George Bush's biggest problem is not Al Gore, but voter complacency
stemming from our prosperity. Bush must remind voters why this election
is vitally important.
I am not knocking prosperity. In fact, one of the best ways Bush can
distinguish himself from Gore is to show how his domestic agenda will
preserve economic growth. Because Gore misunderstands the source of our
prosperity, he will squander it as surely as a teenager would throw away
an inherited fortune.
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Gore fails to grasp the wisdom of the proverb, "Prosperity is
something the businessman created for politicians to take credit for."
Ronald Reagan understood it, which is why he invested every fiber of his
being (not otherwise committed to defeating the Soviet Union) to
reducing the government's smothering effect on America's entrepreneurial
spirit. Bush understands it, too, but he isn't emphasizing it enough.
Gore apparently believes that the government creates wealth, so he
sees no risk in expanding the federal government even further. By
devising novel uses for the projected budget surpluses instead of
accepting them as evidence of over-taxation, he has unmasked his vision
for America. Unhappily, that vision is incompatible with the American
dream, which champions individual liberty over cradle-to-grave security.
This election represents a crossroads for America because Gore is
seeking a mandate for collectivism over individualism, victimhood over
responsibility, mediocrity over excellence, statism over capitalism and
liberalism over conservatism.
Bush needs to focus Gore's liberalism in his campaign sights and
begin firing from now until Election Day. If Bush doesn't highlight the
fundamental contrasts between himself and his opponent, no one else will
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While I do not share the pessimism of some of my conservative
colleagues about Bush's prospects, I think he would enhance his
likelihood of victory by throwing caution to the wind. He should reject
the conventional wisdom that politicians can't walk and chew gum at the
same time -- that he must choose between policy issues and character
issues. He must use every arrow in his quiver. He has an overwhelming
advantage in both categories, and it would be foolish to sacrifice
either avenue of attack.
The public is still more conservative than it is liberal. If it's
moderation the swing voters want, Bush is much less extreme a
conservative than Gore is a liberal. Do you think that a majority of
Americans enthusiastically endorse partial-birth abortion like Gore? Do
you think they want gay Scout leaders forced upon their children? Do
they want their children trapped in failed public schools? Do they want
socialized health care? Do they want to penalize achievement? Do they
want to segregate the races? Do they want to dilute the distinct
American culture? Do they want an America powerless to protect itself
against foreign aggression and defenseless against nuclear missile
During the debates, George Bush might ask Al Gore these questions:
- Just what part of the American dream do you believe in?
- When you say that you represent the people, not the powerful, are
you saying it is wrong for people to strive to get ahead? Should they be
punished if they do?
- Do you want to use the tax code to eliminate rewards and risks
from our society? To chop off the invisible hand of the market?
- Do you believe it is healthy for our leaders to be pitting people
against people on the basis of envy and greed?
- Do you realize that the business interests you demonize are
largely responsible for the creation of the wealth you seem so intent on
redistributing -- and ultimately destroying?
- What part of Martin Luther King's dream do you believe in?
- Do you believe people should be judged on the content of their
character rather than the color of their skin? Does that include your
Secret Service detail, by the way?
- Do you believe that "powerful" politicians such as yourself and
Bill Clinton should be accountable for their misconduct, or should they
be excused on the basis of phony campaign promises?
- Are you committed to American sovereignty, or is it less
important to you than your devotion to environmental causes?
Liberalism, when exposed, can still be defeated, so Bush
shouldn't be afraid to make it the issue.