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America needs a radical change of direction. I feel certain the
leading candidate for president of the United States is incapable of
providing the leadership necessary to achieve an essential rededication
to the constitutional principles of limited government and individual
rights.

That’s why, under no circumstances, will I allow myself to vote for
George W. Bush for president of the United States. He is not qualified
because he, like so many other politicians today, does not believe in
nor understand the Constitution.

The final straw for me came when the Republican presidential
candidate announced that he would not even try to dismantle the
U.S. Department of Education if given the chance.

“I don’t think it should be abolished,” said the Texas governor. “It
ought to be made more effective.”

For me, that is game, set, match. There’s plenty more double-talk
from Double-U, but that’s all I had to hear to know I will never, no
matter who runs against Bush, vote for him for president.

Just listen to this Clintonesque drivel: “The education department
ought to be a place for sound science, sound thought, and ought to
recognize that passing power back to the states and local authorities is
the best way to lead to education reform. I don’t believe we ought to
federalize education. I trust local people to make the right decisions.
But there is a place for the federal government to make sure people
don’t get left behind.”

Tell me, Double-U, where is that place for federal involvement in
education in the Constitution? Can you show us? Or is that no longer
even relevant to you and the party you represent?

Even if Double-U’s rhetoric was correct, there is little hope he
could be trusted to carry out his word. In his 1994 campaign for
governor, Bush said he wanted to abolish the Texas Education Agency. He
later modified that position to abolishing only the regulatory functions
of the agency after learning a local agency is a required element of
receiving federal funds.

In fact, Bush ended up backing efforts to increase the power of both
the state agency and the Texas education commissioner, who is appointed
by the governor.

Bush obviously has similar plans for the nation. He says he wants to
reform and expand the busybody Head Start preschool program to make it
more academic.

“The federal government spends a lot of money on Head Start. Head
Start does a good job of providing healthy meals. I believe it ought to
be an education program as well,” Bush said. He wants the federal
program reinvented as “a platform for reading,” whatever that means.

It’s this kind of misguided and inexcusably fuzzy thinking that
thoroughly and unequivocally disqualifies Bush as the leader America
desperately needs for the future.

I know. I know. The obvious next question is: “OK, Joe, who are you
going to support? Who else can win? Isn’t it better to have someone who
might be occasionally right on the issues than someone who is wrong
every single time?”

The answer is: “No, it’s not better — not at this critical time in
America’s history.”

There’s been too much damage done to America in the last 30 years.
Bolder and more principled leadership is needed or this nation is going
down the tubes.

If the choice is Al Gore or George W., there is really no choice at
all. The first will take you to hell in the fast lane, the other will
take you there in the slow lane. Either way, your destination is the
same — you’re still on the highway to hell.

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