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Tuesday, August 03, 2004

A Conservative's Perspective on Bush

For those who don't know, Charley Reese is a columnist for the King Features syndicate. He turns out three columns a week and is known as a committed conservative. Few liberal journalists have unloaded on Bush like this. His bio follows the article.

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Vote For A Man, Not A Puppet
By Charley Reese
© 2004 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

Americans should realize that if they vote for President Bush's re-election, they are really voting for the architects of war --- Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and the rest of that cabal of neoconservative ideologues and their corporate backers.

I have sadly come to the conclusion that President Bush is merely a front man, an empty suit, who is manipulated by the people in his administration. Bush has the most dangerously simplistic view of the world of any president in my memory.

It's no wonder the president avoids press conferences like the plague. Take away his cue cards and he can barely talk. Americans should be embarrassed that an Arab king (Abdullah of Jordan) spoke more fluently and articulately in English than our own president at their joint press conference recently.

John Kerry is at least an educated man, well-read, who knows how to think and who knows that the world is a great deal more complex than Bush's comic-book world of American heroes and foreign evildoers. It's unfortunate that in our poorly educated country, Kerry's very intelligence and refusal to adopt simplistic slogans might doom his presidential election efforts.

But Thomas Jefferson said it well, as he did so often, when he observed that people who expect to be ignorant and free expect what never was and never will be.

People who think of themselves as conservatives will really display their stupidity, as I did in the last election, by voting for Bush. Bush is as far from being a conservative as you can get. Well, he fooled me once, but he won't fool me twice.

It is not at all conservative to balloon government spending, to vastly increase the power of government, to show contempt for the Constitution and the rule of law, or to tell people that foreign outsourcing of American jobs is good for them, that giant fiscal and trade deficits don't matter, and that people should not know what their government is doing. Bush is the most prone-to-classify, the most secretive president in the 20th century.

His administration leans dangerously toward the authoritarian.

It's no wonder that the Justice Department has convicted a few Arab-Americans of supporting terrorism. What would you do if you found yourself arrested and a federal prosecutor whispers in your ear that either you can plea-bargain this or the president will designate you an enemy combatant and you'll be held incommunicado for the duration?

This election really is important, not only for domestic reasons, but because Bush's foreign policy has been a dangerous disaster. He's almost restarted the Cold War with Russia and the nuclear arms race. America is not only hated in the Middle East, but it has few friends anywhere in the world thanks to the arrogance and ineptness of the Bush Administration. Don't forget, a scientific poll of Europeans found us, Israel, North Korea and Iran as the greatest threats to world peace.

I will swallow a lot of petty policy differences with Kerry to get a man in the White House with brains enough not to blow up the world and us with it. Go to Kerry's Web site (www.johnkerry.com) and read some of the magazine profiles on him. You'll find that there is a great deal more to Kerry than the GOP attack dogs would have you believe.

Besides, it would be fun to have a president who plays hockey, windsurfs, rides motorcycles, plays the guitar, writes poetry and speaks French. It would be good to have a man in the White House who has killed people face to face. Killing people has a sobering effect on a man and dispels all illusions about war.

© 2004 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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Charley Reese makes his case in clear, concise prose. "It's not important to me if people agree or disagree with my point of view," he says. "What I hope my column does is provoke people into thinking about issues, about the world, and their place in it."

Reese, a conservative columnist, does not mince words. In his column, which King Features Syndicate distributes three times a week to more than 150 newspapers, he does not hesitate to take a stand and back it up to the end.

Charley Reese was born Jan. 19, 1937, in Washington, Ga. He was raised there, in eastern Texas and northwest Florida. By the time he was 19, he had worked as a janitor, printer, cub reporter, civil servant and caption writer for Plant News Pictures, Ltd. in London.

In 1955, he began his career at the Pensacola News in Florida as a cub reporter. For the next 10 years, he worked at various newspapers, honing his craft by reporting everything from sports to politics. Between 1969 and 1971, he worked as a campaign staffer for gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional races in several states. He joined The Orlando Sentinel in 1971 as assistant metro editor. He later became assistant to the publisher, then columnist and editorial board member. He has traveled to Europe and the Middle East on
assignments, all the while maintaining his distinctly American style of journalism.

Reese served two years of active duty in the Army and received an honorary doctorate from Webber College in Florida. He has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and voted the best columnist in Florida by both the Florida Press Association and the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors. He is the author of four books, including Great Gods of the Potomac, and was the ghost writer of The Eleventh Hour by Gen. Lewis Walt.

An American foundation commissioned Reese to write a study of the Swiss national defense system.

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