Weekend Reading

The cable news networks are wall-to-wall hurricane coverage. If you want the news on other issues, check the blogs:

Skippy on why the Time/Newsweek Bush Bounce polls are not to be trusted.

SK Bubba, Avedon Carol at Sideshow and Natasha at Pacific Views have great roundups of blog political coverage. SK Bubba also recounts his thoughts on Bush's convention speech.

Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly comments approvingly on military analyst William Arkin's oped in the LA Times listing five mistakes Bush has made in the War on Terror. He also debunks a new Time Magazine article on Bush's plans for a second term that suggests Bush may give up preemptive strikes for less militaristic options like supporting opposition movements:

In other words, anyone who thinks they won't find excuses for further military action in a second term just isn't paying attention. A vote for Bush is a vote for more wars, and with this crew in charge it's unlikely they'll turn out any better than Iraq has.

Conservative Andrew Sullivan won't vote for Bush in November because contrary to Bush's protestations, he's not truly in support of freedom. Bush wants to deny freedom and dignity to gays. Sullivan lists a few other reasons that true conservatives cannot support Bush:

...the only difference between Republicans and Democrats now is that the Bush Republicans believe in Big Insolvent Government and the Kerry Democrats believe in Big Solvent Government. By any measure, that makes Kerry - especially as he has endorsed the critical pay-as-you-go rule on domestic spending - easily the choice for fiscal conservatives. It was also jaw-dropping to hear this president speak about tax reform. Bush? He has done more to lard up the tax code with special breaks and new loopholes than any recent president. On this issue - on which I couldn't agree more - I have to say I don't believe him. Tax reform goes against the grain of everything this president has done so far. Why would he change now?

...the president's inability to face up to the obvious sobering lessons from Iraq is worrying. I get the feeling that empirical evidence does not count for him; that like all religious visionaries, he simply asserts that his own faith will vanquish reality. It won't. We heard nothing about Iran, North Korea or even anything concrete about Iraq. We heard no new bid to capitalize on the new mood in France or to win over new allies in the war on terror. We heard nothing about intelligence reform. And the contrasts with Kerry were all retrospective. There was no attempt to tell us where Kerry and Bush would differ in the future over the Middle East, just easy (and justified) barbs about the past.

I will add one thing more. And that is the personal sadness I feel that this president who praises freedom wishes to take it away from a whole group of Americans who might otherwise support many parts of his agenda. To see the second family tableau with one family member missing because of her sexual orientation pains me to the core. And the president made it clear that discriminating against gay people, keeping them from full civic dignity and equality, is now a core value for him and his party.

Some things you can give any politician a pass on. But there are other values - of basic human dignity and equality - that cannot be sacrificed without losing your integrity itself.

Welcome, Mr. Sullivan.

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