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Paul Tsongas -- a Democrat with Integrity and Vision

Massachusetts is one of 11 states where voters will make their choice for the Democratic presidential nomination Tuesday, and we urge all eligible members of the MIT community to exercise their right to vote.

Former Sen. Paul E. Tsongas started his campaign over a year ago with the vision that President Bush was vulnerable. He was among the first to publicly state that postwar euphoria would end quickly and that support for Bush would disintegrate once voters realized the disastrous condition of the American economy.

Tsongas also benefits from untarnished integrity. While there are doubts about the sincerity of many of his competitors, Tsongas is as worthy of this nation's trust as any potential president could be. Tsongas has also removed speculation about his electability with this week's strong showings in Maryland, Utah, Idaho, and Colorado. His economic strategy is well thought-out and makes more sense than the other Democrats' plans.

While Tsongas, a Lowell native, may lack charisma, the nation needs an effective leader, not a suave charmer. This country needs a leader with economic sense as well as concern for the welfare of all. Tsongas fits this bill. We urge readers to cast their ballots for Tsongas.

It is customary for us to also endorse a candidate for the Republican nomination. This year, however, we feel we cannot.

Bush clearly has not demonstrated the ability to lead this nation. He has shown sparks of brilliance on foreign policy matters, but at the same time has bungled many other opportunities, including his visit to Japan and his response to the massacre in Tiananmen Square. His handling of domestic issues has been even worse.

Patrick J. Buchanan makes a depressing alternative at best. None of his past positions in the Nixon and Reagan administrations have required (nor has he demonstrated)leadership. Buchanan is Tsongas' proverbial "Santa Claus in disguise" on taxation issues. Many of his "isolationist" or "revisionist" stands are thinly veiled racism or xenophobia. He is not worthy of being president.

Voting for Buchanan to "send a message to Bush" is a poor idea. The enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend. Voters should cast their ballot for the candidate they feel is best qualified for the job, not because he represents some protest movement. Neither Republican candidate is worthy of Americans' support.