Breaking Political Stories and Commentary. "We're at the height of the Roman Empire for the Republican Party, but the tide slowly but surely goes out." --Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham, South Carolina
It really says something when Republicans are so concerned about George Bush that they're willing to support John Kerry, a candidate with whom they have large policy differences.

Non-Democrats are Endorsing Kerry

If you've been following the newspaper endorsement race, you know that Kerry's built up a substantial lead in terms of both number of papers and the combined circulation of the papers supporting him. Many papers that supported Bush in 2000 are now supporting Kerry, while only two have switched in the other direction.

As I've mentioned before, prominent Republican ex-office holders, senators and governors, are endorsing Kerry, and Kerry is finding supporters in other strange places: the chairman of the libertarian (yes, I know, not Republican -- but I'm going to use "Republicans" as a shorthand for Republicans and their usual allies; if that bothers you, feel free to post in your blog about it -- knock yourself out!) Cato Insititute has endorsed Kerry, as has a conservative founder of the Buchananite American Conservative Magazine.

The Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay Republicans who once expected Bush to be the most tolerant Republican president ever, now feel this president wants to demote them to second class constitutional status, and voted to endorse no one this year.

These Kerry Supporters Are Not Future Democrats

What strikes me about all these people is that they're not Democrats, and they certainly aren't liberals. These are not people are hoping for some Kerry transformation of the government into one that is bigger and more invasive. These are not people who want a pacifist foreign policy, or a national healthcare system.

So why are all these people supporting Kerry against their own policy views? Because that just how bad George Bush is.

George Bush is Incompetent and Far Outside the American Mainstream

I can see two reasons for Republicans to support Kerry. One that I've mentioned often is Bush's lack of competence. Even for those Republicans who agree with Bush's goals, he's impressively incompetent at accomplishing them. Bush ran on a platform of smaller government and fiscal responsiblity. Four years later, the government is bigger than it's ever been. Bush expands government programs with a liberal's zeal, and "veto" isn't in his vocabulary. Bush has taken the Clinton budget surplus -- the largest in decades -- and turned it into the largest budget deficit in history.

Republicans wanted to see the terrorists "smoked out", and freedom and democracy brought to Iraq. Instead, al Qaeda is nearly forgotten as we're stuck dealing with the growing insurgency in Iraq; the reasons given for the war turn out to have been mistakes; the American torture of Iraqis has become a recruitment device for our enemies; and the interim Prime Minister of Iraq is generally known to be a thug. The way that Bush rushed the war in Iraq has alienated many of our potential allies, damaging our ability to forge the international alliances necessary to fight a global war on terrorism.

The second reason in the Bush is so far outside the political traditions of America that even Republicans are scared by his approach. Working closely with international allies has been a hallmark of American foreign policy since World War II. This approach was followed by Eisenhower, Nixon, and even the current president's father. But George Bush appeals to the xenophobic fringe of his base, making misleading alarmist talk of a "global test", turning France into shorthand for "anti-American", and refusing to sign treaties embraced by every other developed nation. Bush would rather preach fear of the rest of the world, than actually pursue the the international alliance building that we need to beat the terrorists.

Domestically, Bush has tried to erode our privacy and our civil liberties. Do you remember how he wanted to set up a "Total Information Awareness" office -- it actually used the all seeing eye pyramid symbol that's also on the dollar bill -- that would track your credit card purchases and vast amounts of other financial information. He's the president who's detained American citizens for years, denying them access to lawyers or other basic constitutional rights. He's the president who's held thousands of legal immigrants in legal limbo, some for years. He's the president who wants to track which books you've been taking from the library. He's the president who moved Iraqi prisoners of war to undisclosed locations, hiding their existence from the International Red Cross, and violating fundamental parts of the Geneva Conventions. He's the president who blames the torture scandal on a few soldiers, even as his administration was composing memos to relax and avoid international conventions regarding the treatment of prisoners.

Our Republican Allies Believe What They Always Have; It's George Bush that Represents a Ominous New Direction

If Senator Kerry is elected, these new Republican allies of ours will not magically become Democrats. Presumably, they will have large policy differences with a President Kerry, and will work to block his initiatives, and get a Republican elected in 2008. What's striking is that even with these policy differences, even with the fact that these people are no more Democratic in their views than they were four years ago, they believe we cannot afford another four years of Bush's disastrous management of America. Against their own policy views, these Republicans are working to get George Bush fired.

You have to be a pretty bad boss when even your philosophical fellow travelers want you to lose, and George Bush is that bad.

Comments
on Oct 26, 2004
blogic:

Great article! It has become obvious to the middle and Republicans that Kerry is closer to their foundations than the Neocons who appease the Republicans with tax breaks and then allow the states and localities to charge them higher local taxes instead.

on Oct 26, 2004
Wonderful article! Bush is,indeed, that bad. And more and more are seeing it.
on Oct 26, 2004
That's what it looks like. I'm now cautiously optimistic that Kerry will win. The polls appear to be moving in his direction, and I think Bush is a little desperate. Today or yesterday, Bush was making the point that he doesn't actually oppose civil unions. Nice for him to make a point of that now, after supporting an a constitutional amendment that appears to weaken or eliminate the basis for civil unions.

I think the Bush campaign may have realized that they spent too much time appealing to their base, doing things like mailing out leaflets warning that the Bible will be banned. Moderates are breaking toward Kerry in a big way, and Democrats are fired up and excited about turning out.

Of course, I could wake up on November 3rd to another four years of Bush, but it doesn't look like it right now; and Bush is acting like a candidate who's nervous that he's fallen behind.
on Oct 26, 2004
Blogic, you could at least TRY to mask your desperation. I could list democrats supporting Bush until my face turned blue, but its pointless because everyone knows there are democrats voting against Kerry and there are republicans voting for Bush. I guess you thought that since you are a democrat, you have to vote for a democrat candidate every time just because they are a democrat? I'd say you are a mindless robot following whatever your party throws at you.

after supporting an a constitutional amendment that appears to weaken or eliminate the basis for civil unions


appears is the key word, its all about appearances for you, isnt it?

Of course, I could wake up on November 3rd to another four years of Bush, but it doesn't look like it right now


well, since Bush is winning in the polls I'd say that is a pretty ignorant statement!

Bush is acting like a candidate who's nervous that he's fallen behind


that is very odd, since hes not. I'd say this article is a sign that your a nervous supporter that realizes youve fallen behind.

on Oct 27, 2004
Mitch21 writes:
Blogic, you could at least TRY to mask your desperation. I could list democrats supporting Bush until my face turned blue, but its pointless because everyone knows there are democrats voting against Kerry and there are republicans voting for Bush. I guess you thought that since you are a democrat, you have to vote for a democrat candidate every time just because they are a democrat? I'd say you are a mindless robot following whatever your party throws at you.
Hi Mitch -- thank you for your comment,

Actually, I'm not a Democrat, and often don't vote for Democrats. So much for the "mindless robot" theory. I'd like to see you list democrats supporting Bush until your face turns blue, so feel free to do so in a response comment. Are any of them prominent except for Zell Miller and that ex-governor of Florida?

The fact is that only two major papers have switched from supporting to Gore to supporting Bush, while many (as in dozens) of papers have switched from Bush in 2000 to Kerry.

For a list of surprising supporters of Kerry, check out http://www.dkosopedia.com/index.php/Republicans_for_Kerry_2004.
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