Monday, March 10, 1997

Week of 03/10/1997

Target - Al Gore
The GOP has their sights on the Vice President
- by David Matthews 2

Well it was bound to happen. The crosshairs of the GOP are trained on the one person they believe to be chiefly responsible for the campaign fundraising scandal: Vice President Al Gore.

And the GOP wants blood!

The Republicans are alleging that the vice president deliberately broke federal election laws by soliciting funds for the Democratic Party on federal property and using federal services. And they are demanding for an independent prosecutor to look into possible felony indictments, hoping that they can finally nail somebody in the White House for something.

Uh, excuse me, congressmen and senators, but have you ever heard of "franking?" Yeah, you know, when you use your signatures in lieu of postage stamps to mail out your re-election campaign statements which are thinly disguised as progress reports? That is going through the post office - still considered a federal service. How many of you still use it?

And while we’re looking at the campaign affairs of the Clinton Administration, why shouldn’t we also look at how the Republicans gained their campaign funds in Congress? Why should we be limited to just one dominant and domineering party when the chief inquisitor is the other dominant and domineering party? The republicans consider themselves to be the party of such things as "ethics" and "values," so why are they so reluctant to have their fundraising sources exposed to the public as well? If they’re so ethical, what do they have to hide?

Look, the excuse "everybody does it" may be overrated, but in dealing with Washington politics and the career politicians who have earned every bit of disrespect we have for them, it’s more than just and excuse - it’s a fact of life in politics.

There is another all-important reason why the republicans are now targeting Gore for investigations: as vice-president, Gore is the heir apparent to carrying on the Clinton campaign in 2000. Just like George Bush in 1988, Al Gore can ride the coattails of Bill Clinton to the ballot box while every other contender has to fight through the ranks. But if Gore can get sidetracked early with a scandal - if not an indictment, impeachment, or conviction - it’ll be harder for him to be elected. And it’s not an original strategy either - the Democrats tried that against Bush in the 88 campaign with Iran/Contra, although it was too little too late to really harm him.

In the long run, though, the fault must rest with us, the voters. We’re the ones who continue to elect and re-elect these people to office. We’re also the ones who can eventually fix this problem by voting with our heads and not on the basis of sound bites and phony issues. That too is a fact of life in politics.

No comments: