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The Free Lance-Star's presidential endorsement.
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Poor marks also go to Mr. Bush for communication. By this we do not mean a lack of glibness or his penchant for words most kindly described as extra-Websterian. What we mean is the president's failure to talk squarely with the American people, especially when the nation encounters reverses abroad. As post-Saddam Iraq gets bloodier by the month, as misgivings about America's intervention grow, the country looks to the president for reassurance and the articulation of a better plan. If one hears anything at all from this president, it is a perfect defense of past decisions, a simple-minded optimism that hardly jibes with wet red facts. Americans should worry about the conduct of a war whose leaders require of them no greater tax burden to wage it, have categorically ruled out a military draft ("Never say never," cautioned Ronald Reagan), and utter no word designed to cause--worry.
All this and more constitutes a case to hire as the country's leader someone else. But someone else is not the available option. John Kerry is. And whatever Mr. Bush's flaws, Mr. Kerry's are more fundamental and, at this juncture in history, more dangerous.
Mr. Kerry's career in the public arena has been, to paraphrase Samuel Johnson, both long and remarkable--however, the long part is not remarkable and the remarkable part is not long. Or good. As a young man, Mr. Kerry returned from decorated service in South Vietnam to flamboyantly equate Americans there with the armies of Genghis Khan. Aside from pinning three Black Hearts--criminal/loser/victim--on better men than himself, Mr. Kerry ably served the purposes of America's enemies, the brutal collectivists who with him sought immediate U.S. withdrawal from Indochina.
Meanwhile, Mr. Kerry's 20-year U.S. Senate record hardly dazzles. Do not feel bad if you are a Kerry supporter and cannot name one piece of significant legislation he has authored--neither recently could the chairman of the national Democratic Party. What's most telling about the Kerry record, in 2004, is his consistency in being wrong about national-security issues before 2004. In the early '80s, he favored a nuclear freeze, which would have blocked the European missile deployment that helped bring the Soviet bear to bay. He fought Reagan's military support of Central American forces in countries that are now democracies because of that support.