Al Gore
Anticipating Gore's Poll-Driven Election Strategies
By Sara McPeak
March 1999

Back in 1992 Clinton and Gore announced their "Third Way" political strategy -- what they didn't explain was that the basis for subsequent policy decisions would be nothing more than public opinion polls. Their agenda has therefore been fluctuating as rapidly as their perception of the ever changing tide of public opinion. By declaring neither a liberal nor a conservative opinion, this administration embodies both and therefore cannot be offensive to either. From a credibility standpoint, however, this has proven to be a very shallow approach, allowing the shifts of the economy and the mood of the electorate to determine shifts in policies.

For example: Clinton began his administration by immediately changing the liberal views upon which he had been elected. He changed his modus operandi after a meeting with Alan Greenspan, conservative hero and friend and confidante of Ayn Rand. As reported by the New Statesman, March 27, 1998, "On 3 December, 1992 the Federal Reserve Board Chairman, Alan Greenspan, flew down to Little Rock for what was scheduled as a two-hour 'getting acquainted' session. He stayed through lunch and through tea, and missed his last flight back to Washington, but reckoned it was worth it because America’s central banker had persuaded Clinton to ditch the Keynesian-style 'economic stimulus package' on which he had won the election."

Clinton had won the election as spokesman for liberal views and he began his first term with conservative economic endeavors. This speaks well for Greenspan’s persuasive abilities and his conservative viewpoints, but speaks poorly for Clinton re. his lack of conviction and willingness to break the promises he had made. Republicans: take note -- Clinton was smart enough to utilize a conservative viewpoint; we must be smart enough to explain this fact to the American public.

Senator Byrd has admitted to bowing to the Third Way mentality. It is a sad commentary on our times that Senator Byrd refused to convict Clinton even though Byrd believed that Clinton’s perjury and obstruction of justice offenses did rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors. Senator Byrd is content to ignore the rule of law, which he had sworn to defend when he took his position in the highest lawmaking body of our land. The rule of law falls in front of public opinion polls and partisanship. Would Senator Byrd have voted to convict the President if the stock market were at an all time low and the public was unhappy with the economy? Probably not, because the partisan aspect of this acquittal would always exist. But the point is that Byrd said that his reason for his not-guilty vote was the polls, which show the American public is happy with the President, the economy and the jobless rate. He blatantly ignored the rule of law in favor of the Third Way poll-driven strategy.

The Third Way policy has given the Clinton administration constant cover as they refuse to accept responsibility for their actions. This cover comes in many forms, such as, 1) new ideas for policies and endeavors which take the public's mind off of the fact that former promises have not been kept, 2) outright lying, as mentioned above -- that the economy is booming because of a liberal administration, when in fact this administration has empowered a conservative economic agenda, and 3) attacks on others for the exact offenses committed by Clinton.

A current example of this third form of political cover recently occurred when Al Gore asked Janet Reno to study "cyber stalking" against women. According to the AP, Gore is very concerned about the possibility of violent treatment of women which starts as harassment on the Internet. Said Gore, "These are not just family matters, these are crimes... As a society, as a country, as a national family, we don't have to put up with this kind of abuse, and we will not." Is this just another cover up for the violent and abusive attack by President Clinton on the 5th Jane Doe? Clinton must first accept responsibility for his actions before his administration can lead the country in eradicating violence against women.

The Third Way is merely a self-sustaining mechanism for a leader who is more concerned with his image and position than the public good. Reason magazine's April issues reports: "We may never know why [Vince] Foster killed himself. Yet three years after Foster’s death, the White House was indirectly blaming him for 'Filegate,' the scandal involving illegal snooping in the FBI files of more than 900 former White House employees." The Reason article goes on to say, "The Clintons promised to repay all their subordinates’ legal bills. But they closed down their legal defense fund earlier this year, still owing more than $3 million themselves.... Finally, there’s the first lady. In interviews on NBC’s Today Show and ABC’s Good Morning America, Mrs. Clinton blamed a 'vast, right-wing conspiracy' for the president’s troubles... Here’s what Hillary Clinton is really saying: The people who are accusing my husband have vile motives; as a consequence, whatever my husband did, he isn't responsible for his actions."

Commitment, therefore, should be a central theme of the Republican agenda as the personal and public promises of this administration have been hollow. The present administration will not accept responsibility for their actions and Republicans must convince the electorate that they have been betrayed.

Irresponsible behavior is exemplified by lying. Unfortunately some of the most visible feminists stand firm with Clinton even though he has been impeached for lying about his offenses toward women and obstructing justice regarding his offenses toward women.

There are, of course, a few feminists who buck White House political pressure: "What I really care about is that Clinton has consistently lied on matters of policy," said Jo Ellen Green Kaiser in the Nov/Dec '98 issue of Tikkun, "What I care about -- as a feminist -- are Clinton’s affairs of state... Perhaps the worst offenses of the Clinton regime have come in the realm of foreign policy. Just weeks ago, we bombed a factory in Sudan, a country so poor and so desperate for investment that they are willing to overlook the source of those investments. Sudan may, in that way, 'harbor terrorists,' but it is hardly a Libya or an Iraq. We were told at the time of the bombings that that factory made chemical weapons. Now, reports trickle out on back pages and muttered under newscasters’ breaths that the factory may have been making life-saving drugs after all, the only pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in the entire country. Is bombing such a factory not an abuse of power?"

We can imagine the disastrous effects of Third Way politics applied to education -- a strategy we can expect from Gore if elected in 2000. If we allow education to be jockeyed hither and yon according to the whims of political pundits and their irresponsible polling practices, our nation will suffer due to a lack of abilities in the information age. Already we see the necessity of grabbing calculators out of the hands of liberal grade school educators who find learning mathematical tables too tedious for the youth of this nation. What else will Gore have in store for education? Only the polls will tell.

Just as Republicans have observed Clinton bowing to conservative viewpoints on the economy and the "welfare mentality," a strong Republican candidate must now stand on these two issues and further define education in conservative terms. The GOP must present a spokesman as talented as Clinton to argue against Gore's predictable Third Way solutions.

This article copyright © 1998 by Sara McPeak, and may not be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of its author. All rights reserved.