Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither, and lose both.
-- Benjamin Franklin

John Eisenhower’s Take on the Election

Why I will vote for John Kerry for President

THE Presidential election to be held this coming Nov. 2 will be one of extraordinary importance to the future of our nation. The outcome will determine whether this country will continue on the same path it has followed for the last 3½ years or whether it will return to a set of core domestic and foreign policy values that have been at the heart of what has made this country great.

Now more than ever, we voters will have to make cool judgments, unencumbered by habits of the past. Experts tell us that we tend to vote as our parents did or as we “always have.” We remained loyal to party labels. We cannot afford that luxury in the election of 2004. There are times when we must break with the past, and I believe this is one of them.

As son of a Republican President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, it is automatically expected by many that I am a Republican. For 50 years, through the election of 2000, I was. With the current administration’s decision to invade Iraq unilaterally, however, I changed my voter registration to independent, and barring some utterly unforeseen development, I intend to vote for the Democratic Presidential candidate, Sen. John Kerry.

The fact is that today’s “Republican” Party is one with which I am totally unfamiliar. To me, the word “Republican” has always been synonymous with the word “responsibility,” which has meant limiting our governmental obligations to those we can afford in human and financial terms. Today’s whopping budget deficit of some $440 billion does not meet that criterion.

Responsibility used to be observed in foreign affairs. That has meant respect for others. America, though recognized as the leader of the community of nations, has always acted as a part of it, not as a maverick separate from that community and at times insulting towards it. Leadership involves setting a direction and building consensus, not viewing other countries as practically devoid of significance. Recent developments indicate that the current Republican Party leadership has confused confident leadership with hubris and arrogance.

In the Middle East crisis of 1991, President George H.W. Bush marshaled world opinion through the United Nations before employing military force to free Kuwait from Saddam Hussein. Through negotiation he arranged for the action to be financed by all the industrialized nations, not just the United States. When Kuwait had been freed, President George H. W. Bush stayed within the United Nations mandate, aware of the dangers of occupying an entire nation.

Today many people are rightly concerned about our precious individual freedoms, our privacy, the basis of our democracy. Of course we must fight terrorism, but have we irresponsibly gone overboard in doing so? I wonder. In 1960, President Eisenhower told the Republican convention, “If ever we put any other value above (our) liberty, and above principle, we shall lose both.” I would appreciate hearing such warnings from the Republican Party of today.

The Republican Party I used to know placed heavy emphasis on fiscal responsibility, which included balancing the budget whenever the state of the economy allowed it to do so. The Eisenhower administration accomplished that difficult task three times during its eight years in office. It did not attain that remarkable achievement by cutting taxes for the rich. Republicans disliked taxes, of course, but the party accepted them as a necessary means of keep the nation’s financial structure sound.

The Republicans used to be deeply concerned for the middle class and small business. Today’s Republican leadership, while not solely accountable for the loss of American jobs, encourages it with its tax code and heads us in the direction of a society of very rich and very poor.

Sen. Kerry, in whom I am willing to place my trust, has demonstrated that he is courageous, sober, competent, and concerned with fighting the dangers associated with the widening socio-economic gap in this country. I will vote for him enthusiastically.

I celebrate, along with other Americans, the diversity of opinion in this country. But let it be based on careful thought. I urge everyone, Republicans and Democrats alike, to avoid voting for a ticket merely because it carries the label of the party of one’s parents or of our own ingrained habits.

John Eisenhower, son of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, served on the White House staff between October 1958 and the end of the Eisenhower administration. From 1961 to 1964 he assisted his father in writing “The White House Years,” his Presidential memoirs. He served as American ambassador to Belgium between 1969 and 1971. He is the author of nine books, largely on military subjects.

Debating is easy when you ignore reality

Bush said in the debate: “Gosh, I don’t think I ever said I’m not worried about Osama Bin Laden. That’s kinda one of those exaggerations.”

What he said in 2002: In 2002 Bush said: “Well, as I say, we haven’t heard much from him. And I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don’t know where he is. I–I’ll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him.”

Bush said in the debate: “I proposed a constitutional amendment. The reason I did so was because I was worried that activist judges are actually defining the definition of marriage, and the surest way to protect marriage between a man and woman is to amend the constitution.”

