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Jewish World Review Sept. 20, 2000 / 19 Elul 5760

Don Feder

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Consumer Reports

Time for plain speaking from Bush -- SORRY, Gov. Bush, but if you want the presidency, you're going to have to fight for it. The latest Newsweek poll gives Vice President Gore a 13-point lead. The Detroit Free Press has him running ahead, by anywhere from eight to 18 points, in the battlefield states of Michigan, Illinois and Pennsylvania.

Your advisors thought you could win on niceness (compassionate conservatism). They were counting on visceral anti-Clinton feelings rubbing off on Gore. They thought it would all come down to who voters feel more comfortable with.

This has turned out to be the most disastrous miscalculation since another GOP governor, Thomas Dewey, decided he could avoid campaigning on issues and coast to victory in 1948.

The debate schedule has been set, with the first in Boston on Oct. 3. But you can't afford to wait to begin making the case against a Gore presidency -- and that is your only hope.

You won't win on taxes, education or health care. In a good economy, the public is blase about tax cuts. On the latter issues, you can't outbid the Democrats, the Zen masters of spending.

It's time for you to deliver the naked, unvarnished truth about why four more years of Clinton-Gore would have America on the ropes.

1) Clinton era corruption and criminality -- You're going to have to brave the predictable media storm about negative campaigning and say it: Bill Clinton wiped his feet on the Constitution and Gore polished the president's shoes. Clinton is to Nixon what the Al Capone was to a kid stealing hub caps.

A cesspool stench emanates from the administration's fund raising, and Gore was an active participant.

Sly hints, like saying you'll bring integrity back to the presidency, aren't enough. You have to explain why Clinton's abuse of power undermines democracy and how Gore condoned it.

2) Supreme Court nominations -- Gore has been saying it to Democratic constituencies to assure their loyalty; you must say it to the nation. As president, Gore would turn the court into a rubber stamp for the radical left social agenda.

The Boy Scouts were saved by a single vote from being forced to put adolescents under the guidance of adult homosexuals. A student-led invocation at a high-school football game was declared unconstitutional by a 6-3 vote. A ban on partial-birth abortion (the brains vacuumed out of a child four-fifths delivered) was overturned by one vote.

If Gore fills the next two or three Supreme Court vacancies, there's little chance of saving the Constitution from an activist judiciary. This is not what the American people want. But they'll never know what's at stake unless you tell them.

3) Foreign policy and national defense -- In a devastating one-two punch, Clinton-Gore decimated our military while building up our most likely adversary in the coming century.

Our armed forces are now trained in the latest sensitivity techniques ,then sent into action to commit random acts of kindness in the Third World.

Combat readiness is down, morale has plummeted, and re-enlistment rates are dangerously low.

China has been allowed to loot our nuclear secrets and given high-tech help to refine its missiles. In terms of a ballistic missile defense, President Gore would follow Clinton's cue -- pay lip-service to the concept while delaying construction indefinitely. We might as well contract with Bulgaria for our national security as rely on Gore.

4) The family -- Gore's posturing on vile entertainment surpasses even Clinton's hypocrisy. While Gore wags a finger at Hollywood, a whole hand rakes in cash from cultural polluters. If the election were held in the Hollywood Bowl, the Democratic ticket would win hands down.

Gore says he's for families, but he won't support repeal of the tax penalty on marriage, won't allow poor families to escape failing schools (with vouchers) and won't even support the right of parents to know if their 15-year-old daughter is planning to have an abortion. Gore's idea of a pro-family policy is subsidies for some, while undermining parental authority and family values.

Voters won't get this message by osmosis. Bush has to give them the plain speaking that saved Harry Truman in '48. Governor, don't wait until the second debate to check your watch (as your father did in 1992). The hour is already late.

JWR contributing columnist Don Feder's latest books are Who is afraid of the Religious Right? ($15.95) and A Jewish conservative looks at pagan America ($9.95). To receive an autographed copy, send a check or money order to: Don Feder, The Boston Herald, 1 Herald Sq., Boston, Mass. 02106. Doing so will help fund JWR, if so noted. He is also available as a guest speaker. To comment on this column please click here.


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© 2000, Creators Syndicate