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President Bush, according to jubilant Republicans, received a true mandate because he garnered more popular votes than any president in history. This is true, but his two opponents, John Kerry and Al Gore, received the highest and second-highest votes ever for the opposition.

Bush was elected in large part by voters who liked his moral values and steadfast convictions. This is the president who led us into a pre-emptive war at a great cost in human life for reasons that were faulty and planning that was incomplete.

Kerry was a flip-flopper who failed to convince voters he had the right stuff. But Bush has flip-flopped on a great number of very important issues. They include nation building, the role of the United Nations, the 9/1 1 Commission, homeland security and the biggest of all -- why we went to war with Iraq.

Immediately after the election, Bush assured America that he would reach out to heal the rift between the reds and the blues. Perhaps he should have talked to Tom Reynolds, who gloated about "Democratic disarray." Then there are the conservatives who are ready to install new right-wing judges, and states like Texas and Georgia with their positions on gay rights and evolution. It is going to be a long four years.

Robert Snyder

Clarence Center