Bush said in 2000: In a 2000 Republican primary debate, Bush responded to a question about same-sex marriage as follows: “The state can do what they want to do. Don’t try to trap me in this state’s issue.” (2/15/00 Republican primary debate, )

Bush said in the debate: “Most of the tax cuts went to low and middle income Americans, and now the tax code is more fair, 20 percent of the upper income people pay about 80 percent of the taxes in America today because of how we structured the tax cuts.”- GWB, 10/13/04

The non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorites says: In 2004, Top One Percent Will Receive Average Tax Cut Of $35,000; Middle Class Will Receive Average Tax Cut Of $647. The benefits of Bush’s tax cuts primarily benefit the rich. The top one percent of households will receive tax cuts averaging almost $35,000–or 54 times more than middle-class families. Households with incomes above $1 million will receive tax cuts averaging about $123,600. (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 4/14/04)

Gee, debating is easy when you can ignore what you have said before, and make up facts as you go along.

Inquirer’s Endorsement of Kerry

God bless the Philadelphia Inquirer for the eloquent endorsement of John Kerry. Even more so, for the sequence of 21 articles explaining that endorsement.

Click “More Text” below for the text of the endorsement.

Who forgot Poland?

Our president seemed to feel it a major issue that Kerry “forgot” Poland in the debate. Apparently he conveniently “forgot” about how Poland feels also.

From the International Herald Tribune of last March 19th:

WARSAW President Aleksander Kwasniewski of Poland said Thursday that he had been “deceived” by information on weapons of mass destruction before the Iraq war and that Poland might pull some troops out of Iraq earlier than planned.

“But of course I am uncomfortable with the fact that we were deceived by the information on weapons of mass destruction.”

They’d better get their story straight.

From CNN:

Mother of soldier killed in Iraq collapses, dies
‘Her grief was so intense,’ hospital worker says

Tuesday, October 5, 2004 Posted: 12:28 PM EDT (1628 GMT)

TUCSON, Arizona (AP) — A 45-year-old woman collapsed and died days after learning her son had been killed in Iraq, and just hours after seeing his body.

Also from CNN:

Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Monday conceded that U.S. intelligence was wrong in its conclusions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

“Why the intelligence proved wrong [on weapons of mass destruction], I’m not in a position to say,” Rumsfeld said in remarks to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. “I simply don’t know.”

When asked about any connection between Saddam and al Qaeda, Rumsfeld said, “To my knowledge, I have not seen any strong, hard evidence that links the two.”

But a short time later, Rumsfeld released a statement: “A question I answered today at an appearance before the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) regarding ties between al Qaeda and Iraq regrettably was misunderstood.

“I have acknowledged since September 2002 that there were ties between al Qaeda and Iraq.”

I hope these arrogant bastards can get their story straight enough to explain to the Unruh family why Robert Unruh, and his mother, had to die.

Wrong election

Who can defeat Bush??

Missing Jobs

The Bush administration claims the economy is improving, even though most of us don’t see or feel that. There are claims of new jobs added, and disputes as to the “quality” of those jobs. The issue isn’t the lost or regained jobs, though. As our population grows, approximately 150,000 new jobs are needed each month just to hold our own. This chart from (which I heartily recommend) shows the missing jobs, or those that should have been created through population growth plus the lost jobs, a total of nearly 7 million jobs.

The administration will argue that a national crisis has caused these problems, but the simple fact is that President Bush will finish his first term with a net loss of US jobs even ignoring normal growth, and be the first president to do so since the Great Depression. Surely there have been other crises in this country since then. The difference is that we have had administrations capable of handling them.

Cheney Flip-Flop

From a speech Dick Cheney gave in 1992 to the Discovery Institute in Seattle:

“I would guess if we had gone in there, I would still have forces in Baghdad today. We’d be running the country. We would not have been able to get everybody out and bring everybody home.

“And the final point that I think needs to be made is this question of casualties. I don’t think you could have done all of that without significant additional U.S. casualties. And while everybody was tremendously impressed with the low cost of the (1991) conflict, for the 146 Americans who were killed in action and for their families, it wasn’t a cheap war.

“And the question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam (Hussein) worth? And the answer is not that damned many. So, I think we got it right, both when we decided to expel him from Kuwait, but also when the president made the decision that we’d achieved our objectives and we were not going to go get bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq.”

Damn, he got that one right.

And for those of you keeping score:
American soldiers dead in Iraq: 1056
Dead in September alone: 75
WMD found: 0
Ties to Al-Qaeda found: 0

What it Truly Means to Succeed

For whatever reason, I’m finding quotes I like today.

What it Truly Means to Succeed

“To laugh often and much; to win respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson