The single biggest reason I can think of why any American should not vote for Bush is the way he squandered the good will of the world after 9/11. Instead of seizing the moment to further discredit a corrupt ideology not only here at home but around the world, Bush’s poor judgment has given it strength. In May the International Institute for Strategic Studies released a report which noted that al-Qaeda recruitment has been accelerated by the war in Iraq and, as we all know, our relationships with many of our strongest and closest allies have been severely damaged. I will never shake the conviction that we failed to seize the post-9/11 moment to take the war of ideas to our enemies–instead we gave them a propaganda boon.
As for the Republican convention, there isn’t a lot to say about anything you haven’t seen on TV. The city itself is unusually empty–if you could leave, you probably did. If you couldn’t leave, but your company agreed, you are telecommuting. If you are like me, however, you are still taking that train to work–and wondering somewhere in the back of your mind if Madrid will repeat itself. Armed men patrol the streets–you literally can’t walk a block in mid-town (where my office is) without seeing five to ten cops or army types. I personally haven’t seen any of the mass protests, but upon emerging from my building on my way to the gym today I was surprised to see twenty or so cops hanging around along with an equal number of photographers. I asked them what was going on and they told me that they were expecting some sort of protest which apparently never materialized. In the locker room at the gym I hear blue collar workers ranting about Giuliani’s speech. I’ll be glad when it’s over and I only have to see security officers with machine guns at the airport.