The Portland Oregonian swings …

… from Bush to Kerry.

… from Bush to Kerry.

[Query: Does anyone know of a media outlet or commentator that supported Gore in 2000 and is supporting Bush today? (Not Hitchens: he was for Nader.)]

The Oregonian editorial endorsing Kerry is strongly-worded and well-written. It hits the right themes in its criticism of Bush’s performance: extremism, mendacity, incompetence, division. Purple passages below:

… if Bush partisans could turn aside disagreement with a brusque “elections have consequences” in 2001, it turns out today that governing has consequences, too.

One of them should be that Americans elect John Kerry president in November.

Bush’s term in office has been marked by two major failures. One is his conduct of the war in Iraq. The other is his stewardship of the nation’s fiscal health.


We believe the White House’s policy-makers approached the war with preconceived notions about success based on what the president later called “just guessing.” They brushed aside warnings and contrary opinions. They chose ideology over expertise. This arrogance led to a series of military, political and diplomatic blunders and, we believe, resulted in the unnecessary deaths of many brave Americans.

On fiscal policy, the White House and leaders in Congress have failed to fully acknowledge the threat posed by the giant deficits that the current recipe of tax cuts and profligate federal spending has brewed. Addressing this will not be as simple as paying for tax cuts through spending cuts. The anemic performance of the economy suggests also that the administration’s hope that the country can grow its way out of trouble is overly optimistic, at best.

In almost every area, deliberate gaps between the administration’s rhetoric and reality have become routine. Last year’s misinformation about the cost of Medicare drug coverage is just one example.


…on the international front, Kerry understands something that Bush does not: Our nation’s experience shows that strong international alliances are vital to erecting a bulwark against aggression, tyranny and terrorism.

The president’s destructive rhetoric during the campaign reflects the administration’s recklessness in this area. This nation’s role as the world’s only military superpower does not grant it the unquestioned right to lead. Other nations will follow a United States they respect and admire. They will resist a United States they fear.

Foreign leaders may well understand that their long-term interests lie in sticking with the United States. But Bush has made it politically impossible for them to do so. Kerry has some chance of rebuilding the international alliances that Bush and his people have shattered.


We believe the top choices in a Kerry administration also would be more vigorous in pursuing both the letter and spirit of the nation’s environmental protection laws. A Kerry attorney general might have a more coherent and defensible view of citizens’ civil liberties and constitutional rights than John Ashcroft, Bush’s attorney general.


One or more seats on the high court may open in the next four years, and it would be a shame if they were filled with jurists with political and social agendas who seek to turn back the clock. We believe Kerry would nominate more moderate candidates to the court.

When George W. Bush took office in a deeply divided nation, he promised to reach out to unite the country. If anything, he has helped make the rifts deeper. That may be his real failure as president.

John Kerry can do better.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

One thought on “The Portland Oregonian swings …”

  1. Where can Bush possibly get the extra votes?

    Mark A. R. K. touches on something I've been asking for a very long time with regards to the Bush election: If Bush is going to win, where is he going to pick up the extra votes? He asks: Query:…

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