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Why I'm Voting for George Bush
Weldon Johnson, aka Wejo, cofounder of LetsRun.com
November 1, 2004

With the election just one day away, I figure it is time for me to become part of the vast right wing conspiracy (whatever that is) that some on this site's message board have already accused me being a part of when they found out my dad works for President Bush. I always laughed at their accusations and said if I was going to use this website to put forth a certain political view I'd be more direct about it. So with that in mind here goes. Let me be direct.

First off, let's get a couple of things on the table.  Yes, my dad works for the President and has been friends with him for over 40 years. They went to high school together and were college roommates.  My dad has worked for the President ever since he became Governor of Texas. So call my dad a crony if you want, but my dad did not leave the private sector to work for Governor Bush for financial reasons (my dad got paid expenses plus $1 when he first started working for the Governor) or even political ones (my dad had never been in politics in his life). He starting working for the President because he had known for 40 years what a great man the President is and sincerely believed he would make Texas and this country a better place.

My goals with this article are two-fold. If you're on the fence or not sure who you want to vote for, I obviously want to try and convince you to vote for the President. If however, you are set in your ways and are not going to vote for the President, I am hoping that after reading this piece you will no longer believe all of the lies about the President, and at least be able to acknowledge that the president is an honorable person with good intentions with whom you just happen to disagree with politically. Knowing the president personally, I'm fed up with the personal attacks, lies, and hatred directed towards a man whom I personally have a tremendous amount of respect for.  

I consider the President to be a personal friend. He and his family moved to Dallas when I was a kid and lived 2 blocks away (not in some mansion like you'd believe from the press, but in a one story house) for a big part of my childhood. I baby sat his twin daughters (it was kind of embarrassing when the Secret Service agent asked if I was old enough to drive), went to July 4th barbecues, played volleyball, debated baseball strategy, went running (yes he did run at a very good clip, we were going sub 7 minute pace at the end of his 3 mile run), and even talked politics with the person who is now president of the United States.  Let me just start off by saying I'm privileged to know him personally, as wish you all had the same opportunity to know him.

Of all my parents friends, my twin brother and I have always said he (now the president) is our favorite.  Sure it was kind of cool because his dad was Vice President and then President, and then he put together the group that bought the baseball team (the Texas Rangers), but that is not why we liked him the best.  We liked him because he was and is a very caring, outgoing, and friendly person who took the time not only to interact and joke around with the sons of a friend of his, but to actually care about our well being. So when I read about the President spontaneously comforting the 15 year old girl whose mother died in the September 11th horror, I know this is not the act of some politician trying to make a campaign commercial, but is just the George Bush I have always known who has a genuine deep concern for others.  I'm still a bit surprised now whenever I see the President and he'll ask me about something going on in my life that he must have heard from my dad. It surprised me at first because now that he is President of the United States, I originally thought he would have more important things to worry about than my life, but then I realized that becoming President did not change the true character of George Bush the man. When I won the Marine Corps Marathon in 1998, which was one of the highlights of my running career at that point, the next day at work I got a call from the then Governor Bush, congratulating me on the win.  I realize the President is still the friend of my dad who cares deeply about his friends, and cares even more deeply about the future and safety of this country.

It seems like many people who disagree with the president try and attack him personally  instead of arguing against his policies. Michael Moore and others want you to believe the president is a bumbling, evil idiot, yet somehow smart enough to fool a whole country into going to war for his friends in the oil business. Their accusations really do not merit a response, except for the fact that so many people do seem to believe them.  

So even though the president had better grades than Al Gore in college, you're led to believe the president is stupid because he sometimes mangles his sentences. Even though the President has the most racially diverse Cabinet in the history of the United States with 3 black cabinet members (Sec. of State Colin Powell, Education Secretary Ron Page, and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alfonso Jackson) and Condoleeza Rice as his National Security advisor, his opponents want you to believe he is racist and trying to prevent black people from voting in this country. Even though the President went to the United Nations before invading Iraq and the UN passed a resolution calling on Saddam Hussein to immediately disarm and account for the weapons of mass destruction inspectors knew with certainty he once had, the President is viewed as someone who does not care about our Allies because he decided it was in the best interest of our country to show Saddam Hussein there were consequences for continuing to violate the UN resolutions (17 of them in all), and he went to war without the approval of France, Russia, and Germany.

