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Editorial -- Bill Clinton for President

For 12 years, the voters have given Republican presidents the opportunity to lead this country toward the 21st century. In most areas, these presidents have failed. The national debt has grown exponentially and growth has slowed to a crawl.

In no uncertain terms, it is time for a change, and Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton is the candidate best equipped to effect this change. We therefore endorse Clinton in the Nov. 3 presidential election.

In endorsing Clinton, we believe that his vision for this country and his plans to achieve that vision are superior to those of his two opponents, President Bush and Ross Perot.

The proposals and qualifications of the three candidates are outlined elsewhere in this newspaper. In just about every major area, the proposals of Clinton and vice-presidential candidate Sen. Al Gore (D-Tenn.) are the best:

The economy: President Bush has presided over ever-increasing budget deficits and a declining economy; he is categorically unqualified to handle these problems and has demonstrated continued disinterest for the welfare of the American people. Perot deserves commendation for his special attention to the budget deficit, but by many accounts his plan would put the American economy into a tailspin, sending both taxpayers' disposable income and consumption plummeting. Clinton, on the other hand, has balanced the urgency of reducing the deficit with the importance of maintaining investment and growth.

Health care: Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey deserves credit for bringing this issue to the forefront during the Democratic primary season. Bush has approached this crisis by proposing a tax credit for working-class families and "vouchers" for the impoverished. However, both parts of his plan seriously underestimate the costs of health care, and the president has not proposed any action to reduce those costs. Perot has not even begun to approach this crisis. Clinton has a plan to reduce costs while covering virtually every American.

Education: Clinton has proposed an innovative system to deal with the skyrocketing costs of college education. Under his plan, any student may attend any private university at the government's expense, provided the student repays the loans as a payroll deduction or works for the government for several years after graduation, a civilian analog to the current Reserve Officers Training Corps system. We endorse this plan.

Homosexual rights: Clinton has promised to reverse the ban on gays in the military, including the ROTC.

Foreign policy: Bush has displayed some successes in this area, but his actions reveal a lack of originality, coherence, and direction. His failure to acknowledge human rights concerns in China, support the new democratic governments of Eastern Europe, or confront threatening dictatorships deserves particular condemnation. Clinton and Perot are largely untried in matters of security and international relations, but both Clinton and Gore have addressed the above issues with intellect and courage.

Abortion: We agree with Perot and Clinton that abortion is a matter of personal choice. We further applaud Clinton for his promise to rescind regulations forbidding abortion counseling in publicly-funded clinics.

Supreme Court: A Clinton victory is essential if there is to be any hope of balancing the Supreme Court. After 12 years of Reagan-Bush appointees, the court's opinions do not coincide with those of mainstream America.

Environment: Bush has done precious little to conserve the environment during his term. With the presence of Gore, voters can be confident that the Democratic ticket would make the preservation of our planet a priority.

Character: When it comes to character, Bush has little to be proud of. He has not been completely forthcoming about his role in the Iran-contra affair, nor has he fully explained his administration's dealings with Iraqi president Saddam Hussein prior to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Bush has "waffled" on many issues himself, including "trickle-down" economics and abortion. On the character "issue," we call it a wash.

Clinton's plans are superior to Bush's and Perot's in every major area. We urge voters to vote for the Clinton/Gore ticket on Nov. 3 and end 12 years of misguided Republican leadership.

Next week, The Tech will make its recommendations on the statewide ballot questions.