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Jewish World Review Sept. 20, 2000 / 19 Elul, 5760

David Limbaugh

David Limbaugh
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Something fishy's going on -- SOMETHING FISHY appears to be going on in the presidential campaign. If I didn't know better, I would think a conspiracy was afoot among Gore supporters -- and that many Beltway Republicans were part of it.

The media are reacting with disbelief to Gore's upsurge in the polls since the GOP convention. Isn't this strange, considering they predicted it? Don't you remember them discounting earlier polls showing Bush ahead, saying voters didn't pay attention until Labor Day? Gore, they said, is predestined to win because the economy is soaring. Besides, a group of genius professors decreed Bush's defeat based on their infallible statistical models.

Why are they acting so surprised at Gore's resurgence when they predicted it? Is it because they didn't expect such a dramatic turnaround? Hold on a minute.

It's not so clear that Gore has acquired a significant lead; he may not be ahead at all. The polls range from Gore being up by 14 points (which is patently absurd) to Bush being ahead by 3. If polling is a science, can someone explain the disparity in these numbers?

Even in the polls showing Gore way ahead in the popular vote, his electoral vote advantage is not substantial. The Battleground poll, which has Bush ahead, is unique in that it is the collaboration of Republican and Democratic strategists. The pollsters don't poll on weekends, believing it's impossible to get accurate results. They also make a genuine effort to measure likely voters.

Many analysts seem so constrained by political superstition that they are incapable of escaping into original analysis. Regardless of how many "ironclad" rules have been broken already this campaign season, the media still cling to "conventional wisdom" as if it were astrologically preordained. Thus, I've heard a hundred times that Gore must win because the candidate who is ahead on Labor Day almost always wins. Sadly, many conservatives are falling prey to this melancholy determinism.

I don't deny that Gore has built-in advantages. He is an incumbent during times of peace and prosperity. He is backed by the mainstream media, who do his bidding by chasing after bogus and collateral stories ("RATS" and "a--hole"), while decrying the candidates' failure to focus on the issues. The media won't even criticize Gore for ducking them about his latest scandal: the trial lawyer quid pro quo. Nor do they tenaciously pursue him. Though Gore should be disqualified on character grounds alone -- both for enthusiastically endorsing Clinton's worst crimes and committing his own -- he benefits from the true Clinton legacy: a public that has grown cynically numb to scandal.

Yet, through all of this, guess who is forging ahead with an undeterred confidence? George W. Bush. Doesn't it say a great deal about Bush's optimism and leadership that he is standing tall right now -- especially given his allies' participation in the pessimism?

Bush is trying to get his message out against the biased filter of the media. He has wisely begun to focus on illuminating the contrasts between his and Gore's respective proposals. In a speech to the California Republican convention, Bush portrayed Gore as the big-government Democrat that he is. The sharper Bush can draw these contrasts, the better he will be. Don't believe the media when they tell you the issues (the elitists call them "the internals") favor Gore. If they believed it themselves they wouldn't be concentrating so much energy on non-issues.

The media would have you believe that Bush's problems are occurring at a fundamental level -- that he is losing ground in each of the swing states -- and that this trend is driving Gore's reversal. Many political scientists say it is the other way around. A candidate's national momentum will affect his standing in the states. A minor shift in the national momentum could have major consequences in the swing states.

Gore has plenty to be worried about. Bush performs best as the underdog. Remember how he responded to the McCain challenge when all the Beltway soothsayers were forecasting his demise?

Recently, one Washington publication smugly observed, "The question is no longer whether Gore will win, but rather whether he will win by a coattail-producing margin."

Wouldn't it be sweet to see the smirks wiped off their faces in November? Keep the faith.

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.



09/18/00: It's the liberalism, stupid
09/13/00: An open letter to open-minded cynics
09/11/00: The virtues of going negative
09/06/00: On a mission for marriage
09/04/00: Al Gore's 'Trivial Pursuits'
08/30/00: Lieberman and the paradox of liberal 'tolerance'
08/28/00: A campaign divided against itself
08/23/00: Al Gore's trickle-down populism
08/21/00: Prosperity without a clue
08/16/00: AlGore can run but he can't hide
08/14/00: When hate speech is OK
08/09/00: Bush: The pundits' enigma
08/07/00: GOP convention: Live or Memorex?
08/02/00: The first attack dog
07/31/00: The Cheney taint?
07/26/00: The anti-gun bogeyman
07/24/00: The raging culture war
07/19/00: Is Hillary 'Good for the Jews'?
07/17/00: How dare you, George?
07/12/00: Jacoby's raw deal
07/10/00: The perplexities of liberalism
07/05/00: Big Al and big oil
07/03/00: Partial-birth and total death
06/28/00: Some questions for you, Mr. Gore
06/26/00: Supreme Court assaults religious freedom
06/21/00: Waco: We are the jury
06/19/00: "Outrage" just doesn't quite cut it anymore!
06/14/00: Al Gore: Government's best friend
06/12/00: Say goodbye to medical privacy
06/07/00: Elian: Whose hands were tied?
06/05/00: Who, which, what is the real Al Gore?
06/01/00: Legacy-building idea for Clinton
05/30/00: Clinton: Above the law or not?
05/24/00: Not so fast, Hillary
05/22/00: Gore's risky, fear-mongering schemes
05/17/00: Can Bush risk pro-choice running mate?
05/15/00: Right to privacy, Clinton-style
05/10/00: Patrick Kennedy and his suit-happy fiddlers
05/08/00: Don't shoot Eddie Eagle
05/03/00: Congress caves to Clinton, again?
05/01/00: The resurrection of outrage
04/28/00: A picture of Bill Clinton's America
04/19/00: President Clinton: Teaching children responsibility
04/17/00: Elian, Marx and parental rights
04/12/00: Elian, freedom deserve a hearing
04/10/00:The fraying of America
04/05/00: Noonan: End Clintonism now
04/03/00: Bush: On going for the gold
03/29/00: Phantasma-Gore-ia
03/27/00: Treaties, triggers, tobacco and tyrants
03/22/00: Media to Bush: Go left, young man
03/20/00: Stop the insanity
03/15/00: OK Al Gore: Let's go negative
03/13/00: Deifying of the center
03/08/00: The media, the establishment and the people
03/01/00: McCain's coalition-busting daggers in GOP's heart
02/28/00: Bush's silver lining in McMichigan
02/24/00: A conservative firewall, after all
02/22/00: Bush or four more of Clinton-Gore?
02/16/00: Substance trumps process
02/14/00: The campaign finance reform mirage
02/09/00: President McCain: End of the GOP as we know it?
02/07/00: From New Hampshire to South Carolina
02/02/00: SDI must fly
01/31/00: Veep gores Bradley
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?