Does character matter in Presidential elections? Is a politician’s prior record an adequate indicator of future behavior? Jeff Jacoby addresses these questions in an op-ed in today’s Boston globe.
All thinking people change their minds occasionally. But it is one thing to alter an opinion because of new information or further reflection. It is something very different to do so out of a compulsion to tell each audience what it wants to hear. Kerry has many gifts, but political courage is not among them. As president, could he take a tough stand and stick with it, even if there were a price to pay for doing so? All the evidence to date says no.
George W. Bush is far from perfect. He refuses to admit mistakes. He resists constructive criticism. His humor can be petty or cutting. His administration is secretive and self-righteous – traits that presumably start at the top.
But Bush, unlike Kerry, has the courage of his convictions. He can take a strong stand and not run away from it when the political winds shift. On the big issues, the crucial issues, he is a decisive man who means what he says – and isn’t afraid to say it even when his listeners disagree.
For a nation going to the polls in wartime, no issue matters more than character. Kerry has much to recommend him, and Bush’s flaws are many. But Bush has the character and backbone of a leader. And Kerry doesn’t.