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Jewish World Review August 11, 2000/ 10 Menachem-Av, 5760


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That's reality -- SOME SAY that George W. Bush's nod toward minorities is all charade, an attempt to soften his image and reach the swing independent white voters in the suburbs. That kind of reaction is understandable: remember, Bill Clinton has squandered his presidency in an attempt to find love from every American, whether an indigent black family in Georgia whose pain he feels, or Hollywood moguls or Wall Street financiers to whom he'll confess that taxes should be cut and that Big Government is an antiquated theory.

However, a Republican Party that begins at this late date (at least since the late-1950s) with little support from the black community, in particular, has to start somewhere. It's my bet that if Bush is elected, a concerted effort will be made to recruit qualified minority candidates-at all levels of government-who share at least the bulk of the new president's beliefs. When Clinton was elected in '92, he promised a cabinet that would "look like America." It's true that he tapped many blacks (some of dubious credentials, like the late Ron Brown) and women, but I had no idea at the time that most United States citizens were wealthy lawyers. It's likely a Bush administration will include Colin Powell as secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice as national security adviser, as well as Hispanics and Asians in other key posts. I think it's guaranteed that the new attorney general will not be chosen by a bitter first lady hungry for her own slice of the White House; indeed, if you can't instantly think of 1000 men or women who'd be an improvement over the puppet Janet Reno for that position, you must've had a very late night.

This is not to suggest that George W. Bush will be robbing from the intellectually bereft Rainbow Coalition, which is still scandalously run by the country's First Uncle Tom, Jesse Jackson. Jackson, who shamelessly tied his fortunes to Clinton and Gore, even after the President signed a welfare bill that most of the "Reverend's" constituents found appalling, is a creature of the past, almost as extinct as a Nehru jacket. He's a pitiful, shameless huckster who appeals to the worst instincts of liberals. G-d only knows how Jackson has struck it rich, but he's certainly not representative of the people he claims to lead. Ever since he appeared on a tv show the morning after Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered in 1968, still wearing a bloody shirt, Jackson has done nothing to unify the country. Like Clinton, he craves attention, even if he contradicts a statement he made just a week earlier. Worse, he's spawned other hatemongers, New York's Al Sharpton only the most notorious example.

In fact, if dignified liberals are intent on creating a movement that might achieve their desired goals, a smart strategy would be to start building now, even if it means taking the heretical Democratic position of abandoning Al Gore's bandwagon to More Lies and Broken Promises. Vote for Ralph Nader this year and then move on to the 2002 and 2004 elections. If Kweisi Mfume and Paul Wellstone or Russell Feingold joined forces to create a third party for the next presidential race, they'd be able to build a coalition that would be truly competitive.

So now it's on to Los Angeles to see if Gore can put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Sen. Joseph Lieberman is a good choice for his runningmate, far better than the showboat John Kerry of Massachusetts. Lieberman's a man of conviction, which is the more apparent when compared to Gore, and his scolding of Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal is a plus for the ticket. That he eventually voted to acquit the tarnished President is no badge of honor, but it's not as if any other Democratic senator stood up for justice during that farce.

Gore hasn't reacted to Bush's temporary poll-vault very well. He's still not sure which disguise to use for the campaign, hopping from Hamptons fundraisers to poor neighborhoods without seeming to notice the dichotomy. My favorite Gore quote was from last Saturday, when he spoke in front of a group of Chicago firefighters. "I know we're starting out behind," Gore said. "I'm here today to serve notice: this is Day 1 of the fight for working families. And with your help, we're going to win it."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought "Day 1 of the fight for working families" began on Jan. 20, 1993, at the first hour of the Clinton-Gore administration.

JWR contributor "Mugger" -- aka Russ Smith -- is the editor-in-chief and CEO of New York Press ( Send your comments to him by clicking here.

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