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There is only one issue

By Charles Bloomer
web posted October 4, 2004

In the upcoming presidential election, there is only one issue – national security. No other issue comes close in importance or higher in priority. In fact, without a strong national security, all other issues become moot.

As the campaign has progressed, the John Kerry-John Edwards team has tried unsuccessfully to make other issues the defining subjects for the campaign. While President George Bush has repeated the importance of fighting and winning the war on terror, Kerry and his supporters have tried to elevate “domestic issues” into hot topics. Kerry and Edwards have tried to convince the electorate that the economy, health care, and jobs are the real issues on which to focus in this election. That approach is not working.

Dick Morris, the former Clinton advisor, has suggested during his radio and television appearances that Kerry could win this election if he made the economy, health care, and jobs the central ideas of his candidacy. According to Morris, Kerry polls better on domestic issues than does President Bush. Yet while Morris is a savvy campaign analyst, he has turned out to be wrong in this case.

The American public has rightly recognized that the defining issue in this campaign is the exercise of national security and keeping America safe. Without a physically safe country, there won’t be any domestic issues to discuss. Americans are not stupid. They remember the damage done by the September 11 attacks. They remember more than the collapse of the World Trade Center, the damage to the Pentagon, and the plane crash in the Pennsylvania countryside. The attacks of September 11 drove the United States into a recession. A million jobs were lost. The loss to the economy was measured in the billions -- maybe even trillions -- of dollars. Americans have not forgotten.

Americans are not willing to have another murderous incident in our country that causes the deaths of thousands of innocent victims. We know that a repeat of that kind of attack inside the United States would -- in addition to potentially killing thousands of our relatives, friends and neighbors -- devastate our country again. Neglecting our national defense to the point where our enemies are willing to strike again would create enough damage and havoc to destroy our economy, destroy millions of jobs, and make healthcare issues miniscule in comparison.

Americans also know what issues over which the president actually has control. The president, whoever it is, has very little control over the economy, jobs, or healthcare. In fact, the president and congress have more ability to do harm than good. The government does not make the economy function. Candidates who claim they will “grow the economy” or “invest” tax dollars are relying on a debunked, defunct economic model.

The president does not create jobs, except for more government bureaucrat jobs. Research shows that small businesses in America are the primary growth engine in our economy. The president and congress can improve the capability of businesses to create more jobs by removing the barriers that past governments have erected such as onerous taxes and debilitating regulations.

While some Americans are clamoring for the government to do something about the rising cost of health care, a majority rejects the socialistic health care schemes being pushed by the more liberal politicians. Most Americans do not want the kind of social medicine disasters such as those in Canada and Britain. The president can use the bully pulpit of the office to encourage the health care industry to be more productive, or more frugal, or more efficient, but short of leading a government takeover of the industry, the president cannot control our health care. Besides, since we have the finest health care in the world, we see no reason to turn it over to power-hungry politicians and bungling bureaucrats.

The primary area where the president does have control, both morally and constitutionally, is in the defense of the country. As the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, the president swears to defend our country from all enemies, foreign or domestic. When the country is threatened, when our families, our homes, or way of life are threatened, we turn to the president to protect us, to defend us, and to make us safe. Any president who ignores his responsibilities to protect and defend the country is derelict in his duties. Any president who fails to take action to neutralize, negate, or overcome threats to the country, regardless of what he has done to push domestic issues, has failed in his moral and constitutional duties.

A president who is not mindful of his duties to protect the country is not just a moral and constitutional failure, he is responsible for the deaths, the injuries, and the destroyed property caused by an attack.

The current war on terror, which includes Afghanistan and Iraq, may not be popular in some circles. Critics claim that the war in Iraq has distracted from the war on terror. But the fact remains that because President Bush has taken the war to the enemy and severely degraded the enemy’s ability to continue its terrorist activities, there has not been another attack in the United States.

If Americans elect a president weak on national defense and security, in this election or in future elections, the consequences will be grave and disastrous. When we let our guard down, the likelihood of an attack increases. And in this age when chemical, biological, or dirty nuclear bombs are within the reach of terrorists, we cannot take chances.

Domestic issues might be important, but they pale in comparison to the necessity of the president to aggressively defend this nation and keep America safe for us, for our children, and our grandchildren.

Failure is not an option.

Charles Bloomer is a Senior Writer for Enter Stage Right. He can be contacted at clbloomer@enterstageright.com. © 2004 Charles Bloomer

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