Article in Politics / Elections / National
An examination of the issues that determined the Nation's choice for leadership.
In the 2004 elections, the republicans prevailed by concentrating on their core value messages and substantive issues such as national security and foreign policy in a time of international conflict. Leadership and competence were emphasized in response to national danger. The imperative of sharing values such as freedom and democracy with oppressed peoples of the world is an issue that obviously resonates with the American people.The sagacity of extending tax relief at the same time that the nation was fighting a war to protect the nation from acts of terrorism on a global scale was much debated. For some the safety and security of the nation and its citizens was a secondary consideration. The perceived illusion of a growing budget deficit and a misrepresented failing economy was also debated. Then president Bush continued the argument that he had made for years that there was a necessity for making his tax cuts permanent to keep the economy expanding. John Kerry continued the tired old canard of tax relief only for some in the middle class while rolling back the tax cut for high income individuals, but most of the nation did not listen to promises that have never been kept by politicians that have never met a tax that they did not like. Senator Kerry’s voting record and his propensity for saying different things to different audiences resulted in too many self contradictions. While his sincerity or veracity was not brought into question, his credibility gap would not allow the nation to be swayed by class warfare and clever distinctions as to who really deserved tax relief. The nation remembered the promises of tax relief that were offset by new taxes upon social security benefits during the Clinton administration. The public was reminded that the Bush, Regan, and Kennedy tax cuts all actually increased Federal revenue.Surrogates tried to make economic issues central. Soft money was banned in 2004 resulting in an increase in political activity by 527 groups primarily funded by George Soros. Changes concomitant to the ban on soft money also increased the activity of interest groups through direct mailing and telephone. The tactics of these 527 groups were to attempt to put President Bush on the defensive about the loss of jobs by endless repetitions of phony statistics, in truth the bounce back from the destruction of the world trade center and stock collapses were less dramatic and harmful than similar occurrences like Black Thursday throughout U.S. history. Also the recovery from the damage to the economy was far more vigorous than the current recovery from the collapse of Fannie Mae and the sub-prime housing loan market. The swift boat veterans for truth were another 527 group attempting to get their own message out. They questioned Kerry’s statements about his service in Viet Nam from the perspective of witness on the scene. Their message raised the question of Kerry’s credibility, leadership and competence.I contend that at a time of war, the substantive issues in the 2004 election were, in point of fact, leadership and competence and that the issues such as the deficit, crime, and poverty were the “feel good” issues that just did not play out. With the threat of international terrorism and the continuing military pacification and occupation of former terror sponsor states, the security of the United States was not only the most substantive, but also the most important. The declension of the recalcitrance of Libya demonstrates this importance.

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About the Author 

Merle E Ackeret
B. S. Psy CCU Delta Episilon Tau Gamma of California AGS, AAOT Linn-Benton C. C. Phi Theta Kappa Alpha Tau Upsilon chapter national dean's l

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