A Campaign Year with Substance ; Bush and Gore Are Talking Policy More Than Most Past Presidential Candidates

By Peter Grier, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, June 6, 2000 | Go to article overview

A Campaign Year with Substance ; Bush and Gore Are Talking Policy More Than Most Past Presidential Candidates


Peter Grier, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


It's early yet, but so far the presidential race might fairly be called PolicyFest 2000.

Since early May, both presumptive candidates have been pumping out detailed positions on a range of important issues. Last week alone, Vice President Al Gore talked about cancer research, children's mental-health treatment, and protections for national forests. Gov. George W. Bush weighed in with his own conservation plan - standing in front of cool blue Lake Tahoe - while continuing to promote big Social Security and arms-control proposals.

This season of substance can be partly explained by the government surplus. Freed of fiscal constraints, Democrats and Republicans can propose programs without appearing profligate.

Partly, it is driven by the candidates' desire to define themselves before the other guy does it for them. Both want voters to think of them as the choice with big ideas - whether those voters have actually read all their multipoint plans or not.

Finally, an abundance of detail fills the need of new communications technologies for content. When an Internet surfer clicks on the "Positions" icon on a candidate Web site, the appearance of "Under Construction" doesn't win too many supporters.

Messrs. Gore and Bush "have to have their positions up and available in ways that candidates haven't in the past," says Calvin Jillson, chairman of the political science department at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Specificity about issues has not always been a hallmark of presidential campaigns. In past years, candidates sometimes focused more on trying to convey general impressions about their ability to handle obviously important national problems, such as the cold war or a recession.

Policy is sometimes not the first thing on a presumptive candidate's mind in the preconvention period, anyway. At this point in the 1988 election cycle, Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis was preoccupied with handling a challenge from within his own party - Jesse Jackson.

Even after his nomination, Governor Dukakis seemed to prefer talking about what he had done in Massachusetts to what he would do in the White House. He stood by while Vice President George Bush painted him as a free-spender who was soft on crime. Dukakis's double-digit lead in the polls evaporated.

Then came Bill Clinton. Both as a candidate and as president, Mr. Clinton has demonstrated the popular appeal of leaping from one symbolic issue to the next, however small. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Campaign Year with Substance ; Bush and Gore Are Talking Policy More Than Most Past Presidential Candidates
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.