Because the President is a man who is confident in his decision making abilities and is firm once he analyzes the facts and makes a decision and stands behind it, he is said by his opponents to not look at differing viewpoints when this is not the case. Let me give a personal example.  One time my family was having dinner at the Governor's Mansion in Texas when the topic of the death penalty came up.  My brother argued against the death penalty with Governor Bush saying he did not believe it was a deterrent against crime, can be applied unfairly, etc. The then Governor Bush did not just dismiss the views of my college aged brother, but rather listened to my brother and then explained to him why although it was a very difficult decision to put another man to death, the reasons he supported the death penalty.  They debated the issue, cordially disagreed, but the president stood firm in his belief.

The War on Terror
So now that I've hopefully at least established that the President is an intelligent, caring person who you would be proud to call your friend (or at least to some of you out there is not the bumbling idiot some of his most extreme haters like to portray), let me turn to some of the non personal reasons I'm voting for the president. For me the decision to vote for the president is a simple one, because I do not have even the littlest doubt about his intentions or resolve to do what is right for this country. But I realize most people out there are not in the same situation as me to know the President personally.

Some of you may not realize it, but there is a faction of Islamic fundamentalists out there who are out to destroy the American way of life. We are at war with them, and the President realizes this.  These fundamentalists have been attacking our way of life with very few consequences since the 1980s and perhaps it took September 11th for us to realize we are at war with them. But the President immediately grasped the seriousness of the struggle, and set out to do something about it. He did not lob a few cruise missiles into the desert, or call for the arrest of Al Qaeda leaders, instead he immediately organized a plan to go after the terrorist leaders in Afghanistan. The Taliban regime quickly fell in Afghanistan. As a result many people now forget the criticism the president received at the time from some for deciding to oust the Taliban.  Many critics said Afghanistan would be the next Vietnam, that the Soviets could not defeat the Afghanis, so neither would the United States.  3 years later this criticism is largely forgotten thanks to the success of the war in Afghanistan.

The War in Iraq is perhaps the most contentious issue of the campaign. Much has been made of the fact that weapons of mass destruction were not found in Iraq when President Bush and the rest of the world (including the French and Germans) believed he had them.  However, the war in Iraq was not solely about finding weapons of mess destruction, but also was about Saddam Hussein complying with UN resolutions and disarming.  17 UN resolutions had been passed, placing the burden on Saddam Hussein to disarm and to show to weapons inspectors he had disarmed. President Bush helped pass one final UN resolution, 1441, threatening Hussein with serious consequences if once again he did not comply with the resolution. Iraq once again did not comply with the resolution and President Bush followed through on his word, showing that in the post September 11th world, the United States was serious in dealing with a rogue regime that continued to flaunt an international treaty.

And although weapons of mass destruction were not found, the independent Duelfer report has shown that the UN sanctions were not effective as Saddam Hussein's grand plan was to use the Oil for Food Program to continue bribing other nations so the UN sanctions would end.  Then he could resume his weapons programs once the international world turned its back, as he maintained the knowledge and capacity to make the weapons. The New York Daily News is a newspaper that endorsed both Al Gore and Bill Clinton and is "dismayed" by President Bush's domestic policies. Yet it endorsed President Bush in this 2004 election because he has the conviction and resolve to fight the war on terror. As their endorsement of Bush says, "The war was about disarming a rogue state, Duelfer's report concluded that while Saddam had no weapons stockpiles, he was itching to restart Iraq's armaments programs, including nuclear, as soon as he bribed his way around UN sanctions. His first production capacity would have been soon in coming mustard agents within months and nerve agents in a year or two." http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ideas_opinions/story/247787p-212226c.html

And while President Bush has been resolute on Iraq and the war on terror, John Kerry has been all over the place. Many of his supporters like to believe Kerry is against the Iraq war when that is not the case. Kerry voted yes to authorizing President Bush the force to invade Iraq. Now he likes to say it was the "wrong war" at the "wrong time", but when pressed to say if he had to vote again on the matter, he admits he'd vote the same way in authorizing President Bush the force to go to war. (If it was the "wrong war" at the "wrong time", you think Kerry would not even authorize Bush the authority to use force.) It is easy to play arm chair quarterback like John Kerry and say things could have been done differently in Iraq after the fact (maybe not disbanding the Iraqi army, the prison scandal, etc), but John Kerry likes to be critical of the president without presenting a clear vision of what he'd do differently in Iraq in the future. His main claim is that he would get more allies involved in Iraq, despite the fact the French and Germans having flat out said that no matter who is the US president they will not send troops to Iraq.

