Antithesis of Bush
By Michael D. Guss
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I am a moderate Democrat that opposed the war in Iraq. I
won't get into my personal beliefs, but I will say that I'm
definitely not a "leftist." Recently, some of my
fellow moderate Democrats have been running around like chickens
that have spotted a guillotine.
They claim that we cannot win if we nominate someone who
will stand on their true beliefs. They are flat wrong. Poll
after poll (and supposedly the moderate Democrats who are
complaining value winning above anything else) show that Americans
want national health insurance, a reduced presence in Iraq,
a focus on the real enemy - Osama bin Laden - an end to corporate
tax cuts, and a real economic stimulus plan.
But many Democrats have been too timid on these issues. They
believe that challenging the Bush would be politically devastating.
I once campaigned very hard for a politician who isn't the
world's greatest speaker. On Election Day people told me,
"He's a great guy, but he's not up to it." That candidate
lost, and so will George W. Bush.
In my view, there are three candidates that have stood up
to Bush and offered real plans of their own.
Howard Dean is an aggressive - and creative - candidate
that has not missed an opportunity to give Bush the treatment
he deserves. His temperament remains an issue, and the difficulties
of the campaign will determine if he can be a successful candidate.
John Kerry is an adept politician, a courageous veteran
and a solid US senator. He led the fight to keep oil slicks
out of the ANWR nature preserve, and - though he voted for
the war - he has been critical of the president's mishandling
of the Iraqi situation. His weakness seems to be public speaking,
but I'm sure he will improve at that over the course of the
Sen. Bob Graham voted against the war in Iraq. Graham dealt
with budgets when he was Florida's Governor, and he has a
good record as a US senator. He has a solid plan for economic
recovery and keeping Social Security solvent. Additionally,
he has the experience to turn a plan into policy. He has lagged
on fundraising, but that can change in time.
As Democrats, we should vigorously support whomever wins
the nomination in the General Election. All three men I mentioned
would do a good job as president. But in this primary, we
have to choose between the better of three goods. I seriously
considered supporting John Kerry, and I voted for Howard Dean
in the on-line primary. But I have decided to support Bob
Graham in the 2004 Democratic Primary.
I support Sen. Graham because he is the antithesis of George
W. Bush. He is an experienced politician that has seen - and
solved - many problems over the years. He has experience in
important domestic arenas, and he has (by virtue of being
a senator) experience on foreign policy. He served on the
Congressional committee that investigated the 9-11 attacks,
and he has good suggestions for preventing another awful day.
Sen. Graham has a good economic stimulus plan. He voted
against the recent Bush hand-out to the rich, and he proposes
instituting a temporary reduction in the payroll tax. Unlike
Bush's proposals, Graham's plan would reduce the tax burden
for working families. Graham's plan would put money in working
families' pockets (a tremendously important thing when the
economy is on the cusp of deflation).
Finally, I believe that Sen. Graham is the only candidate
that can bridge the gulf between the liberal and moderate
wings of the party. The liberal wing of the party wants a
candidate that voted against the war. The moderate wing of
the party wants a candidate that it can sell to soccer moms
in the suburbs. I believe Sen. Graham can appeal to both liberals
I hope that we all realize that defeating George W. Bush
should be the goal. Some of us will probably disagree on whom
to support in the primary. That's okay in my opinion. But
I hope that we can all work together to make the 2004 Democratic
nominee the 44th President of the United States.