Derry News (NH)   Friday, January 28, 2000 --page 4


WHEN CONSIDERING the course of the Republican presidential race, it really has been a race of underdogs fighting their party's leadership for an opportunity to present their vision over that of George W. Bush.  With his millions and the backing of the party's leadership around this state and the nation, New Hampshire was seen as the stepping stone in a nearly uncontested primary race.

However, what these people did not learn from past experience is that there is no such thing as a sure thing in New Hampshire -- we do not do what is expected of us, but rather what we believe to be right.  Through the sleepy heat of summer, Sen. John McCain traveled throughout this state with his message of campaign finance reform talking to all who would listen and telling the people that none of the big dreams of any politician will come true until we have removed the corrupting influence of money on our political process.  A corrupting influence that even casts its shadow on those attempting to do good.

We find the hypocrisy not in McCain's letter on behalf of a campaign contributor to a federal regulatory board, but in the political reality that is Washington where even good politicians must continually collect contributions to keep their message alive.  McCain has pointed to the "corrupting influence of money that touches us all," and he is no exception in that no one can be free of even the appearance of corruption until action is taken.  When we look at his chief rival, we see a man who has spoken on this most important issue, but who has allowed third parties -- one of whom is run by supporters -- to run issue advocacy ads costing in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to attack his opponents.

One of these Washington lobbyists -- whose group has spent a considerable amount of money in advertising in New Hampshire to attack McCain as being un-Republican on campaign finance reform -- showed the hubris of the Washington establishment that refuses to give up their foothold on the political process in an interview with the Derry News.

"This is to make the point to other senators that [campaign finance reform] is not a campaign winning issue," said Grover Norquist, leader of Americans for Tax Reform.  "We have the press' attention, the candidate's attention and the people's attention.  If he changes his opinion we will drop these ads."

Dedicated to reforming the effect of money on politics, McCain also wants to end the pork barrel waste in Washington that is endemic.  He wants to stop the kind of waste that has allowed for $2 million to be spent to study the effect of cow flatulence on the ozone layer.  To those who propose to waste the taxpayers' money, "I vow to make them famous for it," McCain said.

As the sleepy days of summer became the more wakeful days of autumn, the eyes of New Hampshire residents became wider, and as they saw more of McCain, they saw in him the one Republican with the honor, integrity, grit and will to fight this pernicious Washington establishment that for now, but not for long, is the reality of politics as usual.  With this increased awakening, the support of Sen. McCain has grown -- support that we at the Derry News would like to extend to him and his campaign.


IT IS HARD TO BELIEVE that coming into the final week of the Democratic race for the presidential nomination with the success of our economy under the Clinton-Gore administration, that a challenger with the credibility and
effectiveness of former Sen. Bill Bradley has made us reconsider who should lead the Democratic Party.

While we will grant that with Bradley comes the risk of a man with grand plans for what he wants to do -- plans that may not be realistic given the current environment in Washington -- we like that they set goals that are noble and follow in the Democratic tradition of an involved governance for the people.

Gore has taken an incremental approach to healthcare, one that acknowledges the realities of Washington and one that comes from Washington.  Do we trust it to work and move toward the goal of universal health coverage?  In short -- yes.

But, we also trust in Bradley the ability to get at least as much done as Gore plans to do.  We also trust him to get at least that much done on all issues that are important to Democrats and Americans.

Issues such as education, giving our elderly the ability to buy the prescription drugs that they need, to decrease the nauseating level of handgun violence in our country, decrease the social atrocity of child poverty and to continue the passage to Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream of a united America.

Gore has described Bradley as a good man with a bad plan.  To Gore we say, "You are most certainly a good man, but with a bad campaign."

For too long, Gore missed the point that to win this thing all you had to do was optimistically promote yourself and the value of your government service.  Instead, he brought together myriad advisers with a hundred points of view, which they thought they could knit into one candidate with a message, and that message was to try and tear down your opponent.

While Gore's dissonant attacks fell short, Bradley used his time to inspire and build.

He talked of building and of hopes and his inspiration to do better and "ask good people to come forward and join us so that our voices can be heard."  It is this message, mixed with one of the most intelligent people to have
ever run for president that, we -- who have not allowed a negative message to frighten us, but have been enlivened by a positive, thoughtful message that looks to the future -- support the man we see as best representing what the Democratic Party stands for and who will work for the best interests of all Americans.

That man is Bill Bradley.

Reprinted by Permission of the Derry News.