The Detroit News, which previously received the nickname of The Nixon News for its support of another President who, like George Bush, disgraced the office of the Presidency with his trampling on the Constitution and lack of respect for the principles upon which this country was founded, has decided not to endorse George Bush. While a paper as consistently Republican as the Detroit News would not be likely to have any good words for John Kerry, they decided not to endorse any candidates in an editorial which had some quite critical words on George Bush:
But this president has a knack for squandering success.
With the nation and the world firmly behind his operation in Afghanistan, he turned his sights too quickly to Iraq and Saddam Hussein, his family's old nemesis.
Acting on intelligence that was faulty and too eagerly interpreted by the administration to match its agenda, Bush moved against Iraq without the support of key allies.
We backed the invasion of Iraq, accepting the Bush assertion that Saddam's weapons programs presented a gathering threat to the United States. While America, the world and the Iraqi people are better off with Saddam gone, we now believe that Iraq was a fight that might have waited, or been avoided altogether.
Regardless, a president who takes the nation to war has an obligation to win that war as quickly, efficiently and painlessly as possible.
Bush has not done that. The management of the conflict in Iraq is abysmal. The United States went into Iraq without enough international support and brought too few of our own troops to complete the job.
In shorting the generals, in allowing political concerns to trump military strategy, in assuming too much cooperation from the Iraqi people, Bush allowed Iraq to become a hotbed of terrorism, the very condition he struck to prevent. The messy result has allowed our enemies to portray the United States as a villain, and use our role as a rallying cry for terrorists elsewhere.
There were too many poor calls, including disbanding the Iraqi army, leaving the borders undefended and trusting shady Iraqi nationals, all of which combined to turn what could have been a stunning liberation into a still uncertain, nation-building morass. Iraq has stretched America's military capabilities, strained friendships and will hamstring future strikes against rogue regimes.
Such bad management cannot be forgiven in a wartime president.
At home, Bush has shocked us with his free-spending ways. Non-defense, domestic spending increased more than 30 percent during his term. At the same time, the president cut taxes. Together, the two resulted in a massive federal budget deficit that could have been mitigated had Bush kept his promise of fiscal conservatism.
This was a failure of leadership. The American people will accept a call to sacrifice in times of crisis. But instead of asking for sacrifice, Bush delivered excess.
He plunged the federal government even deeper into the day-to-day operations of local school districts with the ill-advised No Child Left Behind Act; he failed to veto even one of Congress' pork-laden spending bills; he pushed ahead with his own spending agenda, including a confusing and deceptively expensive prescription drug plan, without regard to the budget demands of homeland security and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. On trade, he exhibited protectionist tendencies that hurt American industry.
Finally, on the matter of civil liberties, Bush has turned away from the conservative doctrine that the Constitution must be strictly observed. His Patriot Act contained many important elements to break down the walls between law enforcement agencies and allow them to respond to advancements in technology.
But it also trashed personal privacy protections, suspended due process safeguards and upset the balance between the power of the government and the rights of the individual.
The president's record does not recommend him for re-election.