Bush's Doomsday Device may blow up in his face

ROGER SIMON

October 09, 1992|By ROGER SIMON

It is a terrible time to be out of a job, which is the only excuse I can think of for George Bush's recent behavior.

Having been unable to dent Bill Clinton's poll numbers with any previous attacks, George Bush now has unleashed his Doomsday Device:

Bill Clinton demonstrated against the war in Vietnam when he was overseas as a student!

"Maybe I'm old-fashioned, Larry," Bush told Larry King on CNN Wednesday night, "but to go to a foreign country and demonstrate against your own country when your sons and daughters are dying halfway around the world -- I'm sorry, I just don't like it. I think it is wrong."

Right, George. Far better to send more sons and daughters to die halfway around the world than to demonstrate against the war.

Four years ago, George Bush campaigned by dividing the American people.

He used Willie Horton, the Pledge of Allegiance, and rumors that Michael Dukakis had been treated by a psychiatrist.

Four years ago, this tactic got him to the White House.

Today, it is getting him nowhere.

Maybe it's because of the economy. Maybe the American people are so angry with Bush over the lousy state of their pocketbooks.

But maybe, just maybe, the American people are tired of being manipulated in such a cynical fashion.

Bill Clinton demonstrated against the Vietnam war 23 years ago?

Good for him.

It might be the best reason I've heard yet to vote for the guy.

Our "sons and daughters were dying halfway around the world" because a succession of American presidents didn't have the guts, brains or backbone to stop sending them there.

So some 50,000 of our sons and daughters never came back and some 150,000 came back wounded.

And if some Americans wanted to exercise their rights of free speech and free assembly to demonstrate against that war either at home or abroad, I say that was better for our sons and daughters in the long run than sending them to the meat grinder of Vietnam.

But wait, Bush says, the war is not the point. The point is honesty; the point is candor; the point is trust.

"If Bill Clinton would do on the draft what I've done on Iran-contra," Bush said, "we'd have the facts out there. . . . Level -- tell us the truth, and let the voters decide who to trust or not."

Did Bill Clinton level with us on how he got out of the draft?

Naw, it had to be dragged out of him. And we might not have the whole story yet.

But has George Bush leveled with us on what he knew and when he knew it about the Iran-contra debacle?

Fat chance.

The fact is that politicians have learned not to level with the American people.

In the past, leveling with with the American people has usually earned a candidate a one-way ticket to Palookaville.

Walter Mondale leveled with us about taxes in 1984. He said the difference between him and Ronald Reagan was that Reagan wouldn't say he was going to raise taxes while Mondale would.

And guess what? America went with Reagan.

So in 1988, George Bush knew better than to level with the American people. He said he wouldn't go along with any new taxes.

And America went along with Bush.

Once he got in office, of course, Bush felt free to break that solemn pledge. And he did.

Today, he says once again he won't raise our taxes. And he wants us to believe him once again.

The rest of the Republican campaign is devoted almost exclusively to bashing Clinton for being a demonstrator, a dodger and a dallier.

But after four years of being president and eight years of being vice president, is this all George Bush has to campaign on?

He spends almost all his time telling us who he is not. But when is he going to start telling us who he is? Or what he wants. Or where he intends to take this country. Or how he is going to solve our problems.

Instead, Bush is content to attack the other guy for being the other guy.

This worked for him last time.

But he may find that America has grown up a lot in four years.

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