- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 17, 2000

Not a happy family

"On stage in Monroe, Mich., [Tuesday], Bill Clinton spread those long arms of his and firmly encircled the shoulders of Hillary and Tipper, who were doing their darndest not to look at each other or get anywhere near each other," New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd writes.
"Like an accordion player squeezing out a mighty chord on 'Lady of Spain,' Mr. Clinton slowly pulled the two blondes into the TV frame as Al Gore growled at the crowd in a simulation of excitement to get that essential picture of One Big Happy Family. But in a moment, the two women managed to escape his embrace and sidle back as far stage right and stage left as they could manage," Miss Dowd said.
"Because of course this is not One Big Happy Family.
"This quartet represents the most extraordinary collection of festering resentments and seething jealousies and co-dependent plotting that has ever darkened the White House with the possible exception of when Richard Nixon dined alone.
"The miracle was not that the baton got passed, but that nobody got hit with it."

Majestically tacky

"More attention should be given to the president's televised walk through the bowels of the convention hall as he made his way to the podium, while his people superimposed phrases like 'longest economic expansion in American history' and 'lowest unemployment rate' on the screen," Peggy Noonan writes.
"It was majestically tacky and embarrassing, and seemed almost made for the delectation of the brilliant young men and women of Comedy Central, who know goofiness when they see it. (Imagine their 'supers': First president impeached in this century… . Lost our nuclear secrets and showed profound indifference when he found out… . Used U.S. military might to distract attention from his scandals… . Sold access to the presidency.)," Mrs. Noonan observed in an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal.
"I thought that they must be doing it to excite the base, and yet I also thought, Only stupid people would like this, and then I wondered if Mr. Clinton's people assume their base is stupid. At any rate, the long walk reminded me of the evening Giscard D'Estaing left the presidency of France. He said farewell in a nationally televised speech and at the end, rather than saying good night, he abruptly walked away from his desk, leaving for the audience to ponder an empty chair. All of France was meant to weep. All of France broke out in laughter.
"And yet it was the perfect Clinton moment. He will do anything to convince the American people that he is a success."

Shut up, Mr. President

Sen. Bob Kerrey, Nebraska Democrat, says President Clinton "must stay off the playing field" or be responsible for a "tragic" party loss this fall.
Mr. Kerrey, in an interview with editors and reporters from USA Today, offered this advice to Mr. Clinton:
"Don't comment on the vice president's race. Don't comment on the vice president's views. Don't tell us what you're going to do in this administration after the election. This is Al Gore's race. Be as silent as possible until the 7th of November."

Self-inflation

"The paradox of Bill Clinton, and his presidency, is that his compulsive self-inflation left him diminished," the Wall Street Journal says."Monday's performance, few would disagree, was about, above all, Bill Clinton. Not the presidency, not the Democratic Party, or Al Gore or America's place in the world today. Mainly, it was about him," the newspaper said in an editorial."All the other presidents who we now call great Lincoln, Jefferson, Reagan understood, and made it clear they understood, that the reasons for their greatness resided in a much, much larger world. Bill Clinton conveys no such understanding. The speech's final, bizarre ad-libbed non-sequitur went: 'And remember, whenever you think about me, keep putting people first.' "

Hey, big spender

Economist Stephen Moore, president of the Republican group Club for Growth, says Al Gore's campaign proposals add up to $1 trillion in new spending.
"Gore will play the role of the 'New Democrat' with soothingly moderate and Clintonesque campaign rhetoric," Mr. Moore writes in the Aug. 14 issue of National Review. "But the truth is that Gore's record and platform are no less statist than those of a Dukakis or McGovern. By our calculations, Gore wants to spend $1 trillion on new programs over the next decade, such as universal pre-school funding. In considering Gore's liberal credentials, start with his congressional tenure. According to the National Taxpayers Union, Al Gore is the only senator to win the award for biggest spender on Capitol Hill two years in a row."

Campbell's crime

Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Colorado Republican, won't be doing time, but he will be doing 10 hours of community service and paying a $250 fine, Scripps Howard News Service reports.
His crime?
Shooting across a county road Saturday on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation near Durango, Colo.
The incident began when Mr. Campbell shot at a neighbor's two dogs that had wandered onto his ranch and were attacking his dog near his 2-year-old grandson, officials said.
That wasn't against the law.
But then Mr. Campbell chased one of the Akitas across a road and fired into an empty field in the reservation, said Charley Flagg, head of the tribal Justice Department.
He missed the dog, but was charged under tribal law that bans shooting near public roads. Mr. Campbell pleaded guilty this week.

For the record

The Republican National Committee has put out a statement correcting the Rev. Jesse Jackson's claim that Republicans at their convention in Philadelphia did not once mention the words "Africa" or "AIDS."
Mr. Jackson's statement during his speech at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night "is just plain untrue," the RNC said.
"On two successive nights in prime-time speeches Republican delegates heard about AIDS and Africa. Patricia Funderburk Ware, president of the Preserving Family Well-Being Foundation a national nonprofit that focuses on the African-American family devoted her entire speech to the AIDS epidemic. Governor Bush's foreign policy adviser Condoleezza Rice referenced Africa in a speech about United States foreign policy."

Tampering with history

"In the August 14 edition of Time, Eric Pooley scolded George W. Bush for allegedly tampering with history," the Media Research Center reports.
Said Mr. Pooley: "To deny Democrats credit for the prosperity and accuse them of driving the country 'downhill,' he backdates the boom and pretends it began before Clinton took office."
But it is Mr. Pooley who is fooling around with history, the MRC said. The current recovery began in March 1991, some 21 months before Bill Clinton took the oath of office on Jan. 20, 1993.
In fact, the New York Times noted in an editorial in February that "except for a mild recession at the beginning of the 1990s, the American economy has enjoyed uninterrupted growth for almost 18 years."

No embarrassment

A sure sign that Al Gore feels no embarrassment over the 1996 fund-raising scandals: Gerald McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, was among the scheduled speakers at the party convention Tuesday.
"He played a key role in the Teamster money laundering scandal, and faces possible indictment," notes Peter Flaherty of the National Legal and Policy Center.

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