- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 15, 2000

Like its standard-bearer, presidential candidate Al Gore, the Democratic Party's platform, which was made public yesterday, has great difficulty not only telling the difference between fact and fiction but also telling the truth. So dominated by the lowered moral standards of the Clinton years has the party become that no one seems to think twice about shading, twisting or simply ignoring the facts. As has often been pointed out by his political opponent, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, Mr. Gore will say anything to get elected. Well, here it all is, in black and white.

In its approach to what is arguably the nation's most pressing domestic problem the lack of basic skills among large segments of the potential work force the platform first inexplicably, proudly, recalls the Big Lie that John F. Kennedy popularized in 1960 when he was nominated in Los Angeles as the Democratic presidential candidate and then offers another Big Lie to address the current problem.

"Forty years ago," Mr. Gore's document intones, "the Democratic platform discussed a Missile Gap," an assertion that Mr. Kennedy certainly knew to be false. "Today, too many Americans face an Opportunity Gap, a lack of the skills they need to be competitive in the global economy." True enough this time, but Mr. Gore's ferocious opposition to school vouchers for poor students condemned to the failed public school system in the nation's great cities will no more close the Opportunity Gap than Mr. Kennedy's razor-thin election eliminated a Missile Gap that never existed in the first place. Interestingly, elsewhere on the education front, the platform extols the fact that "Pell grants are at their highest level ever" intentionally ignoring the fact that Pell Grants are nothing more than college-tuition vouchers for the poor.

Following eight years in which the Clinton-Gore administration has decimated the nation's defense budget, the 2000 platform audaciously asserts, "Al Gore and the Democratic Party will make sure that our armed forces face any future conflict from a posture of dominance." However, the document makes it clear that Mr. Gore is more interested in "ensuring that any [national missile defense] system is compatible with the Antiballistic Missile Treaty," a relic from the Cold War that would severely limit the extent to which an anti-missile system could defend the nation.

Addressing the economy, the Democratic platform repeats the lie that "slow growth had turned into no growth" by the end of the Bush administration. In fact, the economy the Clinton-Gore administration inherited in 1993 had grown by 3.5 percent the previous year with little inflation. Nor would a reader of the Democratic platform realize that one of the world's greatest bull markets in history effectively began after Republicans gained control of Congress on Nov. 8, 1994 the day, by the way, when long-term interest rates peaked.

The Democratic platform pledges to "fix the marriage penalty so that parents can spend more time at home and less time trying to make ends meet." But didn't President Clinton, with Mr. Gore's enthusiastic support, just veto a bipartisan bill that would have eliminated the marriage penalty?

With U.S. oil production now at its lowest level in decades, a fact that has made the American economy far more dependent on imported oil than it was during the oil crises of the 1970s and early 1980s, the platform proudly declares that "Al Gore is committed to … protecting the coasts of California and Florida and the [Alaskan] Arctic Wildlife Refuge from oil and gas drilling." Irresponsible in the extreme, Mr. Gore's short-term energy policy amounts to nothing more than a crusade against Big Oil, a campaign that will do nothing to alleviate America's growing dependence upon foreign oil.

The platform promises to "reform the labor laws to protect workers' rights to exercise their voices." But it says nothing, of course, about eliminating Big Labor's practice of funneling millions of dollars of mandatory union dues from Republican-voting union members into the Democratic Party's coffers.

Regarding its strategy for "fighting the scourge of drugs," the platform implores citizens to "send a strong message to every American child: Drugs are wrong and drugs can kill you." Unmentioned, of course, is the fact that during the eight years of the Clinton-Gore administration the level of drug use by American children has soared. The platform also declares, "Al Gore is committed to dramatically reducing teen smoking in America" never mind that teen smoking has dramatically increased during the Clinton-Gore administration.

Will the American people believe any of this? After the experience of having Mr. Gore's mentor, President Clinton, look them straight in the eye and lie outright about his affair with a White House intern, Americans should know to treat anything coming from Democrats with the skepticism it deserves.

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