Sunday, October 10, 2004
In No Uncertain Terms
The Philadelphia Inquirer today endorses the presidential election bid of Sen. John F. Kerry in strong language that leaves no doubt where the editors stand on this critical election.
In "Kerry for President" the editors write:
Dear fellow citizen, this is as important an election as any in which you've had a chance to vote.
The Inquirer's urgent, deeply felt recommendation: Cast that ballot on Nov. 2 for JOHN F. KERRY.
The case for Kerry has two parts. The first is the record of George W. Bush. The evidence is compelling, though tallied in sorrow: His was a presidency of high promise that lapsed into multiple disasters.
On his watch, useful surpluses have become a sea of red ink. The economic rebound he bought with tax cuts is mild, barely more than would have occurred in the natural cycle. Those slanted tax changes have left society more unequal, its safety net frayed. His team's habits of ignoring science and punishing dissent hamper the search for solutions.
His plan for a second term is not to repair those mistakes, but to expand and entrench them. [...]
Awash in millions from the corporate donors to whom his White House caters so avidly, the President has spent more time ridiculing Kerry through distortions than presenting his own plans.
Bush backers cling to a tired, tiresome slogan of elections past: Kerry is a clueless liberal, out of touch with the American mainstream.
Here is what Kerry thinks, and what his record as a U.S. senator, lieutenant governor and prosecutor underscores:
John Kerry thinks government should pursue solutions to problems that haunt American lives, but must pay for each initiative as it goes -- not stick the nation's children with the tab. Robert Rubin, the superb Treasury secretary under Bill Clinton, praises Kerry as a senator who stood tall on the tough votes that tamed deficits.
He thinks work is better than welfare; he voted for welfare reform.
He thinks it's unacceptable that 45 million Americans lack health coverage; he has a smart plan to shrink that number dramatically.
He wants science to do all it can to speed cures for illnesses.
He knows that protection of America's air, land and water can't be left to the whims of corporations.
He doesn't just shrug when he sees American children slipping into poverty, or more paychecks losing buying power.
If those aren't mainstream American values, then God help America. But of course these are American values. [...]
The editors draw attention to an important issue, about which the president and his supporters make much hay:
Kerry doesn't talk much about his Senate record, a curious omission. That record isn't spectacular, but it is solid and qualifying. Names on bills are just one road to effectiveness. Kerry took the less glamorous path of investigation. He had major successes.
He was one of the first to spot and expose the scandal that came to be known as Iran-contra. He took the lead in unraveling the criminal deeds of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, which financed drug cartels and terrorists. Finally, he worked well with John McCain and others to resolve the emotional issue of Vietnam MIAs.
Not flashy, not easy. Just important.
The editors conclude:
John Kerry isn't perfect. He has things to learn. One thing Americans should have learned by now, though, is that the incumbent lacks the realism, judgment and ability to adjust to events that the United States needs in its commander in chief. In this perilous moment, the safer choice, the wiser choice, is John F. Kerry.
The editors are offering readers an impressive 21-day series examining the president's record. The series "will review the facts of the Bush record on an array of issues, from homeland security to Head Start, contrasting it with Kerry's ideas. The first appears [today]. Most days, on the facing page, a prominent supporter of President Bush will provide a contrasting view."
This should be interesting -- fun, even.
(Note: Also the Inquirer's commentary section today: "We Have a Duty to Stay, and Then Go," by regular foreign affairs columnist Trudy Rubin. Rubin's commentary on Iraq has been consistently excellent, easily warranting the new release of a collection of her essays, Willful Blindness: The Bush Administration and Iraq.)
[Post-publication addendum: Philadelphia's other major daily, the Philadelphia Daily News, endorsed Kerry almost four months ago.]
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