: Here’s where I stand after last night’s debate:
Ouch. Sorry. But the fence is hurting my ass. Yes, it’s a little worse on the left cheek, since I’m leaning that way. Thanks for asking.
Last night’s debate didn’t change my thinking or my one-person poll percentages.
It only clarified my confusion.
When it comes to homeland security and the war, I lean strongly toward Bush — especially since John Kerry has started doing his Howard Dean imitation. I am a hawk on homeland security. In Iraq, I believe we must follow-through bringing security and democracy there, both out of moral obligation and out of enlightened self-interest. The reason I was comfortable with Kerry as the Democratic nominee was precisely because he voted for the war. Now I am uncomfortable with his talk of building coalitions before we act. Oh, I know, he has said that he’d still reserve the right to take preemptive action, but he has now set his expectations; he is expected to go talk to the French first or else he’ll suffer no end of nya-nyaing from his own side and that gives me no confidence. I am afraid he is going to wimp out when courage matters. No, I’m not delighted with Bush’s execution in Iraq. But I have more confidence in him to attack the people who would attack us.
When it comes to domestic issues, I lean strongly toward Kerry, for reasons that are already clear in the Issues2004 posts and will be clearer as I get back to my homework and post more. In the next debate on domestic issues, I expect to agree with him most of the time — but not all the time — and so I expect no surprises.
After sleeping on (and through it) last night’s debate, what bothers me most about Bush is religion. He won’t appoint a Supreme Court justice who won’t keep the words “under God” in the pledge of allegiance; he might as well say he won’t appoint a justice who can’t hum along to a John Ashcroft hymn. He won’t allow expansion of fetal stem cell research even though it could save lives — and he says he values life. He would ban abortion and gay unions if he could. That’s all because of his religious beliefs. Compare that with Kerry’s religious doctrine last night: He’s a Catholic but he does not believe in legislating his religious beliefs on the nation. You could say that’s a pretzel twist of convenience but I say it’s the right doctrine in a country that values protecting religion by separating it from the state.
The same determination to do what’s “right” in foreign affairs — protecting and nurturing democracy and fighting terrorism and fanaticism — is what I fear in George Bush when it comes to imposing religion on government. We’re not electing a pope here. We’re electing the executive who should run the government. The president is not the leader of our souls but the leader of our bureacuracy and we forget that at the peril of our Constitution.
OK, so now ask me which is more important — homeland security or domestic issues. And, yes, these days, I will say homeland security. Is it so important it overrides all other issues? Well, that’s a game of odds, isn’t it? Do I believe that attacks are so likely — and that Bush will deal with them so much more firmly — that it outweighs my own views on issues that matter greatly, even separation of church and state, which I take as an American creed as holy as free speech?
Or look at it another way: Kerry scares me some one the most important issue, homeland security. But Bush scares me even more on so many other issues, including his imposition of his religious beliefs in social issues.
So where do I stand? Undecided? No. Soft? Yes.
I don’t pretend that you should care one iota where I stand. But in this transparent world, we do believe in getting naked, politically speaking, don’t we, since that colors everything else we write on the issues. So I hope you enjoyed my little post-debate strip show. That’s where I stand.
: UPDATE: Neil McIntosh of The Guardian says….