On November 2, I will cast my first
vote in a presidential election for George W. Bush. My decision is without
reservation. President Bush is not only qualified for reelection; much is at
stake in this vote.
I am not a die-hard Bush fan. I was never enthused about Bush in 2000. I
campaigned for Dan Quayle during his short-lived candidacy, and when Quayle
dropped out, I volunteered on Alan Keyes' campaign. As a young idealist, I've
always looked for principled heroes in the world of politics before I seek
It is quite true that Bush is a man of the establishment. His presence on the
national stage is a result of his birth into a powerful family. This is a
statement equally applicable to most of history's rulers and statesmen as to
Whether the president shall retain his seat behind the desk in the Oval Office
is now a separate matter from his association with the Bush family name. For
nearly four years, the president has had the immense burden to prove that he is
more than a man of the national-stage establishment, that he is capable of
leading the world's greatest nation in an hour of crisis.
This I think he has done quite
well. We are at war on terror and the commander in chief has accomplished great
things in the task at hand; two dictators have been toppled and terrorist
networks are being
dismantled. In that sense the president has ably followed in the train of
McKinley, Wilson, and Franklin Roosevelt.
I do not mean to say that the president has led perfectly on all fronts. Since
he entered the 2000 presidential race, I have never assumed Bush to be a
conservative in the sense I like to think of conservatism.
I recently asked White House communications liaison Tim Goeglein to what extent
the president takes into consideration the constitution in his daily policy
considerations. I received a roundabout answer that suggested the president was
a deliberative man, but not necessarily deliberative with respect to the
constitution. This, I would say, is the president's chief fault. It has been
said that Bush is a big-government conservative, and for this he must be
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But I find increasingly as I learn
the various roles of institutions within our society that George W. Bush is not
the man to blame completely for the growth of government - or the failure to
stop its growth - in recent years. Neither is Congress or any other part of
government entirely to blame. Government cannot usually cut off its organs, nor
even contain itself.
The people of this self-governing republican country are ultimately responsible
for our own lives. We must be a people of faith, compassion, and character if
our free institutions are to survive the rigors of a fallen world. So in
America, the growth of government is not so much an issue of the state in some
self-amassed power to tax, spend, and control. That problem is more directly a
result of the people in decreasing responsibility in matters of faith,
compassion, and character.
Government grows because we the people demand more of it and less of ourselves.
While we shouldn't excuse this president for taking too liberal a view of
government, God cannot yet forgive our nation for taking too irresponsible a
view of ourselves.
In the midst of these trials of character and constitution - judicial tyranny,
gay marriage, abortion, threatened individual responsibilities, burgeoning
government - we are without a Washington, a Lincoln or a Reagan to guide us. The
high places are not all dismantled, nor the land made pure.
But God sends different leaders for different times, and this one for ours.
President Bush has high personal integrity, and though he may not consult the
constitution as his foremost guide to policy as he ought, at least he seeks to
preserve the constitution.
That cannot be said of John Kerry, whose character is questionable and whose
political intentions are aggressively destructive to the constitution and
ordered liberty. John Kerry is unfit for command, say the veterans he so
thoroughly denigrated. John Kerry is a flip-flopper, say those who know his
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Bush is a recognizable embodiment
of two great political character traits, humility and prudence. He has an
apparently genuine faith in God, private and public. His ability to delegate
authority to men of great skill and experience is noteworthy. Few presidential
administrations in recent history can match the collective knowledge and
credibility of this one. This president is not a champion among statesmen, but
he is a good leader nonetheless.
So this young American is honored to cast his first vote in a presidential
election for George W. Bush. For what it's worth, I encourage young people
across the country to join me in voting to reelect this president.
Hans Zeiger is president of the Scout Honor Coalition, a Seattle
Sentinel columnist, and a student at Hillsdale College. www.hanszeiger.com
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