Let’s start the real campaign | TheUnion.com

Let’s start the real campaign

July’s Democratic convention in Boston focused on Senator John Kerry’s Vietnam war record and warm endorsements from everyone from his kids to his former shipmates.

This week’s Republican convention in New York City seems to be taking the theme of “stay the course” strength, with its own homespun stories from daughters and other displays of “compassionate conservatism.”

In between the party gatherings, we’ve seen lots of campaigning, with lots of irrelevant spin about what happened 35 years ago, but little substance about which candidate is the most fit to lead the nation for the next four years.

Sure, each party deserves to celebrate, and a chance to pump up the loyalists. But when the back-patting is out of everybody’s system, let’s get into the real campaigning. Put aside the platitudes and symbolic gestures and lay out for the American people some ideas that can stand up in a strong wind.

What lessons has President Bush learned in the past four years about governing? Would he do it all over again, or make some changes?

What has Kerry learned in his nearly 20 years in the Senate, and where would he take the country if he succeeds in unseating Bush?

We would prefer that both candidates tell their surrogates such as the “swift boat” crowd to take a hike, and arrange for a series of debates. Americans need to hear them speak with clarity and detail on complex issues – war, terrorism, unemployment, health care, energy, environment and taxation, for starters.

And for those voters who haven’t made up their minds, we hope they will be able to see through the smoke and mirrors used by both sides.

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