Perhaps the biggest endorsement of President Bush on the war on terror is the fact that the members of the US military, the people putting their lives on the line on a daily basis for this country, are supporting President Bush by at least 2 to 1 over John Kerry. Granted the military usually slightly leans to the Republican party, but this amount of support is unusually high according to the pollster.

Kerry on the war on terror, seems to me to be more of an opportunist than a man of conviction. As stated above, his main criticism of the President is that President Bush did not get enough international support in the Iraq War. However, during the first Gulf War, the United States had an even broader coalition, Saddam Hussein had invaded and taken over another country, Kuwait, yet John Kerry voted AGAINST that war as well.

Perhaps my main reservation with Kerry, is that to me he seems to be more of a follower than a leader. Especially in these times, I want the President to be someone who knows his core values and convictions, and can make the tough decision even when it is unpopular.  Kerry however always seems to be someone who is a good debater and can criticize someone else (which is always easy to do) without putting forth a vision of his own.

Here's a little test. Name one major piece of legislation that John Kerry has led in his 19 years in the Senate.  I bet you can't do it and neither can 99% of America because in 19 years John Kerry has passed "no major pieces of legislation" according to the Economist.  I feel this just shows that Kerry is not the type of person needed to lead our country when we are threatened by a very real enemy. Bush's handling on the war on terror, while definitely not perfect (who is perfect anyway?), is the reason a few Democrats like Senator Zell Miller of Georgia and former New York Mayor Ed Koch are voting for George Bush this year.

The Economy

And although I'm not trying to go issue by issue and say why you should vote for President Bush, let me briefly turn to the economy. From the talk of Senator Kerry, you would think the economic climate of the country right now is terrible. And while obviously the economy could be in better shape things are pretty good right now and improving rapidly.  The unemployment rate now is 5.4% which is the same as the unemployment rate in November 1996 when Bill Clinton was reelected (funny how you don't hear that mentioned in the press). The economy of the United States does not operate in a vacuum, and our economic growth rate is the greatest in the Western industrial world.

All of this is the case despite George Bush becoming President when the internet bubble burst and the country entered a world wide recession.  Pile on this the terrible economic effects of the September 11th attacks which caused great economic damage, and our recent economic growth becomes even more impressive. I was an economics major in college, and it is a basic economic fact that tax cuts help stimulate the economy. Without the Bush tax cuts our economic growth would be much less than it is today and the recession would have been greater than it was.

Conclusion

So there you have it, my brief synopsis on why I'm proud to know George Bush and why I hope you plan on voting for him on Tuesday. The President is a compassionate, considerate, thoughtful man who cares greatly about the future of this country.  I can respect someone who honestly looks at the issues and concludes that President Bush's policies are not the right ones for the country. But I can not respect someone who questions the President's intentions or his heart. He is a good man, and the one I believe with the conviction to lead the country in the times ahead.

PS. If I haven't convinced you on who to vote for or you just want to learn more about the President, there is a book on the President called A Matter Of Character: Inside The White House Of George W. Bush by Ron Kessler. Kessler, who voted for Al Gore by the way in 2000, got behind the scenes access to the White House and portrays the President in a way not seen by the mainstream media. Kessler is an expert on National Security and is voting for President Bush this time around.  Click here to read more on the book and excerpts from author's website or click here to buy the book from Amazon.com (Plus in the book you can read about my dad spanking the President's dog Barney in the oval office).

Weldon Johnson, "Wejo", is a co-founder of LetsRun.com. Since founding this website in 2000, he has gone from 29:49 at 10k to 28:06, and represented the United States at the Pan Am Games.  Weldon Johnson can be reached at:
 

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