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Jewish World Review August 25, 2000/ 24 Menachem-Av, 5760

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
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Conventions: A study in contrasts -- WHEN THE MIGHTY C-SPAN camera panned the audience at the Democratic Convention, Barbra Streisand, Richard Dreyfuss and Sarah Jessica Parker glowed.

In contrast, the Republicans had Ricky Schroder, John Secada (who had one hit on light rock stations) and Chaka Khan (whose appearance stunned even the pro-choice Republicans). Republicans' one big gun, as it were, Moses (Charlton Heston), was busy in a Betty-Ford-type center. Kate Smith, with all the funk of Mrs. Potts from Beauty and the Beast, appeared on video at the Republican hoe down singing "G-d Bless America," while Democrats jammed with a red-haired Ray Charles imitator singing the same live.

The media chastised the Republicans for being boring. Is a panel discussion led by a female Episcopalian bishop from D.C. featuring Al's monotone friends dynamic? Pundits shamed the Republicans for being phony. The WWF Al Gore entrance complete with a full Nelson kiss of Tipper that caused many of us to avert our eyes was sincere?

Contrasts between the parties paled in comparison to contrasts in Democrats themselves. To Democrats, consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

Both Emerson and the Democrats have it wrong. Consistency is the difference between adhering to principle and doing whatever it takes to win.

Mssrs. Clinton and Gore claim credit for the longest running economic boom in our history. Given that they must include the years prior to 1992 to make the claim, who were those guys with the 1992 slogan, "It's the economy, stupid!"?

Had the Republicans not won the House in 1994, the nutty economics of Clinton/Gore that tax increases lower interest rates would have taken hold. Following their largest tax increase in history in 1993, with full complicity of a Democratic Congress, the 30-year- treasury bond yield rate went from 6% at the initial Clinton inauguration to 8%, declining only when the GOP took the House in 1994. The Dow was on slow cook (in the 3000 range from 1992 until 1994). With the Gingrich sweep, the economy took off, reaching 8000 by 1995. Alan Greenspan, a Reagan appointee, kept the Clinton/Gore children away from the Fed cookie jar.

Touting the success of welfare reform is ironic given their days of bemoaning the mean Republican Congress for passing it and their initial veto.

Lierberman's flip-flops of the last two weeks are maddening. He wanted Clarence Thomas booted for some alleged off-color remarks, but voted against impeachment because presidential "immorality" was "personal." This media-described "centrist," refused to override the Clinton veto of the ban on partial-birth abortion, voted for the Clinton tax increase, recently abandoned the school vouchers he once touted, warmly embraced the Hollywood he worked with William Bennett to deride as cultural pollution, and left behind his support for privatizing Social Security. He invokes the name of G-d and is praised. George Bush mentions the Christian Savior as his favorite philosopher and is skewered. Lieberman works to distance himself, not from his voting record, but from his flirtatious statements of principle that never guide his votes.

Gore promises to be the president of all the people, i.e., non-rich. He might begin by being more than a slumlord to Mrs. Tracy Mayberry who vacated her sharecropper quarters on the Gore fiefdom because of plumbing, toilet, electrical and floor-covering problems that went unaddressed despite six months of demands, danger to her children and television coverage. Mrs. Mayberry now lives happily in a home supplied by Republicans, the mean and wealthy, who rent homes sans sparking electrical outlets.

Mr. Gore pledges no more tobacco advertising directed at children (such a ban was part of the multi-billion dollar settlement anyway), but for years he accepted tobacco donations, even after his sister's death from tobacco use. When he served in Congress he had high marks from pro-life groups for his anti-abortion votes, but now pledges to preserve abortion rights. He also had NRA support for his gun control votes and now basks in Rosie O'Donnell support. In 1981, he told a Tennessee newspaper, when asked about homosexuality, "I think it is wrong. I don't pretend to understand it, but it is not just another normal optional life style." At the convention, he invoked the name of Matthew Shepard to assert his newfound hate-crime position and support for federal anti-discrimination laws on sexual orientation.

Speaking of hate crimes, Democratic delegates jeered at Boy Scouts performing the flag ceremony. The party of children and tolerance that wants hate crimes legislation mocks innocents?

The political conventions always showcase differences between the parties, in everything from the stable of stars (with Republicans, it's a manger) to the number of balloons (Republicans have more; Democrats have more signs and confetti). But 2000 saw the contrasts within one party. In fact, they were in the same people with Lieberman a completely reformed man and Mr. Gore still evolving in dress, views and kisses.

Good luck to the voters trying to discern their positions of expediency.

JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments by clicking here.


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06/02/00: Oh, Canada: Our Nutty Neighbors to the North
05/23/00: The new mollycoddling coach
05/16/00: On adultery and leadership
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04/25/00: Life's circle and tenderness
04/18/00: Womyn who want it both ways
04/11/00: The monsters we're raising with the ergo proposition
04/05/00: Endowing the Hooters Chair for Literature Appreciation
03/28/00: Dr. Laura: The passive/aggressive kid's mom
03/21/00: Dough and campaigns
03/14/00: The volunteerism of conscription and pomp
03/07/00: Hope and pray that religion remains a force in politics
02/29/00: Ditzes in TV Land
02/22/00: Cranky nitpickers make writing a [sic] experience
02/15/00: Those chameleon 60s activists
02/08/00: McCandidate McCain: Flirting with principles
02/01/00: The demise of marriage
01/25/00: Stroke of the pen, law of the land: Clinton's Camelot
01/18/00: Off the Rocker Rorschach Test
01/11/00: Oprah's lemmings
01/04/00: Struggling mightily amidst the comfort
12/23/99: Confused fathers
12/14/99: Drop-kicking the homeless
12/07/99: Turtles and teamsters, side-by-side in Seattle
11/29/99: When conservatives behave badly
11/22/99: Compassionate conservative: Timing and targets
11/18/99: The elusive human spirit and accountability
11/11/99: Succumbing to the intellectual child within with the help of crackpots and screwballs
10/28/99: Live by litigation, die by litigation
10/22/99: Jesse, Warren, Cybill, Donald and Oprah
10/14/99: Inequality and injustice: It's the big one
10/05/99: Dan Quayle, morals and schoolyard bullies
09/30/99: The monsters of epidermal parenting
09/21/99: The Diversity Hoax
09/15/99: Waco Wackos
09/09/99: Selective censorship
09/01/99: The village, the children, judicial imperialism and abortion
08/24/99: Naughty Newt?
08/17/99: In defense of Boy Scouts and judgment
08/10/99: Ruining the finest health care system in the world
08/03/99: Nihilism and politics: ethics on the lam
07/26/99: Of women, soccer and removed jerseys
07/23/99: Not in despair, a mere mortal doing just fine
07/20/99: "Why me?" How about "Why us?"
07/13/99: Bunk, junk & juries
07/06/99: An Amish woman in a Victoria's Secret store
06/30/99: That intellectually embarrassing Second Amendment
06/24/99: Patricia Ireland eat your heart out --- but check out the recipe in 'women's mags' first
06/22/99: Dems and the Creator coup
06/17/99: True courage is more than just admitting troubles

© 2000, Marianne M. Jennings