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Jewish World Review Nov. 21, 2002 / 16 Kislev, 5763

Dick Morris

Dick Morris
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Gore's suicide


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | UNNOTICED in the Republican victory in the Congressional elections is the rapid fall in the fortunes of former Vice President Al Gore.

According to the Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll, Gore has dropped from a 51 percent favorable rating on Aug. 6-7, 2002, to a mere 37 percent on Oct. 22-23. This 15 point fall comes after the Democratic nominee of 2002 had succeeded at keeping his popularity in the low 50s throughout the first eight months of 2002.

Will Al Gore run in 2004? Not if he won't even get nominated, he won't.

Why has Gore fallen on hard times? The singular event which likely demarked his fall was his untimely speech, on Sept. 24, 2002, attacking Bush's Iraq policy. Demanding Bush work with the United Nations, he declared, "If you are going after Jesse James, you ought to organize the posse first."

Gore criticized Bush in that speech saying: "We've squandered that [the goodwill after 9/11], and in one year we've replaced that with fear, anxiety and uncertainty, not at what the terrorists are going to do but at what we are going to do."

That Gore would choose an occasion two weeks after the anniversary of Sept. 11 to criticize Bush on terrorism is a feat of political mismanagement which only his reliance on his daughter for political guidance can excuse. But, beyond that, why would Gore - who would have enormous credibility on Bush's many environmental sins and could center his attack on the president's dismal economic record - choose to hit Bush, as his first shot out of the box, on Iraq?

Did Gore forget his elevation to the vice presidency by Clinton in 1992 was a direct consequence of his foresight and courage in being one of the few Democrats to back military action against Saddam Hussein in 2001? Flipping from center to left, the former VP alienated his old base without convincing the new one he seeks to rally to his side.

Remember that in 2004, there will be no Republican primary, since Bush's renomination is clearly assured. With only a Democratic contest, all the independents, who divided their votes between McCain and Bradley last time, will be in the Democratic primary. If they didn't support Gore then, why should they back him now?

Go through any state where independents could vote in either party primary, add up the McCain and the Bradley votes, and it will dwarf the Gore total. The influx into the Democratic primary of these moderates, who rejected both Gore and Bush in 2000 during the primaries, will further undermine Gore's chances of victory.

Gore has a clear mandate from the voters to speak out on the areas and subjects on which he is highly credible like the environment, the economy, health care for seniors, Medicare and Social Security. To stray to the left on Iraq is to enter a briar patch from which no Democrat can emerge intact.

Was Gore inspired to do so by the speeches one month earlier of former Presidents Clinton and Carter criticizing Bush on Iraq? If he was, perhaps he should realize two things:

1. He doesn't want to be a former yet.

2. Hillary thought so much of her husband's comments that she voted for the war resolution.

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JWR contributor Dick Morris is the author of, among others, "Power Plays: Top 20 Winning and Losing Strategies of History's Great Political Leaders" Comment by clicking here.

Up

11/15/02 One-party control is an illusion
11/13/02 The House of Extremes
11/08/02 I have egg on my face
11/01/02 Is Bush losing control over events?
10/25/02What is causing Bush's free fall?
10/25/02: Anybody sense a trend?
10/23/02: A deadline for Iraq
10/18/02: Only sure bet of 2002 elections is voter angst
10/16/02: Endangered incumbents
10/11/02: Why multilateralism doesn't work
10/09/02: Hey, Dems: Believe NYTimes polling at your own risk
10/03/02: Dem suicide: Let's count the ways
09/30/02: The Dems just can't stop themselves
09/26/02: The perils of polling
09/19/02: W. boxed in the U.N.
09/19/02: Welfare reform: Keep on keeping on
09/12/02: Are Dems insane on Iraq?
09/09/02: Twin shadows of Election '02
09/05/02: GOP should triangulate
08/28/02: Trust the military
08/22/02: It's not the economy, stupid
08/09/02: As America unites, Gore goes divisive
08/01/02: Bush must focus on big picture
07/23/02: Election 2002: Advantage Dems
07/19/02: Rudy for SEC tough cop
07/17/02: The investor strike
07/15/02: Door open for drug testing students --- go for it, GOP!
07/12/02: Dubya looking out for No. 1?
07/03/02: The DNA war for Bush's soul
06/21/02: Why are conservatives winning?
06/19/02: Learning to love the feds
06/14/02: Hey, journalists and Dems: Dubya is doing just fine
06/12/02: It's terrorism, stupid!
06/10/02: Sanctions are a potent weapon
06/04/02: Al Qaeda's more dangerous new front
05/31/02: Why '04 looks tough for liberal Dems
05/24/02: Democratic self-destruction
05/22/02: The Clinton failures
05/15/02: Pataki positioned to win
05/08/02: A wakeup-call for American Jewry
05/03/02: Give Bush back his focus
05/01/02: Immigration fault li(n)es
04/25/02: It's the war, stupid
04/17/02: Bush goes small bore
04/12/02: Bush must be a gentle partisan
04/10/02: In defense of polling
04/08/02: Focus on Iraq, not the Palestinians
04/01/02: Only Internet will bring real campaign finance reform
03/27/02: Where W's drawn a line in the sand
03/22/02: Enron scandal will not trigger a wave of economic populism
03/20/02: Term-limited --- by war
03/15/02: Europe doesn't have a clue
03/11/02: Bush popularity = GOP win?
03/01/02: Will America be forced to chase its tail in its war on terrorism?
02/27/02: The Arafat/Saddam equilibrium must be destroyed
02/21/02: Campaign finance reform won't hurt GOPers
02/13/02: Dodd scurries for cover
02/11/02: U.S. 'unilateralism'? The Europeans don't have a case
02/06/02: WAR: What women want
02/01/02: They all talk in the end
01/30/01: The odd couple: Chris Dodd and Arthur Andersen
01/22/01: His father's son? Bush better get an 'Act II' fast!
01/18/01: Dubya & the 'vision thing'
01/14/01: The Rumsfeld Doctrine 01/03/01: A President Gore would have been a disaster
01/03/02: Clinton's priority: Political correctness over fighting terror
12/27/01: Terror network grew out of Clinton's inaction, despite warnings
12/24/01: Call 'em back, George
12/18/01: What Bush did right
12/13/01: Libs worry too much
12/11/01: "Open Sesame": Feinstein's proposed bill allows 100,000 non-immigrant students from anti-American countries to our shores
12/07/01: The non-partisan president
12/05/01: Both parties are phony on stimulus debate
11/29/01: When terrorists can enter legally, it's time to change the laws
11/21/01: Go for the jugular!
11/16/01: You are all incumbents
11/14/01: Clinton's failure to mobilize America to confront foreign terror after the 1993 attack led directly to 9-11 disaster
11/12/01: To the generals: Don't worry about losing support
11/08/01: The death of the white liberal
11/07/01: Our leaders are being transformed in a way unprecedented in post-World War II history

© 2001, Dick Morris