Jewish World Review Nov. 6, 2000 / 8 Mar-Cheshvan, 5761
The Democratic pool swarms with people who share Al Gore's bossiness, his regulatory itch and his hubristic belief that clever people like them can wield government as creatively as Rodin did his chisel. The Republican pool is disposed to regard government as a blunt instrument. Which is to say, a Gore administration would have the mentality of Washington's Northwest quadrant; a Bush administration would have a West Texas attitude.
Congress's drunken sailor approach to the surplus makes the political case for Bush's tax cut: Leave the money in Washington, it will disappear like water into sand. The economic case for the cut is that Bush's advisers, who fortunately include some people capable of bearish thoughts, think the economy may need energizing sooner than many people think.
Bush would work at both ends of the problem to fix the disjunction between the military's declining strength and its increasing tempo of operations. He favors ballistic missile defense. Gore's "support" for this is as meretricious as his "opposition" to partial-birth abortion: He supports only such ineffective missile defenses as his fetish, the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, permits; and the only "restriction" he would put on late-term abortions would restrict nothing.
Bush, unlike Gore, will provide a prescription drug entitlement without the lethal folly of price controls, which, by crippling the creativity of the pharmaceutical industry would prevent the prevention of much suffering and death. The political class, egged on by media eager to restrict rival speech, favors, under the rubric of "campaign finance reform," government regulation of the permissible amount of political advocacy. Bush's Supreme Court nominees would block any such evisceration of the First Amendment.
A Gore court would be permissive about Congress's usurpation of states' prerogatives, and hence would end the court's modest attempts to revitalize federalism. A Gore court would be unpermissive regarding state attempts to slow the slide into infanticide with late-term abortions, and unpermissive regarding the constitutionality of school choice programs involving religious schools.
America's most glaring domestic inequity is the life-blighting failure of many inner-city public schools to serve poor--mostly minority--children. Gore, held on a short leash by the public education lobby, opposes empowering the disadvantaged to make the sort of choices he made in providing some private schooling for his own children. Another leash will be jerked by the public employees' unions that represent contemporary government's therapeutic culture--the social workers who want to gut the 1996 welfare reform.
What kind of people respond to Gore's shouted incantations about how hard he will "fight" for the middle class? The whiny kind who prompted the Clinton administration to tap the strategic petroleum reserve to knock a few nickels off gasoline prices. Whininess is encouraged by contemporary liberalism's cultivation of grievance groups flaunting their sense of victimization. Gore favors racial preferences forever and would fill the judiciary with judges who would permit the expansion of the racial spoils system.
Critics, quoting Churchill's description of an adversary, say Bush is a modest man with much to be modest about, and that he lacks complexity. But modesty is a political virtue and is especially desirable in the next president, who will replace the egomaniacal vulgarian whose picture adorns Esquire's current cover. And a low complexity quotient provides a pleasing contrast to Gore's multiple personality disorder.
For the official World Series magazine, Gore and Bush provided written answers to some questions pertaining to baseball, including, "What do you think of domed stadiums?" Gore's complete answer was:
"The design and construction of domed stadiums--in Seattle (the Kingdome was the first free-standing cement dome ever built), Houston (the Astrodome was the first stadium to use Astroturf) and Minnesota (the Metrodome is the only stadium in the U.S. whose roof is suspended without beams or rods--it's supported by air pressure), for example--have been feats of architectural and engineering excellence. But the real measure of any stadium, domed or otherwise, is how much fun you have inside."
Bush's complete answer was: "I like to go to baseball games outdoors."
11/03/00: The Framers' Electoral wisdom