David Horowitz, like many of his conservative fellow travelers who want to re-fight the 1992 election and retry the Clinton impeachment case, misses the dilemma facing Dubya. The character issue, as framed by most Republicans, isn't relevant to the general public. Would they want Bubba to be the Scoutmaster for their daughters' Girl Scout troop? No. But we're not electing First Moralist.
Absent this moralist charade, Bush is left empty-handed -- thus the floundering of his campaign in recent weeks. If Dubya tries to engage Gore on issues, he's quickly revealed for what he is: a pleasant empty suit. There are real issues to be discussed this election cycle, such as how to extend the dot-com prosperity to reach a wider swath of middle America and how to secure healthcare for all, whether our youngest citizens or the elderly.
Indeed, the core issue is, much like it was in 1992, the economy. And to borrow from one of David Horowitz's heroes, the Great Communicator himself, Ronald Reagan: Are you better off now than you were eight years ago? For the vast majority of Americans, the answer is yes. That's the character issue of 2000.
-- John Wilson
The real reason Bush is sinking in the polls is that it has become increasingly apparent that "character" is simply a transparent strategy as empty as every other slogan of the Bush camp. From the Clymer gaffe to debate dodging, the "I suck less" strategy has never been followed up with any real displays of character on Bush's part. This is also evidenced by how quickly the campaign dropped its negative campaigning moratorium because it became obvious that it wasn't working. The PRgasm that was "compassionate conservatism" has thankfully dissipated into the jokeless punchline it will always be.
-- Terry Sawyer
I think David Horowitz's argument is an excellent one, and points to the fact that "it ain't over 'til is it's over." My concern, as a conservative, is that Horowitz might be underestimating the power of the media in this campaign. It is embarrassingly obvious that the American media is biased to the left -- every small Bush miscue is pronounced and evaluated like a State of the Union speech. Conservatives need to adopt the liberal stance: close ranks fast and yell loudly. Where is Trent Lott? Where is Denny Hastert? Where is Tom Delay? Where is J.C. Watts? Like John Kasich, they need to start being loud advocates for the Bush agenda and take the heat from Bush and the press or we'll be looking down the barrel of four "Gore" years of this liberal mess.
-- Pat Bryant