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It's not that I have nothing to say. In fact, I think it's that I have too much to say.

I have to run my thoughts through a collander of sorts and shake out the stuff which would only serve the purpose of furthering the mud slinging between the left and the right.

While I do that, here's food for thought, from Andrew Sullivan, on the 2004 Election (I couldn't pick out just one phrase, so here's the whole thing):

....I have little doubt that the key issue in the next election will be a relatively simple one: do you approve or disapprove of the transformation of American foreign policy in the wake of 9/11? Iraq will be factored into that, but I don't think trouble there will necessarily sink the president for one simple reason. The issue next November will not be: were we wrong to go after Saddam? It will be: what would either candidate do now? How do we maintain pressure on the threats that beset us? Do we decide that Bush's policy is fundamentally mistaken, that we are not as much at risk as we thought, that we can return to what John Kerry has called a "law enforcement" approach to terror, rather than outright warfare against both terrorism and its sponsoring states? Or do we stick with the guy who led us in those terrible post-9/11 months and won our trust at the time? Maybe memories will have faded by then - but I still think they won't have faded enough for a Dean-style isolationism or Kerry-style legalism to do well. This presidential election will be the first since 9/11. It will be about 9/11. And it will be critical.



I think it can be distilled down even further than he has done, to whit: Do we want to feel safe or do we want to feel vulnerable? I'd be hard-pressed to say I'd feel better with someone who believes in appeasement in office, vs someone who feels the apporpriate action is to respond to outright attacks in like kind. This election will not only be about 9/11, but about the future actions we expect to take to protect and defend ourselves.

Even more succinct: Are we more scared of terrorism or what it takes to fight terrorism?

Michele, I did notice you were quiet today. Your early-morning posting habit means that you are the first US blogger I read during the day -- your posts pop up around 1 PM Israel time. (Yes, I'm bored, I work from home and blogs are my water cooler)

Today, I kept checking and asking "Where is Michele?"

I thought you were writing fiction.

Issues that matter to me:

  • legalizing gay marriage
  • lowering taxes
  • strengthening the economy
  • killing terrorists before they kill us

I'm probably not the only one who thinks the last one is more urgent than the rest.

My only question is: will the developments in Afghanistan get any play as voters try to decide whether "law enforcement" vs. "open warfare" is the preferable tactic in battling terrorism?

I think his basic premise is right, with one change: "I have little doubt that the key issue (in Bush/Cheney 2004 campaign commercials) in the next election...". As to whether this successfully projects onto voters; obviously that remains to be seen.

One of the biggest rifts in America, and one of the most important is between those of us who believe the militant Islamists who say they want to, and have the means to, destroy the West and remake it under Sharia and those who don't believe it.
I happen to believe that they want to and are doing all they can to develop the means. I believe this because they said so. I don't believe it because of 'Bush's lies', I don't believe it because of Halliburton or Exxon-Mobile but simply because, in my experience, if an armed man say's he wants to kill you, it's best to act as if he means it and to take appropriate action.
There are a lot of folks out there for which this is too simplistic. They want to explore the root cause of all those mobs chanting Death to America. They're afraid that, if we act, those mobs won't like us. I'm not that smart. I'm dumb enough that I think they already don't like us.
I'm voting the straight Republican ticket. There's a lot I don't particularly like about the Republican platform but I can't trust the Dems to take the fight to the bad guys. The choice is not if there is going to be a fight, that's been obvious for over twenty years. The choice is if they are going to bring the fight to us or we to them.
All other issues are trivial in comparison.

There are going to be several key issues that will determine who I vote for on November 2004.

1) Who is candidate that I believe will make the better leader, and can assemble a cabinet team that can address problems and issues here at home in the US while at the same time setting an effective, long term foreign policy.

2) Who best understands their role as president under the constitution, and what they - and their executive - can and cannot do under that constitution.

3) Who has a proper vision for the country - both nationally and internationally - that best allows all of us to share in the benefits of living in this country, that respects the views and aspirations of all americans, regardless of their wealth, race, religion, sexual preferance, or political affiliation.

4) Who has the best understanding of the key international situations, what has caused problems to arise, and how to resolve them (if they can be resolved) in the interests of both the US and the rest of the world.

Not too much to ask for - all I want is a leader and a statesperson to be the head of state.

> Who has the best understanding of the key international situations, what has caused problems to arise, and how to resolve them (if they can be resolved) in the interests of both the US and the rest of the world.

I'd omit "both" and "and the rest of the world".

Whenever there's a conflict between US interests and "world interests"1, I want a president who knows that there is a correct answer and what that answer is.

For example, a peaceful, stable Europe is in US interests, but there are lots of ways to have a peaceful stable Europe. We might well break that tie in ways that others wouldn't.

[1] FWIW, "world interests" is usually code for some minor group that shouldn't get its way and is hiding behind "world" in an attempt to score cheap rhetoric points.

I think that Sullivan is right for the most part, and one of the issues that will go on around the 9/11 - National Security issues will be the draft.

It is already shaping up, and just watch - Democrats will come out for it, and then paint Bush as soft on defense for opposing it.