Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Gingrich and the 'Someone Else' Urge

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Gingrich and the 'Someone Else' Urge

Article excerpt

A PUBLIC desire for change drove the last presidential election and the congressional elections of 1994. This voter dissatisfaction with the status quo is still at work. It's evident in the widespread unhappiness with the president and with those Republicans who seek to replace him. There's definitely a yearning out there among the voters for "someone else" - someone who, of course, is deemed presidential material. That's why Colin Powell is getting so much attention. It's also why Bill Bradley and his possible challenge of Bill Clinton stirred up so much interest. Ross Perot benefited from this same public dissatisfaction in 1992. And the polls show he would still pick up around 20 percent of the vote if he again became a third-party candidate. Right now it appears that it will be Bill Clinton vs. Bob Dole in next year's election. Today if there were an election and if a "neither of the above" square was available on the ballot, I think that category might well get the most votes. New polls show Clinton has moved up from around 43 percent to 49 percent in public approval. He has bobbed back and forth in that range since his election in 1992 with 43 percent of the vote. But the number of people who strongly oppose Clinton remains very high - about 40 percent. It's saying the obvious, but I'll say it: He's not a popular president. None of the current leaders among the GOP challengers - Bob Dole, Phil Gramm, or Pat Buchanan - is widely popular among Republican voters. Dole, to many Republicans, seems a retread, someone who has shown in the past he has trouble winning. Gramm, to many Republicans, is perceived as a candidate whose tough ideological talk won't carry him too far. And Buchanan? Most moderate Republicans are put off by his confrontational approach. Yes, right now I think this less-than-popular president would defeat any of the present leading GOP challengers simply because the latter would be less popular. …
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