2000-07-29 / Columnists


By James Conway Sullivan

This week, from an Irish American vantage, we’ll take a look at the Republican candidate for President, George W. Bush.

On domestic issues, George has a pleasant record and beliefs. He is in favor of aid to parochial schools and vouchers. He is pro-life, opposes Medicaid funding of abortion and opposes partial birth abortion. His record on labor is spotty and he favors the death penalty. He favors tax cuts and enterprise zones. He opposes quotas and favors some limited affirmative action programs.

On Irish issues, he generally has been very good on immigration policies. He has not spoken yet on the deportation and the deportee issues. He has stated support for the Irish peace process.

But, of course, there’s a fly in every ointment. During his rough primary fight, he spoke at Bob Jones University in South Carolina. Now, that’s the same Bob Jones University that bans interracial dating and has given an honorary doctorate to the Reverend Paisle, member of British Parliament from Northern Ireland and notorious anti-Catholic. Now, many defend his speaking there -- some Presidents have. But I believe it was stupid and insensitive of him to do so. Bigotry must be opposed, not tactically supported. So, he gets a "D" for stupidity and lack of political prowess and sensitivity.

He supports a strong military and has done a good job as Texas governor. But a lot of George remains a question mark that hopefully will be fleshed out during the campaign. But on the surface, he generally looks good.

His persona is very pleasing; young, a former businessman, with a clean personal life.

He is a refreshing change from the sleaze of the Clinton-era sexcapades in the Oval Office. His is a family man, married with children. He has defied family protocol, by marrying his wife Laura, a Mexican Roman Catholic. That’s one of the things I like about him…just when you think he’s getting predictable, he surprises you. He gave up alcohol, because he had a problem with it when he was younger. He has succeeded fabulously in business, and unlike his opponent, has always made his living in the private sector.

He has a vision for America and calls his beliefs "compassionate conservatism."

On economics his views are free-market oriented, as you would expect from a businessman. He seems to be a conservative with a heart, and is well liked by his colleagues. There is, however, a lot to be fleshed out, and we’ll have to wait and see. Overall, I like him best of the candidates thus far. I hope this enlightens some people.

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