Jewish World Review August 7, 2000 / 6 Menachem-Av, 5760
Live or Memorex?
TO ME, the most interesting thing about the Republican
convention is the mainstream media coverage. They are
absolutely confounded with this upbeat display of class.
Don't get me wrong, there are networks, such as Fox,
outside the monolith, but for the most part, the major
players are reacting in lockstep. It is revealing to witness
Remember their outrage at Pat Buchanan's culture war
speech at the 1992 convention in Houston? When would
Republicans ever learn, they wondered in unison, not to
showcase their malevolence? When would they ever learn
to put Newt and Tom DeLay in the closet and throw away
the key -- or at least hide it until the election was over?
Well, here we are in the new millennium with a new
candidate and a different kind of convention. Newt is
commentating behind the scenes, and Tom DeLay is stuck
in that closet with the House managers. So, are the media
lauding the GOP for its transformation? You know better.
A typical example was Bernie Shaw's CNN interview
with Ronald Reagan's daughter Maureen following the film
tribute to her father and the other past GOP presidents.
An incredulous Shaw, utterly appalled at the Republicans'
audacity at pretending to be anything but ogres, asked
Maureen in so many words, "All this is fine, but what
about women's rights, abortion, gun control?" Translation:
"I'll grant that your father's party is succeeding in looking
nicer tonight, but until it renounces its positions on these
major issues and others, it will still be the party of hate."
Maureen just laughed in disbelief. "So, what's your
Columnist E. J. Dionne is having a similar reaction to the
convention. He wrote, "If this convention of compassion
and empathy reeks of saccharine, it's because Republicans
are wagering that risking artificial sweetness beats
meanness." Do you see the common theme here? Both
Shaw and Dionne, along with all others imprisoned in the
liberal groupthink monolith, believe that any sweetness and
light among Republicans is calculated and a hoax.
Like everyone else, they tend to look at things through
their own lenses. Since their candidates of choice
(Democrats) so often arrange things for the sake of
appearances, they assume that Republicans must be doing
Generally, Democrats are not turned on by individual
achievement among minorities, for example, but a cabinet
that "looks like America." So, they assume that George
Bush asked Gen. Powell and Dr. Rice to speak because
he wanted to appear minority and women-friendly.
Though cynics will be unable to fathom this possibility, I do
not believe Bush chose Powell and Rice because of their
race. He picked Powell because of his qualifications, skills,
stature and universal popularity. He selected Rice because
of her qualifications, skills and expertise. Bush didn't scour
the countryside for some token minorities to trot out --
these are seasoned advisers who worked with his father
and have already proven their brilliance. If anyone is more
qualified to assist Bush in foreign policy, I don't know who
it would be.
What the media don't understand is that the tone of this
Republican convention has not been choreographed to
affect a change in the GOP's image. It is not the result of
an organized effort to dispel any negative image the party
may have among the elite.
The media are making the same mistake with Bush that
they made with Ronald Reagan. They are greatly
underestimating him. I hope they continue to do so.
This convention is all about George Bush. Bush, both
directly and indirectly, has set the tone for Philadelphia. It
is all about being positive and forward thinking, not so
much because Bush is trying to change the face of the
party, but because Bush himself is positive. This is not
posturing; it's the real deal.
In the process, Bush is not eschewing conservatism and
his Republican colleagues are not ducking substantive
issues, or even partisanship, as has been alleged. You
cannot have listened to Dr. Rice or Secretary Cheney
without understanding their not-so-subtle indictment of the
While the media and their Democratic brethren are
obsessing about such things as the gender gap or the race
gap, Republicans, without using the "I" word
("impeachment"), are demonstrating the character gap. In
the final analysis, that's the only gap that's going to matter
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