Unanswered Questions of 2004
That John Kerry won the debates, no matter
how any of us score them, seems undeniable. Before the first debate in
Miami, his campaign was dead in the water.
Throughout August, he had been swift-boated by the Veterans for Truth
with repeated attacks on his combat service, character and credibility.
The GOP convention completed the demolition. By one poll in September,
only 36 percent of the nation held a favorable view of Kerry, a
seemingly impossible hurdle to surmount.
The president led in every national poll, in some by 10 points.
Battleground states like Missouri were being ceded, as Kerry pulled out.
Bush had become competitive in Blue states like Oregon and New Jersey.
All the president needed to do was perform in Miami up to the level of
St. Louis or Phoenix. He failed.
In Miami, 60 million Americans saw a John Kerry who did not remotely
resemble the caricature of a Massachusetts liberal the Bush campaign had
drawn. Kerry looked like a president.
But the president appeared exasperated, almost petulant, that he was
being forced to stand there for 90 minutes and endure having himself and
his record picked apart by a fellow Skull & Bones man he holds in
minimal high regard. The Bush campaign has not yet recovered from those
fateful 90 minutes. If John Kerry wins this election, he will have won
it – or, more precisely, President Bush will have lost it – in Miami.
But the debates, interesting and revealing as they have been, have left
unanswered questions of greater import than whether Bush is as skilled
at debate as John Kerry. The questions are these:
How much blood and treasure are Americans willing to expend to maintain
a pro-Western regime in Baghdad and bases in Iraq? And for how long? If
our field commanders come to Bush or President-elect Kerry in November
to say: We need 75,000 more combat troops in Iraq for the next two years
to secure the country, will either man send the troops?
Americans are going into this election without having been told by
either candidate how long we must fight, what the prospects are of
success, what the ultimate cost will likely be, or how or when we can
get out and come home.
We are going into this election not knowing how Bush or Kerry can carry
out their pledge to cut in half a deficit of 4 percent of GDP. Both have
proposed billions in spending, Kerry trillions. In 2008, the first wave
of some 77 million baby boomers reaches early retirement at 62, full
retirement by 2012.
For 18 years after 2012, baby boomers will cease paying into Social
Security and Medicare and start drawing down those non-existent trust
funds. Neither candidate has explained how the U.S. government can then
be held to its current claim on 20 percent of our economy. We are
sailing into the doldrums where Europe finds itself today.
The U.S. merchandise trade deficit this year is going to come in between
$600 billion and $700 billion. With foreigners using dollars we send
abroad for cheap goods to buy up our stocks, bonds and T-bills, our
current account deficit is soaring. Wise Americans like Warren Buffett
are now betting on a fall of the dollar. And a falling dollar means a
weaker, poorer, less-respected America.
Yet, neither candidate has advanced a credible policy to erase our trade
deficit or stop the export of factories, plants, jobs and technology. If
it's good for the Global Economy, it's good for America seems to be our
mantra. The Chinese, however, who are holding down the value of their
currency to hollow out the U.S. industrial base – as they build up
theirs – seem to consider us fools.
In the Phoenix debate, neither Bush nor Kerry advanced a plan to stop
the invasion from Mexico by 4,000 illegal aliens every day. The majority
of immigrants, legal and illegal, are now from Asia, Africa and Latin
America. Almost all have incomes below the U.S. median. Almost all will
depend for years on government services. Almost all will consume more in
taxes than they will contribute. Almost all come from lands where there
is no tradition of limited government. As Goldwaterite and Reaganite
champions of small government pass away, the beneficiaries of Big
Government enter the country to replace them.
America is on an unsustainable course. We cannot sustain an empire on an
army of 480,000, nor sustain budget deficits of 4 percent of GDP and
trade deficits of 6 percent without a collapse of the dollar, nor
sustain the endless importation of impoverished peoples from the Third
World without first bankrupting the country and finally losing the
America we grew up in.
The election of 2004 may go down in history as one of the most exciting
– but one of the least relevant in arresting the inexorable decline and
fall of the American Republic.
© 2004 Creators
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