Dole: Looking beyond the Senate

Article excerpt

Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole of Kansas is, of course, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination. He is carrying a tremendous load as leader of the Senate and this is compounded by the intensity of the political campaign. Dole addressed issues affecting both his leadership in the Senate and his escalating campaign for president in response to questions from Insight.

Question: Senator, how do you think your support of an American presence in Bosnia will play in Peoria? How difficult will it be to persuade Americans that isolationism is a dangerous foreign policy? What would be the cornerstone of a Dole foreign policy?

Answer. I didn't support President Clinton's decision to send U.S. troops to Bosnia; I wanted to prevent this problem by lifting the arms embargo and allowing the Bosnians to defend themselves. But now American troops are on the ground and, as a combat veteran, I believe they deserve nothing less than the nation's total support.

I believe American policy should support the interests of the United States -- not the interests of the United Nations -- and oppose placing American troops under U.N. command. With a sound foreign policy America will remain the world's only superpower, willing and able to defend American interests. As president I will ensure that we have such a policy.

Q: Would a Dole administration continue the reorganization and dismantling of the federal government initiated by the 104th Congress? For example, what would be the fate of the Commerce Department, the Education Department or Environmental Protection Agency under President Dole?

A: I believe that the federal government today is too large, too costly and too intrusive. I have called for the elimination of four Cabinet agencies: Education, HUD, Energy and Commerce. I opposed the establishment of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as well as the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities and support their elimination. By introducing the Comprehensive Regulatory Reform Act in 1995, I took the lead in efforts to reduce and streamline costly regulations.

Q: What do you see as the likely final achievements of the Republican Revolution -- the "Contract With America" -- that began with the election of 104th Congress. Will we get a balanced budget?

A: This Congress -- both the Senate and the House -- has been the most productive force for conservative change we've seen in a generation. I have led the effort to pass many parts of the Republican "Contract With America" in the Senate -- including welfare reform, a middleclass tax cut, the first balanced budget in a generation, the line-item veto, ending unfunded federal mandates to the states and forcing Congress to live under the same laws the American people do. The Senate is carrying out the Republican revolution and establishing a record of conservative change.

Q. Senator, some polls indicate that as much as one-third of the electorate is "turned off " by the main parties, Democratic and Republican, and wants an independent or third way. Polls also indicate that only 34 percent of women support Republican ideas (as opposed to 49 percent of men). How does one convince sizable numbers of Americans that Republicans aren't antiwoman, for example, but on the contrary are mindful of their needs, and of the needs of the nation as a whole? …