As the candidates bunker down to practice for Thursday's debate*, having set the tone they wanted going in as best they can, there seems to be a momentary calmness in the air today. It's kind of eerie even. So let me stir things up with a good old-fashioned Dean-era left-wing rant.
For those who already know they're voting for Bush it must seem incomprehensible that so many on the left literally hate him so much (he seems so likeable....so "guyish"). You'll have to take my word for it: it's more than just visceral. We fear what he has in store for the nation in his next term. The plan is in place, the set-up complete. Four years from now you will not recognize the United States of America if he gets back in. Environmental regulations will have been neutered, social programs will have been decimated, industry will actually set policy, courts will be landmined, civil liberties will be under constant attack, and media will no longer even pretend to serve the public.
For those who already know they're voting for Kerry it must seem incomprehensible that anyone could look at the administration's record and want four more years of the same. I can only imagine that the Bush-supporters' dislike of Kerry is somewhat visceral as well. I know they have a laundry list of reasons and rationales to not support Kerry, but overall that list was decided on long before Kerry was the nominee (I paid attention during the primaries, you see). It's simply been fine tuned since then.
There remain many reasons not to re-elect Bush. From the practical (he's probably not really calling the shots and we don't know exactly who is but they're not as good at their jobs as they are at spin) to the more philosophical (power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, and this administration is systematically dismantling the checks and balances of government). Really, I believe that.
As the Republican Congress attempts to curb the powers of the courts, as DeLay gets bolder with each new success in his gerrymandering shenanigans, as the media get cocky enough in their own power to admit publicly they're a business that wants Republicans to win, as the administration increasingly works around the laws to weaken the regulations its industrial backers don't like, as the religious right turns its churches into campaign headquarters in hopes of getting a big slice of that faith-based initiative pie, the absoluteness of Republican power is growing. Widespread corruption is an inevitability. It will not be pretty.
*I have an important Birthday party I must attend on Thursday during the debate. Any suggestions on how to go and then escape around 9:00? I feel awful doing this to a good friend, but really...she could have been born on a different day.