Why I hate US politics
So - there's no getting away from it. It's an election year in the US, and you guys over-pond get to pick the next Lord Protector of the Free World in a few weeks.
I was going to be positive, but I've just read some stuff on some US politics sites, and I haven't got the heart to.
If you were to believe the way the campaign is going now, the top 3 issues are:
- Who did what in the Vietnam War?
- Who is the "strongest" leader?
- A distant third, who is best for the economy?
I may be getting these wrong, simply because I'm just getting a window on the campaign, but the key phrase coming out of the Bush campaign now is "flip-flop". Bush & Co. have worked out that the flaw in Kerry's character is that he changes his mind in the light of new evidence (or new political realities, whichever you choose to believe). It seems to me that the Republicans are being allowed, as so often happens, to dictate the agenda for the campaing.
So I got thinking - why do people think Bush is so bad outside America? And why don't Americans see it that way? And how is Kerry different?
So here's the top 3 reasons Bush is not liked outside the US
- He went to war on Iraq, when everyone was telling him he shouldn't (in fact, Saddam had agreed to let UN inspectors back into the country in the days leading up to the war), and lied to his own people about the reasons for that war.
- He doesn't care about anything outside the US borders (except maybe oil fields) - he has spurned the International Court of Human Rights, the Kyoto Agreement, and hasn't moved an inch to remove protectionism of American farmers. On top of that, he has acted unilaterally in the face of overwhelming international opposition on Iraq.
- He has hijacked the attacks of September 11th to advance a personal political agenda, and is moving towards a police state in the US.
So what Kerry needs to do to distance himself from Bush is call Bush on these things - he lied, he abused his power, he has obliterated long-standing alliances, and explain to the American people how he will be an improvement.
The hardest thing to do is say what he would do, when elected, in Iraq. There's going to be a mess there for years whatever happens. But he needs to stick to the punchlines - Bush lied to the people, he abused their trust, he cost America friends.
Instead, what do we end up talking about? Bush would be a stronger leader, Kerry's bogged down in Vietnam. We end up talking about how Edwards's country origins go down in the South and mid-west, how Bush is doing in the latest polls (since when are polls an election issue?), and of course we talk about flip-flopping. But when is the Kerry campaign going to start calling Bush on why people think he is so bad? Or are they already doing that, and just not getting the news cycles?