Jewish World Review July 28, 2000 / 25 Tamuz, 5760
Because most people get their news only from television, their impression of Year 2000 Republicans will be largely shaped by the coverage, such as it is, of the Republican convention. Gov. George W. Bush is determined that Republicans will not look all white and male, all old and rich. Neither will there be any angry people, such as Pat Buchanan declaring war (cultural or otherwise) or Newt Gingrich announcing revolution (political or otherwise).
Sure, I'd like to see ideas floated from morning until night. Yes, I'd prefer nonstop bashing of failed liberal programs. Of course, I would appreciate marathon speeches characterizing the Clinton-Gore years as a 24/7 "Animal House'' frat party with supposedly responsible men in positions of influence shirking responsibility, violating their oaths and behaving as if their offices were the spoils of war.
It would be nice to hear how the welfare state, so favored by liberals, has sentenced the poor to a life of poverty and dependency. It would be wonderful to hear how liberal Democrats stole credit for economic prosperity from the Republicans and how Gore advisor Bob Shrum must be auditioning for stand-up comic when he claims the Clinton-Gore administration should get credit for the current boom. This from a man who never saw a dollar he wouldn't tax or one he couldn't spend. This from a man whose party controlled the House for 40 years and never cared about the deficit or national debt until Republicans took over. Name the last tax-cutting Democrat. It was John F. Kennedy.
The Philadelphia convention will be about understated contrasts. Everyone knows what Clinton-Gore have done, from illicit sex to illicit fund-raising. What this Bush production will show is decency, integrity, honesty and fidelity. That's why Laura Bush will speak on the opening night. Look for her to subtly present her husband as a man who can be believed and who is not only faithful to his word but also to his wife.
Media types will complain about a convention without content. That's because they won't be able to tag Republicans with their usual labels. Smearing Republicans is the only way they can hope to get their preferred candidate, Al Gore, elected.
The other parties -- the ones with free food and drink -- might be more fun and exciting than the
one inside the hall, but George W. Bush is betting that a convention without controversy gives him
the best chance to move into the fall campaign with a focus on his ideas rather than his having to
repair a bad image. Political junkies may wish it weren't so. But until the public wants red meat
again, they'll get the pablum they're asking