“The people of America have been overcharged, and on their behalf, I am here asking for a refund.”

In his address to the nation, George W. Bush gave the public what it so badly needed after the past few weeks of Bill Clinton’s latest scandal. In what has come to be dubbed by some as “Pardongate,” skepticism of our government has risen as our former president’s approval rating has fallen. This past Tuesday night, “W’s” 49 minute-long speech diverted the media’s attention, and thus the American people’s, just long enough to give the citizens of this great country what they needed – hope for the future.

Now, I am not necessarily saying that a Republican is the answer to the nation’s problems, I am simply pointing out that our country must take what we have learned in the past few weeks and move on. What I am trying to allude to is the idea of potential. With each new president comes the hope of making a country stronger. Yes, George W. Bush may not be our smartest president, and his ability to party probably puts Isla Vista’s DP revelers to shame; but, in staying with our theme of hope for the future, let us not focus on the negatives. Those who surround him, especially his cabinet members, are highly qualified. He is the only person to be elected twice to the office of governor for the state of Texas. Also, he was his father’s right hand man during the rough years of the Bush Administration.

His first 100 days in office continue to be a focal point for media coverage, although Slick Willie has been stealing the show as of late. He is decisive in nature, as he demonstrated with the recent bombing of Iraq that sent the message to Saddam Hussein that America will not tolerate the building of weapons of mass destruction. He has pet names for the members of the media, such as “stretch” and “Camerones” (Spanish for shrimp), which in turn will make him a media favorite and not as much a media target. He has already begun work to destroy over half of the U.S.’s nuclear arsenal – from 7,000 to 2,500 weapons. Originally the left ridiculed his tax plan, but once Greenspan called for the cut, the Democrats jumped on board. His main priorities consist of education and Medicare reform. These were all once Democratic issues that “W” has now made his.

The point to all of this, my fellow Americans, is this: We now have a leader who campaigned on his own ability to reach across party lines and lead what has now become a partisan nation. His narrow margin of victory has made him, in some strange way, perfect for the job. Who better to lead a nation in such close divide than a man who promised to “change the tone in Washington,” and end partisan behavior? We have already seen him act calm and cool through the adversity of this past election, which as of this week has been put to rest with the final tally of the media’s recount (though very lenient toward Gore) still proclaiming Bush the winner.

This brings me to my final point: “W’s” address to the nation. The first half of the speech defined George W. Bush’s agenda. He proposed to triple federal spending for education and double it for Medicare. He also proposed spending for Social Security and for the military as well. I thought that the Democratic Party was the party of federal spending? At the same time, Bush will give all Americans tax relief. He said in his address that his plan would pay off $2 trillion of the $3.2 in publicly held debt over the next 10 years. It would leave enough money, he said, for a $1 trillion contingency fund “for unexpected needs.” It is high time that Americans stop paying nearly 40 percent of their annual income to the federal government, which continues to mismanage our money.

I did not vote for George W. Bush, but after the election decision was made, Al Gore advised the American people to rally behind our new president, and that is what I am doing. After George W. Bush’s address to the nation, media reports stated that members of the left were sited hissing at the president during his speech. It is time that all Americans reach across partisan lines and follow the lead of our president. America has been referred to as the world’s “last best hope.” I would have to agree. Every four years Americans rally behind a presidential candidate with the thought that their candidate will change the world for the better. Maybe it sounds na*ve to some to believe in such a phenomenon, especially with all the current scandal in Washington, but for now, let us look forward into the future and hope for the best.

Ken Spain is a senior history major.