Jewish World Review Dec. 18, 2000 / 21 Kislev, 5761
Last summer, the difference between the Republican and Democratic conventions was striking. At the Republican gathering in Philly, speakers arrived at the podium on time, left on time, delivered messages approved by the campaign, and appeared on television talk shows only as directed. Almost nobody said a word about Bush without checking first with the campaign press office.
The discipline was amazing, and it extended to every aspect of the event. During the four days of the convention, I never noticed a logistical glitch of any kind. In fact, it almost didn't feel like a political event, it was so businesslike, even military, in its precision and predictability.
The Democrats' L.A. convention was a different story, and a lot more fun
to cover. Okay, it wasn't fun waiting for the shuttle buses that never arrived,
but overall it was exciting and unpredictable. There was passion, there were
unscripted comments from politicians in the hallways. At one point retiring
Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey was delivering what should have been a somber
speech about American veterans, but for some reason he had this odd grin on
his face. Apparently he couldn't read the prompter once he sat down in his
assigned seat next to a man in a wheelchair, so he had to wing it as he tried
to narrate a video.
George W. Bush ran his organization more like a business, so we can expect
that the Bush White House will move forward with similar efficiency. The question
is: Where is it going? Burned by his father, many conservatives half expect
George W. Bush to break their hearts. I think he may pleasantly surprise them.
With little interest in domestic affairs, W.'s father allowed himself to be talked into raising taxes and expanding environmental and workplace regulations. But George W. isn't waiting for things to appear in his in-box. He's already settled on his short list of domestic priorities: tax cuts, reform of entitlement programs and accountability in government-run schools.
The course is set; the goals are clear. He's not saying that he wants to create a kinder, gentler atmosphere. He's coming to town with a specific agenda, and a breakthrough on any one of his core issues would probably make him a successful president. The new President Bush also has the advantage of being able to learn from his father's mistakes.
His father arrived in the White House on the heels of a landslide victory.
George W. Bush didn't achieve similar success at the polls, but there's reason
to believe that he'll be a better
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