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Jewish World Review Oct. 18, 2000 / 19 Tishrei, 5761

David Limbaugh

David Limbaugh
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Consumer Reports

Gore's down, so
will he panic? -- AL GORE'S moment of a lifetime is fast approaching, and he can see it slipping through his fingers. What do you suppose he's planning to do about it?

It's hard to deny that for now at least -- and time is growing short -- things are going Bush's way. Bush has ample reason to be optimistic.

Bush has recaptured the momentum. He has eliminated Gore's substantial post-convention surge and leads in almost every poll and in some by a substantial margin. He is even within striking distance of winning California.

The "internals" (issues), which were said to favor Gore, help Bush. Columnist David Broder, himself no enemy of big-government, cites a Washington Post-ABC News poll showing that registered voters prefer a smaller government. Even worse for Gore: the people identify Bush as a proponent of smaller government (60 percent) and Gore of big government (70 percent).

"Voter intensity" surveys show that Bush has a major advantage over Gore. The bipartisan Battleground poll finds Bush supporters more likely to vote than Gore supporters. This could be monumentally significant in a close race, which many anticipate this one will be.

Certain constituencies Gore takes for granted may be abandoning him. Union members in such bellwether states as Michigan reportedly have lost enthusiasm for Gore's candidacy. Because Gore and Bush are both free traders, many of these Reagan Democrats are looking to other issues, such as taxes, abortion and guns. Many of them prefer Bush's tax plan, are pro-life and pro-Second Amendment. Not a good sign for Gore.

Certain important current events militate against Gore, including the unstable stock market, the oil crisis and the conflict in the Middle East (surely many Jewish voters are disillusioned with the administration's betrayal of Israel by refusing to veto the U.N. vote condemning her).

Contrary to conventional wisdom, most voters must be generally conservative after all, and I'm not just referring to Broder's point that voters favor smaller government. Don't forget that Bush dispatched McCain not with dirty campaigning (more conventional misinformation), but by trumpeting conservative themes and contrasting McCain's liberal ones. An even more telltale sign is Gore's efforts to placate the right. He is tailoring his message to appeal to conservatives; Bush is not altering his to attract liberals. Remember Gore wooing hunters during the last debate? Did you hear him misrepresenting that his education plan, like Bush's, involved local control and accountability?

Ralph Nader, while occupying the far left, is acting as a goalie to keep Gore from moving too far to the center. Clinton didn't face this problem as he tried to position himself as a centrist New Democrat; in the meantime this Bush has no Ross Perot sucking votes away from him.

While heralded as a gifted debater, Al Gore has quagmired himself in unintelligible details, while Bush has stuck to his major themes.

The character and credibility issues surrounding Gore are real and lasting. Bush is seen as honest because he is.

There is major dissension among Gore's top advisers over strategy. They are scratching their heads over why Gore is being forced to defend his credibility and centrist credentials. (If they don't know by now, I'm glad they're working for Gore. Hint: It's not a matter of image. Their guy is actually dishonest and liberal.)

There are no reports of disharmony in the Bush camp because Bush himself is in charge, and he happens to know who he is.

Which brings me to the main point. Gore's central and I believe insurmountable problem is that he suffers from a genuine identity crisis: after all these years, he doesn't know who he is. For political expediency, he has flip-flopped on many vitally important issues, like abortion and gun control, and it is now being reported that in 1981 he denounced homosexuality as abnormal and morally wrong. He continues to treat us to endless personality transformations.

When Bush was down a month ago, he reacted without panic and with the steady calm of a man of presidential caliber. As Gore sees his presidential chances evaporating, look for him to go into panic mode and try some Hail Marys in the debate and afterward. When he pulls out the stops, expect more race baiting, class warfare and dramatic distortions of Bush's record.

Between now and Election Day, I predict a bumpy, but ultimately gratifying ride.

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.



10/16/00: We're fresh out of new Al Gores
10/11/00: Gore: Fuzzy math = dirty politics
10/10/00:Gore: Renaissance man or unbalanced?
10/04/00: Where have you been, Albert Jr.?
10/02/00: Clintonís fragmented presidency
09/27/00: Liberal media doth protest too much
09/25/00: AlGore: Turning dreams into nightmares
09/20/00: Something fishy's going on
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?