Bush for president

By David Brooks

By Salon Staff
Published August 7, 2000 7:58PM (EDT)

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Voting for Bush because he is supposedly such a nice man might be the stupidest reason I have ever heard for deciding who to vote for. I believe his political record speaks for just how nice he is: Nice enough to have someone executed on the basis of a single witness's testimony. Nice enough to impose extremely harsh sentences on first-time drug users now that he has finished "experimenting" with them himself. Nice enough to let others go to Vietnam while he defended the skies over Texas.

And, as for the people he will attract, I think we can judge who they will be too: Very nice men who feel they have a right to make money however they see fit, regardless of the consequences to the environment or their fellow citizens. Very nice men with very narrow minds about what it means to be an American.

The linkage between being nice and getting cooperation from other elements of the government is a weak one. Jimmy Carter was probably the nicest man to be president, well, ever, and he was run out of town like a poison troll. If nice is the most important quality in a leader, then why not elect Fred Rogers? Loved by young and old alike, all he wants is to be our friendly neighbor. And gosh, that's awful nice!

-- Greg Gulas

If we are to believe David Brooks' idiotic supposition, then Howdy Doody -- easily Bush's intellectual peer -- would be a great president.

-- Henry Petrow

I'm a big fan of David Brooks. Although I consider myself a liberal, I appreciate his quick intelligence and sharp wit. Accordingly, I was doubly disappointed by his inane piece on why George W. Bush should be president.

Even if "niceness" were a valid qualification for the presidency, and I seriously doubt that it is, the governor of Texas does not pass muster. This is the man who, as reported by Brooks' colleague Tucker Carlson, took joy in mocking death row prisoner Karla Faye Tucker's pleas for mercy; the same man who stood by silently as his henchmen carpet-bombed South Carolina with the most hideous slurs against Sen. John McCain and his family.

Sure, Texas legislators on both sides of the aisle have vast reserves of praise for Bush. Since the primary campaign, he has proven himself adept at charming reporters and voters alike. There is, however, an important difference between being a nice guy and being a skilled ass-kisser. So far, the cheerleader from Yale has shown every sign of being the latter.

-- Benjamin Anderson

So Bush is a nice guy? He's also incredibly stupid, and that (combined with his "penchant for innovation") could lead to embarrassing public gaffes at best and disastrous consequences for our country at worst. You evidently don't expect much in the way of brain power from your leaders. I pray that there are more people who think about their choices than people like you, who choose their president like they choose a beer: "It's cheap and it tastes bad, but you'll get a buzz!"

-- Liane Blanco

David Brooks writes that the Bush administration in Texas pushed through a "bold tax reform package, which moved the state's revenue base from income to property taxes." That's quite a feat, considering that Texas has never had a personal income tax and, as Brooks notes, business pays almost no income tax here, either. Just whose income was being taxed before to cover the state's expenses?

-- John Hsley

David Brooks makes some excellent points in his article. The fact that the Bush-Cheney ticket represents normal, functioning adults is a stark contrast to eight years of Clinton-Gore dysfunctionalism. The Democrats will be sorry they have made so many personal attacks on Dick Cheney. The sneering descriptions of him as a middle-aged, portly, white man reek with elitism and racism. The American people have much more in common with Dick Cheney than with the disturbed characters of Gore and Clinton.

It is also interesting to note how huffy those in the liberal press and on the Democratic side get when the word "character" is brought up. I guess that is an issue they feel Americans no longer care about. In order for the Democrats to win that will have to be true.

-- Robert Franklin

Salon Staff

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