The Lone Star Iconoclast
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Kerry Will Restore American Dignity
2004 Iconoclast Presidential Endorsement
Few Americans would have voted for George W. Bush four years ago if he
had promised that, as President, he would:
• Empty the Social
Security trust fund by $507 billion to help offset fiscal
irresponsibility and at the same time slash Social Security benefits.
• Cut Medicare by 17
percent and reduce veterans’ benefits and military pay.
• Eliminate overtime pay
for millions of Americans and raise oil prices by 50 percent.
• Give tax cuts to
businesses that sent American jobs overseas, and, in fact, by policy
encourage their departure.
• Give away billions of
tax dollars in government contracts without competitive bids.
• Involve this country in
a deadly and highly questionable war, and
• Take a budget surplus
and turn it into the worst deficit in the history of the United States,
creating a debt in just four years that will take generations to repay.
These were elements of a
hidden agenda that surfaced only after he took office.
The publishers of The
Iconoclast endorsed Bush four years ago, based on the things he
promised, not on this smoke-screened agenda.
Today, we are endorsing his
opponent, John Kerry, based not only on the things that Bush has
delivered, but also on the vision of a return to normality that Kerry
says our country needs.
Four items trouble us the
most about the Bush administration: his initiatives to disable the
Social Security system, the deteriorating state of the American
economy, a dangerous shift away from the basic freedoms established by
our founding fathers, and his continuous mistakes regarding terrorism
President Bush has
announced plans to change the Social Security system as we know it by
privatizing it, which when considering all the tangents related to such
a change, would put the entire economy in a dramatic tailspin.
The Social Security Trust
Fund actually lends money to the rest of the government in exchange for
government bonds, which is how the system must work by law, but how do
you later repay Social Security while you are running a huge deficit?
It’s impossible, without raising taxes sometime in the future or
becoming fiscally responsible now. Social Security money is being used
to escalate our deficit and, at the same time, mask a much larger
government deficit, instead of paying down the national debt, which
would be a proper use, to guarantee a future gain.
problematic in that it would subject Social Security to the ups, downs,
and outright crashes of the Stock Market. It would take millions in
brokerage fees and commissions out of the system, and, unless we have
assurance that the Ivan Boeskys and Ken Lays of the world will be
caught and punished as a deterrent, subject both the Market and the
Social Security Fund to fraud and market manipulation, not to mention
devastate and ruin multitudes of American families that would find
their lives lost to starvation, shame, and isolation.
Kerry wants to keep Social
Security, which each of us already owns. He says that the program is
manageable, since it is projected to be solvent through 2042, with use
of its trust funds. This would give ample time to strengthen the
economy, reduce the budget deficit the Bush administration has created,
and, therefore, bolster the program as needed to fit ever-changing
Our senior citizens depend
upon Social Security. Bush’s answer is radical and uncalled for, and
would result in chaos as Americans have never experienced. Do we really
want to risk the future of Social Security on Bush by spinning the
wheel of uncertainty?
In those dark hours after
the World Trade Center attacks, Americans rallied together with a new
sense of patriotism. We were ready to follow Bush’s lead through any
He let us down.
When he finally emerged
from his hide-outs on remote military bases well after the first
crucial hours following the attack, he gave sound-bytes instead of
He did not trust us to be
ready to sacrifice, build up our public and private security
infrastructure, or cut down on our energy use to put economic pressure
on the enemy in all the nations where he hides. He merely told us to
shop, spend, and pretend nothing was wrong.
Rather than using the
billions of dollars expended on the invasion of Iraq to shore up our
boundaries and go after Osama bin Laden and the Saudi Arabian
terrorists, the funds were used to initiate a war with what Bush called
a more immediate menace, Saddam Hussein, in oil-rich Iraq. After all,
Bush said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction trained on America. We
believed him, just as we believed it when he reported that Iraq was the
heart of terrorism. We trusted him.
The Iconoclast, the
President’s hometown newspaper, took Bush on his word and editorialized
in favor of the invasion. The newspaper’s publisher promoted Bush and
the invasion of Iraq to Londoners in a BBC interview during the time
that the administration was wooing the support of Prime Minister Tony
Again, he let us down.
We presumed the President
had solid proof of the existence of these weapons, what and where they
were, even as the search continued. Otherwise, our troops would be in
much greater danger and the premise for a hurried-up invasion would be
moot, allowing more time to solicit assistance from our allies.
Instead we were duped into
following yet another privileged agenda.
