I’ve been following the US election mostly through the posts on these forums, and it seems that most people here, and the rest of the US, seems to think that there are no issues, and/or that Kerry has no significant stand on any issue that they care about. Well. I tuned into CNN, which was the only available English channel in the hotel I’ve been temporarily put in, and immediately there was a clear issue divide being discussed: the impending energy crisis. It seems both candidates want to reduce America’s independence on foreign oil, but in different ways, with Bush wanting to drill for oil in the pristine national parks of Alaska, and Kerry wanting the US to “invent” its way out of the problem.
Now I’m no environmentalist, so I have no objection to drilling for oil in an artic wilderness per se, as long as reasonable measures are taken to preserve endangered wildlife. However, I also strongly support Kerry’s position, and felt that the $100bn, or whatever, wasted on the war in Iraq, which I believe was really about securing rapidly depleting oil reserves, could have been much better spent supporting and researching a realistic alternative energy source. For example, hydrogen fuel cells are unlikely to take off unless governments invest money into the infrastructure to support hydrogen pumps at gas stations.
The problem is that oil will eventually become prohibitively expensive, and an alternative will be necessary. Hydrogen fuel cells may not be better than oil based alternatives now, or ever, but if it is better than any other alternative, it would be wise to invest in this now, rather than waiting until oil is so expensive our economies grind to a halt because we didn’t prepare for the change. I’d also rather invest our money, that’s the UK as well as the US, in peaceful research, rather than imposing our will upon others through force.
That’s one issue. The thing is it is a very long-term issue, and American politics isn’t always so good at dealing with long-term problems (see social security).
There is another issue where they differ considerably, and that is on credibility in the war. The overall war against the jihadists, not just Iraq. Lots of people who support Bush do so because of this one issue; they just don’t see Kerry as a credible commander in chief who will actually go out and try to win it - or even believes that there IS a war on terror to be fought, as opposed to police and legal moves.
Me? I’m kind of fond of a commander leading troops that know which way to point their guns. Here’s an interesting insight. Again from a live chat transcript at the Washington Post site with an editor covering the convention:
Alexandria, Va.: Has any speaker during the convention mentioned Osama bin Laden’s name? I find it interesting that 9-11 has been envoked on a regular basis, yet no mention appears to have been made of the man responsible, as far as I can tell.
Main Issue: Do we re-elect the proven (yet likeable) criminal willing to shoot bad guys, real and imagined? Or do we elect the completely unlikeable and unproven candidate who’s entire election strategy is to say “nuh-UH!” once in a while in response to one of his opponent’s statements?
I have to say that, on a personal level, I prefer Bush’s bumbling style to Kerry’s plodding monotone. Bush comes across as someone I might enjoy a relaxing drink with (in his pre-evangelical days), whereas Kerry comes across as being a bit uptight and self-important. However, the thought of Bush running my country would be frightening, and despite what people say about Kerry being a flip-flopper, what I’ve read of his position on issues comes across as being quite sophisticated, and more in keeping with the way I’d like things done.
BTW, I hope you don’t mind me passing comment on your election, but it is both of interest and importance to me, even if I can’t vote in it.