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SUNDAY, MARCH 5, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Democrats not ready to fill leadership void GOP created

With President Bush's approval rating down to 34 percent, the war going badly in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina refusing to go away and the nation upset over the port deal, Democrats should see an opportunity to become the majority party.

But Democrats offer no strong, progressive leadership either. Nationally, the talk centers on Hillary Clinton, the wife of the former president and New York senator who has too much political baggage to lead the nation.

National politics build from the grassroots level and Democrats are woefully lacking in convincing voters they can lead.

State Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks, a Democrat, addressed that issue in a talk to Madison County Democrats last week.

Democrats, he said, are bashful when it comes to supporting the party's traditional strengths. He mentioned lack of vocal support for working people, equal opportunities in education, access to health care, a strong military and Social Security.

With state and congressional elections coming this year, both Democrats and Republicans are searching for what will resonate with voters.

Carl Bernstein, who with Bob Woodward broke the story of the Watergate burglary in The Washington Post that scandalized the Nixon administration, may have distilled the essence of the coming elections.

"Just tell us the truth," he said recently.

More often, we hear people say that they don't know who and what to believe. There is a growing uneasiness among voters that the Bush administration misled the nation on going into Iraq, on its preparations for Katrina relief, and on the sale of port operations in six cities to a company that the United Arab Emirates owns. People are confused about whether the president had legal authority to conduct domestic wiretaps. The budget deficit scares them, too.

Many people who voted for President Bush are disillusioned, yet they don't trust Democrats to offer better leadership. People are bombarded with misinformation, government propaganda and political partisanship and don't know who to trust.

Thus, the party that resolves to "Just tell us the truth" may be the one with the most success in the coming elections.

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