I’ve selected what I consider to be the ten most important issues in this election for the leader of the Executive Branch, and given both President Bush and Senator Kerry a rating on each using a scale of 1 to 10. The lowest possible score is therefore a 10, the highest is a 100. I would not consider supporting any candidate scoring lower than 66 on this test.
(1) Respect for the Constitution
As the President takes an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, this would seem to be a pretty basic requirement. Unfortunately, both Bush and Kerry have demonstrated precisely zero regard for either their oath or the document itself. Even Bob Dole, the tax collector for the welfare state, at least pretended to care about the 10th Amendment.
01 – (01): Bush
01 – (01): Kerry
(2) Defending gun rights
Kerry, for all that he has been going through the usual political rigamarole of having his picture taken while killing birds, has reliably voted against gun rights. Bush, on the other hand, has stated his willingess to accept the renewal of the “assault weapons” ban, but has not otherwise pushed for gun control.
05 – (06): Bush
02 – (03): Kerry
(3) National Sovereignty
All the Constitutional rights in the world won’t do Americans any good if the Constitution is superceded by international treaties and organizations. Both Kerry and Bush support LOST, both are fans of the United Nations and numerous other supranational organizations. Bush is marginally less enthusiastic about giving up sovereignty than Kerry, and was willing to drop his amnesty proposal once the level of opposition became clear.
03 – (09): Bush
01 – (03): Kerry
(4) Supreme Court Appointments
This is the big one for Bush defenders, but considering that five of the seven Republican appointees are liberal judicial activists, it’s by no means a slam dunk. I don’t think we can assume Bush, who has governed to the Left of every Republican president since Nixon, will show any better judgment than his predecessors. 2/7 = 28.57 percent.
03 – (12): Bush
01 – (04): Kerry
Bush has shown no inclination to respond to the petition put forth by We the People, as he is Constitutionally mandated to do. Nor has he investigated the very credible charges laid against the IRS, when even the US District Attorney “denies that the Internal Revenue Service is an agency of the United States government.” However, his three tax cuts did amount to 2 percent of the national income, so some credit is due. Kerry has been a reliable vote for higher taxes.
04 – (16): Bush
01 – (05): Kerry
(6) Big Government Growth
Contrary to what one would think, growth in government spending has increased fastest under Republican presidents, the two exceptions being LBJ and Ronald Reagan. George Bush has the worst record of any Republican president, while one cannot assume that John Kerry would necessarily be any worse than Bill Clinton. Just as it takes a Nixon to go to China, it takes a Republican president to unleash the full force of the fire hoses of Federal spending. I expect the rate of growth of government spending would actually slow somewhat under Kerry – Bush has set a difficult pace to match.
01 – (17): Bush
03 – (08): Kerry
Neither Bush nor Kerry has shown any resolve to meet what every historian with his eyes open knows is the third great wave of Islamic expansion. Neither will even admit that this is happening, for that matter. Nevertheless, George Bush has struck one serious blow to the global jihad (Afghanistan) and one minor blow (Iraq), while Kerry can’t even bear to give a straight answer about what has already been done, much less what he would do himself. Bush has surrounded himself with poor strategic advisors and appears to have little notion of history or military strategy, but at least he appears to take the responsibility seriously.
04 – (21): Bush
01 – (09): Kerry
George Bush is by no means the flip-flopper or divorce-prone gigolo that John Kerry is, and he even warned conservatives with his assertion of his “compassionate” perversion of the philosophy. Still, his constant dissembling on the so-called War on Terror and the nature of the threat to the United States and the West is manifestly untruthful. Furthermore, he has not gone public with any of the Clinton administration’s lies about TWA 800 or OK City. As with most Democrats, Kerry’s entire campaign is built on deceit and on the few occasions that Kerry has allowed his personality to shine through, it is a rather ugly one indeed. That being said, one doubts he is an utter fraud like Clinton.
05 – (26): Bush
03 – (12): Kerry
(9) Party Coattails
Who cares? More Republicans to help Bush spend more money faster? More Democrats to help further destroy the social fabric? It’s irrelevant, as Ron Paul, Dr. No, is about the only member of Congress who even pays attention to the law and Constitution anymore.
01 – (27): Bush
01 – (13): Kerry
(10) The Economy
Both men are economically illiterate individuals who surround themselves with Keynesian advisors. Whoever wins will watch helplessly as the Federal Reserve drives the nation off a financial cliff during the next Presidential term.
01 – (28): Bush
01 – (14): Kerry
In summary, I conclude that Bush is twice as good as Kerry and not half as good as he’d have to be in order to win my support. It’s only a zero-sum game if you’re so short-sighted that you only pay attention to the next election. If you don’t believe the political environment can change, well, tell it to the Whigs.