Jewish World Review Nov. 10, 1999/29 Mar-Cheshvan, 5760
LAST WEEK WAS, without doubt, the worst of Gov. George W. Bush’s
presidential campaign. Not only is Sen. John McCain still snowing the
Beltway press and gaining in New Hampshire polls—although the most
recent, Newsweek’s, shows a reversal of the Senator’s gains, and puts
the contest at 44-27 percent—but Bush got tripped up by Boston
television game show host Andy Hiller (WHDH) with a pop quiz on foreign
He also gave another well-received education speech on Nov. 2 in New Hampshire, in which he proved he owns that issue in the Republican contest. “I want to make a case for moral education,” Bush told a Chamber of Commerce crowd. “Teaching is more than training, and learning is more than literacy. Our children must be educated in reading and writing—but also in right and wrong.”
That’s the kind of imperative that voters remember far more than the names of Third World leaders; it’s also the sentiment that Elizabeth Dole, who’ll soon endorse Bush and stump for him in New Hampshire, will ram home in that Oprah-style that might seem less automated now that she’s relieved herself of actually running for president herself.
In addition, my sources say that Steve Forbes may quit his quest for the nomination by the end of the year—relinquishing his majority share of Forbes stock was fairly sobering for his family, I’d imagine—and also cast his lot with Bush. McCain’s tobacco tax hike and “maverick” campaign finance reform stands are poison to a rigid economic conservative like Forbes (and let’s remember that the publisher only embraced this religious baloney in the last two years) and Forbes would probably like a post in Bush’s administration.
(As would McCain: until this recent groundswell, which has pumped up his ego, it was clear the Arizonan was running for secretary of defense. If he doesn’t tick off Bush too severely, I’ll bet he gets his wish.)
And as far as the American voter is concerned, foreign affairs ranks very low. In David Broder’s Washington Post article last Sunday, these were the top three concerns of Republicans and Democrats, respectively: HMOs, school violence, and sex and violence on tv; HMOs, the elderly not getting medicine and losing medical benefits.
Granted, irony is out of fashion now, but I doubt the man or woman who wrote this stupid editorial even realized the absurdity of the phrase “alpha-male instincts.” Heck, maybe it was the Times who steered Naomi Wolf to Bill Clinton and then Al Gore. I haven’t the time or inclination right now to discuss Gore’s alpha-male moments. I do wonder, however, why Wolf, a perfectly legitimate adviser for a Democratic candidate, was kept under wraps (and compensated in a circuitous manner) while Tony Coelho and Carter Eskew were shown off to the media like they were on a model runway. For a more thorough reading of Wolf and Gore—which symbolizes, I think, the failure of the Veep’s campaign—I recommend my colleague Chris Caldwell’s piece in the Nov. 15 Weekly Standard.
As far as “the John McCain Moment” that the Beltway media is nattering about, he sort of got screwed this week. Not only did he have to share Newsweek’s cover this Monday with Bill Bradley, but the shocking, and dangerous, ruling against Microsoft Friday night bumped him from Time’s cover. (At least that’s what the snipe on the top right corner with McCain’s picture would imply.) In Newsweek, Jonathan Alter gives the Senator his gooey due, writing, “Honor is almost a quaint notion now, associated with a different time. McCain gives it a charming twinkle, and the hope of living on as something more than a platitude.”
McCain’s gotten a lot of mileage out of his “honor” shtick, but Alter, if he were more fair-minded, could’ve written the same about Bush, with this substitution: “Family loyalty is almost a quaint notion now, associated with a different time.” Alter might consider that Bush’s unabashed love of his large family is one of the reasons Americans are rallying behind his