THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM
I have not written of late. I would like to think this was laziness, but I can't help thinking it is because there has been an awful lot to digest over the last two weeks: the 9/11 commission, the War in Iraq, and that apology that so many folks have found to be unacceptable, dammit!!! I want to say something about the upcoming "Passion of Condi", but some other posts first.
WHY THE CLAIM THAT BUSH AND KERRY ARE ALIKE IS A TOO NARROW THESIS
I was reading Asymmetrical Information
and was struck by Megan's thesis that since there is no substantive stated differences between Bush and Kerry on policy that there is not much to choose between, and to paraphrase Megan, especially from her comments section: "If one is not sure that the challenger is any better, than one is better off with the incumbent you have." I guess, a lemon you know is better than one you don't. While I have some sympathy for this position, I think that Megan's analysis is a bit incomplete.
I think the dynamic of government will change significantly if Kerry is elected (for the good? That is the debatable question).
Here is a question for those who think there is little difference: If Gore had been elected in 2000, would we be in the same place we are now? After all, if there was little difference between the candidates the outcomes would be the same, right? Yet, I am pretty certain that most commentators, no matter what their persuasion would argue strongly that either Bush or Gore would have done a better job than than the other. How can this be if there was apparently little difference between them? Perhaps its a question of advisor quality?
Or do we think that what people say in the lead up to an election is not always a good indicator of what they will do once they are in office? Broken election promises are a fact of political life. How will a President handle the unexpected? We are also voting on vice-presidents as well. Does that change anything?
Next, is there a fundamental difference between the two candidates once I widen the circle of analysis to include the government apparatus as a whole. The executive is one branch of three. Changing leadership in the excutive, given the system of checks and balances, will lead to large differences in outcomes of government decisions, even if there "appear" to be little substantive differences in the "stated" positions of the presidential candidates. If the House and Senate remain in Republican hands, does it make sense to allow the executive branch to remain in the hands of the Republicans as well. WHat checks and balances remain?
Finally, perhaps the largest difference: Given what we have learned concerning the possibility that 9/11 was preventable
there would seem to be a significant dynamic that the Bush administration missed before 9/11. It appears that "mistakes were made." My claim: What makes the bush administration nervous is the possibility that people will start to make the argument that had Gore been elected, the continuity of administrations would have ensured that terrorism would not have been given the INCONSTANT attention that it received in the Bush administration
. The implication of this argument is terrifying for the current administration. If one accepts Clarke's premise that had the administration acted like the Clinton administration in foiling the Millenium Plot directed at LA airport, it would have had a better chance of stopping 9/11 ... (... dot connecting required...)