The Telegraph (Nashua, NH)

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Kerry best choice on Democratic slate

There’s no shortage of accomplished candidates competing to be the Democratic Party’s nominee to run against President Bush.

But in the end, a number of factors make U.S. Sen. John Kerry The Telegraph’s choice in the New Hampshire presidential primary on Jan. 27.

The Massachusetts senator’s experience and record, his understanding of the complex issues that face America today, and his
recommended solutions make him the best choice among the Democratic contenders.

He believes America must be willing to work with other countries and the United Nations to help rebuild Afghanistan and Iraq, and to help solve problems in other nations in crisis.

Kerry knows that rising health-insurance costs are sapping businesses today and keeping them from being competitive.

He has drafted a program that includes some relief for businesses that have employees with catastrophic health- care costs, as well as allowing refundable tax credits for health care coverage for small businesses and their employees.

Kerry has also promised, if elected, to review all trade agreements and to ensure that foreign nations comply fully with the pacts they have signed with our country.

An important aspect of his campaign, but one that is often overlooked, is his promise to invest in new energy sources. The goal would be to produce 20 percent of all our electricity from renewable sources by 2020, along with tax credits to carmakers that produce the next generation of automobiles and companies that make new energy-efficient appliances.

And those are just a few of the pieces of his presidential platform.

His experience in the U.S. Navy during Vietnam, his articulate opposition to that conflict upon his return to civilian life, but perhaps even more importantly, his tenacity and intelligence in looking into multi-faceted and difficult matters, all qualify him to be the Democratic candidate for president.

His investigations into complex affairs, such as the BCCI bank-fraud scandal and the Iran-Contra weapons deal, have put him in good stead as he researched global issues and developed solutions he would like to implement if elected president.

And he knows how to work in a bipartisan way to make things happen, increasing the chances that his ideas would be put into play.

Kerry’s experience and his temperament were important considerations in The Telegraph’s endorsement of him as the best Democratic candidate. He has strong convictions and works hard on behalf of his beliefs.

His years in the Senate and his exposure to international matters as a member of key committees in that body give him a handle on foreign affairs. As president, he wouldn’t be a novice or overly dependent on advisers about such issues as he takes the reins in the Oval Office.

In today’s post-Sept. 11 world, the idea that there are simple answers to complex problems can sometimes be attractive. But in the end, if we are honest, we know that there are few simple solutions to the problems facing us in the 21st century. Nothing about our world is simple anymore, from war to our relationships with other countries to how our economy works.

There are still many people in our country who are without jobs as companies, particularly those in manufacturing, struggle to survive. Foreign trade pacts that aren’t fairly carried out have undermined our manufacturing base, leading to a drain of 2.5 million manufacturing jobs from America in the last few years. Many of these jobs have gone overseas never to return.

The cost of health-care insurance continues to rise, making it difficult for companies to provide the same level of coverage for their workers and remain competitive.

We have troops overseas trying to bring order from chaos in Iraq, where many Iraqis no longer want us. Kerry knows first hand what that is like and the sacrifices our soldiers must make when asked to do so.

The one characteristic that may be problematic for his campaign is Kerry’s slow start in connecting with voters. That seems to be changing in Iowa as he mingles with the voters and delivers his campaign message one-on-one.

One trait that former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean has an in abundance is charisma, whether in front of large groups or in individual encounters. He easily reaches people, no question about it.

Dean has good ideas, but he just doesn’t have the breadth and depth Kerry has, particularly on international issues.

A vote for a presidential candidate should be based on content not charisma.

With Kerry, knowledge and experience for the demanding job of president would come before popularity.

Copyright © 2004 Telegraph Publishing Company.  Reprinted by permission. (Nick Pappas Jan. 30, 2004)

Nick Pappas: "The editorial decision was arrived at by our editorial board, which consists of Publisher Terry Williams, Editor Dave Solomon, Editorial Page Editor Claudette Durocher, Managing Editor Nick Pappas, Sunday Editor Marty Karlon and Business Editor Eileen Kennedy. The board met on Tuesday, Jan. 13, and the editorial appeared the following Sunday on Jan. 18."