New Year's Resolutions
Let us suppose, just for the moment, that we could draw up a few New Years resolutions for our two political parties:
For the Bush administration:
To return to the Republican Party its fiscal conservatism, with determination to reduce the debt load this generation will pass to future generations.
To give Secretary of State Colin Powell full powers to exercise his considerable abilities to restore friendships with our traditional allies and make the new friends we so desperately need.
To put a full effort into restoring the prestige of the United Nations as the one organization designed to keep peace in the world.
Without weakening national defense, attempt to balance the budget so that domestic needs, particularly in education, are met along with our military ones, and that a place is found for foreign aid that would foster friendship in the less-fortunate nations.
To reaffirm the administrations full support and defense of the Constitutions Bill of Rights and appoint a monitor in the office of Attorney General John Ashcroft, if necessary, to assure the same.
To chastise and rebuff any of its members who might suggest or even hint that opposition to the administrations policies is in any way an expression of a lack of patriotism.
For the Democratic Party:
Become more vigilant and aggressive in challenging and defending against administration policies and projects that do not meet the Democrats traditional support of Americas great middle class notably its small-business people, farmers and laborers.
Heed the warnings and knock a few heads, if necessary, to end the character assassination by which candidates for its presidential nomination are attacking their fellow candidates, providing fodder for the Republican campaign to come.
Call a much-earlier-than-usual platform-committee meeting to heal the primary wounds and outline a policy with which the electorate can agree and perhaps even support.
While funding the presidential campaign, do not forget the need to put aside enough to restore a Democratic majority in Congress.
Take with considerably more grace and even, where warranted, show whole-hearted support for the nations successes under the Republican administrations leadership. The capture of Saddam Hussein is a case in point.
For candidate Howard Dean:
Have your staff prepare a catalog of all of your former statements in newspaper and television files to prevent the embarrassing, perhaps damaging, contradictions in policy positions.
For all politicians:
In the interest of a better democracy, where power cannot be purchased by special interests, support strict control of campaign finances, including the provision of free time by the television networks and stations.
For the American people:
Resolve that when actions of those administrations, Democratic or Republican, occasionally embarrass us, we shall take heart that correction is to be found at the election booth, and we shall rejoice in the fact that our government still is the closest to a perfect democracy as has yet been designed.
Write to Walter Cronkite c/o King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019, or e-mail him at email@example.com.
© 2004 Walter Cronkite
Distributed by King Features Syndicate