Bush has been back on the campaign trail after getting his clock cleaned in the first round of debates. A new Newsweek poll – the first post-debate poll released – now has Kerry up 49 to 46 after having Bush ahead by 13 points after the Republican convention.
Republican talk radio yakkers have their new marching orders now and are claiming that Bush actually won on substance if not on style, which is simply ridiculous. One local Rush Limbaugh clone was on the other day saying that Bush sounded so much better the day after on the campaign stump than he did during the debates. Well, of course he does. That’s because he doesn’t have someone standing next to him who will counter and knock down each of his flimsy, unsupported arguments. That’s why Rush Limbaugh can sound so authoritative. Because he never has to answer to anyone for his lies and distortions and he never has to defend his statements. If you had Rush Limbaugh on at the same time with Al Franken you would see a much more reserved and deflated blowhard because he couldn’t get away with spouting off so many unchallenged assertions.
A good example is this canard about Kerry voting against funding for the troops. The Bush campaign repeats this charge over and over simply because Kerry voted against the fiscally-irresponsible Republican-version of the funding bill. What they neglect to say is that there was a Democratic version that would have paid for the war by temporarily removing Bush’s tax cuts for those making more than $400,000 per year. This measure failed after Bush threatened to veto it. So you could make the exact same charge against Bush that they are making against Kerry. He threatened to veto funding for our troops after sending them into harms way!
Seriously, what would have happened if Kerry’s no vote on the Republican-backed funding bill had prevailed? Would it have meant that our troops would have gotten no funding? Of course not! The issue was never about whether to fund the troops or even about how much to send. It was about how to pay for it. The Republican plan simply charges the whole thing on the government credit card so that our children and grandchildren will end up paying for it rather than us.
Another example was in a speech today in Columbus, Ohio, where Bush was talking about his plans to privatize Social Security. Bush said "(Kerry)'s decided to put his faith in the wisdom of the government. I will always put my faith in the wisdom of the American people."
Well, that certainly sounds good. Too bad it is complete nonsense. Last I checked, we were still a government of the people, by the people and for the people. What Bush is really saying is that he puts his faith into private corporations which don’t want to be accountable to the government or the American people.
Taking Social Security out of the control of government and handing it over to private entities is essentially taking the control away from the American people. It is a monumentally stupid idea, especially in light of all of the recent corporate scandals and bankruptcies.
Bush should not be allowed to pretend that he is some kind of down home populist while pushing an agenda that is so diametrically opposed to those same ideals.