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Bradley, McCain for Reform

Both Democrats and Republicans have been treated to lively presidential primary contests this year. On each side a fresh, independent maverick has challenged the party’s status quo and driven that party’s debate with bold ideas and proposals. Both former Sen. Bill Bradley and Sen. John McCain have defined the 2000 presidential race and presented ideas superior to those of their competitors, and The Tech is pleased to endorse Bradley for the Democratic nomination for president and McCain for the Republican nomination. We urge students to vote for one of these candidates in the Massachusetts primary on Tuesday.

All of the major ideas in the Democratic debate -- health care, gun control, race relations -- are prominent because Bill Bradley chose to talk about them. Bradley’s proposals are honest and bold -- a refreshing alternative to the incremental policies outlined by Vice President Albert Gore. Bradley’s plan to extend health care to millions of uninsured Americans was judged superior to Gore’s health care proposals by the independent Consumers Union. Bradley is also the only candidate with the pluck to take on the National Rifle Association by calling for the registration of all handguns.

Throughout the campaign, Gore has been deceptive and deceitful. He has chosen to attack Bradley’s proposals rather than discuss his own record, dancing around his changes of heart on abortion and gun control. And Democrats should remember that Al Gore -- who claimed there was “no controlling legal authority” regarding fundraising phone calls made from a government building -- was the central figure in the 1996 fundraising scandal and is perhaps as ethically challenged as his boss.

In the Republican race, McCain boasts a conservative record which should satisfy GOP voters but holds his conscience above all else, and he is unafraid to break with his party on key issues. John McCain has put campaign finance reform on the political map. He has also refused to join the calls for a tax boondoggle, instead choosing to focus on debt reduction -- an economic policy which will lower interest rates, thus yielding many more benefits for students with loans than Texas Gov. George W. Bush’s tax cut for the rich.

The Republican race has gone beyond the debate over issues and has become a battle for the soul of the party. We admire John McCain’s courage for attacking the evangelical Christians who currently control the Republican Party and attempting to build an inclusive coalition. Bush has instead chosen to flirt with extremists, visiting the anti-Catholic den of hate known as Bob Jones University. Additionally, Pat Robertson, one of Bush’s attack dogs, has attacked the highly respected former Sen. Warren Rudman, a McCain confidant, as a “vicious bigot,” raising worries of anti-Semitism, as Rudman is Jewish. While we do not accuse Bush of bigotry, we are deeply disturbed that he has been slow to respond to religious attacks by his surrogates, and his apology for visiting Bob Jones without condemning its policies is belated and insincere. Bush should not be surprised when Catholic and Jewish voters, who are key constituencies in many of the upcoming March 7 primary states, view McCain as a man of tolerance and Bush as the KKKandidate.

Above all else, we urge students who are registered to vote to cast ballots on March 7. Participation by students in the electoral process is the only way to make candidates pay attention to our issues and concerns.