Presidential candidates fight over major issues

By Ryan Cox
March 18, 2004

Toccara Buckley

It is becoming increasingly clear for many Americans just how complicated the race for Office 2004 is, with an array of twists and turns, it may be difficult for some to follow politics at all. Why is it important for men and women of college-age to know about the candidates, their ideas, and who will win the 2004 election? This is a question that continues to plague the age group of 18 to 24 year-olds. According to Dr. James Hedke, professor of history and political science, “Young men and women, ages 18 to 24 years of age, are [by percent] the group with the lowest amount of votes. This is due to the fact that many issues being addressed by politicians, simply are not effecting them as much as older generations.”

Whatever your take is on politics, one thing is certain for Colleen Lafferty, a sophomore sociology major. “It is extremely important that students are familiar with at least a few aspects of the politics going on in this country,” Lafferty said. In regards to the possible effects of the controversial 2000 Bush and Gore Campaign, Lafferty said, “I think the 2000 election has transformed the American voter into becoming much more speculative over the nature of political candidates.”

As for the 2004 election, one might say the aftershocks of 2000 have caused many disadvantages and benefits for Democrats and Republicans alike. For example, both sides endured harsh criticism for actions taken during the 2000 election. The Democratic Party, has been criticized by many as being a weak party, and not having a central figure such as their primary representative Bill Clinton. The Republicans, under George W. Bush, have received much criticism for the war in Iraq, since it began in March 2003. “Bush is by far one of the worst presidents this country has ever known. He has managed to alienate us from all our allies, dispose of our troops like Pez dispenser candy, all so he can wave and smile to his fellow brainwashed Republican followers before boarding Air force One on his way to hunt in the American Wild West,” Suzanne Capece, sophomore English/communications major, said.

Bush, who recently took shots from Democratic front-runner John F. Kerry for his use of 9/11/01 images to promote his campaign fundraising, has made it clear what he stands for. Born in New Haven, Conn., in 1946, Bush graduated from Yale University in 1968.

After serving five years in the Texas Air National Guard, Bush received an MBA from Harvard University and pursued a steady career in the oil industry. After four years in office, Bushs plans are relatively the same.

In terms of the economy, Bush’s website states that he signed a plan for an increase in jobs to strengthen America’s economy and keep money flowing. According to his website, Bush’s Jobs and Growth Act of 2003 will create jobs by speeding up the 2001 tax cuts to increase the pace of economic recovery and job creation, and also providing $20 billion in aid to states that need a jumpstart. Perhaps the most relevant aspect of all the candidates campaign, homeland security, Bush has established a Congress approved Department of Homeland Security to better protect the country from terrorist attacks such as 9/11. This act includes measures such as tighter security at airports, air patrol, and guarding of state borders.

According to Hedke, the most important issues for all of the candidates are the economy, the status of National Security, and to address the question of “What if 9/11 happens again, and what can we do to stop it…If I were President Bush, I would be very careful over 9/11 for two reasons, one, it happened during his presidency, and two, it strikes strong negative emotion,” Hedke said.

Democratic front-runner Kerry was born in Denver, Colo., in 1943. After graduating from Yale University in 1966, Kerry enlisted in the Navy and served during Vietnam. Kerry, decorated during Vietnam with a silver star, a bronze star, and three purple hearts, has rallied much support in recent months by advertising his plans in terms of the economy and national security. According to his website, Kerry will fight to restore the three million jobs in the country. Other components of this plan include tax relief for middle class families, and in a perhaps bolder claim, “restore fiscal discipline to Washington.” According to Kerry advisers, Bush’s economic plan has left many states with a $90 billion budget deficit, forcing many layoffs, education cuts, and most commonly, tax increases for everyone except a small percentage of America, known as the wealthy.

There is an extensive 10 part package pertaining to national security. Beginning with the creation of a new alliance with countries driven away from America beginning with the war in Iraq. Following this, there is winning the peace in Iraq, with a stress on removing troops from danger. The remaining eight components consist of denying terrorist of their hideouts in America, cut-off terrorist financing, keeping weapons of mass destruction from terrorists, engaging Saudi Arabia to ensure peace, improve intelligence collection, coordination and analysis, keeping peace in the middle eastern countries, and building bridges to the Islamic world.

As Kerry continues to campaign almost exclusively as the unofficial nominee against Bush, there seems to be a small, unexpected problem in the horizon for many who support Kerry.

In the 2000 election, the race was so close that Gore lost by only a small margin. This outcome was due in large part according to one article in the New York Times written by staff writer Charlie Cook, because of Green Party Nominee, Ralph Nader. Nader successfully ended the production of the Chevrolet Corvair back in 1965 with the publication of his book “Unsafe At Any Speed.” Nader, a member of the green party, has entered the race for the White House again, and worried many Democrats. According to the article, Nader did more harm than good for the Democrats. Winning only two states, Florida and New Hampshire caused Gore to lose due to the fact that those were key states in his campaign.

In terms of National Security, Nader is against the invasion and occupation of Iraq. According to Nader’s campaign, “The quagmire of the Iraq war and occupation could have been averted and needs to be ended expeditiously, replacing US forces with a UN peacekeeping force, prompt supervised elections and humanitarian assistance before we sink deeper into this occupation, with more U.S. casualties, huge financial costs, and diminished US security around and from the Islamic world. The faulty and fabricated rationale for war has the US in a quagmire. Already more than $155 billion has been spent, adding to huge Bush deficits, when critical needs are not being met at home. We should not be mired in the occupation of Iraq risking further upheavals when our infrastructure, schools and health care are deteriorating. Four years of free public college and university tuition for all students could be paid for by $155 billion,” Nader said.

Overall, the 2004 race for the White House is still in its’ early stages, and nothing is certain at this point in time. Whatever the outcome, many people, including former president Bill Clinton, who has been an avid voting promoter, stress the importance of voting. “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future, ” John F. Kennedy said.

Posted to the web by: Cecelia Francisco

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Ryan Cox

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