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October 19, 2004

14 Days to Election 2004

Ballots are being delivered in Oregon, so now's the time to mark your ballot for John Kerry, David Wu, No on 37, etc. and get them in early. Don't let some disaster or family emergency possibly interfere later. The Kerry campaign is organizing balloting day this Wednesday: get them in on or before Wednesday so we can:

  • establish momentum
  • avoid wasting GOTV $$ and efforts on ourselves!

Bush's team is working the evangelical vote hard, trying to get another 4 million votes. Why not take a few days off work this week and next and call and canvass for John Kerry?

Here is a poignant reminder of why it is important to try and make this election as clean as possible, and a win for Kerry over intentional voter disenfranchisement:

"how do i explain this to my kids? "play fair shanti." he says "why daddy, the president doesn't have to, why should i?" btw, we really did not have this conversation - however i am really afraid i will have to."

And if you suspect voter fraud in Oregon, you can send email to (thanks DL): [email protected]

You know, the Bush administration is so bad and so dangerous, that sometimes I'm guilty of not making the case for Kerry. Who I think is a great candidate for president! So ....

Why I trust Kerry with my vote.

Through the fog of misleading attacks on Kerry, here's why I trust John Kerry.

Kerry's History: Eyewitnesses, including the man who's life he saved, have established his willingness to sacrifice himself for others. When he saw egregious leadership failures that cost the lives of others, he took an unpopular, public stand against the political conduct of the Vietnam war. He subsequently devoted his life to public service, fighting for money, care and recognition for veterans who had fought the Vietnam war. (See also my commentary from last month on Why is Vietnam relevant today?)

Kerry's criticism of Bush: When he criticizes the president, he does it over deeply held convictions about policy and leadership failures, not with ridicule, name-calling and personal attacks.

Kerry's positions: pulling out just a select two: his Energy Independence plan and his Healthcare plan. Kerry's energy policy is a refreshing look at the problem: not just idealistic-but-unrealistic goals whether high tech (hydrogen is a decade or two away at best) or conservation-will-save-us -- but instead Kerry has taken a comprehensive look at how we can make realistic progress now to reduce dependence on unreliable suppliers, stop sending so much money to other countries, build jobs using hybrid technology, etc. On healthcare, a similar effort to confront serious societal issues with creative thinking about realistic ways to make substantial progress quickly.

Behind these are a deep-seated optimism that we can make a positive improvement to not only our future and our children's future, but also a positive improvement to the future of our friends and neighbors lives so we all have more opportunity. What the framers of the constitution may have considered part of the "general welfare", not just the welfare of those in power. You know, like Ben Franklin's creation of the public lending library.

Of course it is easy to find weaknesses in any candidate -- personality or policies you don't agree with -- but we only get to vote on each candidate as the complete package of good and bad attributes, associates and policies. So it isn't a question of whether a candidate is our ideal candidate, but how much better one complete package is over the other on the ballot for achieving our overall goals. I think Kerry is a damn good complete package.

The New York Times endorsement of John Kerry for President does a great job of laying out both the detailed case against Bush and the strong case for Kerry. Following are excerpts (emphasis mine):

He [Kerry] has qualities that could be the basis for a great chief executive, not just a modest improvement on the incumbent.

We have been impressed with Mr. Kerry's wide knowledge and clear thinking...

....his entire life has been devoted to public service, from the war to a series of elected offices. He strikes us, above all, as a man with a strong moral core."

There is no denying that this race is mainly about Mr. Bush's disastrous tenure....

Mr. Kerry has the capacity to do far, far better. He has a willingness - sorely missing in Washington these days - to reach across the aisle. We are relieved that he is a strong defender of civil rights, that he would remove unnecessary restrictions on stem cell research and that he understands the concept of separation of church and state. We appreciate his sensible plan to provide health coverage for most of the people who currently do without.

Mr. Kerry has an aggressive and in some cases innovative package of ideas about energy, aimed at addressing global warming and oil dependency. He is a longtime advocate of deficit reduction. In the Senate, he worked with John McCain in restoring relations between the United States and Vietnam, and led investigations of the way the international financial system has been gamed to permit the laundering of drug and terror money. He has always understood that America's appropriate role in world affairs is as leader of a willing community of nations, not in my-way-or-the-highway domination.

We look back on the past four years with hearts nearly breaking, both for the lives unnecessarily lost and for the opportunities so casually wasted. Time and again, history invited George W. Bush to play a heroic role, and time and again he chose the wrong course. We believe that with John Kerry as president, the nation will do better.

Voting for president is a leap of faith. A candidate can explain his positions in minute detail and wind up governing with a hostile Congress that refuses to let him deliver. A disaster can upend the best-laid plans. All citizens can do is mix guesswork and hope, examining what the candidates have done in the past, their apparent priorities and their general character. It's on those three grounds that we enthusiastically endorse John Kerry for president.

Other points being made for Kerry:

  • Vote for a Man, Not a Puppet, by lifelong conservative Republican Charley Reese is circulating from May this year
  • Endorsements by Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Philadelphia Inquirer, Miami Herald
  • Conscience of a Conservative: http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20041025&s=george102504

As well as against Bush:

And finally a taste from Al Gore's most recent speech ((emphasis mine), butyou'll have to read the rest yourself):

I have tried hard to understand what it is that gives so many Americans an uneasy feeling that something very basic has gone wrong in our democracy. There are many people in both political parties who worry that there is something deeply troubling about President Bush's relationship to reason, about his disdain for facts, his incuriosity about new information that might produce a deeper understanding of the problems and policies that he wrestles with on behalf of the country.

.... Most of the problems President Bush has caused for this country stemmed not from his belief in God but his belief in the infallibility of the right-wing Republican ideology that exalts the interest of the wealthy, and of large corporations over and above the interests of the American people. It is love of power for its own sake that is the original sin of this presidency.

.... The essential cruelty of Bush's game is that he takes an astonishingly selfish and greedy collection of economic and political proposals, and then cloaks them with a phony moral authority, thus misleading many Americans who have a deep and genuine desire to do good in the world.

On-the-ground actions by friends:

  • LB, HB were filling out and delivering their ballots out yesterday and took them in!
  • SP and KP are hosting a ballot party Wednesday for a number of people -- I hope to join them. The John Kerry campaign is organizing ballot parties, so check the website for events in your area.
  • WL also joined Election Protection efforts and may join me in Albequrque where AN has enlisted 5 of her friends to join her as well.
  • SP says he's found door-to-door canvassing in western Washington County, OR surprisingly satisfying -- getting several people each day to support Kerry for President!
  • DB publicly endorsed Kerry through Washington Business Leaders for Kerry. As I did in Oregon, thanks to JC. FS and WL also joined the group on my invitation.
  • MN has commited to door-to-door canvassing in Florida next week.
  • DL wrote to Oregon's Secretary of State, Bill Bradbury, about voter fraud concerns here.

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