For voters, the choice for president is clear


Election 2004

October 31, 2004

Seldom in American history has a presidential election offered a clearer choice for voters.

Though both candidates are wealthy men and Yale graduates, they have dramatically different views on the role government should play in the lives of it citizens and in the world.

Usually, it is the challenger calling for drastic change, but this year, it is the incumbent. President Bush proposes sharp breaks with the past - from allowing workers to independently invest some of their Social Security taxes to spending federal education dollars on vouchers to help pay private school tuition. It is all part of what Bush calls the "ownership society."

Abroad, Bush has made clear that he is willing to go it alone, invading Iraq despite the disapproval of most of America's Cold War allies. He says this is necessary if America is to protect itself in a post-Sept. 11 world.

Sen. John Kerry says that America must restore its alliances to help fight terrorists. Domestically, Kerry calls for protecting Social Security and Medicare, and changing the tax system to help retirees and the middle class deal with a changing economy and rising education and health care costs.

In both cases, Kerry proposes returning to the state of the union before Bush took office, with some adjustments. It is Bush who advocates continued change at home and abroad.

Bush says that Kerry is a "tax-and-spend" liberal who believes in big, expensive government. He says Kerry has not shown the resolve needed to fight the war on terrorism.

Kerry says Bush's proposals would sink the country further into debt and threaten middle-class economic security "in order to give big tax cuts to the wealthy." He says blunders in fighting terrorism have made the world more dangerous.

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