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Rejecting Failure

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Message Ron Tunning
"Whatever you voted for, you didn't vote for failure," was for me the most memorable line in the State of the Union Address delivered by President Bush last month.

He's right. When I cast my ballot last November, first and foremost in my mind was to ensure that failure was not rewarded -- that those responsible for the failings in Washington, D.C. and in Concord were held accountable.

Let's look at the record, first in Washington, D.C.

The War in Iraq? A monumental failure that found no weapons of mass destruction, and while Saddam Hussein was toppled along with his statue, so was any hope for a sectarian Iraq not controlled by radical Islamists. Over 3,000 American lives lost, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed, a half-trillion American dollars wasted, and the promise of a shining beacon of Democracy in the Middle East as forlorn as the guarantee that Iraqi oil revenues would pay for the cost of the tragic misadventure.

Fiscal responsibility? Instead of building on the budget surpluses achieved during the last half of the 1990s and actually setting them aside for future obligations such as social security and Medicare, record deficits have ensued. The total federal debt now exceeds $8 trillion, and we're entrusting our future to mortgages held by the Chinese and those benevolent oil sheiks who are using the lives of American youth as proxies to resolve the civil strife that threatens their stronghold on the wealth and the people of their respective fiefdoms.

Education? No Child Left Behind, promoted as legislation that would commit the resources needed to make certain that all children would be afforded an opportunity for a quality education, was a ruse. Instead we're left with All Children Left Behind as confidence in public education has been eroded by a systematic effort to malign teachers and administrators. Instead of funding books and the technological and human resources needed in classrooms, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on various testing schemes designed to convince Americans that their schools are failing and should be abandoned.

Healthcare? Over 46 million Americans have no health insurance and the number is skyrocketing. A prescription drug program was enacted that favored pharmaceutical companies over seniors. And the hopes of millions suffering from a litany of diseases were dashed by a ban on embryonic stem cell research.

Environment? Environmental policy has been redefined to mean using government to create an environment friendly to oil companies, chemical manufacturers, utilities and other industrial concerns, sacrificing clean air and clean water to the bottom line of corporate America.

Hurricane Katrina? Just when we couldn't imagine a disaster more horrific than the storm that wreaked havoc on New Orleans and the gulf coast, FEMA concocted an even greater assault on the region by responding with the incompetence and indifference that has come to define government under Republican rule.

In Concord the record has been equally distressing. Rather than fulfilling its constitutional responsibility to fund an adequate education for its young citizens, the Republican majority which has controlled the legislature for decades simply refused to meet its obligations. Every delaying tactic imaginable was employed, from trying to amend the constitution to attempting an overhaul of the judiciary.

The cavalier treatment of our seniors has been unconscionable, with the Republican majority having refused to fund our county nursing homes as mandated by the laws and agreements they crafted. Instead, they have shifted the burden to local taxpayers, another abrogation of their oath of office to uphold the constitution and laws of the state.

On November 7th, I joined millions of voters around the country and in New Hampshire in rejecting failure, helping to sweep out of office those who have led us on an unbroken path to disaster.

And I'm sure I wasn't the only one who observed that in a departure from virtually every State of the Union address delivered over the past half-century, this one did not open, nor close by noting that the State of our Union is strong.

It isn't, but I have confidence that the new leadership elected in November will restore America's strength and pursue policies that will enhance and preserve the real values that matter to the American people.
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Ron Tunning is a contributing writer to and former editor of the Laconia Daily Sun in Laconia, NH.
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Rejecting Failure

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