept. 23. I was expecting one of the hand-wringing, "Kumbaya," "Why on why do they hate us" shows to boost John Kerry's campaign. I was dumbfounded when she interviewed reporters and people at the Russian orphanage. One reporter told the story of the dehydrated children and one little girl, just seven years old, who ran out of the building - not to safety, but to the water fountain. The terrorists, trained by al-Qaeda (those who want to kill you and yours) gunned her down with a machinegun because she wanted a drink some water.

Another woman told of being made to choose between her two children by the terrorists. She could take one out but leave the other. No doubt she begged to stay herself and let both children go, but no. We are not dealing with Mr. Rogers. These are terrorists, and their purpose is to terrorize.

U.S. armed forces in Iraq found al-Qaeda training videos on how to take over elementary schools and kill children. These videos dated back to the mid-1990s, and they were accompanied by maps of the United States, Britain and Russia. Not in Iraq, not since 9/11, but years before. That is how long these people have been working on these terrorist attacks.

It is well-documented that John Kerry harped and harped on how dangerous Saddam Hussein was when President Clinton was president. He even went as far as to note that the French, Germans, Russian and Chinese were useless in helping us control and remove Saddam Hussein (1997).

Today he has done a complete about face, now Saddam is not/was never a threat, there were no terrorists in Iraq even though the 9/11 Commission Report said there were, the French/German/Russians will "help" us in Iraq although it was the wrong war at the wrong time in the wrong place.

On Friday, Kerry said that terrorists are pouring into Iraq that he will "find and hunt down" the terrorists to win the "global war on terror" but not Iraq - where he just said they all were. John Kerry today said he would "win the global war on terror" - but apparently Iraq is not on his globe. John Kerry - who has said this Iraq war was a mistake, a quagmire, and that we need to get our American boys out of there but have said the French and Germans will send their boys in to die.

Sen. Kerry, if, as you say, Iraq is a quagmire, a lost cause, the wrong war, not worth losing American lives, then the French, Germans and Russians are not coming to help you. European diplomats have already said time and again they will not now or ever send troops into Iraq. One supposes their hope is that Saddam will be restored to power and the oil-for-loot program can be revived.

George W. Bush he has hunted down and killed more terrorists in the last three years than any American leader has over the last 30. He did it to protect us and because somebody somewhere has to stop the cancer, the plague of people who act as if they are living in the 11th century in the year 2004.

President Bush has for the first time made these people pay a price for their acts. He has sent the message that America, under his leadership, is willing to expend its blood and treasure to punish, destroy and discourage those who would plot and plan against the United States.

I know that the next elementary school or daycare center could be my child's. I know my husband may be on the next airplane used as a missile. I know it could be my mother jumping from the 104th floor of a burning building. The next person kidnapped and beheaded may be me. The 9/11 Commission revealed that there are numerous sleeper cells in America waiting for orders to wreak havoc and kill Americans.

President Bush knows it as well.

(0) comments



  Archives

   •  08/01/2004 - 08/08/2004
   •  08/08/2004 - 08/15/2004
   •  08/15/2004 - 08/22/2004
   •  08/22/2004 - 08/29/2004
   •  08/29/2004 - 09/05/2004
   •  09/05/2004 - 09/12/2004
   •  09/12/2004 - 09/19/2004
   •  09/19/2004 - 09/26/2004
   •  09/26/2004 - 10/03/2004
   •  10/03/2004 - 10/10/2004
   •  10/10/2004 - 10/17/2004
   •  10/24/2004 - 10/31/2004
   •  10/31/2004 - 11/07/2004
   •  11/07/2004 - 11/14/2004


Bloggers from
Blue State (Pa.)


Terri Falbo

Born and raised in Southwestern Pennsylvania, Terri Falbo is a union organizer who has lived in Philadelphia for almost 30 years. She graduated from Temple University and previously worked as a construction worker for 17 years.

Tim Horner

Tim Horner grew up in Iowa, but has lived out significant chunks of his adult life in Chicago, IL and Oxford, England. He is married and has four children (14, 12, 10 and 7). Having grown up as an Evangelical in the Midwest and still a practicing Christian, he is concerned with how religion and politics mix. Because of a combination of circumstance and apathy, he has never voted in a presidential election. He currently teaches Humanities at Villanova University.
Bloggers from
Red State (Ala.)


Joe Franklin

Alabama native Joe Franklin, 58, was born in Pike County and grew up on a farm in Crenshaw County. He graduated from Troy State University in 1967. After working for 28 years with the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles as a parole and probation officer, retired to Crenshaw County, which is just south of Montgomery, where he spends his days working on the farm.


Cynthia Sneed

Gadsden resident and local college professor Cynthia Smith Sneed has a doctorate in Accounting from the University of Alabama. Her fields of academic research are in state pension and employee benefit issues. She has been published in numerous academic accounting journals and has done research for the Alabama Policy Institute. She is a member of the American Accounting Association, Governmental Finance Officers Association as well as being active in the Republican Party.



About Realcities Network | About Knight Ridder | Terms of Use & Privacy Statement

Copyright 2004 Knight Ridder. All rights reserved. Any copying, redistribution or retransmission of any
of the contents of this service without the express written consent of Knight Ridder is expressly prohibited.