Yes on Schwarzenegger. No on Bush.

Politics and policy.
Sept. 1 2004 3:12 AM

Judgment Day

Yes on Schwarzenegger. No on Bush.

(Continued from Page 1)

Same goes for Bush's Iraq policy. It's a betrayal of everything Republicans claim to stand for—fiscal prudence, the reservation of U.S. military resources for the protection of the national interest, and skepticism of government's ability to shape society. The weapons of mass destruction that Bush touted as the reason for spending our blood and treasure in Iraq are simply not there. We were not greeted with sweets and flowers as the administration suggested. We have lost nearly 1,000 soldiers. We have sunk about $200 billion into this mistake, and there is no end in sight. It's a complete failure.

Unable to defend the policy, Schwarzenegger defends Bush as "a man of inner strength. He is a leader who doesn't flinch, who doesn't waver, who does not back down." But "inner strength" is exactly the kind of New Age pap no hard-headed Republican should fall for. Accountability means judging a president by visible results. Schwarzenegger says leadership is "about making decisions you think are right and then standing behind those decisions." Fine. But standing behind your decisions means taking responsibility at election time. This is election time, and Bush's decisions have turned out to be disastrously wrong.

Advertisement

Schwarzenegger applauds Bush for taking a hard line on terrorism. So do I. Bush's clarity on this subject is his finest quality. But it doesn't make his foreign policy wise, any more than liberal piety about compassion makes liberal social programs effective. In Iraq, Bush has confused a mortal enemy with a less urgent one, and he has botched the worthy idea of American military leadership by biting off more than we can chew. The hatred manifested by terrorists "is no match for America's decency," Schwarzenegger opines. Decency? Do you think we're going to defeat Osama Bin Laden with decency? That's liberal talk. What we need is smart allocation of our resources. At this, Bush has utterly failed.

I'm no huge fan of John Kerry. He sees two sides of every one-sided issue, and four sides of every two-sided issue. But the alternative is a president who sees one side of every issue, no matter how many sides it has. Given how many sides there usually are, and given how little effort Bush makes to learn about each issue, the odds are that, on average, he'll pick the wrong side. The record of the last four years shows that he has done precisely that. But because Bush refuses to "waver," as Schwarzenegger charitably puts it, we keep going in the wrong direction. The only way to stop such a president is to vote him out of office. Fortunately, an election is coming.

Correction, Sept. 1, 2004: I initially wrote that Schwarzenegger described the Humphrey-Nixon exchange as a debate. I misunderstood him. There were no debates in that campaign. He was talking about watching both candidates and comparing their positions. (Return to corrected sentence.)

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Buy a Small Business
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 PM Inking the Deal Why tattoo parlors are a great small-business bet.
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?