Yadda, Yadda, Yadda....
Friday, October 18, 1996
often wondered why Bob Dole has never gone after the pile of thorny personal and public issues that can cripple the lowlife Slick Willie Clinton and his arrogant co-president wife, Hillarious. Then it hit me: he might have as much to hide and lose as Clinton does. Duh.
The Bobster has resigned from the Senate after what seems like a forever-and-a-day career representing Kansas. He's worth millions and his wife, Elizabeth (aka Liddy), is also worth millions, gained from several careers she has held outside of Bob Dole's stint as US Senator.
Now a new name surfaces: that of Bill Owens, who worked in several capacities for both Doles over the past 25 years. Apparently, Owens served some time at Leavenworth Prison for some less-than-kosher activities, and has since distanced himself from the Doles as a precautionary measure. And one would have to ask: precautionary for whom? Remember the name Owens.
My guess is that this whole Owens Mess will hit the proverbial public fan sometime soon if Dole gains political ground after Wednesday's Second Debate in San Diego. And you can be sure that if Dole scores big against Clinton on ethics and other pertinent character issues, many other cards will fall from liberal sleeves to try to blindside Dole before the November General Election. There is a dossier on the Doles that the liberal Democrats will use to every possible advantage; it's a thick folder full of documents that could be the final nail in the Republican coffin.
Out Of Character.
Polls both public and private have shown for some time that Bill Clinton's greatest vulnerability is in the area of trustworthiness and character. It is an area where Bob Dole is more positively perceived, and an area where Clinton is weak compared not just with Dole but with most incumbent presidents in modern history.
Exploiting that weakness, however, is tricky business, and so far Dole's tack in doing so
has been typified by this poetic passage from his speech to a rally at a local county fair in southern California : "It's about trust. Who do you trust? Who do you trust? Who do you trust? Who do you trust? Who do you trust? Who do you trust? Who do you trust?"
Bob Dole's rhetorical infelicities have been, of course, a source of constant mirth this campaign season. (On this occasion, a weary and bedraggled press corps let out a wild whoop of pleasure, while several of its most campaign-hardened members unleashed cascades of joyful tears.)
His tendency to refer to himself in the third person having abated a bit, he has now fallen into the habit of ritually repeating certain phrases - notably "It's your money!" - three times in rapid succession. These have been dubbed three-peats by the press corps. According to NPR's Elizabeth Arnold, the most dedicated of journalistic Dolologists, the sevenfold iteration above marks a new world record. This is apparently intended to have a talismanic effect, but Dole's flat inflection is so unvarying that it leaves you thinking instead about whether the campaign has figured out a way to employ a DAT machine to save wear and tear on the man's fraying vocal chords.
When it comes to the character issue, though, Dole's inarticulateness isn't merely amusing; it's telling. For myriad reasons, Dole plainly does not relish the idea of going after the president personally. Yet now many of his top advisors, as well as a slew of GOP bigwigs outside the Dole operation, are
telling him that doing so may be his only chance, albeit a slim one, to win. This presents Dole with the last significant strategic decision of his campaign - one that will play a large role in determining how history remembers him.
As Dole toured Ohio by bus at the end of last week before heading into seclusion for another round of heavy debate prep, the voices in favor of launching a full-frontal character assault on Clinton were braying loudly - and not irrationally. The essence of their argument was voiced by William Bennett, who told The Washington Post's Dan Balz that the Dole campaign had been wrong to act as if it's "more important to be nice than to win. Nothing against nice, but nice here has become soft-headed and indifferent about central issues.... There's a distinction between things that are merely and only personal and things that have to do with the public trust."
In Bennett's view, and the view of several senior Dole advisors, the "things" that can and should be talked about in this regard include: the FBI files fiasco, Travelgate, Whitewater (and especially the question, raised haltingly and hesitantly by Dole in Hartford, of presidential pardons), investigations of cabinet officers, and an emerging strand of reports (from William Safire of The New York Times and from reporters at The Wall St. Journal) regarding the administration's fund-raising connections with the Lippo Group, a sleazy, criminal Indonesian conglomerate. Stating the view more concisely, the Dole campaign's national chair, Donald Rumsfeld, said, "Paula Jones and Gennifer Flowers are in one category that we should stay away from; but everything else is fair game."
At the ethical level, the Bennett-Rumsfeld position seems justifiable - assuming that the character
issues are raised in a manner that's fair and reasonable and not dishonest or innuendo-ridden. The real question, however, is less a matter of ethics than politics. Would raising questions about character, ethics, and probity do Dole any good? Or would it be the surest way to guarantee a Clinton landslide?
The Second Debate.
The first 'debate' wasn't that at all; it was more of a friendly, moderated discussion. The veep 'debate' wasn't anything to even waste the TV electrons on. And this one, well...
Having dinner at a local retaurant with a friend last night, I managed to catch part of the action: I had to lipread since the volume was down due to the baseball playoffs - that's to be expected around here - and imagine what was actually being said. Slick Willie looked very presidential, despite being a lying criminal, though he had one of the worst-looking ties on I've ever seen. Bob Dole, nattily attired, just didn't have the whacker instinct required to put Clinton on the ropes for the count.
Clinton easily fended off Dole's challenges to his administration's failed policies and programs, and turned the tables on Dole on just about every issue. It wasn't a pleasant sight: I'm quite sure that the evening theatrics netted Dole no significant change in the so-called polls. We'll see later today.
It sucks bigtime when you finally realize that the end is at hand. And it now certainly looks like four more years of the same old shit.
And Still More Windows.
With all the conversion to Windows95 that I've done to both my office and home 586 Pentium units, there are some still-unresolved issues: mainly of missing drivers and reconfiguration of new hardware. Jeff Horn has been helping walk me through it a little at a time.
I picked up an iomega portable Zip Drive unit that will allow me to carry and install programs between the two Pentiums, rather than downloading at both locations separately.
Jeff has been using this device to his advantage: he also has two computers, at home and the office. It's easy to download programs at one location to the HD, copy to the 100mg Zip Drive and install it onto the second computer. The Zip Drive is very portable and attaches with a simple cord and needs a power supply nearby.
This new unit will make things very simple to transfer from office to home, or vice versa. If I ever get the home unit with Windows 95 operating at a better level than 400x600... It's awful!
New Kid On The Net.
Within the next week or two (or maybe sooner and who really knows about this kind of stuff other than the mother-to-be herself?) our local ISPs, Adam and Sara Viener will be having a brand new baby! (Well anyway, Sara will.) His name will be Addison and he already has his very own Website. Wow. It's a self-updating CribCam, so you can tune into watch him dreaming of sugarplums dancing...
Send Adam and Sara a note to congratulate them on their new arrival.
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