publisher's note
October 1, 2004


Sad, scary and pathetic
by Bruce Rodgers

I’m in the majority this presidential election year, unlike 2000 when I voted for Ralph Nader. This year, I joined millions of my fellow Americans as one of the “decided.”

None of that “undecided voter” stuff for me. I knew earlier on — like somewhere around 1963 — that I would never vote for a Republican for president. Admittedly, I maybe could have voted for John McCain before he gave “W” one of those manly hugs on the campaign trail. But McCain swallowed and took politics over principle this election year, making me wonder if McCain figures George Bush will lose, setting him up for a presidential run in 2008 to save the Republican Party from incompetence and extremism.

Since I was decided, the Bush/Kerry debate the other night didn’t mean much to me. I tuned in, sure. I was curious if Kerry would come off like a high priest of some obscure northeast political cult and Bush like some cowboy convert to take-no-prisoners Christianity. I also figured that if Kerry looked too Spock-like and got hammered by Texas bar-room diplomacy from Bush, I could always return to Nader, though I admit that except for the issues, Nader has a lot in common with Bush with their thin-skin personas. But it really didn’t matter...I would just be keeping my voter skills finely tuned.

But Kerry look downright presidential and Bush...well, it seemed he forgot to study. And when you don’t study, the best way to get around not knowing how to answer the question is to brag about what you’ve done or gonna do even if it has nothing to do with what you’re being asked.

One of the most amazing answers — in terms of being straightforward — Bush gave was early on when Jim Lehrer asked him if the election of Kerry “increases the chances of another 9/11?”

Bush's response was “I don’t believe it’s going to happen because I’m going to be re-elected.”

Bush apparently believes he is the baddest mothertrucker in the world. No wonder he said, “Bring it on” awhile back when asked about the escalating violence in Iraq.

But Bush’s supposed strength — staying on message — only made him look stupid and arrogant. He seemed ill prepared and somewhat irritated that he even had to be there. How did this guy get through college? Did he hire people to attend class for him; did his family so intimidate the professors that they were cowed into giving Bush acceptable grades?

I mean..I’m disappointed in George Bush. The guy seems to be the ultimate slacker. Study the bare minimum to get by so you can have more time to hang out with Laura, pray and use the chainsaw at the ranch? His thinking seems to be: “I’m leading in the polls, why bother?”

It’s going to be interesting to see how the Republicans, led by Dick Cheney, remake George in time for the next debate. Are we going to get a new “W”? A more thoughtful, intellectual W? Is Cheney going to hold praise back from Bush to make him hungrier, more attack-dog like? Or is Cheney going to direct the party operatives to find dirt on Kerry — anything — to take the focus off George and his inept performance as commander in chief. And to crank up the propaganda machine higher, to tell Americans even bigger lies.

How did we get here? How did Bush become the most powerful man in the world? How did someone as bovine as Bush become our leader?

A great nation has great leaders. Does that statement tell you something about where this country is at?

Bruce Rodgers can be contacted at


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