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I watched intently on Sunday as Tim Russert interviewed Gov. George
Bush and asked him all the tough questions. The toughest questions
concerned Bush’s appearance and speech at Bob Jones University. How
could Bush speak at a university that bans interracial dating? How could
he speak at a university whose past president said unkind things about
Catholicism and Mormonism? Bush’s answers were straight and
unapologetic. He was invited to speak to 6,000 students whose votes he
wanted. He was not told what to say or how to say it. And apparently, he
won the approval of his audience.

As Russert asked the difficult questions, I found Bush to be quite
articulate and forthcoming. For the first time, I felt that the man is
basically intelligent. He’s not an intellectual, which we don’t need in
the White House. But when he told Russert that the most important things
in his life were his faith and his family, I got a genuine warm feeling,
and it wasn’t a hot flash.

Incidentally, I have a very high regard for Bob Jones University. I
spoke to its student body several times and in 1986 was awarded an
honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Bob Jones II, which makes me an
alumnus of BJU. No other university has seen fit to honor me in like
fashion. But that’s OK. I’ve written books highly critical of public
education because I want parents to know the truth about the system to
which they entrust their children. I don’t expect any institution of the
education establishment to honor me after I’ve raked them over the

Since I have an affinity for that fine Christian university, I was
delighted with Bush’s positive attitude toward the invitation to speak
there. And why not? Bob Jones University is considered by many to be the
West Point of Christian universities. One may disagree with some of its
policies and even its theology, but what cannot be doubted or denied is
that Bob Jones produces more Christian ministers and missionaries than
any other university in America, if not the world. The morality and
sobriety of its student body is to be admired and greatly appreciated in
this day and age of secular collegiate depravity.

So, I applaud George Bush for his courage and honesty. Compared with
crusader John McCain, Bush looks better and better every day. I may not
like his Council on Foreign Relations advisors, but I doubt that McCain
would give us anything better. In fact, McCain was gung-ho on bombing
Yugoslavia into the Stone Age. And it is good that Bush lost in New
Hampshire and now has to prove his mettle. Apparently, he has learned a
lot by having to compete with McCain whose legendary anger may
eventually trip him up.

I was sorry to see Steve Forbes give up his quest for the presidency.
To my mind, he was the best and most articulate representative of the
conservative viewpoint. He wanted to get rid of the IRS, he wanted to
privatize much of Social Security, and he gave positive assurances that
he would appoint conservatives to the Supreme Court who would reverse
Roe v. Wade. He was the perfect conservative candidate, but simply not
telegenic or charismatic enough in this day and age of celebrity good

But with the withdrawal of Steve Forbes and Gary Bauer from the race,
the sharpened competition between McCain and Bush will permit us to
focus on the strengths and weaknesses of both men. Alan Keyes will still
be there to hammer away at the moral issues. The big issue for
conservatives is what kind of judges will either man appoint to the
Supreme Court when elected. Bush has given the impression that he will
appoint conservatives, while McCain has given no such assurances at all.

The problem that conservatives have with McCain is that he does not
articulate a well thought out conservative agenda. On the issue of
campaign finance reform, he is on the liberal side. On the issue of
abortion, he voted in favor of fetal-tissue experimentation because he
thought it would help his friend, Morris Udall, who was dying of
Parkinson’s disease. As it has later turned out, the fetal-tissue
transplantation experiment, according to the Feb. 13 Boston Globe, has
not proved as practical or promising as anticipated. “No one feels it
provides any long-term solutions,” said Dr. J. William Langston,
president of the Parkinson Institute in Sunnyvale, California. “The
science is taking us in a very different direction.”

And so, McCain’s vote, which has cost him the support of many
pro-lifers, turned out to be a useless sacrifice in favor of a friend
who has died. If McCain is motivated more by friendship than principle,
then should he become president, his administration might be
characterized more by cronyism than adherence to principle. This might
apply to his appointments to the Supreme Court, particularly if he is
aided by liberals and develops in the course of this race an antipathy
toward conservatives and fundamentalists.

Meanwhile, the Reform Party seems to be falling apart at the seams,
which means that Pat Buchanan will not have much of a party to back him.
The Reform Party will be a factor only if Ross Perot wants to use it to
prevent George Bush from becoming president. Nor does it seem that the
Constitution Party, formerly the U.S. Taxpayers Party, will be able to
get on the ballot in many states or have much of an impact in the
election. It will attract conservatives only if McCain becomes the
Republican candidate and conservatives leave the party en masse.

But it becomes clearer every day that conservatives will be willing
to rally behind Bush because he has unashamedly articulated his
Christian values, his stand against abortion, and his opposition to gun
control laws that would deny citizens their Second Amendment rights. And
hopefully he won’t surround himself with too many Harvard dialecticians.

Samuel L. Blumenfeld is the author of eight books on education,
including “NEA: Trojan Horse in American Education,” “The
Whole-Language/OBE Fraud,” and “Is Public Education Necessary?” These
books are available from The Paradigm Company, 208-322-4440. For
information about Blumenfeld’s “Alpha-Phonics” reading instruction
program, please write The Tutoring Company, P.O. Box 540111, Waltham, MA

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