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Most pollsters and political pundits are constantly reminding us that
a majority of Americans approve of the way Bill Clinton is performing
his job as president of the United States. They also tell us that a
strong majority of Americans believe the nation is heading in the right
direction. The implication is that we don’t need a change.

Upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that the poll question about
Bill Clinton’s job performance has to do with economic performance and
little else. The pollsters have effectively defined down the job
description of the president by stripping it of any responsibility for
maintaining standards of morality and common decency. Excluded from job
performance is the president’s responsibility as commander in chief, to
hold himself to the same level of personal conduct required of all
military personnel, and minimized is his responsibility as chief law
enforcement officer, to scrupulously honor the letter and spirit of the
Constitution and the law.

In the same way, the polling question about national direction has
come to mean economic direction. A question about the moral direction of
the country is asked separately, or not at all, as though values and
virtue are secondary in importance or irrelevant in assessing where we
are headed as a nation and what we are becoming as a people.

In similar fashion, the technicians and experts tried to tell us that
Vice President Gore “won” the debates. They made a judgment based solely
on narrow standards such as might be used in a high-school debate.
However, voters are not particularly interested in which presidential
candidate has mastered debating skills; they are interested in deciding
which of these two men would make the best president.

No matter how glibly Gore describes all the fights he would like to
wage against various groups of Americans, and no matter how eloquently
he waxes about which Americans he would target to give tax credits,
those watching him understood that his class-warfare rhetoric is
contentious and divisive.

Listening to Al Gore, voters knew they were listening to a candidate
who would follow a strategy of divide, frighten and conquer by pitting
the young against the old, pagans against believers, women against men,
blacks against whites, taxpayers against taxtakers, the poor against the
wealthy, and the middle class against everybody. And listening to George
W. Bush, voters knew they were hearing a man who would work to unify
Americans by putting an end to the discriminatory and unconstitutional
practice of dividing Americans into groups and applying rewards,
punishments, privileges, legal status and special rights based on group
membership.

Listening to Gore enumerate all the new entitlements, program
expansions, goodies, and giveaways, it was difficult not to be reminded
of the late Ayn Rand saying, “The goal of the ‘liberals’ — as it
emerges from the record of the past decades — was to smuggle this
country into welfare statism by means of single, concrete, specific
measures, enlarging the power of the government a step at a time, never
permitting these steps to be summed up into principles, never permitting
their direction to be identified or the basic issue to be named. Thus
statism was to come, not by vote or by violence, but by slow rot. … ”

And listening to Bush, who is dedicated to returning power and
resources to the people, it was difficult not to be reminded of Thomas
Jefferson saying, “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of
the society than the people themselves.”

In the debates, Gore revealed himself as a different man for all
seasons. He was a loser in all three of his incarnations, being in the
first debate too hot, in the second too cold, and in the third, just
wrong. It is hard to know which is the greater myth dispelled by the
debates, the one which says Bush is dumb or the one which says Gore is
brilliant.

George W. Bush emerges as a very capable man with the potential to be
an excellent, perhaps even a great president. He has shown enormous
growth during the campaign and there is every reason to believe the
growth will continue. He is honest, decent, good-natured and
down-to-earth humble. He has the wisdom to surround himself with the
best minds and hearts in America, a la Dick Cheney and Gen. Colin
Powell.

George W. Bush will be the president of all the people, leaving no
one behind.

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