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Jewish World Review Jan. 31, 2000 /24 Shevat, 5760

David Limbaugh

David Limbaugh
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Veep gores Bradley -- IN ONE SENSE, Republicans owe Bill Bradley for challenging Al Gore for the Democratic presidential nomination. Without this primary battle, voters may have believed that Gore's ruthlessness and duplicity were reserved exclusively for Republicans.

Not long ago, Gore was desperately seeking to distance himself from Clinton and all of his character baggage. He wanted to take credit for the economy without being tainted by Clinton's personal negatives. As he has improved in the polls and convincingly won the Iowa caucuses, he has changed course again, proudly embracing his mentor in deceit. He is even getting cocky about it, telling voters he was "deeply honored" to be Clinton's running mate.

Assuming there was ever any doubt, we now know that Gore was acting voluntarily and independently when he celebrated Clinton as one of history's greatest presidents on the White House lawn following Clinton's impeachment. And why not? Gore owes Clinton a great deal. While under Clinton's tutelage he has graduated from a worthy apprentice to a Clinton-trained virtuoso in deception.

Recently, Bradley released a television commercial that concluded with, "This campaign is being run under the radical premise that you can go out and tell people what you believe, and win." As lofty and idealistic as that may have sounded, I doubt that Bradley believes it anymore. He's since been treated to increasingly lethal doses of Gore's campaign poison.

Wednesday night's Democratic debate in New Hampshire provided a clear illustration of what Bradley is up against with Al Gore. After Bradley was trounced in Iowa, pundits unanimously exhorted him to respond more aggressively to Gore's pit bull approach if he wanted to turn the tide in New Hampshire.

Well, Bradley tried to expose Gore's tactics. In his near-lifeless monotone, he said to Gore: "You know better. You know what you are saying is not true. And quite frankly, I wonder whether, if you're running a campaign that is saying untrue things, whether you will be able to be a president that gets people's trust. Why should we believe that you will tell the truth as president if you don't tell the truth as a candidate?"

Gore has so perfected the jujitsu technique of using his opponent's force against him that Bradley, who, unlike Gore, happens to be burdened by a conscience, was rendered virtually defenseless.

As an example, when called to task by Bradley for his lies and negative attacks, Gore shrewdly accused Bradley of "bringing Willie Horton into the campaign." Before last night, Bradley described how Gore had unfairly used the Willie Horton issue against his then-opponent Michael Dukakis in the 1988 Democratic primary. Gore's response was to accuse Bradley of invoking Willie Horton.

And when Bradley pointed out specific instances of Gore deliberately distorting Bradley's health-care proposal, Gore unscrupulously turned the tables on Bradley by accusing him of personal attacks. But when you think about it, what's the difference between these things and Clinton orchestrating a smear campaign against Ken Starr and all of Clinton's other rightful accusers? Lie, twist and dissemble. Turn your own misconduct into an advantage by feigning victimization at the hands of your accusers. Bill must be mighty proud of Al.

CNN's Judy Woodruff admirably questioned Gore about his tactics when the debate began. But that was an exception. After the debate, instead of discussing the merits of Bradley's charges against Gore, the commentators incessantly fawned over Gore's debating skills, as if this were purely a gladiatorial contest where truth is irrelevant and scrutiny is unwelcome.

The media waxes sanctimonious about campaign-finance reform, ostensibly because it will help restore honesty to politics, yet they will do nothing at the most basic level to contribute to that honesty themselves. While they once considered themselves watchdogs they now stand together in approving silence as falsehoods abound. If they had any pride in their historical role as purveyors of truth, they would investigate Bradley's charges against this man who could be our next president.

Bradley has exposed Gore as an equal-opportunity offender of truth. He will say whatever he has to say to win against both Democratic and Republican opponents. Republicans are on notice. They'd better be ready for Gore. They won't be getting much help from the media.

JWR contributor David Limbaugh is an attorney practicing in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and a political analyst and commentator. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


01/26/00: The issues gap
01/24/00: GOP: Exit, stage left
01/20/00: Nationalizing congressional elections
01/18/00: Do voters really prefer straight talk?
01/12/00: Media's McCain efforts may backfire
01/10/00: Conservative racism myth
01/05/00: Just one more year of Clintonian politics
01/03/00: McMedia?
12/27/99: Al Gore: Bullish on government
12/22/99: Bradley's full-court press
12/20/99: Bush: Rendering unto Caesar
12/15/99: Beltway media bias
12/13/99: White House ambulance chasing
12/08/99: Clinton's labor pains
12/06/99:The lust for power
12/01/99: In defense of liberty
11/29/99: Are Republicans obsolete?
11/24/99: Say you're sorry, Mr. President
11/22/99: Architects of victory
11/17/99: Trump's tax on freedom
11/15/99: GOP caves again
11/10/99: Triangulation and 'The Third Way'
11/08/99: Sticks and stones
11/03/99: Keyes vs. media lapdogs
11/01/99: Signs of the times
10/27/99: The false charge of isolationism
10/25/99: A matter of freedom
10/20/99: Clinton's mini-meltdown
10/18/99: Senate GOP shows statesmanship
10/13/99: Senate must reject nuclear treaty
10/11/99: Bush bites feeding hand
10/06/99: Jesse accidentally opens door for Pat
10/04/99: Clinton and his media enablers
09/29/99: Reagan: Big-tent conservatism
09/27/99: The Clinton/Gore taint?
09/22/99: Have gun (tragedy), will travel
09/20/99: Hillary's blunders and bloopers
09/15/99: GOP must remain conservative
09/13/99:Time for Bush to take charge, please
09/10/99: Bush's education plan: Dubya confounds again
09/07/99: Pat, savior or spoiler?
09/02/99: Character doesn't matter?
08/30/99: Should we judge?
08/25/99: Dubyah's drug question: Not a hill to die on
08/23/99: Should Dubyah start buying soap ... for all that mud?
08/16/99: 'W' stands for 'winner'
08/11/99: The truth about tax cuts
08/09/99: Hillary: Threading the needle
08/04/99: What would you do?
08/02/99: No appeasement for China
07/30/99: Hate Crimes Bill: Cynical Symbolism
07/26/99: Itís the 'moderates', stupid
07/21/99: JFK Jr. and Diana: the pain of privilege
07/19/99: Smith, Bush and the GOP
07/14/99: GOP must be a party of ideas
07/12/99: Gore's gender gap
07/08/99: Clintonís faustian bargain: our justice
07/06/99: The key to Bush's $36 million
06/30/99: Gore: a soda in every fountain
06/28/99: 'Sacred wall' or religious barrier?
06/23/99: GOP must lead in foreign policy
06/21/99: Crumbs of compassion
06/16/99: Compassionate conservatism: face-lift or body transplant?
06/10/99: Victory in Kosovo? Now What?