Taking the lead
Kerry seems to have pulled even with Bush since the first debate. I think another strong performance, if it raises serious questions about Bush, would propel the Senator into the lead. I would like to hear him raise some older evidence, which hopefully we've been holding in the back pocket:
1. Bush making a mockery of the search for WMDs. Remember the President making jokes at the Press dinner about searching for WMDs and not finding them? It was an outrageous insensitivity (can you imagine if Clinton had done something like that??), and Kerry could use this at the right moment as further support for the idea that Bush is not in touch with the demands for sacrifice he is placing on the military, while making jokes of the inaccuracy of the stated reason for going to war. More than 1,000 troops have died, and it's more than reasonable to think that we would not have gone at all, if not for the inaccurate intelligence he was mocking. I would love to hear him try and defend that joke. Plus, I doubt he would be prepared for that one.
2. Bush making these same promises 4 years ago. I hope Kerry has some specifics and can ask people to remember Bush saying that the tax cuts would create millions of new jobs, that he wasn't interested in nation-building, that he was for a patient's bill of rights, promised to address rising health care costs, would be fiscally responsible, and would reach across party lines to unite the country. Bush's policies have had none--none--of the promised outcomes, either because he screwed them up (like by not funding No Child Left Behind) or because they are simply flawed policies. Bush's tax cut plan simply does not work. We don't need any fancy new projections to demosntrate that. Just look at what happened when he got his way--just what Al Gore said would happen: exploding deficits, raiding the social security trust fund, transfer of taxes to local bodies raising the middle class tax burden, for starters.
All of that goes hand-in-hand with these newest failed promises in foreign policy, like "we'll be greeted as liberators." This administration simply does not live in the real world - they are not able to project a policy into the future and predict the outcome with even the slightest accuracy. They don't understand the effects of their policies on ordinary Americans and on the world. They are blinded by their desire to see the world a certain way, unable to see it for what it really is.
3. His priorities. I would love Kerry to know exactly what the President's tax cuts on those making over $200,000 cost us as a nation. Instead of asking for sacrifices from everyone, Bush chose to go ahead with his tax cut plan, even after September 11, 2001. I wish Kerry could list all of the important things we could fund with that amount in homeland security or in Iraqi reconstruction/training. It's not just the international community Kerry would hope to unify in the fight against the terrorist threat, it's all Americans working together, and sacrificing what they can...even rich people. Instead, Bush decided the future can pay, and exploded the deficits.
4. "Mission accomplished." A campaign-driven photo-op masquerading as a foreign policy.
5. Letting Enron write the energy policy (in secrecy), and the drug companies write the prescription drug benefit bill.
6. "Bring it on." Now, they have.
7. Biggest of all. I want Kerry to mention that the President has watched poor intelligence communication lead to the largest terrorist attack in our country ever; watched bad intelligence all the way around lead us to war in Iraq thinking we were in danger, and that we would be greeted as liberators; watched the military dragged through scandal, and probably put in more danger, by the prison abuse scandals. And he has seen fit to fire nobody. Where's the accountability?
What do you want to hear Bush have to answer for?