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Jewish World Review Nov. 6, 2000 / 8 Mar-Cheshvan 5761

Don Feder

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Fortune favors Right in presidential elections -- WILL THIS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION be a continuation of a trend that's dominated American politics for the last third of the 20th century?

Since the late 1960s, the American people have consistently rejected the liberal agenda and its standard bearers. Left candidates lost five of the last eight presidential elections. Clinton and Carter (in 1976) bucked the tide by passing themselves off as Southern moderates -- a feat of political alchemy Gore has been unable to duplicate.

Carter was elected as a Southern Baptist and Washington outsider. By 1980, no one was buying that act.

Bill Clinton followed the same script in 1992 -- campaigning as a leading light of the moderate Democratic Leadership Council, a prominent supporter of capital punishment, an advocate of welfare reform and the scourge of Sister Souljah.

Clinton and Carter also had the good fortune of running against Republicans who muted the anti-left message. Gerald Ford managed to position himself to the left of Carter by proclaiming that Poland was no longer a communist country, among other blunders.

In 1992, the elder George Bush ran with the burden of his broken no new taxes pledge. The party's next nominee, Bob Dole, spent his Senate career as the Democrats' bag man, pushing tax hikes to pay for their extravagance.

But Carter and Clinton were anomalies. Gore has brought the party back to its Great Society/McGovernite roots. Under the influence of Dick Morris, Clinton pronounced the era of big government over. Gore's campaign has turned into a nostalgia tour.

Despite tongue for Tipper, government is Gore's true love. He's campaigned against tax cuts, education choice and the partial privatization of Social Security.

He's pandered to the teachers unions, racial hustlers and the immigration lobby. He's promised the left he'll short-circuit democracy with a Supreme Court that will nullify popular sovereignty on abortion restrictions, gay rights, quotas and vouchers.

Left candidates always resort to class warfare and the politics of envy. The vice president is no exception.

If Gore tells us once more what his opponent is going to do for "the richest 1 percent of Americans," at least half the nation will become violently ill.

In each election, the left candidate finds a convenient business interest to scapegoat. Gore made HMOs and insurance companies the corporate cads of this campaign.

Class warfare didn't work for Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern or Mike Dukakis. It won't work for Al Gore. Unlike Europeans, Americans do not hate success or have a burning desire to punish hard work and ingenuity.

What ordinary Americans resent most are ideologues who would subsidize obscene art while fighting education vouchers, who would legalize drugs and outlaw guns, who have compassion for convicted killers but not for unborn children, who call the Boy Scouts bigots while embracing the likes of Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan.

The American people turned against liberalism in the 1960s -- repulsed by the Great Society, the Sexual Revolution, the drug culture, pictures of hirsute savages burning the flag and urban anarchy.

Despite the Democrats' post-Watergate revival, the conservative advance resumed with the tax revolt of the 1970s and the Reagan Revolution of the 1980s.

In the 1990s, Republicans captured both houses of Congress (for the first time in 40 years) with the Contract With America, a populist/conservative agenda.

Today, it's hard to find liberals, other than on college campuses, in newsrooms and at Democratic Party national conventions. According to the latest Gallup Poll, just 15 percent of likely voters identify themselves as liberals, compared to the 43 percent who call themselves conservatives.

Unfortunately, conservative electoral success rarely translates into legislative victories, due to the left's near monopoly of the culture and judiciary.

If Al Gore loses the presidency and Hillary Clinton wins her Senate seat, the establishment will immediately begin promoting her as the Democratic nominee in 2004 -- assuring a continuation of the conservative ascendency well into the next century.

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