It’s not so much that George Bush is a moron as it is that he’s a really bad president. A really bad president. An assessment of media war coverage and my pick for 2004.

Death is never an easy thing, but the rah-rah press coverage in Iraq has done its best to minimize any temporary discomfort viewers might feel when presented with the occasional stark realization that this is not a video game. Yes, we can surely be proud of our press corp. “Embedded” like puppets in a marionette show, our illustrious reporters have given us plenty of stirring combat photos, several good interviews with American soldiers, and all the impartiality of George Steinbrenner watching a Yankees-Red Sox game. If you feel badly at any point about people dying for your entertainment, they are sooo sorry….

Personally, I think it would be nice if they’d mention that despite all the death and destruction delivered by the US military (and at what? A cost of only $1 million per cruise missile? A bah-gain!) that we’re actually losing plenty of other wars here at home. Smoking continues to kill at least a couple hundred thousand Americans a year. US Gun-related deaths were at 28,000 in 1999 (the last year I could find statistics). Hey, breast cancer killed 40,200 Americans in 2001. How about some coverage, you know?

I don’t mean to be overly picky, but the extent to which the media—particularly TV—is being manipulated here is remarkable. For example, no commentator I heard found it contradictory that the Bush administration should complain about Iraq ignoring the Geneva Convention (by showing POWs and American dead on TV)—a case open to some dispute, by the way—when we’ve violated the same for months now by holding Afgan prisoners of war without trial, legal representation or charges. We’re just presented with Iraqi government bad, US government good. No mention, at least that I heard, of the fact that you can’t break the law on the one hand and then try to claim its protection on the other. Or at least that it’s hypocritical to do so.

Well, I’m being a little circuitous in getting to what I really want to talk about, and that’s the 2004 presidential election. As you may recall, I don’t believe Bush won the 2000, but I sure as hellfire aim to stop him from getting another four years. My horse for the Democratic primaries is Howard Dean, MD, the ex-governor of Vermont. He’s consistently anti-war, he’s a fiscal conservative who believes in a balanced budget, and he’s not afraid to say what he thinks. Especially about Bush. You’ll be hearing a lot more about him (from me if nobody else) in the coming months.

You may have a different nominee who you like. I’m cool with that. Just because I think Dean is the best of the lot doesn’t mean I won’t work hard for your guy or gal if he or she gets the nomination. Anybody but Bush, my friends. We can’t do worse than the unelected yahoo currently calling the shots from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.