This country needs faith, hope and commitment

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Commentary by Clif Lusk

Now that our special election is past, we can concentrate a little more on next week’s general election and what it means.

Locally, there aren’t any major races except the presidential contest, so let me jump out and toss in my two cents.

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I’ve been covering “W” in commentary since he took on Al Gore in his first bid for the White House. He’s not been disappointing and I’d personally hate to think what would have happened to us on Sept. 11, 2001 with Al Gore behind the wheel.

Unfortunately, George Bush’s legacy will be the war on terrorism because of the tragic day.

That’s not the presidency he wanted.

Four years ago, Bush was stumping hard for a return to more conservative federal government, which had loomed large in the Clinton era.

Four years ago, Bush was stumping hard for a beefed-up military, drastically weakened by the Clinton Administration.

Bush was stumping for greater government accountability, lower taxes, reduced government interference in the free market and greater respect across the world.

“W” wanted to reinvigorate America, both socially and economically.

That’s what I believe he wanted. America had fallen into the Democratic quagmire that comes when too many liberals get too many favors on the Hill, and when too many Beltway insiders get too far up on the porch at the White House.

Bush had to play the hand he was dealt on Sept. 11, and that was the war hand.

Under Bush’s leadership – with the support of the U.S. Congress – this nation has unified, seen successes on the battlefield and put the world’s most deadly terrorist on the run (if we didn’t knock him off entirely). Iraq was not really “W’s” problem, he’s just the one left to clean it up, and clean it up he did.

John Kerry doesn’t have what it takes to stick to that course of action, and we don’t need that kind of president.

In the course of my life – the biggest chunk of it spent working for newspapers – I’ve supported people who have been Republicans and people who have been Democrats. I lean more toward Republicans because, as a lot, they seem to lean closer to my own ideals – especially in Washington.

Both sides of the aisle has made its share of blunders, and George W. Bush is no different. When was the last time you went an entire week without making a mistake?

The difference is that when the President of the United States makes a boo-boo, CNN is there with cameras rolling.

I’ve heard Bush condemned for everything from the deficit (added to largely by the war and already huge from the eight years of Clintonomics) to education to Social Security.

It’s mostly rhetoric and after the first couple of presidential elections, all the issues sound the same.

No one human being is entirely responsible for the state of the nation, and if any one institution is to blame it is Kerry’s Congress.

John Kerry is the wrong man for the presidency if no other reason than he can’t stick to a story long enough for the ink to dry.

At least his predecessor Bill Clinton could stick to a story. In Arkansas, that counts for something.

Kerry has through out his military medals, then said they were extra medals someone gave him and his real ones are hanging, presumably in a place of honor, on his wall. He was for Vietnam, he was against Vietnam, Iraq is another Vietnam. It goes on and on.

Is that what you want in the White House?

Let me tell you about George W. Bush – before he was president, before he was governor of Texas. He was owner of the Texas Rangers.

A cousin of mine was a standout pitcher in high school and college – a standout lefty at that. He was being recruited by a number of pro baseball teams, including Bush’s Rangers when a fire broke out at his parents home way out in the country.

The family battled the blaze on their own and managed to put the fire out by the time the local volunteers could make it from town, but each member was battered and bruised.

Adam tore up a knee and shoulder. A professional baseball career literally went up in smoke.

Then came a letter that didn’t have to be written. That letter urged Adam to keep his chin up through the multiple surgeries he would have, to follow the orders in rehab and “to call me personally” when he was recovered.

The letter was signed “George W. Bush.”

You see, “W” is about faith, about facing trials head on and about hope.

All three is what this country needs.

Clif Lusk is editor of The Times. Contact him via e-mail at