Less than half of
eligible voters cast their ballots on November 5. Voter turnout hasn't
been that low since 1924. Should we blame the American people for not
doing their civic duty, or the media for not giving adequate coverage
to stimulate us to vote?
It's more likely that the low-turnout problem
should be blamed on the candidates. The voters resigned themselves to
enduring more years of a man they admittedly don't trust, and saw no
reason to replace him with a man who is not significantly
The media praised the nationally televised debates, two
presidential and one vice presidential, for their civility. All the
candidates were so courteous and even deferential to each other.
those very attributes conveyed a very different impression to the
voters. To the public, it appeared that there wasn't any particular
difference between the candidates.
In fact, Clinton and Dole did agree
on most major issues. They agree on all the foreign policy and
national defense issues, including NAFTA, GATT, the Mexican bailout,
and troops to Bosnia and to any place else that the New World Order or
the United Nations wants to send them.
The Clinton-Dole differences on
the balanced budget and cutting taxes appeared to the voters to be a
matter for the number-crunchers to compromise. They weren't anything
for the voters to get excited about.
On the tremendous issue of health
care, Dole bragged about supporting the Kennedy-Kassebaum health care
bill, which Ted Kennedy boasted is a large first step toward national
health care. Why bother to elect a Republican President if he is going
to pass a bill sponsored by Ted Kennedy on the most important domestic
Both Bob Dole and Jack Kemp believe that the money and tax
issues are preeminent. Indeed, they are important; but when Republican
candidates talk only about economic issues, they reinforce the
stereotype, unfortunately believed by so many people, that Republicans
care only about money, while the Democrats care about people.
never fought for the cultural issues that Middle Americans care about:
abortion, gay rights, immigration, affirmative action, or education.
Dole confirmed almost all Clinton's liberal, pro-abortion judges,
including the radical feminist, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
For four years,
the liberal media propagated the falsehood that the 1992 Republican
National Convention in Houston was a disaster because some speakers
spoke bluntly about the cultural and moral issues. That is false
In 1996, the liberal media worked a "don't throw me
into the briarpatch" tactic by warning the Republican Convention
managers of dire consequences if they dared to allow speakers to
address the cultural and moral issues. The media's tactic worked.
Convention speeches were all sanitized to make sure that they didn't
address the cultural or social issues. The delegates were treated like
mere stage props in a TV show who were programmed to chant "Dole-Kemp,
Dole-Kemp" on cue.
None of the other presidential candidates --
Gramm, Buchanan, Dornan, Keyes, Forbes, or Alexander -- was allowed to
speak. No one was allowed to speak about pro-life or the other
cultural issues (although Colin Powell was allowed to say his is pro-
The Dole people issued orders that Pat Buchanan's name was
not to be mentioned over the Convention microphones, and then went to
outrageous lengths to carry out that order. This caused about 100 of
Buchanan's 144 delegate votes, that he had won in the primaries, to
disappear during the roll-call.
After the Convention was over, the
liberal media then attacked the 1996 Convention in San Diego because it
was so boring and ratings were the lowest in 30 years. Nevertheless,
Bob Dole continued to ignore the cultural and moral issues all during
the fall campaign.
Even the media couldn't understand why Bob Dole
never addressed the social issues during his campaign or TV debates.
The New York Times ran a front-page news story on October 9 headlined
"Dole Still Silent On Major Issues."
The Times expressed
bewilderment that Dole failed to use the social issues: abortion, the
partial-birth abortion veto, homosexuals in the military, affirmative
action, immigration, and welfare. The Times conceded that these issues
would "drive President Clinton to the left and ultimately off the edge
of the electoral map."
Both Dole and Jack Kemp let great
opportunities pass during the TV debates without bringing up these
moral issues. Most striking was the failure to talk about Clinton's
veto of the ban on partial-birth abortions, an issue on which Dole
clearly stood with the majority and could paint Clinton as
But it's not all Bob Dole's fault; we should blame Bill
Clinton's reelection on all the people who gave us Bob Dole as our
nominee. How could anyone expect Dole to define himself as different
from Bill Clinton when Dole agreed with Clinton on most issues, and
wouldn't talk about the issues on which he might have disagreed?