I appreciate Nero's sentiment, but I have to respond because I was basically on the same page in 2000, 1988, and 1984. However, Bush's re-election is different. I would like to hear a Republican address each of these issues honestly, because I think they are things that should bother any American.
After 9/11 Bush had a lot of 'political capital', perhaps more than any president since Pearl Harbor. His response in Afghanistan was widely accepted and justifiable by most reasonable people. However, things then started to go awry, and I need to understand why certain things were done. The Bush administration certainly never feels the need to explain itself, but I think some Republicans somewhere should:
Without going into the many sordid details of the Patriot Act, why do we need unchecked government surveillance? Our government is built on a system of checks and balances. Surveillance has always been sufficient for law enforcement needs while still allowing the judicial branch to exercise some control. Are we scared the judges will notify the terrorists? That sounds like extreme paranoia that the terrorists have eyes and ears everywhere which is obviously not true. You may think it doesn't affect you because you're not a terrorist, but since the government is no longer accountable to anyone, how can you be sure they won't come after you for some other reason.
Why do we need secret courts to try terrorists? We can seal court records already, and prevent sensitive information from being leaked. The only reason they could possibly need secret courts is so they can do an end run around the legal process which we pride ourselves on. Why should we blindly trust the government?
Why should U.S. citizens be held indefinitely without being charged of a crime and without due process? Again, we pride ourselves on the fact that we have systems in place to prevent innocent people from being incarcerated. It already fails occasionally, so why should we support the complete erosion of the process? Because we're scared of terrorism? Wouldn't that mean the terrorists have caused us to erode the very freedom that they 'hate' so much?
Is it okay to go to war on false pretenses? Why does this not bother anyone? Sure you can justify taking out Saddam lots of ways, but shouldn't our government be honest about it? How does it make sense to have a scandal over a sexual affair, but nothing about going to war based on fabricated information?
How can we be so sure taking out Saddam helps the war on terrorism? Sure, Iraq is better without him, but since he had no known links to Al-Qaeda, and he was very interested in preserving his own regime, why was he so likely give terrorists assistance in attacking us? There werre no reasons given other than wild conjecture and the claim that a madman like Saddam would do anything to hurt us. Saddam may have been evil, but he did not come to power by being insane. All else being equal, Saddam gone is a good thing, but when we went in chaos ensued and many weapons went missing. Thousands of dead Iraqis on our watch is not likely to improve Middle Eastern public opinion of us, and it's very likely to play into the hands of terrorist recruitment efforts. Why is there no debate about this?
Where was the plan for Iraq's reconstruction? I haven't heard anything about the Bush administration's early plans for re-constructing Iraq and I read a lot of news. Anyone who knows anything about the Middle East could have predicted that there would be massive turmoil. All we hear from Bush is that "it's hard work, we need more money and troops, and elections are in January." Meanwhile insurgents are infiltrating the police forces and executing their own trainees. Why wasn't training started on day 1 when the Iraqi public opinion of us was still very strong?
Why does Halliburton get billions in no-bid contracts? Cheney's word that they're the best company for the job is not quite justification enough for me. Come on people, does it not at least look really bad when you have the former CEO of a company as the vice-president of the country and this kind of massive deal materializes without so much as a public justification? You wanna talk about morals...
Why are gay marriage, abortion, and stem-cell research the leading issues of morality in this country? Democrats really dropped the ball on the family values thing. It's easy to agree that two-parent households are better than single parents, and that kids shouldn't do drugs or have sex, but Democrats didn't bother to talk about the issues at all. But in all seriousness, don't we face larger problems in our country like crime, the economy, and terrorism than two gay people falling in love and getting married? I mean, if morality has anything to do with human suffering, I'd say an abortion causes less human suffering than a rape, or a death in a car accident, or domestic abuse, or wars that kill thousands, or families becoming homeless because they can't find a job that pays enough.
I could go on and on about Bush spending our 'political capital' with brash foreign policy decisions, and the importance of uniting the world against something as ethereal as terrorists who are difficult to target precisely, can spread themselves out around the world, and who having nothing to lose. When Bush accused Kerry of using the politics of fear I had to laugh out loud. What about "If Kerry gets elected the world will drift towards tragedy"? If that is not fear-mongering then I don't know what is. Political disagreements are one thing, but I don't feel the American people have held Bush accountable for anything he's said or done. There's been no real political discourse, and I think reasonable people are justified in being morally outraged.