Monday, August 30, 2004

A chance to outline what a 2nd term would look like

Editorial, Sun Journal, Aug. 30:

For John Kerry, the Democratic National Convention was a chance to introduce himself to voters.

The task that awaits President Bush is significantly different. Voters already know George W. Bush. The Republican National Convention, which begins in earnest tonight, is an opportunity for the president to define the course he would steer for a second term.

Already, a broad theme of creating an "ownership" society has worked its way into Republican talking points, but it's a slippery concept that will need some detail. Whether it means enhancing homeownership, expanding personalized, tax-exempt savings accounts for health care, retirement and education costs or privatizing Social Security, the president has four days to make his case.Democrats spent much of their time looking back, examining the events and times that transformed Kerry into a candidate for president. They also spent a good amount of time dissecting President Bush's record during the last three and a half years.

We expect that President Bush and his surrogates will also spend some time explaining his actions during his time in the White House, and cheering his accomplishments, which include radical changes in the tax code, an expansion of Medicare entitlements and the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq.

Elements of each of these have given us heartburn, but there's no denying that they are things the president can check off his to-do list.

According to national and state polls, President Bush is in a tight race and many voters have already made up their minds. A majority of Americans say the country is on the wrong track and the president's approval rating is hovering around 50 percent, dangerous territory for an incumbent.

Voters are hungry for details about what they can expect if the president is re-elected. The goal for the Republicans gathering in New York should be to present a road map for a second term.

Democrats, during their convention, spent little time talking about the future, despite having detailed proposals that deserve discussion. Republicans have an opportunity to do better


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