Past vs. future
The contest between Al Gore and George W. Bush “offers a choice not only of candidates but of eras,” Wall Street Journal Editor Robert L. Bartley writes.
“Empowerment is the theme of the initiatives proposed by George W. Bush. Let individuals control at least part of their own retirement packages, owning and investing part of the money they now pay into government coffers controlled by politicians. Let parents in failing schools receive federal aid directly and use it to make choices about their children’s education. Let the elderly have a choice of health plans, as federal employees do. Let individuals keep more of their own money rather than ship it off to be distributed by politicians in Washington,” Mr. Bartley said.
“Vice President Al Gore, by contrast, speaks for an older, more paternalistic order. The most important issue before the nation is protecting the elderly from the high cost of prescriptions. This protection must extend even to the elderly who don’t need or even particularly want it, because a program for only the needy would ‘violate their sense of dignity.’ There is nothing wrong with our schools that more money won’t cure. We can afford Social Security and Medicare promises if only we put tax revenues in a ‘lock box.’ And while taxpayers can earn tax cuts through behavior approved in Washington, as a moral question the money is the government’s to distribute fairly rather than belonging to those who earned it.
“In short, Vice President Gore and the Democrats speak for the past, while Gov. Bush and the Republicans speak for the future. The Republicans are the reformers, while the Democrats are the reactionaries… .”
Mr. Gore “seems intent on recreating the Democratic Party agenda of the 1950s, if not of the 1930s,” Mr. Bartley said.
As the wheel turns
“Despite the scary headlines coming out of Washington about the dangers of driving SUVs on Firestone or Continental tires, no trade-in panic has hit Capitol Hill,” Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.
“An inspection by Whispers of House and Senate parking garages found many still on Ford Explorers and other trucks. Ditto for SUVs at the White House. What’s more: The Lincoln Navigators that squire the House leadership around sport the Continentals, but the U.S. Capitol Police assure us that they’re OK.”
Bush up in Tennessee
George W. Bush has pulled ahead of Al Gore in Mr. Gore’s home state of Tennessee, according to a new poll.
Mr. Bush led Mr. Gore 46 percent to 43 percent in a joint poll by two newspapers in the state, the Tennessean and Chattanooga Times-Free Press. The survey of 625 registered voters was conducted last week by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc.
The poll had a four-point margin of error, meaning that the two candidates are in a dead heat.
“The bottom line is, Tennessee is in play,” Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker said.
The horse race
One national tracking poll shows a tie between George W. Bush and Al Gore, while another gives Mr. Bush a tiny lead within the margin of error.
The CNN/USA Today/Gallup tracking poll released yesterday found likely voters split evenly between the two men, 45 percent to 45 percent.
The Voter.com Battleground 2000 tracking poll gave Mr. Bush a 42 percent to 40 percent advantage over Mr. Gore.
Democratic vice-presidential candidate Joseph I. Lieberman, arriving in Lexington, Ky., to prepare for his upcoming debate with Richard B. Cheney, warned his Republican opponent to “watch out.”
Mr. Lieberman was greeted at the airport by more than 150 supporters, including Kentucky Gov. Paul E. Patton, the Associated Press reports.
The Connecticut senator told the crowd that he was hunkering down to prepare for Thursday’s debate but hoped to get out during the next few days to meet local residents.
“I feel as if this week is going to be like a boxing training camp,” he said Sunday. “We’re ready.”
Using the famous words of boxer Muhammad Ali a Kentucky native Mr. Lieberman said: “We’re going to float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. Watch out Richard Cheney, I’ve arrived in Kentucky.”
He conceded that his joke was “not quite up to Ali’s standards, but I’m trying.”
Kentucky with its eight electoral votes has been favoring Mr. Cheney and Texas Gov. George W. Bush in recent polls.
Totally turned off
Dov Hikind, a Democrat in the New York State Assembly, says he has had it with Democratic vice-presidential candidate Joseph I. Lieberman, citing a series of flip-flops on the issues followed by an offer to meet Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, whom Mr. Hikind described as an “avowed anti-Semite, an equal-opportunity hater.”
“It usually takes people a lot more time to betray their principles. I have gone from being excited about Joe Lieberman’s candidacy to being totally turned off,” Mr. Hikind said in an op-ed piece in the New York Post.
Reform Party presidential candidate Pat Buchanan came to New Hampshire yesterday and urged conservatives not to “throw away” their votes on Republican George W. Bush.
Mr. Buchanan, who won New Hampshire’s 1996 Republican primary and made a strong showing there in 1992, said Mr. Bush has abandoned conservative principles. He asked voters to support his own bid to create “a fighting new conservative party.”
Complaining that he was unfairly shut out of tonight’s presidential debate, Mr. Buchanan said he is not trying to take votes away from the Republican Party by attacking Mr. Bush. The Texas governor is driving votes away himself, he said in Manchester.
“If my write-in votes cost Bush the presidency, then it’s not my fault,” Mr. Buchanan said in an interview with Associated Press writer Rebecca Mahoney. “It’s George Bush’s fault and the judgment of the Lord is true and righteous.”
Mr. Buchanan said the only thing he and Mr. Bush agree on is using the budget surplus to cut taxes. He said they differ on immigration, free trade, the strength of their pro-life stance, and the role of government.
One state short
The Libertarian Party’s drive to put presidential candidate Harry Browne on all 50 state ballots has fallen one short, the political party announced yesterday.
Because of an unexpected legal setback in Arizona, Mr. Browne and vice-presidential candidate Art Olivier will appear on the ballot in only 49 states.
A U.S. District Court in Phoenix recently rejected a lawsuit filed by the Libertarian Party that would have placed Mr. Browne and Mr. Olivier on the state ballot as independents.
Mind your manners
The Missouri state Republican Party spokesman who criticized Democrats for parading the state auditor around “like a cheap hooker” resigned yesterday, calling himself a distraction.
Daryl Duwe said he asked that his contract with the Missouri Republican Party be terminated immediately, the Associated Press reported.
“I believe this election to be too important to be distracted by me,” Mr. Duwe said. “Getting me out of the way lets the candidates and the media get on with the important issues of this election.”
Democrats called for his ouster last week after his comments about State Auditor Claire McCaskill appeared on Mr. Duwe’s private Web site.
Mr. Duwe sent a personal apology to Miss McCaskill and removed the remark from the Web site, but Democrats insisted on his removal.
Mr. Duwe has said the comment was intended as a criticism of Miss McCaskill’s attack on Rep. James M. Talent, the Republican gubernatorial candidate who has accused Democrats of mishandling education funds.