wink ;): October 2004 Archives

Single Issue Voter

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Jeremy has on occasion written about being one of the few conservatives in his very liberal academic world. My situation is just the reverse. I'm one of the few liberals in my very conservative academic world.

On Wednesday, I was in class telling my studens when a certain assignment was due: Nov 5th. On student said out loud "Nov 5th, Nov 5th. And we vote Nov 2nd." I joked "Only if you're voting for Kerry. If you're voting for Bush, your supposed to vote on the 3rd. Makes it easier to count the votes that way." (Yes, a very old and very lame joke. So sue me.) Only one person laughed. I think the rest immediately started praying for my salvation. Or maybe that I might get struck down.

The Republican party is supposed to be the party of fiscal responsibility. That's one of the things I really like about the GOP. But somehow, things have gone seriously wrong. The deficit spending is out of control. Bush did not veto a single spending bill.

OK. Fiscal responsibility is not so much about lowering budgets per se as mich as it is about balancing budgets. But Bush hasn't done that at all. Instead, he keeps increasing spending and lowering taxes. That just doesn't make any sense.

And now we get to a huge beef for me: taxes.

Bush has made it a stated goal that he is going to cut taxes every year that he is in office, regardless of circumstance. What kind of policy is that? It certainly isn't a principled one unless "tax cuts" is a principle. Look--tax cuts are not always wise. Sometimes, yes. Always? No. (Unless you are a Libertarian who thinks that all taxes are immoral by nature.)

Bush has made the War on Terror the central theme of his campaign. It is clear that he is dealy serious about this war...he has invaded two countries because of it. However, he seems to fight it very selectively, and this worries me greatly about letting him continue to run the War on Terror as I disagree with much of his judgement.

The War on Terror has two aspects to it: 1) Killing Terrorists. 2) Spreading Democracy.

I've already stated why I didn't support the war. And in the comments, I have shown why it was Rumsfeld's rationale that I cared about, not Bush's (Rumsfeld's rationale, not Bush's, is the one that determines how the war was fought), and why Rumsfeld's rationale casts a bad light on Bush as a leader.

Now onto the mistakes made during the war.

Endorsement

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Here's what everyone has been waiting for, the extremely valuable and coveted Wink endorsement for President: Kerry.

This should surprise pretty much no one who knows me. I don't particularly like Kerry. But I simply do not like Bush far more. I could just not vote. Or I could vote for a third party. But in a race like this one, that is just like not voting. But I don't think that Kerry is so bad that I can't vote for him. Where as Bush...well, I pretty much can't vote for him.

In general, I feel that Bush is out of his depth. I think that he was able to govern Texas just fine. But running the most powerful country on the planet takes leadership at a whole different level. Bush has not proved himself capable at that level.

My next few posts will be my reasons why I can't vote for Bush. Note that I am not saying that Kerry is better on all of these issues (though I do think that he is better on most of these issues), so comments saying "But Kerry is just as bad" are beside the point. These are the reasons why I am not voting for Bush.

[Note: I'll add links here as I write the posts.]
Why I'm not voting for Bush: The War in Iraq
Why I'm not voting for Bush: The War on Terror
Why I'm not voting for Bush: Taxes and Fiscal Responsibility
Why I'm not voting for Bush: Diplomacy
Why I'm not voting for Bush: Education (and Unemployment)
Why I'm not voting for Bush: End of Series

Some churches, ours for example, disapprove of Halloween. Presumably because of its pagan roots. So, they offer "Harvest Festivals" on Halloween as an alternative, where kids can come, have costumed fun, and leave with candy.

So let me get this straight. The church opposes Halloween. So it offers an alternative on the same night where the kids do the same things. They've just changed the name and that's enough? If everyone across the country agreed to call Oct 31st "Harvest Festival" instead "Halloween", would that be enough to keep the people in my church from telling me that it is an evil and pagan holiday?

'Cause if a name change is all it takes to take the pagan out of a pagan festival, then I'm all for it.

Why I didn't support the war...

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or, as I put it at the time, "I support a war with Iraq, but I don't support this war with Iraq.

At the time (i.e. before the war), everyone was convinced that Saddam had WMD. This made Iraq a threat, but not an immanent threat as there was no evidence of a massing of troops or a plan being implemented to attack the US or any other nation. Nor was there evidence showing that Saddam was planning on getting those WMD into the hands of terrorists or rogue nations. Without an immanent threat, war under the rationale of "preemptive war" just didn't fly for me. (I know that others disagree with me here, but war in response to non-immanent threats is more properly classified as "preventative war", a category of war which I am not comfortable supporting.)

This discussion has gotton somewhat out of control and I now find myself repeating myself over and over again in different comment threads. So I'm compiling the most common stuff and reposting it here so that I can point a link at this post instead of retyping everything yet again. I'll update this post as necessary to include new frequently reposted stuff.

Over in this post, I argue that gay marriage should be legal even though it is immoral. In making my argument, I point out that worshipping other gods is immoral, yet perfectly legal. In fact, it is one of our most cherished freedoms here in America.

