- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 24, 2000

Most pollsters and political pundits are constantly reminding us that a majority of Americans approve of the way Bill Clinton is performing his job as president of the United States. They also tell us that a strong majority of Americans believe the nation is heading in the right direction. The implication is that we don't need a change.

Upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that the poll question about Bill Clinton's job performance has to do with economic performance and little else. The pollsters have effectively defined down the job description of the president by stripping it of any responsibility for maintaining standards of morality and common decency. Excluded from job performance is the president's responsibility as commander in chief, to hold himself to the same level of personal conduct required of all military personnel, and minimized is his responsibility as chief law enforcement officer, to scrupulously honor the letter and spirit of the Constitution and the law.

In the same way, the polling question about national direction has come to mean economic direction. A question about the moral direction of the country is asked separately, or not at all, as though values and virtue are secondary in importance or irrelevant in assessing where we are headed as a nation and what we are becoming as a people.

In similar fashion, the technicians and experts tried to tell us that Vice President Algore “won” the debates. They made a judgment based solely on narrow standards such as might be used in a high school debate. However, voters are not particularly interested in which presidential candidate has mastered debating skills; they are interested in deciding which of these two men would make the best president.

No matter how glibly Algore describes all the fights he would like to wage against various groups of Americans, and no matter how eloquently he waxes about which Americans he would target to give tax credits, those watching him understood that his class warfare rhetoric is contentious and divisive.

Listening to Algore, voters knew they were listening to a candidate who would follow a strategy of divide, frighten and conquer by pitting the young against the old, pagans against believers, women against men, blacks against whites, taxpayers against taxtakers, the poor against the wealthy, and the middle class against everybody. And listening to George W. Bush, voters knew they were hearing a man who would work to unify Americans by putting an end to the discriminatory and unconstitutional practice of dividing Americans into groups and applying rewards, punishments, privileges, legal status, and special rights based on group membership.

Listening to Algore enumerate all the new entitlements, program expansions, goodies, and giveaways, it was difficult not to be reminded of the late Ayn Rand saying, “The goal of the 'liberals' — as it emerges from the record of the past decades — was to smuggle this country into welfare statism by means of single, concrete, specific measures, enlarging the power of the government a step at a time, never permitting these steps to be summed up into principles, never permitting their direction to be identified or the basic issue to be named. Thus statism was to come, not by vote or by violence, but by slow rot … “

And listening to Bush, who is dedicated to returning power and resources to the people, it was difficult not to be reminded of Thomas Jefferson saying, “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society than the people themselves.”

In the debates, Gore revealed himself as a different man for all seasons. He was a loser in all three of his incarnations, being in the first debate too hot, in the second too cold, and in the third, just wrong. It is hard to know which is the greater myth dispelled by the debates, the one which says Bush is dumb or the one which says Algore is brilliant.

George W. Bush emerges as a very capable man with the potential to be an excellent, perhaps even a great president. He has shown enormous growth during the campaign and there is every reason to believe the growth will continue. He is honest, decent, good-natured, and down-to-earth humble. He has the wisdom to surround himself with the best minds and hearts in America, a la Dick Cheney and Gen. Colin Powell.

George W. Bush will be the president of all the people, leaving no one behind.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide