- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 16, 2000

'Disgraceful' polls

We've heard people disparage polls and with some justification but Ed Rendell, the former mayor of Philadelphia who serves as general chairman of the Democratic National Committee, may be first to condemn them on the basis of their "disgraceful" results.
Mr. Rendell, when asked by USA Today why Vice President Al Gore is so far behind in most polls, replied:
"Let me get started about polls. Polls are always fairly unreliable because they just catch a mood, particularly when citizens haven't started concentrating [on politics]… . And the polls this year have produced results that are so disgraceful we should just chuck them. Or at least chuck them until after Labor Day… . Trying to capture the mood of a country that's paying no attention is pretty much a meaningless exercise."

Quota convention I

"He is hardly a household name, but Rick Boylan oversees perhaps the most stringent quota program in the nation," Evan Gahr writes in the American Spectator on line (tas.com).
"Huddled in his office just blocks from Congress, the dapper Montana native makes sure that some highly coveted positions are properly divided by race, gender and sexual orientation. With some 4,000 slots available only once every four years, Boylan reviews elaborate plans to [ensure] everybody from Hispanics in Connecticut to American Indians in California get their fair share," Mr. Gahr said.
"Boylan is no ordinary quota king. Officially, he serves as executive director of party affairs and delegate selection for the Democratic Party. The Democratic National Committee requires that every state set precise quotas for delegates to the national convention.
"Homosexual recruitment was quietly added to the DNC's officially sanctioned 'outreach' efforts just in time for this year's convention. But the general affirmative action plan essentially a vast racial and gender-based spoils system has changed little since it was first implemented in 1972. Ever since a young preacher named Jesse Jackson used the new rules to challenge a slate of Illinois delegates because of their unbearable whiteness of being, Democratic delegate selection has been one huge quota-fest."

Quota convention II

"CNN and MSNBC made passing references Monday night to the Democratic Party's racial, ethnic and sexual orientation quotas for state delegations," the Media Research Center reports, but only the Fox News Channel spent much time exploring the subject.
FNC co-anchor Brit Hume wondered if boasts of "inclusion" were "in any way undercut with the public by the fact that this is achieved by a fairly rigid system of quotas?"
Reporter Carl Cameron said the targets for the California delegation were for 26 percent of its delegates to be Hispanic, 16 percent black and 9 percent Asian. Other goals included 1 percent Indian, 10 percent disabled and 10 percent homosexuals.
Mr. Cameron then discussed the topic with a homosexual activist from Ohio, noting how there's even a requirement for "transgender" delegates.

Gore's speech

"The terrifying report hopped from sky box to sky box like the West Nile virus: Al Gore was writing his own acceptance speech. Eek! cried the talking heads and the pundits. The speech will be dull, boring. It will be gasp specific.
"It was probably the first time anyone has been scared by the absence of a ghost," writes Daniel H. Pink, a former speechwriter for the vice president.
"But there may be a method to Al Gore's supposed madness a recognition that politics and the broader culture are in the midst of a significant transition" represented by popular 'reality' programming such as CBS's 'Survivor,' " Mr. Pink said in an op-ed piece in the New York Times.
"By writing his own speech, speaking in his own authentic voice, and offering specifics for people to evaluate on their terms, Mr. Gore may be much more in sync with the voters than his opponent or the press corps dares to be."
Mr. Pink added: "If I were still advising the vice president, I'd recommend the new media full monty. Write the speech in your own voice make it conversation, not oratory. Deliver it your own way, and follow it with a live, nationally televised call-in question-and-answer program. Put all your policy proposals on the campaign Web site, and let voters plug in their own preferences to see if they agree. The era of Big Speechwriter is over."

Clinton star power

The drawing power of an incumbent president and the political power of network programmers were on display Monday as the opening session of the Democratic National Convention more than doubled the TV audience of the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia.

About 23 million viewers watched President Clinton's farewell address to his fellow Democrats on Monday, far eclipsing the 10.6 million for speeches by Colin Powell and Laura Bush at the Republican gathering, Copley News Service reported yesterday.

The biggest difference is that the three major broadcast networks all stuck with the president from 10 p.m. EDT until he concluded his address 41 minutes later. That accounted for 17.1 million viewers.

In contrast, only ABC broadcast the Republicans' full 10-11 p.m. hour. The network audience was thus just 5.9 million.

Hillary's strategy

"It's all about contrasts. That's the strategy Hillary Rodham Clinton believes will propel her from the stage of the Democratic National Convention to the floor of the U.S. Senate," Robert Hardt Jr. and Gregg Birnbaum write in their "Campaign Buzz" column in the New York Post.
"By taking such a central role at the convention, Clinton is playing up her 'gravitas' card, trying to contrast her prime-time role in Los Angeles with Rick Lazio's cameo appearance at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia two weeks ago," the columnists said.
"The first lady's handlers realize that if the campaign develops into a 'nice guy' contest, Lazio will likely bury her.
"So Clinton has been relentlessly trying to make Lazio appear as an unpalatable right-winger while portraying herself as a policy heavyweight who wielded behind-the-scenes power in her husband's White House."
Meanwhile, Mr. Lazio "will play the Hollywood card for the next 12 weeks, contrasting images of Hillary on the Left Coast versus his warm-and-fuzzy family snapshots on Long Island," the columnists said.
"He wants the race to be about Hollywood Hillary.
"She wants it to be about Reactionary Ricky.
"Strap on your boots it's going to be a muddy three months."

Now we understand

This column has long wondered about the meaning of "working family," a term constantly used by liberal Democrats and their labor union allies. So we were pleased to learn, through the Media Research Center, that the Fox News Channel's Brit Hume tried to elicit a definition of the phrase from Rep. Richard A. Gephardt, Missouri Democrat and House minority leader.
Mr. Gephardt said it means only "if you work," leading Mr. Hume to ask: "If you work at all? So George W. Bush's family, that's a working family, right?" Mr. Gephardt agreed: "I think so."
Mr. Hume replied: "And Bill and Hillary Clinton, the first family, they work, right?" Mr. Gephardt went along: "I think so."
Mr. Hume followed up: "Now, is there an income limit?" Mr. Gephardt: "No, no income limit."
Mr. Hume: "So you could be extremely rich, but as long as you still work, so Steve Forbes' family is a working family?" Mr. Gephardt decided: "Working is good."

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