He has shown disrespect for the Constitution, including:
- Nominating a running mate from the same state as him. Technically, Cheney's Wyoming citizenship came before he was sworn in, but the concept behind having pres & veep from 2 different states (12th Amendment) is to avoid undue influence of any one region. In other words, to avoid the Big Oil ticket we currently have.
- The sneek & peek provision of the Patriot Act violates the unreasonable search and seizure provision of the 4th Amendment.
- The Free Speech Zones violate the right to peaceably assemble, granted in the 1st Amendment.
- Holding Jose Padilla, an American citizen, captured on U.S. soil, for an indefinite time violates his right to a speedy and public trial, as granted in the 6th Amendment. It also deprives him of his liberty, without due process of law, noted in the 5th.
- The Patriot Act's provision gagging librarians from telling people whether the FBI has requested their library records violates the librarians' free speech rights, granted in the 1st.
Now some will point out that Lincoln suspended habeus corpus during a time of constitutional crisis. Ex Parte Milligan, 1866, upholds the right to do so, but only in areas in which martial law has been declared. To date, Bush has not declared martial law as a response to the 9/11 attacks.
Bush also adopted a policy of pre-emptive war, and then said, essentially, that the burden of proof was on the country we invaded.
The strategic goal of re-shaping the Middle East has been hampered, not helped, by the Iraq war. NPR's recent series, "Bordering on Instability", shows that Iraq's neighbors have used the Iraq war to say that now is not the time to implement reforms. Once Iraq settles down, those governments say, then they will revisit planned reforms. Not only that, but Syrians have been radicalized by the notion that they are next on the list.
The execution of the post-combat phase of the war has been abysmal. The dead-enders that Rumsfeld spoke of in the summer of 2003 are still there, with the most recent estimates coming to about 7,000 - 8,000 insurgents with an almost unlimited supply of cash. The Bush administration ignored a great deal of advice from military and state department professionals about how to handle the postwar phase.
Bush not only went the Iraq deal mostly alone, but his administration publicy berated traditional allies in doing so. (Rumsfeld linked Germany to Libya and Cuba, and also knocked Germany and France as "Old Europe".)
Afghanistan has passed Columbia as the world's largest drug producer.
Bin Laden and Zarqawi are still at large.
Bush has been the most fiscally irresponsible president of my lifetime, cutting revenue while increasing spending, both military and non-military.
Instead of fixing the Kyoto treaty, he completely abandoned it.
Bush opposed the creation of the 9/11 Commission.
Anti-Americanism in the Arab world is at an all-time high, somewhere in the 90's, depending on which poll you look at.
Bush has not used America's leverage to push for some resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That is the foremost issue in the minds of Arabs when it comes to anti-American feelings.
A few years after Clinton declared the Era of Big Government was over, Bush expanded entitlements, despite the fact that the liabilities owed to the Baby Boomers are about due. He also created the Department of Homeland Security, which remarkably does not encompass any intelligence agencies. Actually, I'm not sure exactly what the department does outside of tracking down runaway Texas legislators, telling Americans to buy duct tape, and issuing color alerts, which will never rise to red or drop to green.
A second term would be the end of legalized abortions. I've known people who've had them, and they've never been happy about it. However, I think more people will die if it is outlawed.
Bush scoffed at free markets with his steel tariff.
Russia is by all appearances, further from democracy than 4 years ago.
North Korea has probably gone nuclear.
I am not worried about the spending plans Kerry has proposed. He'll have a Republican Congress, and a huge deficit to keep him from enacting much of those programs. He would have to spend 4 years trying to clean up Bush's mess. And if he screws it up, I'll vote him out in '08. But he deserves a crack at it.