Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review July 3, 2000 / 30 Sivan, 5760

Chris Matthews

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Arianna Huffington
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Debbie Schlussel
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

AlGore's latest hazard -- WHAT WILL AL GORE say about the Republicans to avoid defeat in November? That they will destroy Social Security, outlaw abortion, bring back the Cold War?

He's already saying that. The question is how much further he will go to win the office on which he long ago set his heart.

The polls are ominous. CNN reports him trailing Republican George W. Bush 39 to 52 percent. An absolute majority of likely voters now prefer the sunny Texas governor. A quarter of Gore's own party says it would prefer some other Democratic candidate this November.

Gore's latest hazard is that voters don't buy his denials of collaboration in the Dick Morris-Bill Clinton scam to pay for the 1996 re-election. They think he went to that Buddhist temple to get what he got: the money. They don't buy the "iced tea" defense that he was in the john when chief of staff Leon Panetta watched him being briefed on the White House "coffees" and dialing-for-dollars operation.

Gore's hope is that he can do what another Democrat did when suffering from a whiff of corruption.

In 1948, UC-Berkeley invited President Harry Truman to give its commencement address. Suffering from a 36-percent job approval rating and strapped party finances, Truman jumped at the excuse to travel cross-country at taxpayer expense.

That June, the man who rose to the presidency through the kindness of Democratic bosses and the death of Franklin Roosevelt, made history.

"I am going down to Berkeley to get me a degree," he joked to the thousand Ohio loyalists who greeted him at his first, 5:45 a.m. train stop. The trip, he assured them, was purely "non-partisan," in fact "bipartisan." It was nothing of the kind. Expected by everyone to lose the election in November, the simple man from Missouri was using the two weapons of his limited arsenal: the perks of the office and a shameless readiness to "Give 'em hell" — to say anything bad about the rival Republicans that a wavering voter might believe.

The welcome Truman received was impossible to imagine by today's standards. Forty-five thousand people came out for him at Berkeley. A million lined the streets of Los Angeles. Harder to measure was the impact in all those heartland "whistle stops" when the president of the United States himself came to visit.

Add to this the power of Truman's rhetoric in that unforgettable '48 campaign.

"The Republican gluttons of privilege are cold men. They are cunning men," he warned. "And it is their constant aim to put the government of the United States under the control of men like themselves. They want a return of the Wall Street economic dictatorship."


"Before Hitler came to power," Truman told voters, "control over the German economy had passed into the hands of a small group of rich manufacturers, bankers and landowners. These men decided that Germany had to have a tough, ruthless dictator who would play their game and crush the strong German labor unions. So they put their money and influence behind Adolf Hitler. We know the rest of the story.

"Dewey's election threatens the same in America!

"The lobbies which work for big business found that they could get what their bosses wanted from the Republican leaders. Is that the kind of future you want?"

Purchasing this book
helps fund JWR

Historian Zachary Karabell, in his new book, The Last Campaign,"," writes: "For all the complaints about negative campaigning in the television age, no subsequent major candidate compares with Truman for sheer demagogy and character assassination."

"Decrying that one party is out of sync with the country is not the same as saying that one party has betrayed, robbed and defrauded the American people," Karabell adds.

On election day, California joined the Midwest and the then-Democratic South to offset defeat in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, to give Truman his victory.

This fall, another Democrat faces the danger of humiliating defeat. As in '48, many Democrats are saying they wish they had a better candidate.

Is Al Gore ready to wield the same doomsday rhetoric to avoid the harrowing unknown of defeat? Is he ready to scare voters with the same caliber of terror Truman used to dismember Dewey?

Knowing Gore, the question answers itself.

