[Mb-civic] Why I Will Vote for John Kerry for President By John Eisenhower
michael at michaelbutler.com
Wed Sep 29 18:58:37 PDT 2004
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Why I Will Vote for John Kerry for President
By John Eisenhower
The Manchester Union Leader
Tuesday 28 September 2004
The Presidential election to be held this coming Nov. 2 will be one of
extraordinary importance to the future of our nation. The outcome will
determine whether this country will continue on the same path it has
followed for the last 3? years or whether it will return to a set of core
domestic and foreign policy values that have been at the heart of what has
made this country great.
Now more than ever, we voters will have to make cool judgments,
unencumbered by habits of the past. Experts tell us that we tend to vote as
our parents did or as we "always have." We remained loyal to party labels.
We cannot afford that luxury in the election of 2004. There are times when
we must break with the past, and I believe this is one of them.
As son of a Republican President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, it is
automatically expected by many that I am a Republican. For 50 years, through
the election of 2000, I was. With the current administration¹s decision to
invade Iraq unilaterally, however, I changed my voter registration to
independent, and barring some utterly unforeseen development, I intend to
vote for the Democratic Presidential candidate, Sen. John Kerry.
The fact is that today¹s "Republican" Party is one with which I am
totally unfamiliar. To me, the word "Republican" has always been synonymous
with the word "responsibility," which has meant limiting our governmental
obligations to those we can afford in human and financial terms. Today¹s
whopping budget deficit of some $440 billion does not meet that criterion.
Responsibility used to be observed in foreign affairs. That has meant
respect for others. America, though recognized as the leader of the
community of nations, has always acted as a part of it, not as a maverick
separate from that community and at times insulting towards it. Leadership
involves setting a direction and building consensus, not viewing other
countries as practically devoid of significance. Recent developments
indicate that the current Republican Party leadership has confused confident
leadership with hubris and arrogance.
In the Middle East crisis of 1991, President George H.W. Bush marshaled
world opinion through the United Nations before employing military force to
free Kuwait from Saddam Hussein. Through negotiation he arranged for the
action to be financed by all the industrialized nations, not just the United
States. When Kuwait had been freed, President George H. W. Bush stayed
within the United Nations mandate, aware of the dangers of occupying an
Today many people are rightly concerned about our precious individual
freedoms, our privacy, the basis of our democracy. Of course we must fight
terrorism, but have we irresponsibly gone overboard in doing so? I wonder.
In 1960, President Eisenhower told the Republican convention, "If ever we
put any other value above (our) liberty, and above principle, we shall lose
both." I would appreciate hearing such warnings from the Republican Party of
The Republican Party I used to know placed heavy emphasis on fiscal
responsibility, which included balancing the budget whenever the state of
the economy allowed it to do so. The Eisenhower administration accomplished
that difficult task three times during its eight years in office. It did not
attain that remarkable achievement by cutting taxes for the rich.
Republicans disliked taxes, of course, but the party accepted them as a
necessary means of keep the nation¹s financial structure sound.
The Republicans used to be deeply concerned for the middle class and
small business. Today¹s Republican leadership, while not solely accountable
for the loss of American jobs, encourages it with its tax code and heads us
in the direction of a society of very rich and very poor.
Sen. Kerry, in whom I am willing to place my trust, has demonstrated
that he is courageous, sober, competent, and concerned with fighting the
dangers associated with the widening socio-economic gap in this country. I
will vote for him enthusiastically.
I celebrate, along with other Americans, the diversity of opinion in
this country. But let it be based on careful thought. I urge everyone,
Republicans and Democrats alike, to avoid voting for a ticket merely because
it carries the label of the party of one¹s parents or of our own ingrained
John Eisenhower, son of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, served on the
White House staff between October 1958 and the end of the Eisenhower
administration. From 1961 to 1964 he assisted his father in writing "The
White House Years," his Presidential memoirs. He served as American
ambassador to Belgium between 1969 and 1971. He is the author of nine books,
largely on military subjects.
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