Democratic Underground  

The Real Deal
March 11, 2004
By David Michael Rothschild

Like many of you, my interest in the 2004 presidential campaign was born not out of a bold vision for the next four years, but out of a very real concern for the future of our country.

George Bush's cowboy diplomacy has made America an international pariah, spoiling generations of good will, while guaranteeing years of costly and unnecessary war. Young Americans are dying daily in Iraq, a war created on false pretences and a peace that lacked any serious planning. Bush tells us that freedom of speech is expendable, because we are in a uniquely dangerous security situation. He has done little to restore the legitimacy of our electoral process and implies that those people who question his pernicious policies are traitors. How can we export democracy and promote the American political system as a positive alternative to current religious autocratic governments, when we consider democracy and freedom of speech expendable at the first sign of trouble?

Bush mortgaged my generation's future: our tax money, our education, and our Social Security and Medicare, to pay for his wars and his contributors (read Halliburton). No one disputes that two trillion dollars in tax cuts will produce some jobs, but Bush is prevaricating the eventual costs versus the potential gains. The tax cuts are going to pay for themselves in the same manner that Gulf War II was going to be paid for by Iraqi oil money. He equivocates the effect and design of his tax cuts to convince people that he is being fair, while he makes our tax code increasingly regressive.

Bush obfuscates the relationship between business and the environment, convincing citizens that protecting the environment costs jobs and that his dangerous environmental policies restore a legitimate balance between business and nature. He has provided shallow and misleading answers to our current health care crisis. He uses our nation's money and power to close health clinics at home, and around the world, because they refuse to follow his mandates and fight AIDS without condoms.

He has declared married gays as the greatest threat to our security. In theory, marriage should increase stability. He used the FCC to investigate Janet Jackson's breast, while refusing to sit for the 9-11 Commission. He spent more money investigating the Columbia disaster than 9-11, the outing of CIA agent, and Republican senate staffers stealing internal Democratic memos combined. He is not interested in accountability or truth. The federal government, led by a self-proclaimed federalist, harasses and arrests medicinal marijuana growers in the "sovereign" state of California and doctors in any state that allows euthanasia.

George Bush uses fear as a tool to mask his intentions and policy. It is the central theme of his campaign. That is why 80-year-old nuns need to take off their shoes at airports while millions of tons of cargo enter the country unchecked. He is a threat to our security, our liberty, our health, our education, our environment, our solvency, and our future. He promised honor and integrity and delivered mendacity. Yet, while he wants me to fear terrorists and unbigoted progressives, my interest in the 2004 election is grounded in a different fear. A fear of America as a bankrupt nation, raped of its liberty, power, and prosperity by eight years of shortsighted pillaging by Texas oilmen.

Howard Dean tapped into my fear. "I Want My Country Back!" With that message, Howard Dean encapsulated my anxiety and concern about the course of American policy. He refused to be bullied by Bush's popularity. He took on the President and tried to make him accountable for his actions. Dean built his base on fear, using the inimical policies of Bush as the basis for his support. Bob Graham used his pulpit to let the American people learn the truth about the War in Iraq. Wesley Clark physically grabbed the American flag and let everyone know how patriotic it is question the President. John Edwards provided the rhetoric that allows us to connect with those American people who are in the "other America" (i.e. everyone but the millionaires) that Bush has stolen from to pay for his tax cuts for the wealthy.

John Kerry is a better leader because of their insights and examples. John Kerry is the "real deal." He has allowed me to channel my hatred of Bush into a new hope for America. He will restore respect and friendship from other nations. Just having a leader who demonstrates a desire for peace and understanding will provide more security in a day than any aggressive war could possibly accomplish.

He has a plan to provide health care to children. He promises to fund education initiatives (a key reason that "No Child Left Behind" will never work is the $6 billion that Bush forgot to include for it in his budget.). He will work to control the cost of higher education, the key to upward mobility. He will provide relief to states when they need it, to ensure that basic services (like Medicaid and CHIPS) are not cut during recessions. He will reinstate a progressive tax structure to provide fair distribution of sacrifice while also promoting corporate investment and growth. He will provide funding for alternative energy that will end our dependence on international oil, spur business with the exportation of technology, and will save the environment for future generations. Furthermore, it will free generations of American soldiers from fighting and dying for oil.

He will endorse full civil rights for all Americans. He will protect freedom of speech and control a government that actually promotes democracy, abroad and at home. Kerry will protect the freedom to control your own body and the separation of church and state. He will restore the American Dream for all of those left behind by Bush's targeted upper class gifts and frightened by Bush's irresponsible foreign policy and bigoted right-wing social agenda.

John Kerry will become the next President of the United States by offering America a choice between the Real Deal and Bush's Raw Deal. One program uses diplomacy to save money, lives, and prestige, while making America safer and more secure. The other program is so concerned about diverting attention from domestic programs, that it is willing to sacrifice the prosperity and peace of a nation. One program offers a fiscally responsible economic plan that ensures the solvency of our social programs while stimulating real job growth. The other provides large benefits to the upper class while starving funds for programs that help promote equality of opportunity. Finally, the Kerry program emphasizes common sense social programs that provide safety and security while not abridging our individual liberty. The Bush plan intrusively dismisses liberty and justice for unrealistic social engineering that is defied daily by our actions and our desires and is hypocritical to his personal and party ideology.

John Kerry's Real Deal will not only save us from George Bush's Raw Deal, but will give us a renewed faith in America's ability to deliver for its citizens and serve as a beacon for the world.

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