No on Bush

5. He’s not smart enough to be president.

There is no denying that George W. Bush took a slack-off approach to his own education. His lack of discipline and apparent disdain for the rigors of reflection and examination seemed as obvious back then with his C-average college years as they do today.

Plenty of fun has been had with Bush’s capacity to misspeak (“They misunderestimated me”). When he goes off the cuff, his language is filled with malapropisms, a lack of clarity, and goofs. But the real danger isn’t the butchered rhetoric. It’s that Bush thinks simply, without ambiguity, and seems to perceive everything as black and white, good or evil. Do we really want a president who can’t (or won’t) fully grasp the complex choices facing the country?

Let’s put it another way: Would you choose someone with Bush’s intelligence to be principal at your child’s high school, chief executive officer of your company? We wouldn’t either.

6. He likes government secrets and has thrashed civil liberties.

The U.S. News & World Report published a scathing investigative report last year that documented how the Bush administration had quietly dropped a “shroud of secrecy” across many critical operations of the federal government. A brand-new report by Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman also details an “unprecedented assault” on the principles of open government. Examples abound about how the Bush administration—through the USA Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act—has used the post-9/11 era to put large amounts of information (such as data on the quality of drinking-water supplies in neighborhoods) out of the reach of regular citizens.

This comes in tandem with a frightening chilling of free speech, as with Attorney General John Ashcroft’s statement to antiwar protesters: “Your tactics only aid terrorists.”

Certainly, Americans desire increased security since 9/11. But democracy dies when free speech is burdened and when the government keeps too many secrets.

7. He has hindered scientific and medical progress.

Government interference into scientific research has soared off the charts under the administration of George W. Bush. In fact, 4,000 scientists (including 48 Nobel laureates and 127 members of the National Academy of Sciences) issued a statement opposing the Bush administration’s use and abuse of science since 2000. The unprecedented collection of scientists claims the Bush administration has wrongfully and repeatedly politicized what are clearly unbiased scientific findings, by suppressing and distorting findings on issues like global warming, stem-cell research and mercury pollution.

Americans need to be able to look to the future with the hope that new scientific discoveries may help us solve problems in ways now unimaginable. The future can’t afford four more years of an American president who undercuts the scientists.

8. His judicial appointments are too extreme.

9. He surrounds himself with ideologues.

10. He favors the ultra-rich.