A Note from Newt…

When you vote for the president’s re-election, you’re voting for courage, which he’s shown all 4 years in office

Newt Gingrich

Oct. 31, 2004

12:00 AM

The strongest case for President Bush’s re-election can be summed up in a word: Courage.Faced with the deliberate and horrific attacks on 9/11, President Bush instinctively understood that this was a war.He demonstrated his courage by taking that war to al-Qaida to protect the American people.

Despite opposition from confused and reluctant bureaucrats and politicians, he acted. That decision was the decisive break with the terrorism as a criminal act strategy of the Clinton Administration and in direct contrast to the terrorism as a nuisance mindset of Sen. John Kerry.

Today, because of President Bush’s courage, there are no terrorist training camps in Afghanistan threatening Americans. Liberated from the Taliban, the Afghani people, for the first time in their history, freely elected their president. In a country where just a few short years ago women had no civil rights, women cast 43 percent of the votes.

When British and American intelligence reported that they believed Saddam was trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction and Russian President Vladimir Putin told President Bush that Russian intelligence had evidence Saddam Hussein was developing plans to attack America, the president had the courage to go to the United Nations.

After 11 years of UN inspectors reporting that Saddam was not cooperating and 17 feckless Security Council Resolutions, the president faced objections from many of his most conservative advisers. Still he and Secretary of State Colin Powell laid out the case against Saddam and won a UN Security Council Resolution giving Saddam one last chance to prove he was disarming and to avoid war. When Saddam still would not comply, the president again had the courage to act.Saddam Hussein is no longer in power.

The Iraqi people have an interim government and are looking forward to their first free election. Today, thousands of Iraqis willingly risk their lives to ensure that their future is safe and prosperous by defeating a small but vicious insurgency that seeks to impose death and torture on the people of Iraq for daring to be free.It may not be obvious through the filter of the news media how moral and how courageous President Bush’s stand has been.

However, it is no coincidence that the Army Times reported that nearly 80 percent of the men and women in uniform in Iraq will be voting for President Bush. They know what courage is and they know that what they are doing is for a noble cause. So their support of the president should come as no surprise because his leadership is improving the future for both the American and Iraqi people.

As the economy began to weaken late in the Clinton Administration, then candidate Gov. George W. Bush proposed tax cuts as the right solution to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit of America. When he won a bitterly contested election, “pundits” expected him to reach out to liberals and modify his campaign positions. His courage enabled him to ignore the entire Washington establishment and the elite media and insist on a major tax cut as the best way to combat the recession and get America growing again.

After the attacks of Sept. 11, it became obvious that the Bush tax cuts were vital to preventing America and the world from slipping into a deep recession that would have killed millions of jobs.Among our biggest domestic challenges is improving the American health and health care delivery systems. President Bush had the courage to step outside the usual policy experts and government dominated solutions to advance three bold, new approaches.

First, he created health savings accounts, which today are already saving small businesses an average of 40-to-50 percent on their premiums even though he knew it would enrage the liberal left who have committed themselves to failed government control of health care.

Second, despite a dominant political news media that does not understand its significance, he is implementing the development of health information technology as the key to saving lives and saving money.

Finally, he has had the courage to advocate for an interstate market for health insurance for small businesses, farms and the poor to bring down the cost of coverage even though the proposal will invite special interest hostility.

As we have seen in this campaign, being honest about Social Security has subjected the president to attacks, lies and distortions. Yet when confronted with the facts about Social Security’s solvency as the Baby Boom generation begins to retire, President Bush did not shirk his responsibility or resort to scare tactics, instead he courageously insisted upon saving the system by arguing to allow workers to voluntarily own a personal Social Security account, which is the only solution that will allow us to both avoid benefit cuts for seniors and near-retirees and not raise taxes on today’s workers or their children.When searching for solutions to help the truly needy, President Bush, in an age of secular political correctness, supports faith-based initiatives and talks about the importance of faith. President Bush is the most openly faith-affirming president since Abraham Lincoln.

In this period of cynicism and secularism, it takes a tremendous amount of courage to live out your faith.Of course, the president has weaknesses. He can be direct and blunt and impolitic. He will never be a Ronald Reagan communicator. Yet, in my lifetime I do not know that I have ever seen a president with a greater level of courage and a greater willingness to do what is right.In contrast to President Bush’s courage, the opportunism, the liberalism, the uncertainties, and the constant flip-flopping of John Kerry make my vote for president a very easy one. Courage beats glibness in leading a free people in difficult times.

Newt Gingrich is a former speaker of the House in the U.S. Congress. He was the architect of the 1994 “Contract with America.”

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