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On Tuesday, Americans will pick the next president of the United
States. Some voters will choose Ralph Nader or Harry Browne because they
have no faith in the Democrats or the Republicans.
Their fury is, frankly, justified. Neither party has shown much
backbone during the past four years. Both parties have supported an
obscene spending binge during the most recent congressional session. But
in spite of a growing sense of discontent with the donkeys and
elephants, most Americans will vote for Gov. Bush or Vice President
In a last desperate attempt to convince voters that he should be the
next president, Al Gore has launched an unprecedented attack on the
personal integrity of George W. Bush. This is the same Al Gore who
maintains that Bill “Monica’s my lover, not my wife” Clinton, is the
greatest president in the history of America.
Al is staking his chance to become president on our believing that he
is qualified to lead and Gov. Bush is not. So let’s look at what Al is
saying to see if he is finally telling the truth.
Al says that Texas is dead last when it comes to education, health
care and the environment. What he doesn’t tell you is that Texas has had
only two Republican governors since Reconstruction. What he doesn’t tell
you is that Democrats have controlled the Texas Assembly since
Reconstruction. The record that Al is attacking is the result of one and
a half centuries of Democratic rule.
Al Gore doesn’t talk about how messed up Texas was when George W.
Bush beat Ann Richards and returned sanity to Texas government. He won’t
tell you that in the six years that Bush has been governor, things have
gotten much better in this state. Texas is still near the bottom, but I
can tell you this. At least we’re moving forward. We were in a death
spiral with Ann Richards.
Al Gore has this bad habit of forgetting the role that members of his
party play in screwing things up. Al says that Houston has the dirtiest
air in the country. On some days that’s true.
What Al doesn’t tell you is that Houston’s mayor is a Democrat. In
fact Houston has always had a Democrat mayor. Democrats also control the
Houston city council.
The crucial point is that the Democrats had made such a mess in Texas
that we Texans threw all of the bums out. Today, every statewide elected
official in Texas is a Republican. That’s why Al Gore is lying about
what we are doing here. He’s written off the state.
This election is about many things. At the top of my list is
returning honor and decency to the White House. I have always believed
that character matters. I pray that as many people as possible reject
the politics of fear, personal abuse, class warfare, racism and big
government. Because that is what Al Gore and his party represent.
Al and his wife say that George W. Bush is inexperienced. They claim
that Al, an inside-the-beltway veteran, is much more qualified to be our
next president. Well, let’s look at that claim also.
Our next president will have to work to rebuild the morale and
fighting effectiveness of our military after eight years of abuse and
neglect. Both Al Gore and George W. Bush served in the military. Al went
to Vietnam with the Army while George flew jets in the US for the Air
Force National Guard.
Al claims that his service in Vietnam was more “honorable.” However,
let’s be honest. Al was a reporter. He wrote stories. He was never in
harm’s way. The Army pampered and protected Al in Vietnam because his
father was an outspoken antiwar U.S. senator. Al even admits that the
only reason he enlisted and volunteered to go to Vietnam was to help his
father’s reelection campaign. Fortunately, such false patriotism failed
and the people of Tennessee rejected Gore the elder.
George Bush, on the other hand, flew jets. Bush’s daddy couldn’t help
him when he strapped on his jet fighter’s helmet. Jets do many things,
and not all of them are good. When they crash, they explode and burn. No
one can help you when that happens.
So from my vantage point, flying a jet fighter takes much more
courage than carrying around a typewriter. Fighter Pilot Bush will have
much more credibility as our commander in chief than Typewriter Al.
Al Gore has spent most of his life in Washington, D.C. First as the
son of a member of Congress and senator and then as a member of
Congress, senator and vice president.
Al has never run a business. He has never had to make a payroll. He
has never been responsible for creating wealth, hope or new jobs in the
private sector. I know that he claims that he invented the Internet
because he voted on federal funding for an Internet project, but that
dog doesn’t hunt. Scientists created the Internet, not Al Gore.
At best, Al has been the CEO of his political office. He has had to
decide how to spend our tax dollars and waste our money. But he has
never run a city, never run a state, never run an agency. He hasn’t even
run a shoeshine stand.
George Bush, on the other hand, has spent most of his adult life as
the man in charge of real businesses. He has had to make payroll, make
the hard decisions and live with the frustrations of being a CEO. He has
run his own oil exploration company, the Texas Rangers and now the
government of the state of Texas.
Now there is no question that Al Gore is very knowledgeable about
what the federal government does. He should be. We taxpayers have paid
him millions of dollars in salaries to learn about what the government
does. But let us not mistake Al’s ability to talk like an
inside-the-beltway policy wonk with leadership ability or intelligence.
If Al was a leader, he would have resigned as vice president when
Bill Clinton told us that he had lied about his adulterous affair with
Monica. If Al was smart, he would have never claimed that Bill was the
greatest president in the history of America.
Al is not a leader. He is a political groupie.
When Al was a Member of Congress, he was one of 435 decision-makers.
He had to get 217 members of Congress to agree with him to do anything
of importance. When he was a U.S. senator, he was one of 100 decision
makers. There, he needed to convince 50 other people before he could get
The president, on the other hand, is a committee of one. He must
consult, of course, with others before he makes a decision. However, at
the end of the day, he, and he alone, must make decisions that will have
a profound impact on the United States and the entire world. The buck
truly stops at the president’s desk.
Gov. Bush has been making those types of decisions daily for decades.
He started a small firm and now leads a state that has an economy that
is larger that 90 percent of the countries in the world.
Think about what a president does. He appoints thousands of people to
run the government. Sounds like just the thing a governor does.
The president develops a legislative agenda and works with members of
both parties to get it passed by the legislature. Sounds like just the
thing a governor does.
The president develops relationships with and negotiates deals with
leaders of foreign countries. That sounds like just the thing that the
governor of a border state does with leaders from Mexico or Canada.
Most importantly, the president is a symbol of all that is good,
strong and decent about America and our way of life. Sounds like
something that a man who said that Bill “Monica ain’t my wife, she’s my
lover” Clinton is great can’t do.
So Al and Tipper, you had it half right. It is true that one major
candidate for president is totally unqualified to lead this country. But
it’s not Gov. Bush. It’s Al whose not qualified to lead.
America is at a critical point in her history.
We can’t afford to have a president who will need
We can’t afford to elect a president who will have to make major
decisions on his own for the first time in his life.
We can’t afford to elect a president who simply can’t tell the truth.