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High Road, Low Road

There's a strong feeling in some parts of the blogosphere that in this campaign season, Democrats need to pull out all the stops and start smearing Bush with as much mud as is being thrown at Kerry. My own preference is try to stay out of the mud as much as possible (except for the occasional snarky comment. I'm not perfect.)

Why? Some years ago, my mother told me something very wise. We were discussing some personal issues and the temptation to play 'tit for tat' with people who are being hurtful to you. She told me that she felt it was important to always take the high road, even if the other person doesn't, even if you really don't want to. And she was right.

So in keeping with the high road theme, here's The Decembrist on Why Bush Must Go:

Consider, for example, the domestic policy proposals that Bush unveiled in his convention acceptance speech. The charges against them were as obvious and as uninteresting as the proposals: They're recycled. There's not enough detail. They're going to be expensive. All true, but not every idea has to be new; I don't need details; and if Bush really has the will, then maybe he can find the money -- he seems to find it for everything else.

What seems to have gone unsaid about this laundry list was that these weren't proposals that were blocked by a hostile Congress or that he couldn't find the money to fund. It's that most of them died as a result of his own incompetence and that of his administration. Could Bush have partially privatized Social Security in his first term? Quite possibly, but the commission he appointed, and the hacks he had working for him, didn't understand the first thing about it, and treated the serious technical problems they were paid to solve ? mainly the huge transitional costs -- as PR problems to be obscured by patently dishonest claims such as that Social Security is a bad deal for African-Americans. His "ownership society" proposals for tax-free accounts for health and retirement were so transparently just cover for another tax cut for the rich that he backed off even offering them in the State of the Union this year. His two domestic accomplishments, No Child Left Behind and the Medicare prescription drug bill, are basically sound ideas marred by profound incompetence in design. Most of those who support or supported the Iraq War now have the same view of that misadventure. And then there's allowing North Korea and Iran to become nuclear powers. On the macroeconomic front, while a president is not necessarily responsible for every turn of the business cycle that takes place on his watch, Bush is wholly responsible for his total indifference to the distinction between tax cuts and deficit spending that might shorten the recession and generate demand, and those that would not. That indifference is incompetence.

Emphasis added. And the rest of his piece is well worth a read.

Like I said, I am not perfect and I don't expect other people to be. I know it is very hard to try to hold onto your values when you feel so much is at stake and you're scared of what might happen if you don't win. I also think that holding on to your values when the going gets tough is important because it defines what kind of a person you really are. We're all going to have to live with ourselves after November 2, win or lose.

All this is not to say that Kerry should not fight for the election. Of course he - and we all - should. I'm happy to hear that more of the Clinton team is joining the Kerry campaign. They fought hard but they fought clean - just what we need right now.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 7, 2004 10:46 AM.

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