Antonin Scalia for President

By Thomas Sowell Copyright Creators Syndicate Inc. | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), December 31, 1996 | Go to article overview

Antonin Scalia for President


Thomas Sowell Copyright Creators Syndicate Inc., St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


If anyone wants a textbook example of the wrong way to run a presidential campaign, Sen. Bob Dole has left a rich legacy of examples of what to avoid. The question is whether the Republican party has now learned its lessons and can come up with better candidates and a better campaign next time.

If this were just a narrow partisan issue, those of us who are neither Democrats nor Republicans would not have to care, one way or the other. However, the inescapable fact is that the Democrats are the only po litically viable alternative to the Republicans and the Democratic Party is hopelessly tied to policies that have produced disaster - the welfare state, racial quotas, mushy notions about criminals, hostility toward the free market and support for the counter-culture.

Republicans may be disorganized and confused, but at least they are not pushing for the agenda of degeneration. What can the Republicans learn from their 1996 self-destruction and how can they hope to do better - for themselves and the country - four years from now? First and foremost, they must learn to talk to the American people and present a coherent case for the things they believe in. They cannot run a gimmick-of-the-month campaign, as Dole did, and talk in cryptic phrases and vague generalities. It is one thing to lose an election because your views and values differ from those of the voting public. But the Republicans have managed to lose when they are more in tune with the public than the Democrats are. The two greatest Republican disasters of the past two years - the budget battle last year and the Dole presidential campaign this year - have both been brought on by their failure to explain themselves to the American people in plain English. Too many Republicans treat English as a second language, with Beltway lingo being their native tongue. Bill Clinton won a resounding victory at the polls because he understood better than the Republicans did that the people believe in the kinds of values that the Republicans have been supporting for years. The president has spent this entire election year being an imitation Republican, beginning with his State of the Union address, in which he proclaimed "the end of the era of big government. …

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