Saturday, July 24, 2004

Bush's Dilemma

Tooday's Globe OpEd has a perceptive column by Cathy Young who bemoans the choice that voters will face in November, noting a lack of leadership on the part of both Bush and Kerry. 
Looking at both candidates and both parties, I don't find much to inspire me. I don't believe Bush is evil incarnate, and the fact that Kerry is not Bush is not enough to make me want to vote for him. I do believe that Bush and his team have badly mishandled many aspects of the war on terror. The decision to go to war in Iraq may or may not have been right (in my view, the jury is still out), but it is clear that the administration was catastrophically unprepared to handle the war's aftermath, to win the peace after winning the war. We are now left with a mess in Iraq that is still costing lives -- the lives of Americans, our allies, and innocent Iraqis. We have squandered the considerable sympathy we have had among the Iraqi people -- even though, with no weapons of mass destruction found, the liberation of Iraqis from a brutal regime of state terrorism is the strongest justification left for the war.

Add to this the fact that Al Qaeda has not been neutralized, and the situation in Afghanistan remains chaotic enough that it may well re-emerge as a hotbed of terror. And add to this the fact that Bush has never offered an adequate admission of mistakes and missteps to the American people.
She has a point.  As the election nears, I suspect more and more votes will find themselves unhappy with this choice as well.

Bush 41 proved himself impolitic by leaving Quayle on his ticket and thus carrying more liabilities than he could in order to win the election.  Bush 43 is in a similar situation.  Cheney is no Quayle, but neither does he help the ticket politically as Edwards helps Kerry.  If conservatives like Cathy Young are feeling "blue"  :-)  about Bush's leadership, that is a bad sign for him.  If he wants to win, he'll have to take some action "outside of the box" to add to the 40% of voters who will be reliably Republican.  There is one obvious choice for this; replace Cheney on the 2004 ticket with his National Security Advisor.  Will he?  I doubt it.

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