: Dem mayor supports Bush


PaulT
09-01-2004, 09:03 AM
What the Democratic mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota has to say about President Bush


Thanks for being here; it's a wonderful day in St. Paul. It may be too nice a day to talk about politics, so I won't keep you long.


I take a nonpartisan approach to my job as mayor of St. Paul. There is not a DFL or Republican way to keep our City safe or to clean the streets. But Saint Paul is part of a state and country and this is an important year of decision. People seem to want to know where I stand on the presidential race.

About a month ago I was driving down West 7th and came up behind a car with a bumper sticker that said, "I Hate Bush." What a pathetic printout on where we're at in this country.

For eight years, many on the right hated Bill Clinton and desperately wanted him to fail. For the last few years, many on the left have hated George Bush and wanted him to fail.

I believe that "I Hate ________" is not the platform for any kind of future for America.

This politics of hate must stop and it must stop now. The simple reason is: the people's business is not getting done.

In our own legislature, everything ground to a halt to prevent anyone from being able to take credit for anything. The U.S. Congress is in much the same state of chaos. Somehow we've gotten into a pattern where the common good is less important than the political good.

I am just one voice, but I'm standing up to say, "Enough."

The economy has been tough, and a lot of people have been hurt. But it's going in the right direction. There's no reason to believe a change of course will produce better or quicker results.

The war in Iraq was won in blinding speed - the peace has been a much greater challenge. And, whether through unrealistic expectations, or simply mistakes made in good faith, now is not the time to say we should end our commitment to the 25 million Iraqis our American soldiers have freed and are fighting to give them a chance at self governance.

The reality is: almost 150,000 of our troops are in Iraq today. We'll get them home a lot sooner and with a better outcome if we don't try to bring in a whole new leadership team to run the show. We must stay the course.

I agree with the President that we must see this thru and not turn tail and run, and give our enemies the message that we lack resolve.

And the war on terror is a huge, ongoing struggle. If we changed presidents at this juncture, there is just no question that it would confuse our friends and encourage our enemies. In a war, you just can't afford to do that. Continuity and resolve is critical.

George Bush and I do not agree on all issues. I believe the President must focus greater energy on the deficit. I believe the President must resist those who believe gay marriage should be an issue to divide America to win an election, and instead call upon the greater instincts of American tolerance to bring us together.

But in turbulent times, what the American people need more than anything is continuity of government, even one with some imperfect policies. Where George Bush and I agree, is on the issues of the greater good for a stronger America.

The common good will be better served on the path we're on than with an abrupt change of direction, especially one paved in part with political hatred.

Earlier this week, the Pioneer Press praised me for not indulging in the politics of hatred and division. As proud as I am of their kind words, I am more determined than ever to send the message to my sons - and to the sons and daughters of other Moms and Dads in St. Paul, Minnesota and America - that we can, we should and we must stop - now - this poison partisanship that threatens to destroy the national will to come together to win the War on Terror here, at home, and across the world.

In his book, John Kennedy said both national parties seek to serve the national interest. But when an officeholder finds the interests of party differ from the national interest, the first responsibility must not be to party, but to conscience.

It is not in the national interest to feed the politics of hate. I feel it is in the national interest to keep the economic and international course we are on.

Americans are looking for strong, steady, and principled leadership. They crave politicians who stand for something, rather than rally us against someone. The American people I know - the ones I represent in St. Paul - care about leaders who stand steady in difficult times, who do not waver nor bend to the wind. They want strong, determined leadership - and, I believe George Bush provides us that leadership today at this point in our history.

I've been a Democrat all my life and after this announcement I'll continue to be a Democrat. But I believe I have a higher loyalty to what's best for my country and our city than to party.

So this November, George W. Bush has my endorsement for President of the United States.

This is a hard decision for me.

To my Republican friends, my heart, my mind, values, and my convictions are rooted in and forged in the principles of the Democratic Party.

I pledge my heart and my good faith to work with you when and where we can - but, I will oppose you where I believe you to be wrong, and when you do not represent the best interests of our community.

And, to my Democratic friends, we have often agreed to disagree over the past 30 years I have been involved in politics and government. I trust that you and I will agree to disagree on this decision. All I ask, is your respect for my right to make it.

This past week I had the opportunity to personally talk with the President. We agreed to work together for the best interest of our country and St. Paul . He assured me that the challenges and opportunities that face urban centers are ones we will work on together.

Let me end by sharing with you something I believe to the core of my being.

Whatever the cost of this decision is to me, the expense of remaining quiet in this election year is of far greater consequence to me. I have done what I can, along with the love and care of my wife, to raise two sons these past two decades. I love them with more of my being than I care to share with you today. And, it is with that love, that I make this difficult decision and choice.

Because, at the end of each and every day, my responsibility as a Mayor, as an American, as a husband and as a father is to speak up when a voice must be heard.

And, now, you have heard my voice.