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The Tentacle


September 13, 2004

Without Spin There's Nothing To Talk About

George Wenschhof

Why is the presidential election so close with only eight weeks until voters go to the polls on November 2?

Four years ago, George W. Bush campaigned on being a unifier, not a divider, and, with eight weeks before the 2004 election, he has failed to deliver.

An argument could be made that our country is even more divided than in 2000 when the Supreme Court decided the presidential election. That year Al Gore won the majority by over 500,000 votes while Bush, after a Supreme Court ruling, was awarded the electoral votes from Florida and with it the presidency.

A website, www.electoral-vote.com, shows the electoral vote breakdown at Kerry - 264, Bush - 222, with four states (Colorado, Missouri, Nevada, and Florida) tied as of last week. Another site, www.zogby.com, has it at Kerry - 264, Bush - 231, with three states (Missouri, Nevada, and Florida) too close to call. There are 538 electoral votes of which 270 are needed to win.

To understand why the election is so close, take a look at the efforts of the Bush Administration to build unity.

Even with a Republican House and Senate in Congress for four years, President Bush has failed to build consensus and respect.

Mr. Bush has failed to maintain the unity that came from the horrible tragedy of 9/11 and to establish trust.

After a successful military campaign in Afghanistan, people are skeptical of the pre-emptive war with Iraq that Mr. Bush justified with faulty and perhaps manipulated intelligence. The President has failed to satisfactorily tie the war in Iraq to the War on Terrorism. Recent quotes by the President that the war with Iraq was a "catastrophic success" and that the "War on Terrorism can not be won" have people scratching their heads with amazement.

Now international relations are at a low point in our nation's history as a result of the President's "go it alone" policies.

Then the president aired campaign commercials during the recent Olympics highlighting freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Iraqi soccer coach and a star player on the team denounced the ads and stated that Iraq was an occupied nation, not a free nation.

Even the United States Olympic Committee requested the ads be removed and stated they violated the trademark of the committee. President Bush refused to remove the ads.

In addition, the American public refuses to believe in the President's rendition of the trickle-down theory - or voodoo economics - that failed before and is failing now. More Americans have lost their jobs in one term with George W. Bush than any other president since Herbert Hoover.

The federal deficit brought under control during the Clinton years has ballooned to $442 billion with no end in sight. The massive tax cuts for the wealthy have resulted in the middle class and working poor having to shoulder a burden that was already heavy.

President Bush touts an educational program, "No Child Left Behind," and then fails to fund the program, leaving people wondering what he is up to.

Homeland Security, established by the President and best known for the color codes associated with it, has failed to provide the necessary funding to protect major ports against terrorist attacks or to provide the necessary funding for emergency responders in the case of an act of terrorism.

Changes in regulations in regard to environmental protection have resulted in more pollution and further dependence on oil as an energy source. Newly enacted tax breaks have encouraged the purchase of large gas-guzzling SUVs at a time when gas prices are soaring.

Now we have the Bush Administration saying it will only agree to two and not the three agreed upon nationally televised presidential debates with the Democratic challenger, John Kerry. Why is President Bush afraid to debate?

Do you wonder why the election is so close? I do, for once you get past the chest thumping and the suspect "I can protect you" spin put out by the Bush Administration there aren't any accomplishments for the President to talk about.

On November 2nd, I'll be voting for change.



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