As I write this on Monday, I can't know who will win the presidential and other contests on Election Day. So instead of writing about political polls, strategy and policy, allow me this time to express my own opinions about where we are as a nation and where we might be headed.
In my own personal politics, I am a Ronald Reagan Republican who nevertheless believes that Bill Clinton had two successful terms (with a nudge or two from Newt Gingrich). I don't generally care for raving-maniac conservative talk shows, particularly those that feature talking heads with perfect teeth and empty eyes. In media, I instead enjoy hearing the views of more thoughtful and independent-minded conservatives. Neal Bootz is one, and Rush Limbaugh is beginning to become another.
Yes, the liberal bias in media does exist. It frequently passes itself off as "good journalism," at least until it's caught red-handed, as CBS-TV was over the falsified Bush military records. And how did we ever get stuck with Al Franken? He was funny on "Saturday Night Live," but he's silly as a political commentator.
On the political front lines, neither the Bush nor the Kerry campaigns has enthused me. Going into Election Day, I feel that President Bush handled 9/11 wonderfully but moved too quickly on Iraq. I think his tax cuts stimulated the economy, mostly by saving the stock market from tumbling out of control following a recession and the Enron debacle. However, the president allowed government spending to run wild, particularly for the federal Department of Education and for drug benefits for seniors. I certainly don't like a late, 2006 effective date for senior benefit and a profit windfall for pharmaceutical companies. With no disrespect to either of the Presidents Bush, I will always believe Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is the most articulate and politically astute member of the family.
Now for Kerry. It seems clear he has modeled his whole adult life on the political career of John F. Kennedy. But many who know him well have said Kerry doesn't have the charisma and genuine warmth of his hero.
On the issues, many of his policy positions and past Senate votes have rubbed me wrong. But I do think he's right about the real reasons for the spiraling cost of health care, and that big corporations shouldn't get tax breaks that don't enhance their stock values or create new jobs.
As for his service in Vietnam, I really don't care one way or the other about the whole medals issue. The fact is, he went over there and dodged bullets, and that's good enough for me.