Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal
Sunday, October 24, 2004
Non-Ohio endorsements for Sen. John Kerry (not all inclusive)
On many other issues, Mr. Kerry has the better approach. He has a workable plan to provide health insurance to more Americans; the 45 million uninsured represent a shameful abdication that appears not to have concerned Mr. Bush one whit. Where Mr. Bush ignored the dangers of climate change and favored industry at the expense of clean air and water, Mr. Kerry is a longtime and thoughtful champion of environmental protection. Mr. Bush played politics with the Constitution, as Mr. Kerry would not, by endorsing an amendment to ban gay marriage. Mr. Kerry has pledged to follow the Geneva Conventions abroad and respect civil liberties at home. A Kerry judiciary - and the next president is likely to make a significant mark on the Supreme Court - would be more hospitable to civil rights, abortion rights and the right to privacy.
None of these issues would bring us to vote for Mr. Kerry if he were less likely than Mr. Bush to keep the nation safe. But we believe the challenger is well equipped to guide the country in a time of danger. Mr. Kerry brings a résumé that unarguably has prepared him for high office. He understood early on the dangers of non-state actors such as al Qaeda. To pave the way for restored relations with Vietnam in the 1990s, he took on the thankless and politically risky task of convincing relatives that no American prisoners remained in Southeast Asia. While he wrongly opposed the first Persian Gulf War, he supported the use of American force in Bosnia and Kosovo.
As with Mr. Bush, some of Mr. Kerry's strengths strike us as potential weaknesses. The senator is far more likely than Mr. Bush to seek a range of opinions before making a decision - but is he decisive enough? He understands the importance of allies and of burnishing America's image - but would he be too reluctant to give offense? His Senate record suggests an understanding of the importance of open markets, but during the campaign he has retreated to protectionist rhetoric that is
troubling in its own right and as a possible indicator of inconstancy.
We have been dismayed most of all by Mr. Kerry's zigzags on Iraq, such as his swervings on whether Saddam Hussein presented a threat. As Mr. Bush charges, Mr. Kerry's description of the war as a ``diversion'' does not inspire confidence in his determination to see it through. But Mr. Kerry has repeatedly pledged not to cut and run from Iraq, and we believe a Kerry administration would be better able to tackle the formidable nation-building tasks that remain there. Mr. Kerry echoes the Bush goals of an elected Iraqi government and a well-trained Iraqi force to defend it but argues that he could implement the strategy more effectively.
Mr. Kerry understands that the biggest threat to U.S. security comes from terrorists wielding nuclear or biological weapons. He pledges to add two divisions to the U.S. Army; try harder to secure nuclear weapons and materials around the world, and improve U.S. preparations for a bioterrorism attack. There is no way to know whether he would be more successful than Mr. Bush in slowing North Korea's and Iran's march toward becoming nuclear-armed states, but he attaches the right priority to both problems. He is correct that those challenges, like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, call for the kind of sustained diplomacy that has been missing for four years. We hope he would be firmer than Mr. Bush in standing up to the genocide unfolding in Sudan.
We do not view a vote for Mr. Kerry as a vote without risks. But the risks on the other side are well known, and the strengths Mr. Kerry brings are considerable. He pledges both to fight in Iraq and to reach out to allies; to hunt down terrorists, and to engage without arrogance the Islamic world. These are the right goals, and we think Mr. Kerry is the better bet to achieve them.
Wausau (Wis.) Daily Herald
This has been perhaps the most troubling presidential campaign since 1988, when the race turned on the Pledge of Allegiance and other fringe issues. The language used by George Bush and John Kerry - and their supporters - has been harsh and divisive. Both campaigns have engaged in the politics of fear, suggesting that terrorists would roam our streets on Nov. 3 if Kerry were elected, or that our children would be drafted to fight a never-ending war if Bush prevailed. Neither is true. None of it is true. And all the vitriol has been counter-productive, distracting all involved from honest discussion of legitimate issues. George Bush is not evil. Nor is John Kerry. Both are capable of serving as president, leading the armed forces and building alliances overseas. One will be elected and we again will witness one of the most remarkable aspects of democracy - the orderly transfer of power from one government to the next. Our republic will survive....Our conclusion has been that, on balance, Kerry shares more of our values than Bush does. He earns our endorsement.
Non-Ohio endorsement for none of the above
Agonizing choice comes down to this: Neither Bush nor Kerry meets our endorsement test As Election Day approaches, we find ourselves, like many Americans, agonizing over the presidential election. Four years ago, the choice was clear. We endorsed George W. Bush based on his promises of fiscal conservatism, limited government and prudence in foreign affairs. Today, we sadly acknowledge that the president has failed to deliver on those promises. At the same time, we are fearful of the approaches to government advocated by the Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry, because they are at odds with the conservative vision of government that has long shaped this newspaper's editorial positions. So we are left with a decision we detest but are nonetheless compelled to make: The Detroit News will not lend its endorsement to a candidate who has made too many mistakes, nor to one who offers a governing philosophy that we reject. This decision to remain silent will disappoint readers who expect The Detroit News to stand with the Republican presidential candidate come hell or high water. Their expectations are not unwarranted - we have never endorsed a Democrat for president, and only failed to endorse twice before, both times during the Franklin Roosevelt years.
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 1:38 PM
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