4 U THF NATIONAL COI FGF NEWSPAPFR News Feaures/MARC192
Campaign '92: short on se, long on substance
Classifieds/MARCH 1992 U, THE NATsIONL COLLEGE NEStPAER ZO
By BEN BOYCHUK
The Guardian, U. of California, San Diego
It's 1992, and Americans are looking down the double-
barrels of a presidential election year once again. Five major
Democrats and two Republicans (three if you count David
Duke) are scrambling for the presidential nominations of
their respective parties. They're visiting shopping malls,
unemployment offices and factories; they're addressing the
local Lion's Club; they're kissing babies and shaking hands.
But are they saying what the American public wants to hear?
While the 1992 campaign may lack personality, it certainly
has produced an abundance of issues. Unlike the 1988
campaign, in which the "big" issues were saluting the
American flag in public schools and reading Bush's lips, this
campaign has taken a far more serious tone. Americans still
ask themselves if they are better off now than they were four
years ago. More of them are unable to answer "yes."
Above all else, the econo-
my is on everybody's mind.
The country is mired in a
recession that just won't go
away. Unemployment is up
from less than 5 percent in
n_ __1988 to more than 7
percent today. Economic
growth is down and President Bush is taking the heat.
One of the dominant themes so far in the campaign has
been the promise of salvation for the forsaken middle class.
Bush has proposed a Carteresque tax rebate of about $350
for middle-class families, a scheme which has been widely
ridiculed by Democrats and conservative Republicans as
nothing more than a token gesture in an election year.
Democrat Bill Clinton is proposing a 10 percent income
tax cut for the middle class, as well as an unspecified tax hike
for those who earn more than $200,000. Clinton also
MARK HEILEMANN, THE EQUINOX, KEENE STATE COLLEGE
Patrick Buchanan: Beating a popular path.
proposes an "economic lifeline" for the middle class, a
rather ambiguous program involving financial assistance to
the middle class for everything from home improvement to
health care. No word on how the program would be funded.
Foreign trade is another major issue on everyone's mind,
especially since the dismal failure of Bush's highly touted
trade mission to Japan in early January. Slammed by
opponents as a "hat-in-hand-horror show," the trip was filled
with sound and fury (and vomit), but ultimately signified no
progress. The Japanese made no promises, and instead
criticized American business leaders for being too fat and
American workers for being too lazy.
Rather than mending the rapidly deteriorating relations
between the United States and Japan, the debacle only
served to fuel protectionist and anti-Japanese sentiment.
Most candidates say the issue is one of fairness - and jobs.
General Motors is forced to lay off 74,000 workers, while the
Japanese import more than 2 million cars annually.
The Democratic candidates, joined by Bush's Republican
challenger, conservative columnist Patrick J. Buchanan,
have called for various degrees of protectionist legislation.
Buchanan, the most unapologetic protectionist of the
group, supports the idea of higher tariffs on Japanese autos
and a more strong-armed approach to trade relations. In
essence, Buchanan has said that if Japan doesn't start
playing fair - by allowing American rice imports, for
instance - America won't play at all.
National health insurance is another hot topic this year.
More than 35 million Americans are without health
insurance. The United States and South Africa are the only'
two industrialized nations in he world without national
health care. Everyone seems to want a national health plan,
but no one knows exactly how to pull it off.
No one, except for Bob Kerrey. Of all the candidates,
Kerrey seems to know exactly how he would implement a
national health insurance program - but little else. Kerrey,
the quintessential one-issue candidate, proposes a system
modeled after the one currently failing in Canada, requiring
upwards of $256 billion in tax increases.
Of course, education will be of particular interest to
college students all across America. Four years ago, Bush
vowed to be the "education president" (right around the
same time he told Americans to read his lips). But besides
his endorsement of vouchers for poor and working-class
families who send their children to private schools, and his
support of the "Head Start" program, little has come of it.
