Race for White House now begins in earnest

What others say

Posted: Friday, March 05, 2004

The race for the Democratic nomination for president ended Tuesday night. Sen. John Kerry won convincingly in most of the 10 states holding primaries New York among them. More important than his victories, perhaps, was the word that his main rival, Sen. John Edwards, would quit the race. ...

Amid the campaign din, there is much the American electorate will need to sort out, about the Republican leader who has done well at times and dubiously at others, and about the pretender to the throne, a Senate veteran who is something of a political chameleon.

Though he's been in the Congress for nearly 20 years, Kerry hardly has a fixed place in the national consciousness. He sounds like a centrist on the trail, but his voting record is well to the left. ...

Duck-and-run maneuvers are a staple of the modern presidential campaign. That's intolerable this year. There are too many critical issues, from the weakness of Medicare and Social Security in the face of 77 million retiring boomers beginning at the end of the decade to the maelstrom of violence in Iraq.

This has been a very successful primary season for the Democrats. Not only did the races bring out the campaigner in the once terminally aloof Kerry, but also they led to the discovery of Edwards. Edwards' message about the ''two Americas'' of rich and poor and of lingering racial divisions cut to the core of America's social pathology.

Kerry, clearly, is the Democrats' choice. What's not so clear is how he would lead. Let that clarification begin now.

The Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, N.Y. - March 3

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