Principalities & Powers

Behind Democracy's Curtain

One of the more exciting prospects for the Dole-Clinton presidential contest should have been the "presidential debate," which, ever since the Kennedy-Nixon slugfest of 1960, has titillated the mass electorate with the delusion that the voters actually have a real choice between two different viewpoints. The only reason a Dole-Clinton debate ought to have been exciting, however, is that it should have been interesting to see what the two participants could possibly disagree about. What exactly were they supposed to debate? NAFTA and the World Trade Organization? Mr. Dole supported Mr. Clinton on those matters. The deployment of American troops to Bosnia? Mr. Dole was on board with that one too. The appointment of judges, then, which Mr. Dole has mentioned as one of his major differences with his Democratic rival? But as a Republican senator Mr. Dole personally voted for almost every one of the federal judges Mr. Clinton has appointed in the last four years and expressed immediate support for both of the two Supreme Court nominees whom the President has named. Affirmative action? No, Mr. Dole has abandoned his earlier pledges to abolish it. Immigration reform? No again, since Mr. Dole has barely mentioned the issue and has done nothing to question the administration's position. Ah, well then, gun control, surely? But Mr. Dole supported the Brady Law when it came before the Senate and in 1994 announced that Mr. Clinton's support...

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