In the comments of that post, William claims that homosexuality, being called an abomination in the Bible, is a special case even though he agrees with my argument in general. The reasoning is that abominations are so much more immoral than your standard sins that they require legislation to restrict them even if you think that morality should not be legislated.

Then of course Rocky brings up shrimp and then to keep the discussion about abominations from hijacking the entire thread, Jeremy writes an intriguing and surprising post about abominations (which I largely agree with but require further study before I can support it wholeheartedly).

However...there is still one main point about Abominations as they relate to Legislating Morality that still hasn't been brought up, thus necessitating yet another post. Here goes:

Keyes, Get Lost!

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Alan Keyes has gone too far in opposing gay marriage. He claims that incest awaits kids of gays. His reasoning is as follows: 1) gay parents adopt children, 2) children of closed adoptions don't know who their blood relative are, 3) inevitably, one of those children will unknowingly marry a blood relative. 4) Therefore, gay marriage should be illegal.

This, again, just like in my last post, is a complete non-sequiter.

The Reasoning Behind Measure 36

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A recent flier sent to my house urged me to vote for Measure 36, a state constitutional amendment which would define marriage as being between one man and one woman. A recent Oregonian article also laid out the reasoning for the supportes of Measure 36. Similarly, Sozo in a comment to my previous post also laid out a defense of traditional marriage. All three said the same thing: children are better off with a mother and a father.

This is, of course, a complete non-sequiter.

The reasoning is that if you outlaw gay marriage, then you will not have gay couples parenting children. But that is patently untrue. Gay unmarried couples currently have children (whether through adoption, or IVF, or from previous heterosexual encounters). Preventing such couples from getting married will not magically make those children go away. All that it does is deprive those children of the stability of a legally recognized family structure.

Over here in Oregon we have a proposed (state) constitutional amendment called "Measure 36". It is basically the state equivalent of the FMA defining marriage as being between one man and one woman. This is a voter initiative and bypasses the legislature altogether (apparently it is legal to amend the state contitution by initiate in Oregon).

I was talking to one of my profs who shares a similar political outlook with me. He was surprised that I, as well as a couple of other of his students students, am against the measure. I, in turn, was surprised that he did not see things my way. I am of the "gay marriage is immoral but should be legal" camp, he is of the "gay marriage is immoral, should be illegal, but supports civil unions" camp.

He asked why I didn't support the amendment given that we both believe that gay marriage is immoral. I gave him two reasons.

On many an occasion I have heard that the (primary) purpose of sex is to have children. Similarly, I have frequently heard that the (primary) purpose of marriage is to have children. Suffice it to say that I think that both of these positions are absurd.

These positions end up creating beliefs like "contraception is morally wrong because it thwarts the priamry purpose of sex" and "gay marriage is wrong because the gay couple can't produce children, thus defeating the primary purpose of marriage".

The contraception issue has been dealt with in Jeremy's post on contraception, so I won't deal with it here.

The gay marriage argument showed up in the editorial pages of last Sunday's paper. I was surprised to see it. While I'm not known for agreeing with this particular columnist, he rarely says anything quite so stupid.

My take on Contraception

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I had been planning on writing a post on contraception, but Jeremy has beat me to it. His post is excellent and there is little that he says there that I would disagree with. I do want to add some of my own point of view so here goes:

Little Nuclear Bombs

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Since the debate, the right-leaning blogs (e.g. Tacitus) have latched on to Kerry's "error" of saying: "You talk about mixed messages. We're telling other people, "You can't have nuclear weapons," but we're pursuing a new nuclear weapon that we might even contemplate using. Not this president. I'm going to shut that program down, and we're going to make it clear to the world we're serious about containing nuclear proliferation."

They make it clear that they think this is both a political blunder (i.e. most Americans watching the debate will disagree with him), and a substantial blunder (i.e. Kerry is just plain wrong on this issue).

I have no idea if what Kerry said was a political blunder as I have no idea what most American's think about the US developing "Bunker Buster" nukes, but I do have to say that the right-leaning blogs are wrong on their second point; Kerry is dead right when it comes to the susbtance of the issue.

[Note: edited to correct spelling mistakes.]

The Spin Gap

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Joshua has a post up that I mostly agree with. He is basically noting that the Bush campaign is far better at Spin Doctoring than the Kerry campaign. Whatever you think about each candidate, that seems hard to disagree with. The Kerry campaign, and its supporters, lob bomb after bomb at Bush, and they have little to no impact. Sure, the media picks it up and runs with it for a while, but the accusations are made so poorly that they, irregardles of their veracity, fall apart very quickly.

But if you imagine for just a moment that Karl Rove had made similar accusations against Kerry, you'd have no doubt that they'd have a devastating impact. Indeed, most of the attacks that the Bush campaign has made against Kerry have been to a large extent successful, again irregardless of their veracity.

I am deeply disturbed by Kerry's incompetence in this area.

I am even more disturbed that Bush seems to be more competent at Spin than he is at running the country.

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