Nation needs leader with strong resolve

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 31, 2004

Forty-eight hours from the presidential election, we are at the conclusion of a political battle every bit as divisive and nasty as we experienced in 2000.

But that was before Sept. 11, 2001.

One of the overriding themes in this race has been, and should be, homeland security.

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Here’s the bottom line: We are waging a war against terrorism. In choosing a president we need tough resolve to fight our enemy and protect the American people.

We’re not wild about President Bush or Sen. John Kerry. Each has strengths and weaknesses, but neither dazzles us with his intellect or policy proposals.

On some issues, such as getting rid of the deficit, the men want to achieve similar goals with vastly different means. Bush has a plan to cut the deficit in half in five years by imposing spending limits on Congress; Kerry would roll back tax cuts and hold a Balanced Budget Summit to determine how to cut it in half by 2008.

On other issues, such as Social Security, they are worlds apart: Bush wants to allow younger workers to set aside money for their individual retirement, while Kerry opposes such individual accounts.

Bush wants to make permanent his recent tax cuts, while Kerry would eliminate them except for the middle class and would eliminate corporate tax cuts, offering incentives instead to businesses that create jobs.

We believe the Bush tax cuts have been central to improving the economy, and we believe the economy will continue to improve under his tax policy.

But while the economy is a high profile issue in this campaign, we believe our national security is the most important.

When it comes to protecting our country, we need someone who will lead with firm resolve, who will act quickly to keep us safe and secure.

President Bush has proven he is a man of strong resolve. He stepped up after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 and promised to protect America. That promise led to the successful removal of the terrorist-backing Taliban regime in Afghanistan and a controversial war in Iraq.

Based on intelligence that showed Saddam Hussein was an imminent danger to his neighbors and, as a source for weapons for terrorists, to the world &045; intelligence thought to be accurate by to the U.S., the U.N., numerous world leaders and U.S. officials on both side of the political spectrum &045; Bush led us all into that war.

Right or wrong &045; a judgment much more easily cast in hindsight &045; Bush did something the previous administration could not bring itself to do. He acted.

Kerry voted for the war in Iraq &045; then, when the political winds in his party changed and Howard Dean began to gain favor by spouting anti-war rhetoric, said it was the wrong thing to do. Kerry’s equivocation on the issue leads us to believe he is more interested in what is politically expedient than what is best for the country.

Therefore, our endorsement goes to President Bush, who has made homeland security the central focus of his presidency and his campaign.

Bush was pushed by circumstances to step up at one of the most extraordinary times in American history. And he responded.

More than two decades ago, soon-to-be President Reagan asked voters a simple question: Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

For a president who inherited a recession and guided the country through the historical events of Sept. 11, 2001, that question is not valid.

In general, our country is not better off. How could it be?

But because of the times we live in, one valid and very important question is: Of the two candidates, whom would you have wanted in the White House on Sept. 11?