Tune in for debate

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 30, 2004

Tonight’s presidential debate is &uot;must see TV&uot; if ever there has been.

No doubt many of you will be upset that your entertainment shows have been bumped and many of you have never watched a presidential debate in your lives because you think it’s just a couple of blowhards filling the debate hall with hot air, but this really is the most important election we’ve had this generation.

Most Americans do not approve of President Bush’s foreign or domestic policies, but are not backing Sen. Kerry because they only know of him through Bush’s Spin Machine and Fox News, which is part of the Bush Spin Machine.

Tonight represents one of the few times you’ll be able to see Kerry address questions and explain his positions of the issues without commentators reminding viewers that Bush has labeled him a flip-flopper.

It will be one of the few times you will be able to see Bush explain how he justifies the war in Iraq and how he can continue to heap praise on himself for that decision even though the country, according to the government’s own analysis, is degenerating into chaos and likely headed for either another totalitarian dictator like Saddam Hussein, or a radical Muslim theocracy such as is now in charge of Iran, or a devastating civil war that tosses the entire Middle East into chaos.

With all the provisions insisted upon by the Bush Spin Machine, there aren’t going to be very many moments during which the candidates actually deviate from their standard stump speeches, but there might be one or two of those moments.

With Bush holding onto a slight edge in the latest polls, it is imperative that all the people who have expressed dissatisfaction with his policies watch the debate to hear what Kerry has to say and to see if Kerry can effectively go toe-to-toe with Bush.

As careful readers of this column may know – even though I’ve been bashing Bush for more than two years now for his wrongheaded decisions on Iraq, every foreign policy decision since the Taliban was ousted from power, and his lunatic economic policies – I have never endorsed Kerry. I once wrote a column expressing how much I like Sen. John Edwards, but I have yet to back anyone for this presidential election.

If there’s any doubt, I can say without equivocation that there is no way I will vote for Bush. He has been a disaster for this country.

–Corporate greed reigns in the business world,

–The government is spending more money than at any time in its history,

–Big government is getting even bigger as Bush adds layer upon layer of new agencies into the already glutted bureaucracy in Washington,

–Bush has made huge tax cuts that favor the wealthiest five percent of the population and big corporations, many of which use the extra money to close factories in America, downsize their workforce, and move operations to third world nations,

–The middle class now bears more of the tax burden than ever before,

–About two million people are out of work that were working when Bush took office,

–Healthcare benefits have been slashed for most people and millions of people who had health insurance when Bush took office now do not,

–Environmental regulations intended to safeguard our health and well being have been gutted by administrative action or executive order, which do not require Congressional approval,

–Americans are less free today because the Patriot Act gives too much power to the government and because the Bush neo-cons dismiss as irrelevant the rights of individual citizens,

–Bush’s war in Iraq has cost nearly 1,100 American families sons and daughters, about 15,000 Americans have been wounded (many grievously because the body armor they wear saves their lives, but not their limbs), tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens have been killed, and American taxpayers have been bled for over $150 billion already and there really is no end in sight,

–America is hated more now than at any time in our nation’s history because, frankly, even our allies think we have designs to become not just the one remaining superpower in the world, but also the lone neo-imperialist power.

There are many, many other reasons to vote President Bush out of office, but I don’t have the time or space available to even briefly mention them all.

Kerry has gotten a raw deal by the mainstream press, especially the television pundits, because they have allowed the Bush Spin Machine to dictate their stories and how they are covered. Take the whole Swift Boat thing, for instance. Newspaper reporters proved that Kerry’s accusers were liars and partisan Republicans tied directly or indirectly to the Bush administration, but hours and hours and hours of airtime were devoted to this issue every day for almost a month.

As a consequence, a brief flap about something that is ancient history pushed all other campaign issues aside and dominated the media.

Well, enough of all that. Watch the debate tonight and see if Bush or Kerry can answer your questions. See if either of these two men have an understanding of what this country needs at our level and if they can meet the legitimate needs of this nation.

Don’t rely on spin-doctors, either from the campaigns or the media, to make up your mind for you. Watch and decide for yourself. It is important.