|Politics 2000: Tuesday and You
Its been a hoot, this primary season thats all over but the pouting.
We watched with glee as Bill Bradley pumped some life into Al Gore with his challenges about helping children living in poverty and people without health insurance at a time when our economy is strong. Watching Gore these last weeks reminded us of old Vic Frankensteins creation suddenly getting fluids in his lifeless form and then arising to prowl the countryside.
We were especially tickled watching John McCain serve up hot plates of truth to the Republican Party for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Truth about all the cash that stinks up Republican and Democratic politics alike. Truth about the fringe-dwelling folks who have driven moderate and young people away from the Grand Old Party of Abe Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.
Maryland missed out on a lot of the fun; we dont offer a huge bounty of convention delegates and were establishment strongholds in both parties. But we applaud the Republicans for letting Independents into their party to vote (even though they got cold feet at the end and didnt trumpet their invitation.)
We would bet a years subscription to Bay Weekly that the gambit pays off for Maryland Republicans and that some of the 10 percent of GOP voters who were Independents this week will feel comfortable enough with what they did to vote Republican in November.
Whether or not youre a political junkie, theres plenty more fun to be had in what will be our longest general election campaign (eight months) in recent history. Here are a few tips on getting the most from it:
Know for yourself. With the Internet and some of Americas finest newspapers at your fingertips, do your own reckoning and analysis. Dont be sucked into the strategies cooked up by campaign handlers reading last nights tracking polls.
Know where you live. The Chesapeake Bay, the lifeblood of our economy, culture and recreation, is a fragile spot on the planet. Demand that aspirants at every level talk about sprawl, toxics, dirty air and such threats to the Bay.
Know Gore. Is he the guy in jeans on the cover of his 1992 book Earth in the Balance, about ecology and the human spirit? Or is he the clever operator in an administration that permits mountain top mining devastation in West Virginia and destruction of the Florida Everglades?
Know Bush. When we ask supporters why they like him, we get the same answer over and over: Because he can win. Might there be something along the way that he stands for other than tax cuts that may or may not help you, depending on your tax bracket?
Know the Big Picture. Theres the Reform Party, the Green Party, the Libertarian Party and other entities out there that might appeal to you. One of the lessons from the primaries of 2000 is the power of independent thinkers to shape the debate. So as you think about your choices in November, ask questions, demand more than slogans and dont let yourself be taken for granted.