The issue that will crush Gore (plus two more)

By Alan Caruba
web posted August 21, 2000

"An overwhelming majority of Independents (71.4 per cent) said the moral climate in America is seriously off on the wrong track, compared to just 21.8 per cent who believe the nation's moral climate is going in the right direction." (Zogby, August 2nd.) Earlier, in an ABC/Washington Post poll taken July 20-23, those responding rated "morals/values" at 70 per cent in terms of importance and, at the top of the list of their priorities, education at 75 per cent.

The political reporters and pundits want a race, a campaign with an exciting exchange of ideas about policies and issues. I think this race is over. I think it was over long ago. It was over when a lot of people decided that William Jefferson Clinton was a cancer on the body politic and had disgraced, not merely himself, but their nation. He's Gore's doppelganger. Most Americans sense that they are on the edge of a culturally and socially dangerous place when they watch television or go to the movies.

It's over for Gore because he cannot get far enough away from Clinton. And he brings his own moral ambiguity to the race in terms of his "no controlling legal authority" fund raising behavior. Moreover, it's obvious that Clinton is not likely to get out of the way to let his Vice President run for the office he now holds. He couldn't even defer to tradition and hold back from commenting during the Republican convention. And he still has to help Hillary get elected.

On alternate Tuesdays and Thursdays, I think Clinton has no intention of ever relinquishing the Oval Office. I am still waiting for that October "surprise" just before the election when some "national emergency" occurs and all those horrendous Executive Orders giving the President dictatorial powers to run the nation kick in.

Within days after Gore announced his choice of Sen. Joe Lieberman to be his running mate, the syndicated columnists were saying "Bold choice and bad choice." Gore might have well just put on a sandwich board and walked around with the message, "I'm morally bankrupt and I know it." Lieberman knows it, too, because he's not taking his name off the Connecticut ballot for another run at his current job.

Two other issues will sink his election hopes. One is the fact that the cost of gasoline and, as we move into winter, the cost of both heating oil and natural gas, will both rise dramatically. The other issue is the burning forests in the West. They will still be burning in October. These are vivid reminders of how poorly Gore's environmental views have served Americans.

The message from the Democratic convention is that this is a dispirited party, lacking confidence in its candidates, despite the brave talk. Perhaps most symbolic was the choice of a Mississippi River boat as the first leg of Gore's campaign. These boats use to be the titans of trade in America until the transcontinental railroad was linked and then their day was over. New technology, new ideas have a way of doing that. Al Gore is offering a lot of Big Government, class warfare, tax and spend notions. We've been there, done that.

Little wonder that both Gore and Lieberman now call on God everywhere they pause to address a crowd. Never in modern memory have two politicians made such a big deal about their piety and never have they been in such need of it.

Alan Caruba is a veteran business and science writer, and founder of The National Anxiety Center, a clearinghouse for information about scare campaigns designed to influence public opinion and policies. The Center maintains an Internet site at

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