Come what may on November 7, Governor George W. Bush has already
accomplished a feat few would have considered possible.
The debate about the presidency began where debates increasingly
have come to be positioned: on the "Liberal" turf. Especially
since 1992, the question has no longer been whether to build socialism
in America, only how fast and in what sequence. Dispensing other
people's money, whether in the form of prescription drugs or federally
funded (read: controlled) education is the agenda of European socialists,
not the philosophy of America's Founders.
I must admit to my sense of discomfort when the banner of "compassionate
conservatism" was unfurled. A somewhat similar rhetoric, suggesting
that a Republican might be better at building socialism than the
socialists themselves, has been tried in the 1996 presidential campaign.
Given the ongoing effort to keep immigrants and generations of
students from finding out how America was supposed to function,
and why Americans have succeeded where others failed, the "who
gets what" discussions suggested an inevitable slide toward
a Gore presidency.
And then, during the last few weeks, an unexpected turn.
Without announcements, without raising his voice, without a trace
of aggression, the Governor of Texas shifted the debate onto an
entirely different terrain. By declining opportunities - often to
the frustration of his supporters - to counter outrageous pronouncements
by his opponent, he succeeded in making the Marxist-Leninist slogans
at the heart of Vice President Albert Gore Jr.'s campaign irritating
even for the faithful. By refusing to look or act guilty, he succeeded
in focusing attention upon the schoolhouse bully.
But it took more than that to accomplish the feat. Mr. Bush turned
out to be very good at uttering simple, quiet, straightforward and
common-sense lines. His response during the last debate to the question
about executions in Texas has already received much attention. Less
notice has been given to a remarkable exchange last Thursday night
on CBS-TV's "Late Show with David Letterman."
"You are in the middle of your second term as governor of
Texas, "Mr. Letterman remarked. "Is it fair to the voters
in your state that you now seek a different office?"
"If two years ago I had promised not to do that, it would
be unfair of course," Mr. Bush replied,"but I let it be
known at the time that I was considering a run for the presidency
"That was smart," said Mr. Letterman.
"No - that was honest," said Mr. Bush.
And so, with only two weeks left in the campaign, Mr. Gore appears
not only handcuffed, but staring up a wall he cannot climb. While
the talking heads are still arguing the socialist agenda, America
is responding to Mr. Bush's simple, quiet, straightforward, common-sense
It gets better. The indication is that much of America is still
intact, still out there. Certainly, the "Re-Elect America"
bus tour of our Center for the American Founding confirmed that
welcome state of affairs. Americans eager to recommit to America
have been found to cross party lines. Scores of Democratic office
holders - governors, mayors, state and local legislators - are in
fact closet Americans ready to be outed. How discouraging for them
to see their party taken over by an alien ideology whose primary
objective is to do away with the U.S. Constitution and forever alter
the basic nature of this country.
Mr. Bush just might succeed in moving some, perhaps many, to do
the right thing for America on November 7. Nowhere is this more
important than in races that would determine the composition of
the U.S. House of Representatives.
Why Democrats ought to consider not voting for Democrats this time
around? Because many who run on the Democratic side of the ticket
have as little in common with the traditional Democratic Party as
with America's founding principles.
Some are quite open about it, as the 55 members of the Progressive
Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives who aligned themselves
with the Socialist International. Others use stealth. They speak
of a "living-breathing" Constitution - code for doing
away with it bit by bit.
Some of the openly socialist are the current ranking minority members
of key House committees, such as John Conyers (MI) of Judiciary,
Charles Rangel (NY) of Ways and Means, and Henry Waxman (CA) of
Government Reform and Oversight. Others constitute large blocks
in committees on Appropriations, Banking, Education, to mention
some. In case of a Democratic majority on November 7, key committees
would find themselves with chairmen who in turn find themselves
at odds with the U.S. Constitution. Only the terminally naive believe
that you can "preserve, protect and defend" the Constitution,
and be a socialist all at the same time.
And so, until such time that the Democratic Party distances itself
from those who disapprove of this country, voters are being denied
the choice they are supposed to have - a choice between two political
parties equally committed to the American ideal. In the current
line-up, only a Republican majority offers hope for America to continue
as the freest, most successful, most peaceable, and most prosperous
of societies - for the benefit of all who live here.
Mr. Gore, of course, is not the openly socialist kind. (Come to
think of it, he is not the openly anything kind.) It is only his
programs that come from the socialist repertoire. Regrettably, Jim
Lehrer never asked him where those ideas had come from. What fun
it could be to ask that question of Mr. Gore, and all the others!
I admit, I often wished Mr. Bush had asked just that question.
Or said something like "I, too, have read Marx, but decided
against it" when Mr. Gore mentioned the "top one per cent"
for the fifteenth time.
But, whether by instinct or deliberation, Mr. Bush stuck to his
simple, quiet, straightforward, common-sense lines.
To his misfortune, Mr. Gore is quite incapable of uttering simple,
quiet, straightforward, common-sense lines.