Now he argues
unconvincingly that Iraq was providing safe harbor to terrorists, his
new key justification for the invasion. It is like arguing that America
provided safe harbor to terrorists leading to 9/11.
Once and for all, George
Bush was President of the United States on that day. No one else. He
had been President nine months, he had been officially warned of just
such an attack a full month before it happened. As President,
ultimately he and only he was responsible for our failure to avert
We should expect that a
sitting President would vacation less, if at all, and instead tend to
the business of running the country, especially if he is, as he likes
to boast, a “wartime president.” America is in service 365 days a year.
We don’t need a part-time President who does not show up for duty as
Commander-In-Chief until he is forced to, and who is in a constant
state of blameless denial when things don’t get done.
What has evolved from the
virtual go-it-alone conquest of Iraq is more gruesome than a stain on a
White House intern’s dress. America’s reputation and influence in the
world has diminished, leaving us with brute force as our most
Iraq is now a quagmire: no
WMDs, no substantive link between Saddam and Osama, and no workable
plan for the withdrawal of our troops. We are asked to go along on
faith. But remember, blind patriotism can be a dangerous thing and
“spin” will not bring back to life a dead soldier; certainly not a
thousand of them.
Kerry has remained true to
his vote granting the President the authority to use the threat of war
to intimidate Saddam Hussein into allowing weapons inspections. He
believes President Bush rushed into war before the inspectors finished
Kerry also voted against
President Bush’s $87 billion for troop funding because the bill
promoted poor policy in Iraq, privileged Halliburton and other
corporate friends of the Bush administration to profiteer from the war,
and forced debt upon future generations of Americans.
Kerry’s four-point plan for
Iraq is realistic, wise, strong, and correct. With the help from our
European and Middle Eastern allies, his plan is to train Iraqi security
forces, involve Iraqis in their rebuilding and constitution-writing
processes, forgive Iraq’s multi-billion dollar debts, and convene a
regional conference with Iraq’s neighbors in order to secure a pledge
of respect for Iraq’s borders and non-interference in Iraq’s internal
The publishers of the
Iconoclast differ with Bush on other issues, including the denial of
stem cell research, shortchanging veterans’ entitlements, cutting
school programs and grants, dictating what our children learn through a
thought-controlling “test” from Washington rather than allowing local
school boards and parents to decide how young people should be taught,
ignoring the environment, and creating extraneous language in the
Patriot Act that removes some of the very freedoms that our founding
fathers and generations of soldiers fought so hard to preserve.
We are concerned about the
vast exportation of jobs to other countries, due in large part to
policies carried out by Bush appointees. Funds previously geared at
retention of small companies are being given to larger concerns, such
as Halliburton — companies with strong ties to oil and gas. Job
training has been cut every year that Bush has resided at the White
Then there is his resolve
to inadequately finance Homeland Security and to cut the Community
Oriented Policing Program (COPS) by 94 percent, to reduce money for
rural development, to slash appropriations for the Small Business
Administration, and to under-fund veterans’ programs.
Likewise troubling is that
President Bush fought against the creation of the 9/11 Commission and
is yet to embrace its recommendations.
Vice President Cheney’s
Halliburton has been awarded multi-billion-dollar contracts without
undergoing any meaningful bid process — an enormous conflict of
interest — plus the company has been significantly raiding the funds of
Export-Import Bank of America, reducing investment that could have gone
toward small business trade.
When examined based on all
the facts, Kerry’s voting record is enviable and echoes that of many
Bush allies who are aghast at how the Bush administration has destroyed
the American economy. Compared to Bush on economic issues, Kerry would
be an arch-conservative, providing for Americans first. He has what it
takes to right our wronged economy.
The re-election of George
W. Bush would be a mandate to continue on our present course of chaos.
We cannot afford to double the debt that we already have. We need to be
moving in the opposite direction.
John Kerry has 30 years of
experience looking out for the American people and can navigate our
country back to prosperity and re-instill in America the dignity she so
craves and deserves. He has served us well as a highly decorated
Vietnam veteran and has had a successful career as a district attorney,
lieutenant governor, and senator.
Kerry has a positive vision
for America, plus the proven intelligence, good sense, and guts to make
That’s why The Iconoclast
urges Texans not to rate the candidate by his hometown or even his
political party, but instead by where he intends to take the country.
wholeheartedly endorses John Kerry.
Copyright © 2004 The Lone Star
Iconoclast. Reprinted by permission. (Melanie
Director, October 12, 2004)