You must project credibility and conviction and present specific ideas with workable plans. Voters must be convinced you will perform better than the president.
For President Bush: Don't appear cocky. Be serious, but look for an opportunity to ridicule Kerry when a statement or position invites it ("that's not what you have said on three previous occasions, Senator. A president must be right the first time. He rarely gets a second chance"). That has the ring of authority and experience and can cast Kerry as indecisive and "unfit for command."
You should outline how you intend to win this war, in Iraq specifically and against terrorism generally. Must we continue to see our Marines and soldiers murdered by car bombs and snipers? What will you do about insurgents coming from and supported by Iran? And please talk about our own "insurgency" problem: the huge number of illegal immigrants pouring into this country. Time magazine estimates an additional 3 million illegals will have made it to the United States by the end of this year, including an unknown number from countries that wish to destroy us. Will you say if you intend to stop, or substantially reduce, the flow?
You fulfilled your promise to cut taxes, but what about the spending, which on your watch has soared to record heights? Is there to be no end to spending increases; no end to waste, fraud and abuse in government programs; no end to big government? If there is to be an end to big government, please tell us which programs and agencies you plan to eliminate?
Viewers (and radio listeners) want to hear some honest answers. For the sake of the country, may the man who is better for America win.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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