JWR contributor Chris Matthews is the author of Hardball. and hosts a CNBC show of the same name. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


06/29/00: No echoes in this presidential choice
06/26/00: Death joins the debate
06/21/00: Jerry Brown tells AlGore how to 'wage' campaign
06/19/00: Squishy logic for soft money
06/15/00: Citizen Kane, 113 years later
06/12/00: Kennedy-Nixon redux?
06/07/00: Bush says 'I do' to reality
06/05/00: Clinton's odd silence on his achievements
06/02/00: Pelosi, a voice for human rights
05/30/00: Bubba's escape hatches
05/23/00: Who typifies leadership?
05/19/00: Bubba's legacy involves AIDS
05/16/00: Dubyah's outlook for 'playoffs' remains perilous
05/11/00: Giuliani's travels
05/09/00: A Yale degree, a Bob Jones education
05/03/00: Show of force!
05/01/00: Abortion polls don't reflect reality
04/28/00: Bill Russell and American racism
04/24/00: Vietnam 25 -- The good, bad and ugly
04/19/00: Nader's threat to Gore in California
04/17/00: Berkeley politician visits with Elian's father
04/14/00: Clinton and the Castro curse
04/11/00: Men who saved Elián from the sea
04/06/00: Caine should coach politicians
04/03/00: No. 2 spots: Woman-to-woman?
03/29/00: Gray for veep and Gore might coast to victory
03/27/00: The secret life of a CIA wife
03/22/00: 'We're suckers for underdogs'
03/20/00: Bush's California dream vs. reality
03/06/00: Scary Gore vs. hopeful Bush
03/06/00: McCain's appeal to 'Reagan Democrats'
03/01/00: John McCain fits a hero's profile
02/28/00: Grading the American presidents
02/25/00: Clinton remains No. 1 issue
02/23/00: Will Ross Perot aid POW McCain?
02/18/00: McCain faces fury of GOP establishment
02/17/00: Citizen Springer
02/14/00: McCainia and the frisky independents
02/07/00: A prime-time primary for California
02/02/00: Clinton's final campaign: Take the blame
01/31/00: Which GOPer is willing to pay for his positions?
01/27/00: John McCain's gay radar
01/25/00: This time, candidates get 'authenticity' check
01/18/00: AIDS dooms 1 in 4 in tiny Swaziland
01/13/00: Complacency might be the campaign key
01/10/00: A choice, not an echo
01/06/00: The role of a lifetime
01/03/00: Dangers in Gore's dirty war
12/30/99: Churchill's fighting words saved the century
12/28/99: Candidate Gore's separation anxiety
12/17/99: Catch 22: Leading candidates don't lead
12/17/99: New Democratic leader on the horizon
12/15/99: Is Hillary clueless?
12/08/99: Taking Buchananism to the streets
12/03/99: Why are we so obsessed with 'spin'?
12/01/99: Donald Trump, 'Sinatra of Steel'
11/29/99: Why AlGore will be our next president
11/23/99: After the fall
11/17/99: Our conveniently forgetful president
11/15/99: Next president: Male, WASP, self-selected
11/10/99: Backroom Bill
11/08/99: Please don't feed the 'pander bears'
11/03/99: Battle of the Bubba clones
11/01/99: Pat Buchanan, kamikaze candidate
10/27/99: The year of the woman... voter
10/25/99: The Curse of the Bubba
10/21/99: GOP gives Clinton his finest hour
10/18/99: Clinton's last hurrah
10/13/99: Rough seas for Capt. Ventura
10/11/99: Gore targets Bradley's strength
10/06/99: Bradley's got the right Rx
10/04/99: Buchanan, Churchill and Hitler
09/30/99: Who'll spin political gold in Golden State — Gore or Bradley?
09/27/99: Here's a millennial checklist for candidates
09/22/99: The biography battle
09/20/99: Buchanan's new book is a must-read
09/15/99: Don't rule out Beatty
09/13/99: The man with the sun on his face
09/08/99: W. vs. Jr. on dope and the draft
The FALN: Hillary's Willie Horton
08/26/99: Bill's guilt fuels Hill's race
08/25/99: The seemingly inexhaustible strength of America's free enterprise
08/23/99: GOP candidates are weak also-rans
08/16/99: Bubba on Bubba
08/11/99: Hillary's agonizing attempts to understand
08/09/99: With warm regards, Richard Nixon
08/04/99: Weicker: real third party is on the Left
08/02/99: Dubyah's last hangover
07/27/99: Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh; capitalism is gonna win

© 2000, NEA