Gore and Lieberman: The Democrats Dump the First Amendment
Al Gore, Jr. is the first newspaperman to be nominated for president by the Democratic Party since the publishing scion James Cox in 1920. Cox lost to Senator Warren G. Harding, but if Gore beats George W. Bush he will lead an assault against the First Amendment to the Constitution.
The 2000 election is a race between oligarchy and mind control. Take your pick. Gore's acceptance speech was filled with promises to attack the messenger, not change the message. After talking about families struggling to protect "your children from entertainment that you think glorifies violence and indecency," he promises "stand with you for a goal we all share: to give more power back to parents to choose what your own children are exposed to..."
What exactly does that mean? I choose what my child is exposed to right now, I don't let her vegetate in front of television or the computer. What more power do I need? Just turn off the tv or computer. What's on? Off is on. Gore's premises are different. He accepts that in the great prosperous future of his administration, two income earning families will be more necessary than ever. Latchkey kids will proliferate. He'll give working parents the tools to censor what their kids watch when no one is looking. Good luck!
And this from a man who boasted of the "60 new death penalty crimes" at the 1996 Democratic convention. If Gore wants to stop exposing children to entertainment that glorifies violence, he ought to try to get the legally sanctioned violence of the death penalty off the evening news. Or doesn't reality count? Only fantasy violence makes kids violent. Real killing like the death penalty, the weekly bombing of Iraq or the half million Iraqi children killed by sanctions in the last 10 years, don't count. Gore said, "I broke with many in our party and voted to support the gulf war when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait." [and ousted a hereditary monarchy]
Later in his speech, Gore promises to "crack down on the marketing of tobacco to our children." That's good, but at the same time is he going to crack down on school boards that sell the pupil's compulsory school attendance time to commercial advertisers so they can be sold candy and soda in the classroom? School boards get free tv's and cabling in exchange for forcing students to watch commercials on school time. This educational innovation came from Whittle Communications in Tennessee. So when Gore cracks down on marketing to children, it's going to be selective which products are deemed harmful.
For 28 years, since 1972, a group of mothers called ACT, the Association for Children's Television has tried, unsuccessfully, to ban television advertising aimed at children under the age of 8. The American Society of Pediatricians has just issued a report saying that children under the age of 2 ought not to be allowed to watch television at all. How about that, Al? What about protecting our children from the most advanced form of psychological warfare since the Nuremburg rallies? And the irony of Gore and Lieberman's focus on media is that while criticizing what's on tv, they don't mention what's not on. Namely, not a single major party politician criticized the television networks for their decision not to broadcast the Republican and Democratic conventions in their entirity.
Gore goes on to endorse the new law against hate crimes. I don't know about you, but I think the death penalty for murder is enough. Do we really need crimes based on people's thoughts? Assailants should go to jail. Their terms should not vary depending on what they thought of the person they assaulted. On the playing field or ice rink if a player punches or hits someone with a stick, that's ok, that's sport. But if you punch someone and call them a faggot or a nigger, then you're going up the river. I don't know, but doesn't this send a confusing message to kids?
Then Gore promises to "fight to toughen penalties on those who misuse the Internet to prey on our children and violate our privacy. And I'll fight to make every school in this nation drug free and gun free." But commercial advertisers who prey on our children in the classroom will continue to make millions. How can the schools be drug free when candy and soda are being advertised on commercial television that the kids are required to watch? Maybe this is one reason for the low reading scores.
Gore's approach to education is "We need to put safety, discipline and character first in every classroom." Then he goes on to say "We can't stop until every school in America is a good place to get a good education." Gore is confusing cause and effect. The good education has to come first and then the safety, discipline, character and drug free schools follows as day does the night. But to talk about stopping marketing tobacco to kids while they're being sold candy and soda on tv in school isn't going to work. Any 5 year old can see the inconsistency and hypocrisy in that policy.
Gore is typical of what the two parties are presenting to the American people. Whenever government fails to solve a problem, the answer is to take another right away from law abiding people in the name of protecting children. Gore wants to limit tobacco marketing to children, and I agree. But at the same time he says nothing about marketing high powered, over powered, fancy, sleak cars, which waste gas and pollute the environment, which can go over 100 miles per hour in a nation where the maximum speed limit is 70, to 16 and 17 year old adolescent males who promptly get drunk and go out on the first Friday night and kill themselves and their passengers.
I mean, why don't they apply the same logic they use on guns which kill, to cars that kill. Why aren't they suing the car manufacturers? What is the transportation logic of a Pontiac Gran Am in the hands of a 17 year old boy? These cars aren't even sold as transportation, they're sold as sex appeal or a "life style statement." Death style statement would be more appropriate for some.
Then Gore concludes "If you entrust me with the presidency, I will put our democracy back in your hands, and get all the special-interest money, all of it, out of our democracy, by enacting campaign finance reform." He doesn't give specifics, but dollars to donuts Gore's version of campaign finance reform will be public financing of elections. How else can special interest money be removed from the political process? Campaign finance reform is another way of denying first amendment free speech rights in politics to people with money.
But, in fact, removing special interest money, all of it, from the political process is the same as turning the government over to the media. As the late Blossom G. Brady once said, "There are no reformers, only insurgents." Yes, candidates will be limited in what they can spend. But the newspapers and broadcasters will have no limits on how much, or how little, they say about a given candidate. Well, it's a fitting reward for services rendered. After all, Al Gore is one of their own, a newspaperman. Just Reagan rewarded GE when he became President, Gore is promising that in exchange for limits on tobacco advertising, the media will get to run the government with no restrictions forever.
New Jersey already has public financing of gubernatorial elections. In 1997, Governor Christine Whitman received $1.86 million in taxpayer dollars to run unopposed in the Republican primary. The campaign finance reform laws of Massachusetts and Arizona, for example, also provide public financing for party candidates with no opponents. (Independent candidates, naturally, don't get any.) In New Jersey, candidates who receive public funds are required to participate in debates. But the Election Law Enforcement Commission read this requirement of the law to excluded candidates who received no public funds from being allowed to participate in those debates.
So, campaign finance reform, which is sold to the voters by politicians like Gore and Bradley as a mechanism for making campaigns more honest, is actually being used in New Jersey to make campaigns more dishonest. Public campaign funding is being used to exclude poor candidates from the debates entirely.
So, the 2000 election is the worst choice presented to the American people since Gerald Ford faced Jimmy Carter. In some ways, Bush is the more honest. He is saying that family connections and big money is what politics in America is all about, and he wants to keep it that way. Gore is saying it can be different, but nothing he is proposing is going to change it. After all, Gore is the product of family connections and uncontested elections.
Return to Institute of Election Analysis Home Page
Contact: Joshua Leinsdorf