Denver Post: Stop Attacks on Kerry

It's 2004, not 1971

For Immediate Release:

April 28, 2004

Contact:Editorial Board

Denver Post

It's time to end the sideshow created by attacks on Sen. John Kerry's Vietnam War record. It hardly seems possible that Dick Cheney can be leading the charge.

For that matter, the presidency of George W. Bush shouldn't rest on the issue of whether he gave his all to the Air National Guard.

This is 2004, not 1971, and the presidential candidates should get back on track and discuss things that really matter to voters today.

Fact: Kerry, D-Mass., served in combat in Vietnam, with distinction. He skippered a Navy river patrol boat, was wounded in action three times, and received medals for bravery. He returned home to lead a veterans' group which opposed the war and did so in full public view.

Fact: President Bush had a rather ambiguous record of service in the Texas Air National Guard. He became a fighter pilot and stood watch in uniform.

Fact: Vice President Cheney didn't serve in uniform, and he should butt out and count his deferments, er, blessings.

The Vietnam War ended almost 30 years ago - before millions of American voters were even born. This battle is distracting the campaign from really important things Americans might be worrying about.

Such as:

Will the war in Iraq ($87 billion and counting) end in success or disaster? And will the husbands, wives, fathers, mothers and siblings serving there come home safe? What's the best course for the U.S. to follow?

Who is the best candidate to win the war on terror? Will there be other deadly Sept. 11-style attacks on the United States? Although the allied coalition threw out the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and has ferreted out al-Qaeda cells in several nations, Osama bin Laden, the evil architect of the radical Islamist movement, remains at large, and his proteges seem to grow more brazen by the day. Who has the best plan for ending worldwide terror, and the best skills to implement it?

The nation's $7.1 trillion national debt and an annual deficit of a half-trillion dollars and counting.

Does it make sense to continue permanent tax cuts in the face of rising deficits?

Creating more good-paying jobs to allay the working public's growing rancor about outsourcing to Asia and lackluster growth at home.

Health coverage for the more than 40 million Americans - mostly working poor families - who have no health insurance. This is a continuing disgrace in such a prosperous nation.

Finding the best way to ensure the future solvency of the Social Security Trust Fund as baby bloomers start retiring.

Now, gentlemen, if this list isn't long enough, try talking to some struggling working stiff in Ohio, or to a single mom in Denver trying to finish college, or to a soldier's parents in Georgia. We're sure they'll have some additional suggestions.