You Asked, We Answer: Bush's 'Inclusivity'
Convention Correspondent Answers Your E-Mail Questions As Quickly As Possible
PHILADELPHIA, Updated 10:00 p.m. EDT August 3, 2000 -- OK, OK, so maybe an "instant" Q&A; column was a little ambitious.
When I boasted a rapid response to your e-mail questions, I was safe and snug at home. Now I'm at Philadelphia's First Union Center, where you have to pass through a metal detector and to every time you go to the bathroom. The media area here is as big as Disneyland. Plus, I'm driving way across town to take digital photos of protests and stuff and upload them to the Web site. And parking is a bear, too.
So forgive me if I haven't answered your question yet. Now let me do a little catch-up.
Republicans Of Color
This question came in Sunday evening from Deb Haywood of Milwaukee:
"I would like to know what the candidates think they can do to entice more minority voters. Seems that when Bush was last here he visited hand-picked minority sites, but his political views are right there with minority needs.
"How do we get that word out to our community without the left tainting him and his views? We really need to change opinions and concepts attached to Republicans for far too long, and I want to know what they will do to accomplish this goal.
Deb, you are reading George W. Bush's mind. Reaching out to people of color is arguably the Republicans' dominant message at the 2000 convention.
From the beginning of his campaign, Bush played up the rapport he developed with Latino voters in Texas in winning two elections as governor. Hispanics traditionally have voted Democratic, but the campaign Web site www.georgewbush.com posts excerpts from a Knight-Ridder newspapers poll from June that found that Hispanics favor Democrat Al Gore over Bush (50 percent for Gore vs. 34 percent for Bush) but by less of a margin than President Bill Clinton beat Bush's father in 1992 (62 percent to 25 percent).
But Deb, your question was particularly well-timed because Monday's proceedings at the Republican convention were largely devoted to demonstrating that Bush and the party are "inclusive" -- welcoming to moderates and to people of color who traditionally vote for Democrats.
Take the evening's keynote speaker, retired Gen. Colin Powell. Allow me to quote the news service AFP: "As an African-American hero with wide social and political appeal, Powell suggests a party of tolerance and understanding." (AFP added: "...even though the membership is still more country club than inner city.") According to an advance copy of Powell's speech, he planned to tell the convention and televised audience that the Texas governor has a "passion for inclusion" and "can help bridge our racial divides."
You asked how supporters of Bush will get out the message that the candidate is good for people of color: Considering Powell's popularity, having that message come out of his mouth is an effective start.
A black congressional leader, U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts of Oklahoma, also addressed the convention Monday. Other black and Hispanic Republicans are scheduled to get the spotlight before the convention adjourns Thursday, including, on Tuesday, Bush's chief foreign policy adviser, Condoleezza Rice, who is African-American. Here's a link to a profile of Rice from Stanford University.
Some of you may debate whether Bush deserves support from people of color. For the record, here's a link to his stand on civil rights issues from Issues2000.org.
And it's notable that the Republican Party platform approved Monday, while reaching out to minorities, opposed gay rights. And even Powell planned to scold the GOP for attacking affirmative action, according to an advance copy of his speech.
Next Question! Jeff Gardner of the Portland, Ore.,
area sent in a question Monday that we're glad to answer quickly -- because it's a rhetorical question! Those are easy to answer because they're actually statements in disguise that require no answer.
"I've heard that national conventions today are little more than a lavish exercise in marketing and packaging of pre-ordained candidates. If it's true that the Republican and Democratic conventions are little more than lengthy infomercials designed to give junketeers an excuse for a tax-deductible vacation trip to an otherwise squalid* East Coast city, why bother with them? Why not put the money into funding of more frequent debates among all of the presidential candidates or perhaps develop a 'virtual convention' on the Web for those who have an interest?
"*'Squalid"'may be a bit too harsh. Philadelphia does have a nicely restored train station, and the airport has been going through some remodeling (it's nice to be able to ride the train direct from the airport into downtown).
Enjoy the convention.
Ah, Mr. Gardner. Your question is really more of an invitation to an important discussion. In fact, I might suggest you get one started in our Campaign 2000 discussion room (get a room, buddy!) by clicking Forum
But let me address your criticism of tax-deductible junkets. There is a lot to be said for junkets. You take people who may otherwise spend their days slaving in a perk-free existence -- say, working as an editor for a TV station-affiliated Web site. For one brief, shining moment, they get to fly to an exotic (or squalid) city and charge stuff to their room. I personally have had so much free food -- Saturday night at the lavish media reception funded by the city's organizing committee for the convention, Philadelphia2000, and every day since then by sneaking into the CNN commissary (Cajun whitefish!) -- that I have finally regained a full figure.
Seriously, though ... yeah, it would be a lot more meaningful if we were watching Americans choose a president rather than watching a well-organized promotion team do everything according to plan. And it will stay that way for the next four-year cycle, thanks to a move that the Bush campaign took just before the convention opened: Bush's people persuaded Republican leaders to kill a proposal that would have had the small states hold their primaries first rather than let the big states vote first and effectively settle the race before the smallies got a chance to cast votes.
On Monday, Byron S. Adams
"I heard that George W. Bush was up to his eyebrows in plundering of the S&Ls; back in 1980s, and it was intervention of Bush Senior that prevented the prosecutors from pursuing him. Could you refer to Web site where I can find information."
Nah, I think you're thinking of some of the other Bush boys, the two who are not in elected office -- Neil and Marvin. Mother Jones
magazine had an expose on those guys and their involvement with, I think it was, Silverado savings and loan. Let me look into that and post some documentation.
Here's another question that needs no answer, this one from Judy Bastien
"Does he not remind you of Howdy Doody?"
That engendered a follow-up e-mail from Vicky McGath of Seaside, Ore.
"Does he not remind you of one of the Three Stooges?"
Yeah, but which one? Moe, I presume. Moe is clearly the alpha male of the stooges. Am I within my rights to go on a rant about how much I resented the substitute stooge who played the Curly role during the Stooges' waning years, Curly Joe? Perhaps not.
Dan is taking off Friday morning, but he'll be in Los Angeles for the Democratic National Convention in mid-August -- and taking your questions at email@example.com
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