Jewish World Review Jan. 31, 2000 /24 Shevat, 5760
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- 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
01/26/00: The issues gap