geIn choose. Clinton stands firm on the

geIn choose. Clinton stands firm on the

geIn a more or less conservative country, the more or less conservativecandidate, Bob Dole, should have been a lock for the presidency; the onlyproblem was President Clinton.

Clinton had moved rightward positioning himselfbetween Newt Gingrich’s zealous revolutionaries on the right and liberaldemocratic barons on the left. Clinton’s speeches started sounding like aRepublican was giving them. Bob Dole had followed the Nixon ideology of going”starboard” in the primaries and coming back to the center in the generalelection.

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The only question was whether Dole had gone too far right and wouldnot be able to recover in time. With Clinton’s move to the right and hisadvantage of incumbency, Bob Dole would have to present some exciting new ideasto win over the American people.Throughout the history of presidential elections, there have been a fewissues that always appear: abortion, crime and the economy. The position takenby candidates on these issues could make or break their campaign.The first of these issues, abortion, has been a hotbed of controversy. Thepro-life versus the pro-choice groups. Throughout his political career,President Clinton has been adamant on supporting a women’s right to choose.

Clinton stands firm on the fact that abortions should be “safe, legal and rare”without many unnecessary restrictions. To further show his hard stance onabortion, Clinton vetoed a bill in April that would have banned a rarely usedprocedure termed “partial birth abortions.” President Clinton defended hisdecision, calling it justifiable in extreme situations, such as cases of rape,incest and to save the life of the mother. Unlike Bosnia and gays in themilitary, Clinton has not wavered on this issue. Bob Dole on the other hand hastaken just the opposite stance on abortion. Dole opposed the 1973 Roe v.

Wadedecision that legalized abortion. In 1983 he voted for a constitutionalamendment to overturn this settlement but has since softened his stand andsupported an amendment to restrict abortion except in cases of rape, incest andif the life of the mother is in danger. Dole, not surprisingly, supported a banon “partial birth abortions” and has condemned President Clinton for vetoing it,saying, “A partial birth abortion blurs the line between abortion andinfanticide, and crosses an ethical and legal line we must never cross.” Dole’sposition could pose a potential obstacle to the presidency. His stance isresponsible for his huge gender gap. Women perceive Dole as rigid andinsensitive to their needs.

What Dole must do is stick to his guns but reassurethe nation that even though we do not all agree, we must not let it divide us.Another mainstay, in terms of issues, is that of crime. With gun controllegislation being debated in the congress and rising rate of drug use amongteenagers, the nation as a whole is acutely aware of this persistent dilemma.Clinton is the first Democrat in a long time to take the crime issue from theRepublicans.

A law and order president, Clinton has supported the death penalty,and backed the “three strikes you’re out” policy of life sentences for threetime convicted criminals. The President also signed the Brady bill establishinga five day waiting period to buy handguns and also pushed the mainly Democratic,1994 crime bill which sanctioned 100,000 new community police officers.Dolehas supported almost every anti-crime legislation that has passed his desk inhis 35 years in Congress, but in a show of partisan politics led an oppositionfight against Clinton’s crime bill. He called it “pork laden” for its supportof such frivolous programs such as midnight basketball, which called for aprogram to open up school gyms to inner city youth in order to keep them off thestreets. Dole also tried unsuccessfully to undo the provision for 100,000police officers, arguing instead that communities should be free to spend theirmoney in any manner they wish and supported overturning the ban on assaultweapons.

In addition Dole has been critical of Clinton’s judicial appointmentscalling them soft on crime. He has pledged to appoint tough judges who will betough on crime, especially drugs. Dole must use this issue relentlessly. Eventhough crime numbers are down, crime is still a problem. Dole must repeat hiscall for prisoners to work 40 hours a week to help compensate their victims andthen move quickly to the drug epidemic. Dole must use Clinton’s slip upsagainst him.

Recall that Clinton said that if he had to do it all over again,he would inhale. Dole must also use fellow Democrats against Clinton, such asrepresentative Charles Rangel, who has been quoted as saying, “I’ve been incongress for over two decades and I have not seen a President who cares lessabout this issue.”With the federal deficit in the trillions of dollars, the government hasbeen increasingly trying to cut back spending but more must be done. TheAmerican public has grown very wary of the excess money being spent bygovernment. Any presidential hopeful must address this issue adamantly.Clinton took many steps early in his first term to show his New Democratideology through heavy deficit cutting, and due to a big tax increase, thedeficit has fallen from $290 billion to $130 billion during his first four years.He also called for a line-item veto, a Republican idea, for three years beforegetting it passed.

Clinton would use this as a waste cutting tool. Since that,however, Clinton has neglected the issue, particularly on the balanced budget,suggesting 10, 8, and 7 year proposals. Last year his opposition to a 7-yearbalanced budget forced two partial government shutdowns.

During his congressional career, Bob Dole was a deficit buster, supportinga balanced budget while belittling supply side tax cutters. In an effort tocombat Clinton’s double digit lead in the polls, Dole has reverted to a plan fora three year, 15 percent income tax cut and a $500 per child tax credit.Although this would still up the deficit by $550 to $800 billion, Dole insistshe can still balance the budget through a Reaganomics style economic growth.Even though support for Dole’s 15 percent tax cut has declined he must stillharp on it. It will look much more coherent if it is used in context with thecost of college, home prices and the problem of caring for the elderly. Dolemust also stress the fact that Clinton is for big government, which meansspending big money.

This will also make his tax cut more compatible to thepeople. If all else fails, just say, ” The best way to keep governmentofficials from spending your money is not to give it to them in the firstplace.” It worked for Reagan.

Dole did not use the issues effectively, and he did not show confidence inhis ideas. Clinton presented himself as a brake between Dole and Gingrich’sconservatism and it worked. Dole presented facts and figures, then expected theAmerican public to applaud him.

But we’re dealing with reality here, to win, heshould have been more aggressive and tackled the issues head on. In the end, bynot addressing the issues clearly, Presidents Clinton’s centrist stand, coupledwith the good economy and aggressive campaigning, was too much for Bob Dole toover come.Category: History

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