Bad news for Bush
The Redskins just lost to the Packers at FedEx Field, 28-14, and every presidential election immediately following a Redskins home defeat since the Redskins moved to Washington in 1937 has been lost by the incumbent party, and vice versa. Today's loss was tainted by bad officiating, however: What would have been a go-ahead touchdown pass play for the Redskins was called back on an illegal backfield motion penalty that the instant replays showed was dubious at best. The Redskins' in-motion back may have paused for a less than a full second prior to the snap, as he was supposed to do. I demand a recount! Perhaps this is a job for Football Fans for Truth!
Even if I were superstitious, I would still hold out hope based on the fact that this season has seen two long-standing historical precedents smashed: Baseball is returning to Washington, and the Red Sox won the World Series. Who's to say whether yet another Iron Law in the sports world won't finally be broken this year? (Speaking of which, Maryland beat Florida State for the first time ever yesterday, and the Steelers are on their way to upsetting the Patriots' 17 (?)-game winning streak!) Seriously, I'm guessing that Bush will win the popular vote by a slim majority, enough to erase any doubt about his "legitimacy," but not enough to lay to rest all the silly challenges that are likely to erupt, however the results turn out: Bush 51%, Kerry 48%, Nader, et al. 1%. So many states are up for grabs, however, that the electoral vote could go either way. That's why I'm preparing myself for the possibility of a Kerry presidency, as made clear in my letter to the editor in today's Staunton News Leader. (There were twenty (20) others!) Alas, I had to trim nearly half of it away to fit within their 350-word limit.
It is hard to know what to make of all the letters attacking President Bush that have appeared in your newspaper. Sometimes they make reasonably valid criticisms, but more often they are filled with hatred and bitter closed-mindedness. It's a perfect example of how many Americans have become "unglued," as your editorial in July put it. Blind dissent is just as bad as blind patriotism, if not more so.
Some differences of opinion in the war against terrorism are to be expected, since terrorists, and the "rogue regimes" that harbor them, specialize in sowing confusion and doubt about their intentions. However, Bush critics who deny that Iraq had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks or claim that there never were any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq are missing a fundamental point: Rogue regimes derive their political power not so much from formal links to terrorists or the actual possession of WMDs as from their ability to raise foreign anxieties. Did U.N. inspections ease our anxieties? No. Did Saddam Hussein's defiant cheering of the 9/11 attacks serve to rally Arab-Islamic terrorists? Yes. As long as he was in power, we could never feel safe. Senator Kerry's alternative -- focusing on "hunting down" al-Qaida while ignoring the culture of violence in the Middle East -- would be futile. As President Bush has emphasized, making America safer depends on promoting freedom abroad. This task will not be quick or easy.
Likewise, there are terrible misunderstandings about the Bush foreign policy. Suffice it to say that the multilateral approach favored by Sen. Kerry was made impossible when French and German leaders decided to exploit anti-American sentiment for domestic political purposes in 2002. That was not President Bush's fault.
The growing polarization in the American electorate may be a sign that the terrorists are succeeding in dividing us from within. As long as we Americans stand together, we will withstand any attacks launched against us. Divided, however, we fall. I will support whoever is elected president, but I will have far more confidence in our nation's security if President Bush is re-elected.
ANDREW G. CLEM