Jewish World Review March 29, 1999 /12 Nissan 5759
Another Doleful prospect?
(JWR) ---- (http://www.jewishworldreview.com)
THERE WAS SOMETHING PAINFULLY PHONY about a photograph of Elizabeth Dole in
Rwanda being published while she is preparing to enter the presidential
sweepstakes for next year's election. The recently popular theme of
"compassionate conservatism" was supposed to be illustrated by this picture
of Mrs. Dole among the tragic victims of atrocities in Rwanda. Meanwhile,
focus groups are being convened to talk over various issues, so that Mrs.
Dole will know what her positions are going to be on those issues.
Anybody who has the money can take a plane to Rwanda and convene focus
groups. Neither of these actions tells us anything about whether Elizabeth
Dole would be good, bad or indifferent as a candidate or as a president or
After spending decades in politics, holding positions ranging from a
commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission to cabinet positions as
Secretary of Transportation and Secretary of Labor, Elizabeth Dole has
already had plenty of time in which to decide what her views are on national
issues, without waiting to get her agenda from focus groups.
The curse of the Republicans has been their inability to stand for
something and to articulate what they stand for. After losing two
presidential elections in a row with hollow men, do they believe that what
they need now is a hollow woman?
The fate of the Republican Party is far less important than the fate of
this country. Unfortunately, if the Democrats control both Congress and the
White House after the next election, that is virtually guaranteed to produce
the kinds of economic and social disasters that dominated the 1970s. Perhaps
worse, it guarantees that nothing will be done to reverse the declining
standards of education and that liberal judges will be appointed to the
courts to think up new reasons why criminals should be allowed to walk the
The tragic irony in all this is that the views of the American people are
much closer to those of the Republicans than those of the Democrats. The
fact that the Democrats are in a position to recapture Congress and dominate
Washington in the years ahead is due to the Republicans' ineptness in
getting their message across and in failing to stick together politically.
When every single Democrat in the Senate voted for acquittal in the recent
impeachment trial, while House Republicans and Senate Republicans were at
loggerheads with one another, that tells you where the political savvy is.
Republicans have more people who would make good presidents than people who
would make good candidates. With Democrats it is just the other way around.
The sudden emergence of Governor George W. Bush of Texas as the clear
front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination next year is one
sign of the party's desperation for a winnable candidate. It may well be
that Governor Bush would make both a good candidate and a good president,
but usually there would be a number of people in the party of which that
could be said and the primary elections would sort them out.
Today, Steve Forbes is the only heavyweight alternative to Governor Bush.
Lamar Alexander is already being compared to Harold Stassen, who kept
running for the Republican presidential nomination so many times that he
became a national joke. It is also hard to see why Pat Buchanan is running,
except out of habit.
Dan Quayle, fairly or unfairly, has become someone that people don't take
seriously, even when he is right. He is still young enough to spend a few
years building up a new reputation elsewhere, so that he could return as a
stronger candidate later.
Steve Forbes has already established what he stands for and he now has the
political experience to deal with the nuts and bolts of the primary
elections, as well as with the media and other hazards of political life.
Governor Bush has not only established a highly respected record as chief
executive of his state, he has surrounded himself with world-class advisers
on foreign policy and military defense.
The Marines are only looking for a few good men and the Republicans seem to
have just two at the moment. When we see how those two do going head to
head, the picture will be clearer. But there is always the possibility that
the Republicans will become too clever by half and want to put a woman on
the ticket, regardless of her qualities, convictions or lack of convictions.
That would indeed be a doleful
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©1999, Creators Syndicate