So here I am reading through my electronic-delivery New York Times as I usually do around this time of evening. Some of the articles make me thoughtful, some I look at and think 'wow, this op-ed writer is pretty biased to one side or the other,' and some just make me angry. (For those who don't want to register for NYT online, check out BugMeNot at http;//www.bugmenot.com -- useful tool.)
First we have an article (perhaps somewhat biased) on the potentially backfiring fearmongering comment Cheney made implying that if he and Bush weren't re-elected, the terrorists would attack again. Yes, it's just a stronger variant on what the campaign was already doing, but it's still sad to see this election become fearmongering and mudslinging rather than any actual discussion of issues.
Granted, I'm already in the '(almost) anyone but Bush' camp, but for the sake of our electoral process I would've loved to hear Bush talk more about actual policy plans he has rather than just making wild, inaccurate claims and leveling sort of hypocritical accusations at Kerry and his camp. Granted, hypocrisy seems to be the name of the game this election, and Kerry is only playing 'less dirty' in comparison to the sheer volume of mudslinging Bush and his supporters are throwing around.
But moving along, maybe the rabid attacks have helped distract from new documents which show Bush received preferential treatment during his service in the National Guard, including a memo from 1970 from the colonel who Bush served under, protesting that while Bush did not meet performance standards and he wanted to suspend him from flight status, superiors wanted him to give Bush a favorable review anyway.
Of course, the White House calls the release of these memos politically motivated and claims that the Kerry campaign is supporting Texans for Truth, the group spreading this information, and that this is against campaign law. Funny, weren't those the same claims made by the Kerry campaign about Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and dismissed by the White House? Not that I'd put it past the Democratic campaign to be slipping money to these folks -- it seems to be the way the game is played this year -- but what was that I said above about hypocrisy?
Then again, we have Republicans angry at their party because the ban on the sale of semiautomatic weaponry (which was supported by former President Reagan and signed into law by former President Clinton) expires next week, and though 66% or more of Americans support the ban being renewed, and Bush himself has declared his support for that, the House majority leader has said even if the President were to ask, the Republican majority in Congress will let the ban expire, because 'it's what the people want.' The White House basically brushed it off, saying 'Congress sets their priorities and goals, not the president.' Which, while it may be somewhat true, makes it sound as if the president is unable to affect lawmakers in any way whatsoever (even when his party has a majority), and sure makes it seem hypocritical for them to blame any Democratic president ever for any law passed during said president's term in office.
But hypocrisy and playing dirty seem to be the catchphrase of this election, don't they?
Then in more general news we have an article about the troops who aren't coming back, which is a good read but includes a rather harrowing bit about the fact that National Guard troops being called up are being sent over without sufficient training or equipment. Real Army get armored Humvees, National Guard have Humvees reinforced with plywood and sandbags. The Oregon National Guard has had complaints from their members who are called to active duty and sent for training that not only do the regular troops get better equipment, but the regular troops get three meals a day at training, while the National Guard folks are given only two.
But the Bush administration isn't willing to undo the tax cuts they gave the very wealthy in order to fund better equipment for the military, because that would 'slow financial growth.' Booyah. Whether or not we should be in Iraq, we're there now and the men and women of our armed services are dying due to lack of proper equipment, but at least our bank accounts will be nicely padded.
Now, I'm not thrilled with the Kerry campaign either. I don't like picking the lesser of two evils. But my sappy liberal Democratic leanings aside, the simple truth is that to my mind, Kerry is still the /lesser/ of two evils.
Man, do I ever miss Howard Dean.