Jewish World Review Nov. 7, 2000/ 9 Mar-Cheshvan 5761
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- IT'S 4 A.M. on Friday morning, less than 12 hours after the revelation that George W. Bush was arrested 24 years ago in Maine on a DUI charge. Last night, the media was in a frenzy: Campaign Meltdown? Gore Dirty Tricks? An election that the Vice President will now carry by winning the Electoral College while losing the popular vote?
Obviously, it's a distraction Bush didn't need, especially given the partisanship of the pundits, who can barely hide their glee as they stroke their chins while debating the issue. At this point, who knows if it was a Gore plant who leaked the arrest story to a reporter in Portland? I suspect it won't change the results of Tuesday's balloting.
Bush has been forthright-almost to the point of sanctimony-about giving up the bottle 14 years ago.
Will it energize Gore's lackluster base? I doubt it, especially since a low turnout is expected on Tuesday. However, it could be a deciding factor among those independent voters who still haven't committed to either candidate. On the one hand, there's the suburban mom who might be turned off by what will be spun as Bush's lack of disclosure of an incident that happened a generation ago. Then again, that voter's next-door neighbor might be thinking: "Bush gave up drinking. I wish my husband would as well."
As for the working men in Michigan and Pennsylvania who are torn between loyalty to their unions (advantage Gore) and the right to own a gun (advantage Bush), I can't imagine that a drinking infraction will matter one bit. It might even have the same humanizing effect as had Bush's unintentionally canny remark over Labor Day weekend about The New York Times' Adam Clymer being a "a major-league a------."
Unfortunately for Bush, lost in this trivial muddle was Ross Perot's endorsement of him last night on, naturally, Larry King Live. Frankly, that was more of a stunner than an alcohol-related arrest from the 70s, given the animus Perot has in the past shown to anyone named Bush. As Perot said, drawing an obvious comparison to Clinton and Gore: "Here's a man who I have never heard anybody criticize once for improper conduct as governor, for the improper taking of funds, for payoffs, for improprieties in the governor's mansion."
Also shunted to the side was another example of Clinton screwing up Gore's campaign. (At this point, since he's been relegated to campaigning in Arkansas and black communities, I don't think the President's once-a-week slip-ups are unconscious. After Gore loses, I can't wait for Clinton's bitter chapter in his memoirs about this fall's election.) As if the Esquire cover shot-Clinton spreading his legs in a Monica-I'm-All-Yours pose-and accompanying self-pitying interview weren't bad enough, in California yesterday the Lame Duck gave a cocky answer to a radio host who said he wished the Arkansan could run for a third term. "But you can get the next best thing," Clinton replied. "I tell you we've got to win this election and I feel very strongly that we're going to win it if our folks vote."
Notice that giant "if."
Meanwhile, The New York Times is downright hysterical. Thank G-d Arthur Sulzberger isn't anywhere near the "Red Button." In a down-in-the-cesspool editorial on Friday, the paper blasted Ralph Nader one more time, on this occasion for the Green Party candidate's correct assessment that it would be political suicide for the GOP to overturn Roe v. Wade. The editorial reads: "This is male chauvinism carried to a new extreme. The 60 million American women of childbearing age may see their constitutional right to abortion put at risk because of Ralph Nader's unilateral declaration that the makeup of the Supreme Court does not really matter to him. You can bet he would be jumping up and down if it were his constitutional protections and his physical health and his medical autonomy that were being put at risk." To lend some perspective, it's worth mentioning that Antonin Scalia, the conservative Supreme Court justice whom Bush admires, was confirmed 98-0 by a Democrat-controlled Senate.
The Times further deludes readers by claiming the "polls are deceptive at this point." When every major poll has Bush ahead of Gore at this point in the campaign, how is that deceptive? Then, against all the dominant wisdom, the editorial continues: "The polls cannot measure another advantage that Mr. Gore could enjoy on Election Day, and that is the potential for a heavier turnout by Democrats than Republicans."
Such lunacy in New York's largest newspaper is maddening, but there is
a silver lining: The Times has so disgraced itself in the past six
months by acting as Al Gore's campaign manager that its reputation, so
unimpeachable for generations, is in full crack-up