In the past 59 years, only one elected incumbent who sought a second term, Jimmy Carter, has failed to win re-election. In addition, Bush has enjoyed the highest approval rating of any president (approximately 75 percent), and his handling of the Gulf War did little to hurt his rating. Clearly, Bush has the cards stacked in his favor. That is, all the cards but one. The economy. As the 1992 election draws nearer, George Bush is looking more and more like a Herbert Hoover than like a Ronald Reagan. Thanks to Senator Harris Wofford's decisive victory on November 5, the president finally got his wake up call. Bush is beatable. For the Democratic Party, the question is not how to beat Bush, but who to run against him. Since the Democrats who have so-far announced their candidacy are still relative unknowns, the nomination is still up for grabs. So far, there are six in the race and all have clarified personal plans in addressing the problems with the economy: · Jerry Brown: Formerly governor of California, Brown suggests expansion of trade with Eastern Europe and possibly a cut in payroll taxes. Bill Clinton: Currently the governor of Arkansas, Clinton encourages long-term investment and conversion from a "guns" to a "butter" economy. Tom Harkin: A senator from Iowa, Harkin wants "to scrap supply-side, trickle-down economics," and the "New Growth Agenda that he proposes strongly stresses infrastructure and labor, as well as education and health care. Bob Kerrey: A senator (and former governor) from Nebraska, Kerrey stresses investment and funding for new technologies. Paul Tsongas: Formerly a senator from Massachusetts, Tsongas wants to give the middle class a "long-term capital-gains tax cut." Douglas Wilder: The Virginia governor has proposed a three-part plan to cut $50 billion from the federal budget that resembles the approach he has taken to strengthen the economy in his home state. · One factor exists that could change the entire Democratic scene of course, the possible entrance into the race of New York Governor Mario Cuomo, one of the nation's most prominent Democrats. Cuomo's dilemma is deciding whether or not he wants to risk losing to Bush in 1992. If he does choose to enter the race, most experts believe he would win the nomination handily. With so many choices, you're probably feeling about as wishy-washy as Mario Cuomo. You're asking yourself, Who should I vote for when my state primary (or caucus) rolls around? Well, you should vote for Harkin or Kerrey. Harkin's rhetoric is powerful. He is the type of candidate who can rally the working people behind him because of his devotion to organized labor and public works. He has a record of accomplishments in the Senate, most significantly the Americans with Disabilities Act. While he was governor of Nebraska, Kerrey turned a $25 million deficit into a $49 million surplus, perhaps a sign that he is adept in dealing with economic troubles. He is also a hero of the Vietnam War, having recieved a Congressional Medal of Honor and a Purple Heart (he lost part of his leg). He has also taken strong stances on health care and agriculture. The fact that he is divorced could hurt him, but shouldn't. Clinton, who is more conservative than Harkin and Kerrey, has earned praise for his accomplishments in the realm of education. He is the senior governor in the nation, now serving his fifth term. But from an economic standpoint, Clinton is weak; Arkansas has the third lowest per capita income in the United States. If either of the midwesterners, Harkin or Kerrey, were to win the nomination, Clinton would be an excellent choice as a ticket-balancing running mate. Don't even think about voting for Douglas Wilder. He closed a $2.2 billion budget gap in Virginia without raising taxes, but in doing so he stripped about $150 million from aid to schools. Moreover, his 30 percent approval rating in his home state is the lowest of any governor in Virginia history. Paul Tsongas has built a following, but not enough to win him the nomination. He had cancer, and although there have been no signs of its return since his surgery five years ago, his health is still an issue. As for Jerry Brown, he should win California but not the whole thing. And what if Cuomo enters the race? Popular as he is, the man shouldn't be responsible for making Oval Office decisions when he can't even decide whether or not to run. Regardless of who captures the nomination, it is ultimately important that everybody get out and vote in 1992. As college students who will soon enter the proverbial "real world," we must be concerned about the pathetic American economy. We must put a president in office who will help find an answer. And George Bush, my friends, does not have the answer. Curt Soloff is a sophomore Communications major from Overland Park, Kansas. Who's The Weasel Now? has appeared on some Wednesdays.Comments powered by Disqus
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