Mike Kass asked this question to the Bush-supporting-stanford-law community. Sean Hayes answered the call with this well-written explanation.
Ok, let me make sure i go through this properly:
Why did you vote for Bush?
I'll avoid a boring point-by-point of his programs that i like. Instead, I like to fashion myself a 9/11 Republican--i voted for Bush in 2000 (in CT, of all places), and wasn't really a big backer of the man. Just liked him a little more than Gore, who always (like Kerry), just struck me as a beltway insider. Bush is obviously one by lineage as well, but he hides it well.
9/11 really made me a gun-ho bush supporter. HBO had that "9 Innings From Ground Zero" special on a month ago, and one of the commentators summed it up perfectly, when talking about bush throwing out the first pitch: "He was my guy, my representative, and i've never felt like that before." This from a guy who didn't vote for him.
I felt the exact same way, the greatest thing i have ever seen on television was Bush's impromptu bullhorn speech at ground zero. You couldn't help but feel the president of the US was fighting for you specifically. Obviously, this doesn't translate to a lot of people from the west coast, but 9/11 affected my undergrad in a big way.
Is it moral issues? If so, which ones, specifically?I generally stay away from the pro-choice debate, because i don't have ovaries. The marriage thing, however, i do have an opinion on, but its not even that, because we mostly knew that state initiatives, and not a federal amendment, were going to decide that.
But "moral issues," to me just doesn't mean where life starts or what marriage is. Bush obviously has had his moments of truth stretching, but i don't think he ever deliberately lied to us. Kerry, on the other hand, consistently reeked of political opportunism. His constant Monday morning quarterbacking was becoming embarrassing. His answers on abortion were a joke--"I can't legislate from my belief"--but kerry would always say his faith affected everything else, just not that.
But the Swift Boat guys guaranteed that Kerry would never get my vote. I don't care if those guys gave money to Bush. I don't care if a lot of their funding came from a Bush supporter (who would it come from? Soros?). What bothered me more than anything was that here were 260 dudes with an opinion on Kerry, contrary to the opinion of Kerry's 12 supporters--and they can't speak without Tad Devine calling one of them "a bigot"? The press, Soros, the 527s went after Bush with all they had for 4 years, and a bunch of verterans aren't allowed to say, "hey, this guy isn't worthy of being president"???? Viewpoint discrimination at its finest.
Do you believe he'll fight the terrorists more effectively and why?Yes, predominantly because Bush is going to let the fight be fought regardless of polls. We're going to destroy Fallujah in order to save it. Would Kerry have done that? Not if one country said no. I have faith that Iraq is going to turn around now.
Furthermore, as much as Kerry tried to turn Afghanistan into a failure, that is a remarkable success. Sure, we lost Osama and opium production is up, but we also installed a democracy in 3 years. Not bad.
Libya's disarmed, and regardless of kerry saying "we could've always had that," Bush still got it.
Do you believe Bush is better for the economy? Why?
I don't think Presidents create jobs. They sure do like to take credit for them. Apparently Bill Clinton created the internet boom. They create situations where job growth is encouraged, and Kerry's 11th hour admission that he would tax corporations more sure wasn't going to do that. Most of you know I don't particularly care what economists think, so the fact that Jack Welch was practically stumping for Bush on the talk shows is enough for me.
Do you simply want to have lower taxes in the short term?
Finally, is there anything more Kerry could have done, while remaining at least a moderate Democrat and retaining his personality and personal history, that would have swayed your vote?
There's the catch 22! Voted against every gun rights bill ever? Go shoot some geese! 100% pro choice rank? Talk about not legislating from faith! Against every conceivable American defense initiative and policy? Whore out your military service!
The problem is that the "more" Kerry could have done would have been seen as "more" of the same--John Kerry pandering for votes.
However, Emily makes a good point--if Kerry's "health care plan" had been more specific and understandable (it was synonymous with a tax hike, for heaven's sake), that might have given him a lot of credit.