Published Sep 3, 2004

I heard a piece on NPR the other day in which a number of European commentators stated that they couldn’t understand how anybody would vote for Bush. After having seen his keynote speech last night, I have to say that I disagree with those commentators: I could absolutely see how somebody would vote for Bush. He talks about a lot of nice things, but in a very Republican way: he’s not afraid to make the Big Lies, and he’s not afraid to go back on whatever he says because he can tell the Big Lie later and say he did what he said he’d do even though he didn’t.

So, yes, I’ll admit, he had me going from time to time during his speech. He spoke to a few key points, issues to which I want to hear solutions. He spoke plainly, at times well enough and at other times tripping over himself. He looked like a monkey, but he looked like a cowboy monkey. In a suit. On TV.

The problem is, everything he said at the last convention was a Big Lie. Immigration reform? Nothing. Not being the world’s policeman? Well, we’re only policing Iraq and Afghanistan and keeping a wary eye on Syria, Iran, and North Korea. Improve schools? I don’t think No Child Left Behind would have worked, but the administration hasn’t bothered to fully fund it, so we’ll never know, will we? Keep government out of our lives? Well, Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage is the biggest new entitlement since the Johnson era, the TSA is the biggest Federalization of privately-run jobs since probably World War II, the Department of Homeland Secuirty is the biggest new Federal department since the Johnson administration again, and, oh, we want to get the government into the bedroom and add an amendment as to who you can or can’t marry. Bringing responsibility to the White House? Who’s been held responsible for 9/11 or Abu Ghraib or the intelligence failures that led us to think there were WMD in Iraq?

Oh, but Bush doesn’t flip-flop. It’s true; he doesn’t go back and forth. He says one thing, does another, but keeps saying the first. That’s consistently mendacious, at least.

As Nixon’s Attorney General, John Mitchell, said, “Watch what we do, not what we say.” I’ve watched what you’ve done, Mr. President, and I won’t be voting for you in November.