Foster's Daily Democrat (Dover, NH)   Tuesday, January 25, 2000

Bradley's integrity: It’s the issue on which he shines

The campaign for the Democratic nomination for president has been a spirited one.  Democrats in New Hampshire will play an important role in their party’s choice of a nominee — a role that will allow their party to regain the respect in which it was held prior to the behavior of the current administration.

Character and integrity have to be major factors in the choice of a Democratic nominee for president this year.  It is for that reason we are drawn to endorse the candidacy of Bill Bradley.

Bill Bradley had returned to the political wars with the clean face and clean hands with which he left the Senate. Bill Bradley is someone Democrats can look up to with a sense of pride.

Bill Bradley gives Democrats, and undeclared voters who might be disposed to pick up a Democratic ballot, an opportunity to change the direction of the past eight years — the past four years  in particular.  When the Democratic primary is held in New  Hampshire on Feb. 1, voters will have a chance to restore dignity and have pride in their choice of people to whom they look to for strong moral leadership in public office.

The present administration has brought shame to the institutions from which so much is expected.  The tragedy of the past four years is that high expectations were betrayed; moral leadership was absent.

The lack of moral leadership exhibited in the Clinton/Gore years goes deeper than one sex scandal after another. It goes to the heart of the manner in which the administration used its influence and venue to further its own interests and the interests of its political cronies.

Whenever someone associated with the Clinton/Gore administration decries the abuses of such things as campaign financing, they are guilty of the rankest kind of hypocrisy.

The Clinton/Gore administration has redefined corruption — if not in the strict legal sense, then at least as a standard of morality.

We endorse Bill Bradley because the American people can no longer afford the baseness of President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore; they can no longer afford the cynical behavior of people who are elected to serve all the people, but instead use the trappings of office for instant gratification and long-term ambition.

The presidency is not something to be inherited.  It is a responsibility to be earned.  When a stain has been deeply set on the institution, no one associated with it deserves to be retained or promoted.  The year 2000 is a time to clean house and it has to start within the party itself.

We do not pretend to agree with Bill Bradley on many of the great issues of this campaign.  There is not a lot of difference between  former Sen. Bradley and Vice President Gore on matters such as education, health care and federal spending as a whole.  We fear that no matter which of the two men is nominated, the budget surplus will be used as an excuse to expand federal spending through existing programs and the establishment of new ones.

Character and integrity are the issues on which we have made our choice — and Bill Bradley stands head and shoulders above Al Gore and Gore’s mentor and good friend, Bill Clinton.

Bill Bradley looks at his country and the world in a way he would like to see it for our children, our grandchildren and those who come after them.  Maybe there is too much of a touch of idealism in Bill Bradley, but better that than the voracious political appetite we see in Al Gore.

The Des Moines Register wrote in an editorial the day before Monday’s caucuses in Iowa, "... choosing a new president to take office in 2001 isn’t as simple as turning to the candidate with the most experience or the most intensity.  The task involves looking for the leader whose ideas and approach to governing most  closely match the needs of the times."

"Bradley’s vision is compelling," wrote the editors of the Register, "Moreover there is a fundamental decency about him that would bode well for healing the festering partisan wounds that have produced virtual stalemate in our national government."

We share the view that Bill Bradley and George W. Bush are the two candidates who can be most successful in bringing the people of our nation together again.  And isn’t that what this year’s preliminary selection process is all about?  Seeing to it that the two parties put forth their best candidates?  We think so.

Bill Bradley has come from way behind to a position from which he might win the New Hampshire primary. We’re not surprised.  The people of New Hampshire always give the underdog a close look.  New Hampshire is where the unexpected is always expected.

The Democrats’ best choice in New Hampshire this year is Bill Bradley.

Reprinted with permission of Geo. J. Foster & Co.