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Jewish World Review March 15, 2000 / 8 Adar II, 5760

Chris Matthews

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Scary Gore vs. hopeful Bush -- HERE'S MY PREVIEW of the battle between Al Gore and George W. Bush:

Gore will try to scare the voters, especially women and old people.

Women will be the easiest to scare. Gore will tell them that the next president could well appoint a majority of the nine-seat U.S. Supreme Court. If Bush gets to fill those seats with strict constructionists, that will mean an overturn of Roe vs. Wade an end to abortion rights.

Next will come the old people. Gore will call Bush's plan to privatize Social Security a threat to the system itself. In the darkest possible tones, he will warn seniors that a program built by Franklin Roosevelt, and opposed from the very outset by Republicans, now stands in dire danger.

He will not stop there. More than threatening our rights and entitlements, Gore will say, the Republicans threaten our basic quality of life, both economic and cultural.

A prime target will be the big Bush tax cut. Slashing federal revenues, Gore will warn, threatens to explode the budgetary discipline of the Clinton-Gore years. It will jeopardize the country's economic growth, drive up interest rates, and demolish the working family's 401(k). Savings and wealth, the hallmark of late 20th century American life, will morph back to the paycheck-to-paycheck world of the first Bush presidency.

Gore's final forecast of fear will concern human rights. Let the candidate of Ralph Reed, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell into the White House and we invite a government of, by and for the religious right. No bedroom, bar room or boardroom will be safe. A new theocracy, modeled on Salem and Tehran, will emerge in this land of the free.

If the Gore message will counsel fear, the Bush voice will speak of hope. Change, in this Texas governor's vocabulary, will sound a positive note. Bush's first reform will deal with the White House itself. He will scrub the stain of Bill Clinton from the floors, walls and desks of the Oval Office, showing it the same reverence his father and Ronald Reagan once did.

His second, government-wide reform will deal with the lumbering liberal establishment. Education will be the epicenter. Bush will promise to detonate the country's education system by cracking the iron grip of the teachers' unions.

No more will parents be mandated by law to enroll their children in school, most of them limited by finance to the public schools. Under a Bush administration, the kids of working- and middle-class families will have a monetary edge on the education establishment. They will get the leverage to spend their education dollars where they want. In George W. Bush's lexicon, "school choice" will rival abortion "choice" as an election-eve battle cry.

Pushing the reform agenda even wider will be Bush's unrelenting drive for a giant tax cut. The money belongs to the people, he will argue, not the government. Far from giving away federal dollars, Bush will say, he is letting taxpayers keep, save and invest more of their own!

Lastly, in a son's tribute to his father, the Texas governor will demand a rebuilding of American's military strength. He will score Clinton for jeopardizing the country's security by extending U.S. commitments but failing to bolster our armed forces.

It will be a tough contest, with each campaign exploiting the points that work, discarding those that don't. The victor will be the candidate, whether Gore or Bush, who wins the minds and hearts of those voters who see truth in both their pitches.

JWR contributor Chris Matthews is the author of Hardball. and hosts a CNBC show of the same name. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


03/06/00: McCain's appeal to 'Reagan Democrats'
03/01/00: John McCain fits a hero's profile
02/28/00: Grading the American presidents
02/25/00: Clinton remains No. 1 issue
02/23/00: Will Ross Perot aid POW McCain?
02/18/00: McCain faces fury of GOP establishment
02/17/00: Citizen Springer
02/14/00: McCainia and the frisky independents
02/07/00: A prime-time primary for California
02/02/00: Clinton's final campaign: Take the blame
01/31/00: Which GOPer is willing to pay for his positions?
01/27/00: John McCain's gay radar
01/25/00: This time, candidates get 'authenticity' check
01/18/00: AIDS dooms 1 in 4 in tiny Swaziland
01/13/00: Complacency might be the campaign key
01/10/00: A choice, not an echo
01/06/00: The role of a lifetime
01/03/00: Dangers in Gore's dirty war
12/30/99: Churchill's fighting words saved the century
12/28/99: Candidate Gore's separation anxiety
12/17/99: Catch 22: Leading candidates don't lead
12/17/99: New Democratic leader on the horizon
12/15/99: Is Hillary clueless?
12/08/99: Taking Buchananism to the streets
12/03/99: Why are we so obsessed with 'spin'?
12/01/99: Donald Trump, 'Sinatra of Steel'
11/29/99: Why AlGore will be our next president
11/23/99: After the fall
11/17/99: Our conveniently forgetful president
11/15/99: Next president: Male, WASP, self-selected
11/10/99: Backroom Bill
11/08/99: Please don't feed the 'pander bears'
11/03/99: Battle of the Bubba clones
11/01/99: Pat Buchanan, kamikaze candidate
10/27/99: The year of the woman... voter
10/25/99: The Curse of the Bubba
10/21/99: GOP gives Clinton his finest hour
10/18/99: Clinton's last hurrah
10/13/99: Rough seas for Capt. Ventura
10/11/99: Gore targets Bradley's strength
10/06/99: Bradley's got the right Rx
10/04/99: Buchanan, Churchill and Hitler
09/30/99: Who'll spin political gold in Golden State Gore or Bradley?
09/27/99: Here's a millennial checklist for candidates
09/22/99: The biography battle
09/20/99: Buchanan's new book is a must-read
09/15/99: Don't rule out Beatty
09/13/99: The man with the sun on his face
09/08/99: W. vs. Jr. on dope and the draft
The FALN: Hillary's Willie Horton
08/26/99: Bill's guilt fuels Hill's race
08/25/99: The seemingly inexhaustible strength of America's free enterprise
08/23/99: GOP candidates are weak also-rans
08/16/99: Bubba on Bubba
08/11/99: Hillary's agonizing attempts to understand
08/09/99: With warm regards, Richard Nixon
08/04/99: Weicker: real third party is on the Left
08/02/99: Dubyah's last hangover
07/27/99: Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh; capitalism is gonna win

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