Friday,December 2,2022
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The Candidates
How can it be that George W. Bush, a mediocre man of middling achievements as Governor of Texas, may just be the next President of the United States of America?
It is because his father, George Herbert Walker Bush, was a President. And when you are a scion of a privileged Yankee family like the Bushes, being President is a career option. We will be hearing from Governor Bush of Florida, too.
Vice President Albert "Al" Gore Jr. also is of the manner born. His father, Albert "Al" Gore Sr., was a Senator from Tennessee who "trained" his son for public service in the heady political world of Washington D.C., and sent him to St. School, where "Albert" was a B.M.O.C. (big man on campus), and Harvard, where he had a reputation as a fair billiards player. But while Gorge W. honed his leadership skills by making really important baseball decisions from the Texas Rangers owner's box, a young Senator Gore campaigned for the Democratic presidential nomination until a young Governor Clinton eclipsed Prince Albert's divine right.
I can tolerate Al Gore in the White House; a Bush victory keeps me an expatriate. It is not so much Bush the man -- he does not bother me half so much since he wiped that smirk off his face -- it is the way Bush the candidate came about.
Here is how it happened : One day the Governor and his rich west Texas buddies were out shooting birds with shotguns, and then they got to talkin?politics and decided that George W. would make a fine President, just like his daddy. His rich buddies then raised a $34 million primary campaign war chest, and the Republican Party leadership said, "Amen." To shore up obvious Bush shortcomings, George Schultz and Henry Kissinger, two pillars of the Republican Party, were recruited to provide adult supervision. Nancy Reagan gave her blessing as well. A done deal!
And then a buzz was heard throughout the land, and on every suburban cul de sac there was a little Mr. Republican touting the middling achievements of the Texas Governor, the Republican who would regain the White House they were pinning for.
There was, however, one bump along the road to a Bush nomination, John McCain. The Senator and war hero had only a bus and three million dollars, but he gave the Texans a fright. So much so that shadowy Bush operatives launched a dirty misinformation campaign (financed by two Texas brothers) against McCain in the New York primary, followed by Bush himself making an unseemly personal appearance at ultra right-wing Bob Jones University during the South Carolina primary. What's more, Bush had just about "blown" that $34 million by the time he reached South Carolina, and he is supposed to be a fiscal conservative?
For Vice President Gore to become a viable candidate, he had to get out from under President Bill Clinton's shadow by establishing himself as his own man. He has done that by not having anything to do with Clinton since the Democratic Convention in May. No photo opportunities with Bill, thank you.
Then Gore had to make it clear unequivocally that he was the better man for the Oval Office. That was supposed to be accomplished with ease during three debates that George W.was trying to dodge, because everyone knew that the Vice President could debate the pants off the Governor. Well, Bush ran for a while, but he could not hide. And when his debate dodging became an issue, he conceded, and the debates were scheduled.
Nonetheless, a funny thing happened on the way to the debates: George W. won, sort of, by not losing; Al Gore lost, sort of, by winning. That is, Bush was not as tongue-tied as he was supposed to be, and Gore was a little too smart for his own good, like the kid who is always waving his hand in a teacher's face to give an answer -- the know-it-all who is never elected class president.
Al Gore never looked better in his life. He was his own man; he was the best man; he looked like Superman. Late in the third debate, Bush reeled back from a Gore challenge to his affirmative action position, meekly looking to the debate judge to intercede after he had retreated to his stool like a whipped puppy. Yet the Governor confounds sneering elitist pundits by maintaining a slim lead in the polls, which tells me that competence, experience and judgment are not what the American electorate are looking for in a President. Nor are they enamored of another consummate politician who has abandoned principles and promises and who offers more big government.
A disappointment of this election year was the failure of New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to square off against First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton for the New York Senate seat vacated by the revered Daniel Patrick Moynahan. Mayor Giuliani was felled by cancer and declined to run. Those two heavyweights would have given us a political donnybrook that the dispiriting presidential main event would have been hard-pressed to equal.
Alas, some guy named Rick replaced Rudolph and, lo and behold, is holding his own against the formidable Hillary. That can be attributed to the legion of Hillary haters out there, whose political mantra is, 밪top Hillary.?Contributions from around the U. S. of A. have been pouring into Rick's campaign coffers.
Unlike Al Gore, it is impossible for Hillary to separate herself from Bill Clinton. She is paying a political price for standing by her man -- remember the "vast right-wing conspiracy" -- and for complicity in White House shenanigans. And just as her Senate race entered its frenetic final weeks, the independent counsel's report on the Travelgate scandal was made public. (I know it is hard to keep track, but Travelgate was one of the early ones. It came before the Vince Foster suicide cover-up.) The independent counsel concluded that Hillary was untruthful. The damage was done at a most inopportune time, for Rick is snapping at Hillary's ankles.
Ralph Nader, the erstwhile consumer protectionist and bane of the Gore campaign, has made a comeback of sorts in the role of election-year "spoiler."His Green Party is garnering valuable Electoral College votes in states whose environmentally conscious voters were expected to back Gore, in what amounts to be a protest vote against the entrenched two-party system. Mr. Nader famously described Mr. Bush as "a corporation impersonating a man," and when asked to choose between Mr. Bush and Mr. Gore, said that he would "punt."?
As The Dongguk Post goes to press on election day, it is still uncertain whether it will be the Tennessee Waltz or the Texas Two-Step at the Inaugural Ball

Sherbo  better68@dongguk.edu

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