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    "When many cures are offered for a disease, it means the disease is not curable" -Anton Chekhov

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    Saturday, October 02, 2004

    Swing State Notes: President Bush was in town today, and thanks to one of my very kind patients, I got a ticket to the event. The campaign stop was in the parking lot of a new community fitness center in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Perhaps you've heard of Cuyahoga Falls, it gets a mention in Chrissie Hynde's song My City Was Gone. Muzak doesn't really fill the air there, and it isn't a paved parking lot, but it does have a shopping mall.

    The afternoon was rainy and cold, but there was still a sizable crowd

    The crowd was a diverse one, too. There were young families, college kids, service men, senior citizens, Firefighters for Bush, Policmen for Bush, Sportsmen for Bush, Veterans for Bush, and the sighting of one of my patients made me wonder if somewhere there wasn't drug dealers for Bush. Not everyone was a Bush fan. The little girl in front of me in the refreshment line said if she was old enough she'd be voting for Kerry. He's going to tax gasoline so no one can drive cars and kids will be free to ride their bikes in the streets, don't you know?

    The hour before the President's appearance was filled with the usual local and state politicians. The best speaker by far was the mayor of Youngstown, a Democrat who has endorsed Bush. He gave a fiery sermon-like speech a la Zell Miller, about how far the Democratic party has strayed from the days of FDR and JFK, with many allusions to the unholy alliance of the Democratic party and the Hollywood elite. Best soundbite (I'm paraphrasing, didn't have a pen and paper with me): "Some in the Democratic party embrace film maker Michael Moore with so much enthusiasm you would think they want to make him the next Secretary of State. FDR and JFK would have wasted no time showing him the door, with the imprint of their shoe on his backside."

    By the time Bush arrived, just a few minutes behind schedule, the rain was gone and the sun shone. My ticket was the wrong color to get a good view,

    and I couldn't always hear because I was in the Toddlers for Bush section,

    but it was a much better performance than last week's debate. The biggest applause lines, from where I was standing:

    And, yet, the most fundamental of our systems -- the tax code, health coverage, pension plans and worker training -- were created for yesterday, not tomorrow. I am running to change those systems so all citizens are equipped, prepared and, thus, truly free to make your own choices, so you can pursue your own dreams.

    ..First of all, you can't raise enough money by taxing the rich to pay for $2.2 trillion. You raise about $680 billion -- therefore, there is a tax gap. Guess who always gets to fill the tax gap? Yes, you do. "Tax the rich," yes, we've heard it. The rich hire lawyers and accountants for a reason, because they want to stick you with the bill.

    ..I'll tell you another thing we need to do to make sure health care is available and affordable. We've got to do something about these junk lawsuits that are running up the cost of medicine and running good doctors out of practice... I made my choice: I'm standing with the docs and patients; I'm for medical liability reform now. (Applause.) In all we do, we'll make sure the medical decisions are made by doctors and patients, not by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.

    But because there's a lot of baby boomers getting ready to retire, we need to worry about our children and our grandchildren when it comes to Social Security. I believe younger workers ought to be allowed to take some of their own tax money and set up a personal savings account that they can call their own that the government cannot take away. (Applause.)

    We believe in a culture of life in which every person matters and every being counts. (Applause.) We stand for marriage and family, which are the foundations of our society. (Applause.) We stand for the appointment of federal judges who know the difference between personal opinion and the strict interpretation of the law. (Applause.)

    ...Our strategy is clear. We're defending the homeland. We're reforming and strengthening our intelligence services. We're strengthening our all-volunteer army -- which will remain an all-volunteer army. (Applause.) We are staying on the offensive. We are striking the terrorists abroad so we do not have to face them here at home. (Applause.)

    And my personal favorite:

    Wasn't all that long ago that our country was at war with Japan. My dad fought him, your dads and granddads fought him, as well. They were the sworn enemy. And after World War II, Harry Truman and other Americans believed that liberty can transform an enemy into an ally, and worked with Japan to promote democracy. Now, a lot of people then, I'm confident, were skeptical about that being able to happen. You understand why. We had just fought them. A lot of lives had been lost. But because Harry Truman stuck to those values, today I sit down at the table with the head of a former enemy, talking about the peace we all want, talking about how to work together to keep the peace. (Applause.)

    Liberty is powerful. It is powerful. I am confident that someday, an American President will be sitting down with a duly elected leader of Iraq talking about how to keep the peace in the greater Middle East, and our country will be better off for it, and our children and grandchildren will be able to grow up in a more peaceful world. (Applause.)

    I believe -- I believe that the women in the Middle East want to live in freedom. (Applause.) I believe that everybody wants their child to grow up in a free and peaceful society. I believe if given the chance, the people in that part of the world will embrace the most honorable form of government ever devised by man. And I'll tell you why I believe these things: Freedom is not America's gift to the world. Freedom is the Almighty God's gift to each man and woman in this world. (Applause.)

    I don't ever remember hearing or reading anything that positive in the Kerry campaign speeches. Nothing positive in the Kerry representatives, either. They had mostly anti-Bush signs, like "Get Out of My City," although one woman did have a sign that called Kerry a "towering tree of strength" compared to the tiny Bush.

    (Sorry for the long shot. The police wouldn't let us get very close.)

    And finally, as I was waiting to cross the street on my way back to the car, the President's campaign bus came around the corner. And there was the President, sitting next to the bus door with a microphone, waving to us all and thanking us for coming. Didn't get a picture, though. I had put the camera away.


    posted by Sydney on 10/02/2004 05:32:00 PM 0 comments


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