- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 15, 2000

Rationing truth

"This is the moment when Gore deserves sympathy, if not pity," USA Today political columnist Walter Shapiro writes.
"How does he arouse enthusiasm in a party secretly dreaming of a Clinton third term? How does the vice president tiptoe from the scandals while basking in the credit for prosperity and peace? Whatever he tries in his speech Thursday night, it has to be better than his maladroit initial efforts to offer voters Clintonism without Clinton," Mr. Shapiro said.
"Test marketing his speech themes last week, Gore told USA Today, 'The Gore-Lieberman administration will be a fresh start for the country that nevertheless continues the prosperity and progress.' Linger over that sentence for a moment. Does it make sense? Where does the 'fresh start' begin and the continuation of 'prosperity and progress' end? Can eight years of the Clinton administration be dismissed with a high-and-mighty 'nevertheless'?"
On the other hand, Mr. Shapiro expressed no sympathy for Hillary Rodham Clinton, who told the New York Times last week that she exerted great influence behind the scenes at the White House while keeping it secret because the public might object. "Well, that's why you never knew it," Mrs. Clinton said.
Mr. Shapiro commented: "What a classic example of the Clinton family's approach to truth-telling. Hillary was baldly admitting that her post-1994 image of being photographed in Vogue in an evening gown and talking up her White House entertaining style was a fabrication concocted to fleece a gullible public. Or else, far less likely, the first lady was now fibbing to the Times.
"It's as if the Clintons ration truth on a need-to-know basis. Only when the president and the first lady need you to know something for their political benefit does the full story emerge. And when the Clinton line changes, loyal Democrats are expected to obediently forget that the first family ever claimed otherwise."

Hollywood values

"The epicenter of economic resentment and class hostility in America is Wall Street. The ground zero for social populism the animosity toward cultural elites which brews throughout the nation is Hollywood," Dick Morris writes.
"For the Democrats to have their convention near Hollywood makes about as much sense as for the Republicans to gather at the corner of Wall Street and Broadway to nominate their candidate," Mr. Morris said in a column in the New York Post.
"The weekend photos of the Clintons hobnobbing with Hollywood lights like Barbra Streisand will do long-term damage to Gore and to Hillary. Nothing infuriates middle America more than the lack of values, the easy success, and the Philistine focus on money and fame that characterizes Hollywood.
"Gore hammers away at drug companies, insurance conglomerates and big oil but it is the debasement of values that Hollywood represents that sends Americans into orbit. While they go to the movies, they despise the idea that their politicians worship at the altar of the silver screen."

Convention hijacking

"If the Republican convention was an infomercial, the Democratic convention is a minefield," New York Times columnist Bob Herbert writes.
"With friends like Bill and Hillary hijacking the spotlight (and trailing the noxious memories of Monica behind them), and with anarchists and other protesters threatening to turn parts of the city upside down, Al Gore and Joe Lieberman will be lucky to escape L.A. with any momentum at all," Mr. Herbert said.
"For a while last week, Mr. Gore looked like a genuine leader. The bold choice of Joe Lieberman as his running mate was deftly handled and widely hailed. But then the Clintons took over. On Thursday we were treated to the spectacle of the president appearing before thousands of evangelical ministers in a Chicago suburb, where he very publicly revisited in the name of contrition the incredible stain he put on the nation's highest office.
"By week's end the first couple had arrived in Los Angeles, where they immediately began hobnobbing with the stars and fund raising for themselves. It was another blatant display of the Clintons' well-known selfishness, and there was little the vice president could do but try and put the best face on it."

Nostalgia tour

The Democrats have gone in exactly the opposite direction from Republicans in trying to show they are a "moderate" party, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The Republicans "kept their most conservative members away from televised proceedings. But they kept important commitments to their core conservative supporters in the platform with full-throated support for big tax cuts, missile defense, gun owners' rights and restrictions on abortion," reporter Janet Hook writes.
"Democrats, by contrast, are giving their liberal base plenty of podium time. [Tonight's] program, a veritable nostalgia tour of the left, includes advocates of gay rights, abortion rights and organized labor, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the man whose name is synonymous with liberalism, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.
"The platform, to be sure, contains perennials for the party's base support for abortion rights, gun control and gay rights among them.
"But other planks give heartburn to the party's beleaguered liberal wing, who pushed unsuccessfully for stronger language on providing universal health care, dropping any endorsement of missile defenses and endorsing more protections for U.S. workers in trade policy."

The ad wars

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is continuing "a wave of issue ads likely to stay on the air until November" in competitive races across the nation, Roll Call reports.
"Boosted by a historic cash advantage over the National Republican Congressional Committee, the DCCC has been slowly targeting key House districts around the country with an issue advertisement campaign that will ultimately total 'tens of millions of dollars,' according to one high-level Democratic source," reporters Rachel Van Dongen and John Bresnahan write.
"The ad campaign began on July 6 in California's 27th District with a spot attacking Rep. Jim Rogan, a high-profile incumbent who served as a House impeachment manager, for voting against a proposal aimed at reducing overcrowding in California schools. It has since expanded to include the districts of vulnerable GOP Reps. Steve Kuykendall [of California] and Ernie Fletcher [of Kentucky] and the open seat currently held by Rep. Bob Franks [of New Jersey], where House Democrats are attacking GOP nominee Mike Ferguson for his anti-abortion stance.
"The DCCC also helped to produce and fund ads praising [Republican-turned-Democrat] Rep. Mike Forbes in his New York district." The organization also is airing an ad attacking Republican former Rep. Dick Zimmer, who is challenging freshman Rep. Rush Holt, New Jersey Democrat.

Write that platform

"Making the most of the e-world, the Democratic Party sponsored a Web site that promises visitors that they can 'help write' the platform," USA Today observes in an editorial.
" 'Don't be surprised if the ideas you have shared are included in the platform adopted this summer at our convention,' it says. But wait a minute. The platform is already written and is available for viewing elsewhere on the Web. And does anyone really think these e-delegates will be impressed by a 'personalized' e-thank you from the vice president?" the newspaper asked.
"You'd think a party whose new leader once claimed to have invented the Internet would treat visitors to the Web with a little more sophistication."

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