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'Don't change horses': Bush reelection essential

by Chuck Cordill, HPU staff


Let me preface by saying I’m a sportswriter, not a political corespondent. I watch the news like everyone else and consider myself at least intelligent enough to have informed opinions despite the media “spin,” whether it is left or right. After all, sports writers are journalists too, albeit the “weird uncle’s that everyone tolerates” of the newsroom. And from day one, journalists are taught to be objective, see both sides of the story. However, both sides aren’t being offered in the American media.


It’s a given that journalists tend to lean toward the left, toward, as film maker Michael Moore calls it, “progressive liberalism.” One of my older journalism textbooks suggests that the liberal mind set is pretty common in the field. That and a natural sense of curiosity and an ability to ask difficult questions. That’s cool. I grew up with admiration for the “investigative reporter,” that guy or gal who had the guts to go after the big guys. I still do. I firmly believe that one of the hallmarks of our country is the role of the free press—the “fourth estate” of government that insures we aren’t dominated by a totalitarian regime. But when the press gets too full of itself and guys like Wolf Blitzer interview the likes of Colin Powell and, it seems, give them a premeditated tongue lashing, then I have to make a stand. The extreme element of the left is forcing the issue, and the closer you look, the less you believe in the ethics of neutrality. It seems the creed is, “be objective, as long as you’re dealing with a fellow liberal.”

The far left used to be comical. As much as I opposed his viewpoints, I used to get a chuckle out of people like the late Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone, who would be the sole dissenting “nay” in a congressional vote. Nowadays, liberals scare me. They compare President George W. Bush to Adolph Hitler, and the World Trade Center attacks to the “Reichstag Fire” that allowed the Nazi’s to take control of the German Parliament in the 1930s. Everything is due to this “vast right-wing conspiracy.”

People of America, it’s OK. You can vote conservative and support Bush and STILL have brains. The argument to the contrary is an old liberal ruse you might as well ignore because a sense of “intellectual superiority” is one of the prerequisites for getting a Democratic Party membership card.

I do support our current president, even though I’ll admit, “Dubya” isn’t going to win any Toastmaster awards. Bush isn’t the most gifted public speaker on earth. He is stubborn at times, and often seemingly opinionated. He probably learned conflict resolution, in part, from some of those great John Wayne westerns. (Those who have spent any significant time in Texas know that he’s a perfectly normal Texan, but I had to throw that disclaimer in for the rest of the world.) I will wholeheartedly admit that presidential candidate John Kerry is marginally a better speaker than Bush. The point is, flowery speech and rhetoric doesn’t make the man. Former President Bill Clinton, the “best used car salesman to sleep in the White House,” was an excellent public speaker. He could address a group and deliver a convincing message, look the audience straight in the eye, and make his point. Even better, he could address another audience, give an opposite opinion, and be equally convincing.

Kerry, while “no Bill Clinton,” seems to share the same gift. He came to fame as a Vietnam veteran, disillusioned enough about his experience to testify before Congress about America’s “War Crimes.” He told the world that American service men were a bunch of, “baby killing, murdering rapists.” He threw his medals on the White House lawn in protest, and became an active figure in the antiwar movement. Had Kerry maintained his stance throughout his career, I would respect him. Disagree with him, yes. I respect people who hold true to their convictions. You don’t have to agree with someone to respect them.

Kerry is now saying he is proud of his service, and his 4.5 months as the captain of a Navy swift boat has become the focal point of his campaign. The former war protester, who publicly denounced his service and the service of thousands more, has changed his tune for political advantage. Because of the times, Kerry is running as an experienced “wartime candidate,” with former brothers in arms in tow and war stories to boot. Never mind that his claim of being in Cambodia on Christmas Eve of 1968 was retracted. It makes for great political theater.

Despite the comparisons to Hitler, and all the evil conspiracy theories surrounding him and his administration, George W. Bush is pretty much, “WYSIWYG.” (What you see is what you get.) He’s a hardheaded, proud Texan, and despite his privileged upbringing, Bush is pretty tough. Drive through West Texas and you won’t find many soft people there— not a yacht in sight. I tip my hat to any man that can quit drinking “cold turkey” for his wife and kids.

Sept. 11, 2001 was a big wake up call for us. Bush happened to be on watch, and his response made me believe in him more than any speech or photo op. Since then, our struggle hasn’t been story-book, as has been the case in any conflict America has fought in. Bush and his administration have answered the call in an unfamiliar set of circumstances. Had his opponent won the election, we might well still be debating economic sanctions against Afghanistan in the United Nations. Before 9-11, America had never experienced a serious, direct, surprise attack by a foreign power. We continue to live under threat of attack. No person, or alliance with our allies, or diplomatic move, save aggressively asserting our nation’s sovereignty, is going to turn back time and return us to an age of innocence.

During another perilous chapter in our past, President Abraham Lincoln was running for reelection in the midst of the Civil War. He implored voters, “not to change horses in midstream.” The stakes for this nation are equally high, if not higher, than the grave situation of the 1860s. And the comparison is legitimate because, then as now, our nation seemed to be split along ideological lines.

These are uncertain times, and the “two weeks of national unity” following early September 2001 have eroded into the usual party discord. At this stage, with the stakes so high, I’m willing to place my bet in the man “who has been dealing with it” on a daily basis rather than a career politician that says the right things when the microphone is on. Besides, if we’re “crossing the water,” everyone knows Texans ride horses better.



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