One action speaks louder than candidates’ words

This week, Ohio State Senator Steve Stivers delivered Bush and Kerry a double-whammy- by serving in Iraq. That’s right. While Bush, Kerry and the ever-so-robotic pundits debate the Presidential candidates’ military records, Mr. Stivers is actually proving a point by leaving his cozy chair at Ohio’s State Capitol and actually heading towards Iraq to direct and guide his National Guard unit.

Now, just to clarify: Mr. Stivers is a Republican. I’m not a registered Democrat, but I’m still very liberal nonetheless. Regardless of what I think of his party’s politics, I give Mr. Stivers a big thumbs up for going right into the crossfire to serve his country. In my opinion, he’d make a much better Republican candidate than Bush…but then again, I’m glad he’s not running for President for that same reason.

Which brings me to my main point: even though Bush and Kerry keep bickering about who went to Vietnam and who skipped out on his National Guard service, there are still many issues that are not being debated – oil dependence, the economy, the fact that the rest of the world hates us, and many other things -that should be set straight. And by straight, I mean “corrected,” not “spun” to appear corrected. And speaking of spin, I have a big, clear message to all the pundits out there that are listening: what either candidate did thirty years ago does not matter! Yes, that’s right, it does not matter! Terrorism matters. The economy matters. Oil dependence matters. Why aren’t the pundits discussing these issues instead?

Because it’s politics, folks (and the pundits, but they’ve always been a lost cause). It won’t change in the near future. But Sen. Stivers’ decision to go to Iraq in these troublesome times earns him my respect, despite his affiliation with the Republican Party, and both candidates should take a cue from him. And by that, I mean not arguing about Vietnam and Purple Hearts, but by taking a more proactive stance, one that’s good for America, and the world: less talk, more action (and I mean beneficial action, which leaves out Bush, but that’s an issue for another day).

Hopefully this will change in time for the election…I doubt it, but in the meantime, I bid Sen. Stivers the best of luck in Iraq, and wish for his safe return.

Jay Rooney can be contacted at