Bush better choice for president
Well, no one said it was going to be easy, and it isn’t. But after following the major presidential candidates for several months and listening to their debates, I have decided to cast a very reluctant vote for President Bush; however, I hope he’s learned some valuable lessons during his difficult reelection campaign against his Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.
I say “reluctant” because I strongly oppose the president’s handling of the postwar situation in Iraq and his decision to turn our state into the nation’s nuclear waste dump. If the Democrats had nominated a more moderate candidate, like Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut or even Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, I’d be voting against the president. But unfortunately, they chose an ultra-liberal U.S. senator whose public statements and 20-year Senate voting record define him as an unreconstructed 1960s anti-war pacifist – not the type of person who should be our commander-in-chief in the ongoing War On Terror, which trumps all other issues this year.
Sen. Kerry has contradicted himself so often on the campaign trail that it’s virtually impossible to figure out where he stands on any given issue. His insistence that he has a single, consistent position on Iraq is a national joke. After all, this is a consistently inconsistent politician who supported the invasion of Iraq but opposed funding to pay for vital equipment our soldiers needed to fight that war. “I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it.” Remember that one? And even though Kerry has been talking tough as of late, he’s still squishy soft on defense and national security issues, something we simply can’t afford in a post-9/11 world when Islamic extremists are trying to kill as many American “infidels” as possible.
I give Kerry credit for his heroic service in Vietnam, but condemn his behavior after he returned home to accuse his fellow servicemen of torching villages and killing babies. On the other hand, President Bush’s National Guard service was something less than stellar, and I hope he’s smarter than he appeared to be in the debates. But he’s been a strong and decisive commander-in-chief in the War on Terror, and that makes all the difference to me. If you’re focused on domestic issues, however, you’ll vote for Kerry, and I don’t blame you. May the best man win on Nov. 2.
U.S. SENATE: Even though I don’t buy our senior senator’s depiction of himself as shy, modest Harry “Pinky” Reid from tiny Searchlight, Nev., I support him for reelection to the Senate, where he has represented us well and fought effectively against the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump. As the Senate’s second-ranking Democrat, Reid is a powerful force in Washington. By contrast his opponent, Las Vegas Republican Richard Ziser, is best known for promoting an irrelevant initiative petition against same-sex marriage. The choice is clear.
CONGRESS: Rep. Jim Gibbons, a Reno Republican, is a strong congressional advocate for Northern Nevada with an admirable record on defense and national security issues. His Democratic opponent, Angie Cochran of Pahrump, didn’t even bother to campaign and deserves to be ignored by the voters.
MAYOR: I’m not going to endorse either candidate because I can’t in good conscience choose between incumbent Mayor Ray Masayko and ex-Mayor Marv Teixeira. I’ve known Teixeira since the mid-1960s, when we were rival Little League baseball coaches. He’s an opinionated and decisive person who served two productive terms as mayor. For his part, Mayor Masayko is a conscientious, hard-working politician who serves his constituents well. Ex-Mayor Marv or Mayor Ray, take your pick. Again, may the best man win. For City Supervisor, incumbent Shelly Aldean deserves reelection over challenger Becky Beisenstein.
STATE ASSEMBLY, District 40: Although I like first-term Assemblyman Ron Knecht personally, I don’t like his politics nearly as much. Was he a member of the Fearless 15, as he says, or the Mean 15? It depends upon your point of view. All things considered, I support former Assemblywoman Bonnie Parnell, who proved to be a knowledgeable and independent voice for Carson City during her two terms in the State Legislature. In other statewide races, district judges Jim Hardesty of Reno and Ron Parraguirre of Las Vegas are my choices for vacant seats on the Nevada Supreme Court.
BALLOT INITIATIVES: If you love trial attorneys and want them to make more money, you’ll vote “No” on Question 3 and “Yes” on Questions 4 and 5. If, however, you sympathize with doctors who are being driven out of Nevada by high malpractice insurance premiums, you’ll join me in voting “Yes” on 3 and “No” on 4 and 5. On the education initiatives, I’m voting “Yes” on Question 1 – co-sponsored by Congressman Gibbons and his Assemblywoman/wife Dawn – which would fund education first, and “No” on Question 2, which would require Nevada to fund education at the national average. That’s just bad public policy.
And there you have it. If you agree with me, fine, but if you don’t I hope you’ll go to the polls and cancel out my votes. After all, that’s the American way of politics.
Guy W. Farmer, a semi-retired journalist and former U.S. diplomat, will be working the polls at the Carson Mall on Nov. 2. He hopes to see you there.