Why I didn't vote for President Bush
The reason I got involved in supporting Democrats in the 2000 Presidential election was because of what I learned just before the election about Bush's track record on education and the environment as Governor of Texas.
It was the RAND report that came out weeks before the election that piqued my curiosity. The report basically said Bush was a complete zero on education in Texas. Republicans attacked the timing of the report and claimed it was missing data. They never produced the mysterious "missing data." And as any scientist knows, you can't attack a peer reviewed technical paper based on timing. You have to attack the data or the methodology. To this day (now two years later), no one has presented a credible challenge to the data (although Chester Finn and Bill Bennett made a weak attempt; see The Finn Editorial- lots of questions). I replicated the calculations in the RAND report myself. You can do it too. The NAEP data was consistent with the SAT data: Texas had "flatlined." No improvement.
I subsequently learned things were far worse than the RAND report indicated. Walt Haney (a professor at Boston College) found out that the pass rates on Texas' TASP exam went from 80% passing (before Bush took office) to only 30% passing just 4 years after Bush took office as Texas governor. That's appalling. A 70% failure rate! After Haney's research was published, he received e-mails like this one:
Bush said the #1 most important thing in America is education. And he had a dismal record on education as Governor of Texas. Yet this was the accomplishment mentioned in his Presidential campaign as the most significant.
So I went to his Presidential campaign website and read the claims. I found that they were all false and misleading. See the truth behind Bush's campaign hype for details.
I donated to Gore's campaign because I didn't want to see Bush do to education in America what he did to education in Texas. That's important if we want a better future for our children--yours and mine.
Bush has lived up to my worst fears. He said one thing during the campaign and did another after being selected President.
For example, he said over and over during the campaign that education was the #1 most important thing in America. But, if education is #1, then how can he answer the following questions:
I'm hardly the only one to figure this out. See The Bush Watch which talks about his non-record in education.
In August 2000, ACT has released state and national test results for the ACT college admissions test for 2001.
Texas remains one of the lowest scoring states (20.1 average composite score, as compared with 20.8 national average) even though only 32% of HS graduates in the state took the SAT. There are a few others states with averages as low or lower than Texas (AL, CO, IL, KY, NM, and TN), but in these states between 63 and 99% of graduates took the ACT. Pretty dismal results especially given the low proportion of TX kids who even make it to the upper years of high school. Just one most bit of evidence on the Texas miracle in education . . .
Bush's environmental track record was poor in Texas. As President he has the worst rating of any US President. Check out this report on how he's systematically rolled back decades of environmental progress. 30 pages of rollbacks.
I give to politicians because I care about the future of America.
Under Bush, that future is looking very bleak I'm afraid.
I want a President with a vision and a plan for a better future for all Americans.
Right now education, energy policy, and the environment are critical. Yet there are no national goals for education, none for energy; and none for the environment. Zero. That Cheney Energy Task force report didn't have a single measurable goal you could hold them accountable for. Just a set of recommendations...invest more in this, study that. No goals and no strategy to achieve the goals.
I want a President who will say "the goal for education is to reduce the high school dropout rate to less than 10% within 10 years and here's the proven method we have tested that will guarantee we will accomplish this goal." Or who will say "a key goal for energy is to reduce our dependence on foreign oil by 50% within 15 years and here's the credible plan on how we are going to do it." Or will tell us how the US will lead the way to reverse global warming.
I want a leader I can follow and believe in.
Bush's vision for America is tax cuts and going to war against terrorism. I think our focus should be instead on improving our economy, not on tax cuts. What good is a tax cut if you just lost your job, or if you lost half your savings in a stock market that has gone downhill ever since Bush got elected? And if we want to fight terrorism, we shouldn't go to war against terrorists. We should focus on making friends throughout the world and helping other countries. We should reach out. But instead, Bush has pulled out of foreign treaties and ignored the Middle East (until recently). The result is that foreigners don't like us because we are unilaterists. That's bad policy. And it will lead to more terrorism, not less. By declaring war on terrorism, we are creating an enemy that will spiral out of control. We should be out helping people, not attacking them.
Were you better off under Clinton or Bush? You decide.
In 2004, you'll get a chance to hold Bush accountable.
I hope you'll get involved. Here's the DNC website.
Here's some background reading:
Bush's real record on education is appalling
The mystery of the "conflicting RAND
The truth behind Bush's