Them’s fightn’ words

If you love to study elections, this one will be a doosey. The battle for the White House will be.

We cannot say that about all our elections. For instance, the Dole vs. Clinton election was over before the first mudpie was slung. Nobody outside an asylum believed Dole stood a chance. When Mondale flung down the gauntlet to Reagan he tripped over it. It flew up and caught him in the groin. His campaign was fodder for comedians from the start.

And so, these campaigns drove down NoDoz sales. Who needed a drug to get to sleep when you could watch a few political commercials or a debate?

Ah, but this season’s campaigns should keep us awake. For a number of reasons.

You might argue that the sheer length of the campaigns will make us punch drunk. By the end of this year these guys will despair of finding anything new to say. Maybe true, maybe not. Good chance the two sides will hold some of their best ammunition in reserve.

That means we will see some of the best sludge later. You know, that Giuliani molested baby goats. And Hillary has scheduled a sex change operation.



Wait a minute! How do I know it will be those two who duke it out? I don’t know, of course. But the polls tell us they are the most likely to be the candidates.

If they do win their party’s nod, imagine the battle.

Hillary has now laid down a semi-socialist economic plan. She has talked about taking profits away from big companies. She has threatened to raise taxes about 25%. By ending the Bush tax cuts. She says she wants to take more from you (if you earn a lot) to give it to the common good.

Giuliani responds to her tax plan as “an astounding staggering tax increase.” Them’s fightin’ words. None of this polite “My opponent and I share the same view on thus and such, however I differ when it comes to ...”

The gloves will be off on a range of issues. They staked out positions miles from each other.

She, for instance, talks of “shared prosperity.” That means taking from those who are prosperous. To give to those who are not. It cannot mean anything else.

He calls this a form of socialism. He feels she demeans individual effort and individual responsibility when she promotes “shared prosperity.”

They will have to clash over Iraq. He believes we are under attack from terrorists around the world. Global terrorism. He believes Iraq is the major battleground. Losing there, hightailing it from Iraq would hand victory to terrorists. That is his belief.

She voted one way on Iraq, then another. Now she believes we have to get out. And clearly she does not see Iraq as the place to fight terrorism. She sees the war as a sectarian conflict.

These are huge differences. Voters will have crystal clear choices on various big issues.

Another element that adds interest, I think, is style. These two bring utterly different styles of speaking and debating to the battle.

I defy Hillary supporters to disagree with those who say she often comes across as rigid. Or stilted. Or strident. Especially in debates. Or in shoot-from-the-hip situations. He is much smoother, wittier, down-to-earth in the same situations. His campaign will look for such opportunities. Hers will avoid them. She will rely on set speeches, formal interviews she can prepare for.

Beyond all this, these will be the two most costly campaigns in history. Big, big money. Each side hates and fears the other side so much they will find money nobody dreamed existed. Their spending will break all the records.

What a luxury to live in this country. Where we can sit back and enjoy this clash of political titans. I feel this campaign may be one of the greatest sagas of the last hundred years. It certainly has the ingredients. Let’s see what sort of feast the candidates cook up with them.

From Tom ... as in Morgan.

For more columns and for Tom’s radio shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.

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