I cannot argue support for Vice President Al Gore as well as a hard core liberal can - Im not a lefty. Im one of many undecided Michigan voters - moderate, and in February, a McCainiac.
Socially liberal with many conservative values, Im a writer who will clearly show voters like me that its time to jump off the moderate fence and stand behind the vice president - hes not as bad as the rest.
Ill start by addressing his major opponents going right to left.
Patrick Buchanan, who is not even on the Michigan ballot, is a waste of federal matching funds, my time and yours and space in this paper - I will not even debate on Buchanan policy.
I will give Texas Gov. George W. Bush the nod on public education. He intends to reform the nations public schools, as he has in Texas, which is one of few states that have made legitimate progress in education. He criticizes the Clinton-Gore administration for failing to narrow the achievement gap between disadvantaged students and their peers. Bush obviously believes hes the right politician to close this gap. He also will offer states freedom from federal regulation, but will be held accountable for results, which will be evaluated annually.
However, to keep the column short, I will address three issues that concern me about the Bush-Cheney ticket.
Reason No. 1 deals with Bushs plan for the budget surplus. It took me one credit card bill to learn that you shouldnt spend money that you dont already have in your pocketbook. Even worse, he wants to use some of this money for a broad-based middle-class tax cut. Offering the middle class a big tax cut is a cheap political trick for votes. Im not reading his lips on this plan. His family has a poor tax-cut record. Even if there is a tax cut, I sincerely doubt it would have a large effect on the economy.
Reason No. 2 is that I question if Bush is qualified to lead the free world. I am sure governing Texas takes a great deal of political ability, but its far from Washington. It is far from the issues of the American people and by no means a U.S. microcosm. His education surely came from the countrys best schools - Yale for a bachelors in history and Harvard for a masters degree in business. He had a five-year stint in the Texas Air National Guard.
After service, he started his career owning mineral rights to property, then began trading mineral and royalty interests and investing in drilling. Later, he started his own oil and gas company. On paper all of this sounds great. But what Bush doesnt want you to know and what is rarely published is that in the world of academics his grades werent stellar and in business, well, he could drive a Beanie Baby store into the ground. He has little to no foreign policy or understanding of international relations. The man doesnt know the difference between Medicare and Medicaid - maybe you dont either, but youre not running for the nations top seat.
Reason No. 3, and the last reason I will discuss, is Bush the person. He can play the morality card against the Democrats because of the Clinton administration. But I would like to point out that at least Bill Clinton has a character, despite low U.S. approval for his personality. Dubya is a GOP tool who is being used for his name. Name recognition is the key for his campaign. The less he speaks and the more the Republican party gets his name out, the better Bush will do.
During debates his personality seems a little fuzzy. He stutters, speaks in sentence fragments and does not clearly explain his policies. I had to wait to listen to his running mate debate the issues before I understood where the GOP is coming from this year. Also, theres that small chance that he may select three Supreme Court justices who could overturn Roe v. Wade, since Bush is pro-life with the exceptions of rape, incest and life of the mother.
For these points, I cannot justify supporting the Republican Party in November, try again in four years and try to nominate Arizona Sen. John McCain next time.
Gores not the best, nor the last in this piece, but hes not going to dramatically affect any U.S. abortion policy. He will have a positive influence on the issue of campaign finance reform. He is a supporter of banning soft money contributions. He intends to pass the bipartisan campaign finance reform legislation if elected. He also wants to enact new lobbying reform, strengthen the Federal Elections Commission, improve disclosure of issue advocacy advertisements and provide candidates targeted in issue advertisements with equal air time. I agree its time to reform how America campaigns.
Also, looking at how well the U.S. economy is doing is another OK reason to keep the administration going.
Although he has not been the most exciting candidate, hes been determined to fight for the American people and has been aggressive and articulate in speeches.
I respect his controversial decision when he chose Joseph Lieberman as his runningmate. Lieberman was one of the few Democrats who criticized Clinton for his actions involving Monica Lewinsky.
Regardless of thinking Green Party candidate Ralph Nader will bring a cool consumer stream through Washington, Im going to only spend 5 percent of this column saying that supporting him will elect Bush - especially voting for him in Michigan, which political pundits deem the most important state in the election. I do not think the country should sacrifice itself with a Bush administration so the Green Party can have federal matching funds.
The only thing worse than voting for Bush is not voting at all. Please go out and make a mark on Nov. 7. Its your duty as an American citizen.
Kevin Hardy, State News opinion editor, can be reached at email@example.com.