Call it lame "ABB" but I ask, so what? Those with half a brain, who at least watched one if not all three of the debates, now realizes that Kerry is an excellent candidate -- or at least light years better than Bush. Quibble that he's too verbose or stiff, that he's not Clinton, etc. etc. He's not perfect, agreed, but who ever is? Before Clinton went on to post an outstanding two-term record, he wasn't exactly hailed as the second-coming when up against Bush Sr. Just go back and look at his poll numbers at the time.
Need I remind that all elections are independent events from anything prior and must be judged in a relative sense. For better or worse, selecting the better candidate to vote for is in fact a lesser-of-two-evils exercise. It always comes down to who you dislike (despise?) least. Sure, there are many who truly like Kerry and are 100% proud to vote for him, but that's not my point. I maintain that there's nothing wrong with backing into conviction for one candidate due to an absolute disgust for the other. It all comes down to doing what's best for the country and if that means insuring a clearly poor choice is kept from directing things for the next four years, then so be it.
By the way, the following summary line from the Times is so true:
Nearly four years ago, after the Supreme Court awarded him the presidency, Mr. Bush came into office amid popular expectation that he would acknowledge his lack of a mandate by sticking close to the center. Instead, he turned the government over to the radical right.
I recall thinking back in December 2000, "Perhaps it won't be so bad.... He wasn't elected properly, maybe he'll govern with that in mind, maintaining a moderate course, more or less like his father...." That all went out the window when he appointed Ashcroft as AG, that's when I knew the nut-jobs had taken control, and it's been the "far-right lunacy show" ever since. As George Soros makes clear in his book ("The Bubble of American Supremacy"), these crazies are completely removed from reality and Soros likens it to the stock market bubble of 1999-2000, where perceptions deviated from reality to an extreme (and we know how that ended!).
Thankfully, the Times specifies the environment as a big reason to vote GW out. Amazingly, this issue does not come up as often as it should. You talk about a topic that clearly shows the differences between these two guys!! It couldn't be more black and white.
Often, the far-right attempts to paint it this way, "Our safety has to be issue #1 and #2. What's the point of worrying about the environment when there's a constant threat we will be blown to bits by terrorists?" In other words, to hell with clean air and water, what's the point if we won't be around to inhale or drink anyway?
Gads. This is the kind of idiotic, fatalistic thinking this administration has encouraged and fostered with their be-afraid-at-all-times mantra. (And I get accused of being an alarmist!). Edward R. Murrow once said, "We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason," but unfortunately that's exactly what Bush/Cheney/Rove want for this country. Put aside all other priorities, think about nothing else, not education, health care, social justice, etc., just keep completely focused on the threat of horrible death. It's the "look over here" trick. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Bush/Cheney and the GOP controlled Congress run roughshod over anything and everything they desire.
Look, when it comes down to it, I'm voting against Bush for two reasons: 1) his administration has been an abject failure on all levels, and 2) he's been horrible on the environment. Yes, the first covers lots of terrain, and it's deserved. I can't think of one thing positive that GW himself has been responsible for during his tenure in office. Nope, not one. But beyond that, he and Cheney (and DeLay) have introduced a new low to government in terms of secrecy and truly sleazy acts. What would've been a huge controversy in past years these days does not raise an eyebrow in the media.
However, with regards to the environment, I look at it this way. There's varying degrees to which a president can control and have influence over one thing from another. With regards to terrorism, this, and any, administration can only do so much with regards to preventing another 9-11. Try as they might, they can only do so much to stop a future attack. However, when it comes to environmental issues, the president has a MUCH larger and purposeful sphere of influence. He can forcefully direct and shape environmental policy so as to protect & preserve nature and insure that U.S. citizens are not jeopardized by gutted or compromised environmental regulations. With this latter point, this administration has chosen at every turn to screw the public/environment in favor of the interests of big business. Go ahead and buy in to the Karl Rove bullsh*t "Clear Skies" and "Healthy Forests" tag lines, for those who bother to scratch the surface realize it's all just lies (most don't bother).
Given the above, in my mind this election is a no brainer -- literally. To vote Bush/Cheney is to lack a functioning brain, period.