Oh gawd, here she comes with yet another pro-Bush opinion piece from today's Wall St. Journal...

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I'm sorry Bingo, for posting yet another pro-Bush opinion piece. I'll tell you what, though -- I promise -- after tomorrow, no more of this stuff -- ok? :)

What's It All About?

George W. Bush recognizes the future. Al Gore is in denial.

Monday, November 6, 2000 12:01 a.m. EST

What's It All About? Al Gore can't get out of the past, while George W. Bush is bridging us to the future.

The electorate didn't know much about George Bush when this campaign began, and it knew mainly that Al Gore was Bill Clinton's loyal Vice President. We now know about as much about these men as we are likely to learn before tomorrow morning, including a night on the town 24 years ago. Is it enough?

It's never enough. There is no certain way to know who will measure up to the U.S. Presidency. Over the next four years, the President is going to be responsible for something beyond the battles of this campaign, beyond prescription drugs and Social Security.

In terms of a President's probable success, we suspect it helps greatly if a leader is in tune with the spirit of the times. FDR was the right leader for a Depression and a world war. And in our view Ronald Reagan saw the time was at hand to win the Cold War and, by paring back the government, he released the gathering winds of a U.S. economy that was fast organizing itself into an efficient, modern engine of global commerce.

We don't know whether history will say the same of George Bush or Al Gore, but as daily observers of the political and economic currents we feel qualified to have a view of how each fits into the world that awaits him.

The thumbnail version of our view is that this editorial would read differently had the Democratic nominee been Bob Kerrey, Bill Bradley, Evan Bayh or Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist. These men are New Democrats, the party movement which argued that Democratic liberalism needed to integrate with the political and social realities of the late 20th Century. The core reality is that government's broad reach is receding, a historic and appropriate decline, as the information age dispersed the power to make socially vital decisions into the hands of individuals.

In terms of the spirits animating the United States in the year 2000, George W. Bush and these four Democrats, whatever their differences, are singing from the same hymnal. None of these four would have campaigned as Al Gore has against special interests as "rats in the barn," or against the antique notion of "Big Oil."

Most important, not one of them, nor indeed any woman who shared their politics, could hope to win the nomination the Democratic Party in 2000. Al Gore is the nominee because the campaign that Al Gore has run most accurately reflects the static worldview of the Democratic Party's most important constituencies.

Labor is the most prominent and most interesting, because it seems least able to come to terms with a changing world. Mr. Gore's most important party support base, ensuring his nomination last summer over Bill Bradley, was John Sweeney, head of the nation's public-sector unions, who succeeded Lane Kirkland as president of the AFL-CIO. Mr. Kirkland was an industrial unionist but most importantly for our argument, he was a genuine internationalist. Had someone such as Mr. Kirkland succeeded him, we believe the unions would have worked toward a modus vivendi with the global economy. Instead, the insular Mr. Sweeney supported the mobs in the streets of Seattle, who are commanding the world to stop.

Similarly, the teachers unions have shown themselves unable to react to the manifest catastrophe of black education in the U.S., just as the modern world is demanding and rewarding basic numeracy and literacy. Their intractability in turn freezes the party's nominee, who is left to propose the irrelevancy of more classrooms.

Any honest assessment of the Democrats' striking alienation from the forces pulling American society forward and outward must acknowledge that rationalizing the party's institutional structures and allegiances was never going to be easy. Change has come quickly the past 20 years--for example, erecting and blowing up dot-com empires overnight. The GOP is hardly by nature an engine of change but had the benefit of the Reagan captaincy at a crucial juncture. George W. Bush candidly admits this reality.

The great hope was that Bill Clinton was the man for the needed Democratic transition. He was not. President Clinton did not bring his party into the 21st century. He left it behind. His party's most serious reformers, which included Joe Lieberman, assumed that he would extend the party's base beyond its traditional allegiances. Welfare reform was one such example, embodying the historic shift away from government paternalism and toward individual responsibility.

After that achievement, the party as an institution never really moved again. Mr. Clinton devoted the best years of his life as President mainly to his own needs, personal and political, relentlessly raising money for himself, enrolling his Vice President in the effort. When the rule of law and reason intervened against acts that were illicit or illegal, he deployed the Presidency against the rule of law, enrolling his Vice President in that effort.

Mr. Clinton's inability to truly act in the interest of any goal outside his own needs was revealed even at this late hour, as last week he told an admiring interviewer that electing Al Gore is "the next best thing." Al Gore has run a campaign, filled with enemies, that is perfectly suited to the party and politics Bill Clinton left for him.

And Al Gore has left it to George Bush to run on everything that's left. It is quite a lot. As an idea, Mr. Bush's politics, which he chose to call compassionate conservatism, has at least attempted to fashion a political bridge to the foreseeable future. It is a bridge that allows thoughtful liberals to believe, or hope, that the best qualities of their legacy will find a place in a world that is obviously going to be run less by governments and more by individuals making their own choices.

It's a politics that admits the world has changed. Whatever else we may wish for in a potential Presidency, the person seeking it ought to reflect, in his words and his ideas, that he is enough his own man to be able to embrace this basic reality.

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), November 06, 2000


One of the reasons that I haved morphed into a modern coservative (sorry, that is NOT an oxymoron) are the compelling aguments of the WSJ. Thanks Eve.

BTW, Evan Bayh in 2008 would be a winner Dems, I shit you not.

-- Lars (lars@indy.net), November 06, 2000.

So he lied about his military record. So he lied about the DUI. So he won't deny he was a cokehead. So he was an alcoholic til he was 40. So he won't deny he paid for his girlfriend's abortion. So he's only got the IQ of an 8th grader. So his rich Daddy ran the CIA. So he cheated his way through Yale. So he's in the pocket of Big Oil and the Drug Industry.

So what? ANYBODY can be president. Right?

-- :) (@ .), November 06, 2000.

Ain't it a great country Mr @?

-- Lars (lars@indy.net), November 06, 2000.

I guess I have to um kind of um disagree, see I was never elected Pres, and I tried like hell. I smoked mo pot than Al, drank wayyyyy more than Bush and had the personality of CPR and STILL not even a nomination.


-- (Shh@aol.com), November 06, 2000.

Hey a,

Cigar anyone???


snickerin' at the bleedin' liberal...

The Dog

-- The Dog (dogdesert@hotmail.com), November 06, 2000.

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