I'm sticking with my decision to vote for Kerry. But I have to admit, Bush sounds better (at least when he's scripted, rehearsed, and surrounded by cheering supporters). The simplicity and forcefulness of his message and delivery speaks directly to the anxious, hopeful heart. The problem is, it is a choice of emotion over fact. It's a triumph of advertising over substance, sort of like the much-hyped fun and coziness of eating at McDonald's while the food is killing you.
Bush's successes in Afghanistan and in the fight against al-Qaeda (apparently acknowledged in Bin Laden's uncut videotape) spring from a war that was unanimously recognized as right and necessary, followed by unglamorous special ops, intel work and international cooperation -- the very sort of thing John Kerry recommends. Those successes have little to do with the bold but horribly botched takeover of Iraq. There, Bush's actions have been as reckless and stubborn as his words are rousing and reassuring. His appalling refusal to listen to the warnings and recommendations of either military professionals or people deeply familiar with Iraq is my rock-bottom reason for not voting for him. That, and my fear that he doesn't really care what happens in the Middle East because Biblical prophecy is his fallback position. I'm afraid all too many of my fellow Americans would follow him over a cliff like lemmings, feeling good all the way. And I'm disappointed that so many thoughtful bloggers are letting their brains be overpowered by their hearts. But then, it's a terrible thing to have to choose between your mind and your heart. When the candidate of reason and realism offers so little to the heart, it's awfully tempting to do the feel-good thing.
What we really need is to be inspired by someone who is informed. But the two have come fatally unhinged from each other.
P.S. This reminds me of a joke that was circulating in blue-collar-millionaire Massachusetts (cops' and mailmen's kids making it big in real estate -- at least that's where I heard it) in 1988: "My heart says vote for Bush, but my bush says vote for Hart."