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Sunday, October 31, 2004

Daily Dose of Perspicuous Pundits
A question of character, by Jeff Jacoby, excerpt:
"George W. Bush is far from perfect. He refuses to admit mistakes. He resists constructive criticism. His humor can be petty or cutting. His administration is secretive and self-righteous -- traits that presumably start at the top.

But Bush, unlike Kerry, has the courage of his convictions. He can take a strong stand and not run away from it when the political winds shift. On the big issues, the crucial issues, he is a decisive man who means what he says -- and isn't afraid to say it even when his listeners disagree.

For a nation going to the polls in wartime, no issue matters more than character. Kerry has much to recommend him, and Bush's flaws are many. But Bush has the character and backbone of a leader. And Kerry doesn't."

Justifications for backing Kerry fall flat, by Mark Steyn, excerpt:
"It's only a day or so now till the chad-dangling round of Campaign 2004 begins but, when the lawsuits are over and the bloodletting begins, serious Democrats need to confront the intellectual emptiness of their party, which Kerry's campaign embodies all too well. The Dems got a full tank from FDR, a top-up in the Civil Rights era, and they've been running on fumes for 30 years. Their last star, Bill Clinton, has no legacy because, deft as he was, his Democratic Party had no purpose other than as a vehicle for promoting his own indispensability. When he left, the Democrats became a party running on personality with no personalities to run. Hence, the Kerry candidacy. Despite the best efforts of American editorialists, there's no there there. "

If It's Bush . . .He'll Make A Mandate, by Ramesh Ponnuru

Reelect Bush, Faults And All, by George F. Will, excerpt:
Kerry is dismally believable when he vows that nothing will be done about this during his presidency. He promises no increase in Social Security taxes and no cut in benefits, and he shows no interest in original thinking about other ameliorative measures.

He is even banal in the fright-mongering that is his substitute for thinking about the problem. It is fair for him to warn about substantial transition costs associated with Bush's plan to allow Americans to invest a portion of their Social Security taxes in a few approved equities funds. But his more characteristic response is to cry "Enron!" By which he means either that American capitalism is too corrupt to invest in, or most Americans are too obtuse to competently invest, or both.

A defining difference between the candidates and their parties concerns Americans' aptitudes for navigating modern society and for setting social policy through representative institutions. Which brings us to the next president's role in shaping the federal judiciary.

Kerry is more than merely comfortable with liberalism's preference for achieving its aims through judicial fiats rather than political persuasion -- by litigation rather than legislation. That preference for change driven by activist judges rather than elected representatives expresses liberalism's condescension about the normal American's capacity for thriving without government tutelage.

Bush sometimes confuses certitude with certainty, but he understands that to govern is to choose, and that some choices must make one lonely. Kerry constantly calls to mind a three-time Democratic presidential nominee, William Jennings Bryan: "The people of Nebraska are for free silver and I am for free silver. I will look up the arguments later."

So this column's conclusion is: "GEORGE! with all thy faults."

PUNDIT PREDICTION ROUND UP: Here's a round up of the pundit predictions on this year's election.

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