- The Washington Times - Monday, October 30, 2000

Field & Stream

Anyone who wonders why Al Gore has backed off the gun-control issue should pick up the November issue of Field & Stream, the magazine for hunters and fisherman, which calls itself "The Soul of the American Outdoors."

"Why Gore Wants Your Guns," says the headline on the cover. And inside, Executive Editor David E. Petzall says: "You may choose not to vote on November 7 because you are repelled by the political process and what it produces. You may feel that the Democratic platform, which promises universal trigger locks, universal checks at gun shows, and the usual anti-violence placebos, is something you can live with. (Those, friends, are just the appetizers. The main course, and dessert, will be served to you in good time.)

"You may feel that the [National Rifle Association] can fight this fight itself, or it may rain on election eve, or you may just not feel like going to the polls.

"Well, that's your privilege, and if you choose not to, you will have a lot of company. But if you're a gun owner, and you wake up on November 8 and see that Al Gore is our new president, there is one thing you should do: Open up your gun cabinet and gaze at your firearms for a good long while so you'll remember what they looked like."

Twitching carcass

"It doesn't take a genius to figure out why" Al Gore is struggling to win the presidency, Andrew Sullivan writes in the latest issue of the New Republic.

"Gore's candidacy is simply too liberal for the country. After a career of extreme moderation, Gore chose the most important campaign of his life to run as Ted Kennedy. Given everything we know about American politics and everything Clinton proved about survival in a polarized, conservative polity, his decision is truly baffling. Forget the kiss. Ignore the multiple-personality disorder of the debates. This election, like most, will be decided on the issues. And Gore's new-found leftism is almost perfectly designed to scare the independent voters he so badly needs," Mr. Sullivan said.

He added, "Earth to Gore: The left is dead as a governing coalition. It lives on in the twitching carcass of its own institutional structures teachers' unions, feminists activists, gay victimologists, black churches, faculty clubs but it has no overarching, popular argument to win power. Populism won't work, either, in an era of plenty and promise. What will work is a moderate, ameliorative, me-too liberalism of the Clinton variety. Either Gore's ego was too big or his advisers were too left-wing to adopt the Clintonian game plan even though it came buttressed with all the advantages of incumbency and Gore's own blue-chip qualifications for office. Yes, Gore is his own man now. And, yes, his task this year has been a tricky one. But the corollary is a somewhat brutal truth. If he wins, it's a personal coup. If he loses, he has no one to blame but himself."

Winning big

Many believe the presidential election will be close, but Fox's Brit Hume says Republican George W. Bush could "win big" on Nov. 7.

Mr. Hume, managing editor of the Washington bureau of Fox News, made his prediction yesterday on "Fox News Sunday."

He cited all the latest data from major polls, which show Mr. Bush leading Vice President Al Gore by margins of one to eight percentage points.

"Gore is viewed as an incumbent" in this race, Mr. Hume argued.

Because of that, he said he doubts many undecided voters a faction seen as critical in the election outcome will wind up voting for the Democratic nominee.

Instead, Mr. Hume said he anticipates most undecideds will "swing to Bush," giving the Texas governor a significant victory.

Sorry, no apology

Senate Republican leaders yesterday scoffed at President Clinton's new demand that they and other Republican members of Congress apologize for impeaching and trying Mr. Clinton for lying about his affair with a White House intern.

Mr. Clinton, in an interview to appear in the December issue of Esquire magazine, says he thinks Republicans owe him such an apology.

Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican, and Senate Majority Whip Don Nickles, Oklahoma Republican, were both asked about Mr. Clinton's request in appearances on network news talk shows yesterday.

"Oh, that's absolutely bizarre. But it shows you something about his thinking and the judgment that he has," Mr. Lott said on ABC's "This Week."

He added: "Look, he disgraced the office."

Asked if that means there will be no apology to Mr. Clinton, Mr. Lott replied: "No, no apology. If there's any apology to be made, he owes it over and over again for what he put the country through."

Mr. Nickles, who appeared on "Fox News Sunday," also waved off the idea that Congress has any reason to apologize. "I don't think we should apologize, because the president lied under oath," he said.

Nelson vs. Gore

Republican Rep. Bill McCollum and Democrat Bill Nelson, rivals for a U.S. Senate seat from Florida, obviously differ on a lot of issues. But in an interview Saturday on CNN, Mr. Nelson identified matters on which he disagrees with President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore.

"Is there anything in the eight years of the Clinton administration, any important policy by President Clinton that you would have opposed?" Mr. Nelson, the Florida insurance commissioner, was asked on "Evans, Novak, Hunt & Shields."

The candidate didn't hesitate. "Well, the way they started out on their gays in the military, I did not approve of that. I thought that it ought to be 'Don't ask, don't tell,' and I think that's a policy that's working," Mr. Nelson said.

He wasn't through. "And I think that the way that they initially approached health care [reform] was not a good way to do it. It was a government-run system. We ought to use the private sector."

Pundit Robert Novak asked him: "Your candidate for president, Al Gore, has come out for photo ID licensing for new gun purchases. Do you support that?"

"No, I don't," the Florida Democrat replied.

McCollum vs. Hunt

Republican Rep. Bill McCollum, running for a U.S. Senate seat in Florida, seemed to be as disturbed about the way liberal pundit Al Hunt phrased a question to him Saturday about prescription drug coverage for the elderly, as he is about his Democratic rival's plan for such coverage.

Mr. Hunt, on CNN's "Evans, Novak, Hunt, & Shields," asked: "You and your opponent differ over prescription drugs for seniors. You say his plan is too costly. If it could give more generous benefits to seniors for prescription drugs, would you be willing to cut back on your tax cut proposal for the wealthiest Americans?"

Said Mr. McCollum: "Well, Al, you've, of course, asked a lot of things in that question. I think you've set up with the wealthiest American thing, typical class warfare. That's a kind of a liberal position, when I think across-the-board tax cuts are much better."

The Republican congressman added that he supports a prescription drug plan that "provides choices for seniors … instead of having one size fits all, the big government idea … that people like [opponent] Bill Nelson and Al Gore support."

A growing percentage

Al Gore keeps attacking George W. Bush for supposedly favoring "the wealthiest 1 percent" in his tax-cut plan, but a Time-CNN poll says almost one in five voters think Mr. Gore is talking about them.

Nineteen percent of voters associated themselves with that top 1 percent, according to the survey released Friday. And 77 percent of them said they plan to vote for Mr. Bush, as opposed to 17 percent for Mr. Gore.

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