The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by J.C. Nossiter
The Morning Mendacity
Tuesday, August 17th, 2004
The Nossiter Net is cast  to snare some of  the riper rascalities of the day.  Comments?  editor@nossiter.net
An article of faith among Naderites, a leitmotif in The Economist magazine, and the conventional wisdom among the disaffected:  there’s little to chose between Mr. Kerry and Mr. Bush.  The current Economist even makes the claim that on environmental policy, one area where you’d expect major differences, the candidates are more similar than not.

Reasons for this view vary.  Among my son’s college friends, it is the knowing, easy cynicism of ignorance and naivete.  Come to think of it, that explanation works for Naderites as well.  What
The Economist has in mind isn’t clear, unless the right-leaning staffers there are reassuring themselves in the event of a Kerry victory.  Partly it is Mr. Kerry’s fault.  A man who often uses ten words when two will do, who likes to express not only his thoughts but his thought process, his sometime opaqueness doesn’t always convey his true meaning.

It doesn’t take much to find the very real policy differences between Mr. Kerry and Mr. Bush.  Brief visits to johnkerry.com and georgewbush.com should convince even the obdurate that on foreign and social policy, economics, and yes, the environment, they’re poles apart.  To cite a couple of instances: Mr. Bush’s $100b energy bill, a lavish series of handouts to big oil, big coal, and big power, too porky even for Congress, compares ill with Mr. Kerry’s plan to develop alternative energy sources. Mr. Bush’s prescription drug benefit for the elderly, whose true cost was revealed by a government auditor against administration wishes, is a rich banquet for big pharma.  In value for money, the Kerry plan for a substantial down payment on universal health insurance is cheap by comparison.

But ignore these substantive policy differences.  Everyone else is.  Look instead at the professional careers of the two men.  Mr. Kerry was a tough prosecutor who reformed his own Boston office and pursued malefactors with the kind of energy and determination that would later lead him, as a Senator, to uncover the Iran-Contra scandal and lay to rest the wrenching decades-old controversy over MIAs in Vietnam.  His has been a lifetime of service in the public interest, even though his own campaign, curiously, does little to play it up.

Mr. Bush lurched from one family-and-friends-assisted failed business venture to another, seeming to stay with difficulty on the right side of the law.  In the case of his Harken Energy stock sale, he may well have crossed it, only to be rescued as usual by the family’s influential cronies.  He finally hit a $15m jackpot in the Texas Rangers deal, a sweetheart affair whose costs are still being born by the voters of Dallas-Ft. Worth.  In Ron Reagan’s memorable words at the 2000 Republican convention, Mr. Bush’s only real accomplishment is that he is “no longer a mean drunk.”

The Economist is right.  There is no comparison.

©J.C. Nossiter 2004
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