Presidential candidates are notoriously vague about their
education plans. But, of all the challengers, Clinton actually
has said something specific about higher education. Clinton
backs a program to grant all college students loans in return
See ISSUES, Page 9
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Candidates vie to be the choice of a new generation
By SCOTT McPHERSON
TheEquinox, Keene State College
They're baaack. You've seen them on TV.
You've read about them in supermarket
tabloids. They're the candidates for
President of the United States. Choose
wisely. Because, like it or not, one of these
men is going to be our leader....
He's the education presi-
dent. He's the environmen-
tal president. He's the
incumbent president that
everyone is out to get. Bush
will have a tough fight this
November when voters,
disenchanted with his domestic policies,
come knocking on his door. Bush, who has
gone from an almost inhuman level of
popularity following the Gulf War to virtual
basement ratings with the dismal economic
start of the new year, could have stiff
competition from Democrats taking aim on
He has been called the
candidate of political
incorrectness and a beer-
hall conservative. But
Buchanan is actually a right-
wing conservative who longs
to put "America first" and
return the nation to traditional values. The
former television and newspaper commen-
tator has never been elected to any political
office. Yet politics are not new to him. He
has worked in the press offices of both
Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.
Buchanan's America First campaign calls
for the phasing out of foreign aid, abolish-
ment of federal employment quotas and
term-limits for politicians.
He is the candidate you
love to hate. The former Ku
Klux Klansman and state
legislator from Louisiana is
nothing if not controversial.
Duke, who has been
shunned by the Republican
elite, has publicly stated his distaste for
affirmative action and busing for racial
integration. During his run for governor,
Duke blamed social programs such as social
security and welfare for the financial woes of
The candidate known as
actually has his feet set
firmly on the ground. But
Brown still may lack what it
takes to earn the Demo-
cratic nomination. "Politics
is a rotten, miserable, corrupt profession
which I have spent a good part of my life in,"
he said. "(However), I know a lot more now
than I did when I was a lot more popular."
Vowing not to accept special interest money
or personal donations of more than $100,
Brown thumbs his nose at the establishment.
This five-term governor of ,
Arkansas and former
Rhodes scholar is the
crat who just might have a
chance at the White House.
Clinton's biggest weakness,
though, could be his desire to be liked by
everyone he comes in contact with. He
refuses to be labeled a liberal, conservative
or anywhere in between. "We use labels as
an excuse to stop thinking, to jerk our knees
instead of turning our brains on," he said.
He proposes a tax cut for the middle class,
requiring those who earn more than
$200,000 to pick up the slack; welfare
reform ("welfare should be a second
chance, not a way of life"); and a domestic
G.I bill that would allow students to pay for
college by a two-year stint in public service.
Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin is
a liberal and proud of it.
"They say, "Harkin, you're a
liberal. If by liberal you ,
mean someone who cares
about people, theirjobs and
about their housing and
education, I am one, and I am proud of it,"
he said. The 18-year member of Congress
has said he wants to reclaim the American
dream for all citizens and plans to do so
through a blend of traditional Democratic
messages: a massive public works program,
increased spending for health care and
education, and a program through which
students can pay for college with some
degree of public service.
politician, Neb. Sen. Bob
Kerrey is perhaps best
known for his national
health care proposal. And
while the "Health Care
U.S.A." bill has helped
thrust Kerrey into the national spotlight, his
apparently single-minded devotion to the
cause may be his downfall. A former
governor whose term in office was marked
by a financial revival and budget surplus,
Kerrey views health care and educational
reforms as the keys to economic recovery.
Another son of Greek
immigrants from Massachu-
setts is seeking the nation's
office. Former Sen. Paul
Tsongas is hoping "A Call
To Economic Arms," an 85-
page plan to help jump-
start the American economy, will bring him
better luck than Michael Dukakis had with
the Massachusetts Miracle. He hopes to
succeed with a platform of economic
strength through environmental, educa-
tional and social reforms, along with
business initiatives to help drive the
economy. "I know where America must go,"
Tsongas said. "And I do not see anyone else
ready to take us there."
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