2000-09-02 / Columnists


By James Conway Sullivan

The recent Democratic convention was a well-staged one, just like the GOP. There were a number of excellent speakers, among them Hadassah Leiberman, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Ted Kennedy, and, of course, Bill Clinton. Clinton is one of the best political speakers of our time.

The Democrats trumped the inclusiveness theme of the GOP with the political masterstroke of selecting Leiberman as Vice President. It switched the entire media focus away from the question of "When does Bill leave the stage and Al become his won man?" and toward an upbeat, empowering story about a maverick who publicly criticized Clinton’s behavior, who was conservative on many issues, and who was his own man. It was brilliant.

But let’s take a look at the issues that concern us all, and more specifically the Irish-American voters.

I thought Al Gore gave a good speech, but one journalist added up all his promises and bingo—it comes up 50 trillion dollars over our surplus. How government raises money is simple—it’s called raising taxes. They simply have no choice.

I’m in approximately a 40 percent tax bracket. I feel as if I already gave at the office. Excuse me, but I still feel that if we have the biggest budget surplus in history it means one thing—we are taxed too much.

To my liberal brethren, however, it means more money to spend, and to Al Gore it means we have more and more to spend. This I believe is one of the defining differences between the two parties. When voters finally wake up and realize this, I think the issue breaks better for the Republicans.

Added with their pro-death platform (pro death penalty, pro abortion, pro partial-birth abortions, and pro euthanasia) and their opposition to parochial school aid and school vouchers, I believe the democrats will have problems with our voters. Couple these with the horrendous Democratic platform on Ireland, and it spells real trouble.

Let’s examine their retreat from Clinton’s excellent stand on Irish issues. On August 23, the Irish Voice newspaper reported that "Jim Gallagher, president of the Irish American Unity Conference, hit out at the recent Democratic Party platform on Ireland, blasting the one single paragraph on the North as being vague and inadequate. In a strongly worded statement, Gallagher said that the I.A.U.C. was disappointed in the platform drafted by Vice President Al Gore, and added that the Democrats promises paled in comparison to the Republicans." It is almost as if the two parties have switched places on the Irish issue.

Al’s support of NAFTA and the free trade agreement with China have also made him significant enemies in the Labor Movement. And the woodshed talk that Leiberman was coerced to backpedal on racial quotas and affirmative action will also take their toll.

I believe it will be a close race, but the Democrats have laid the seeds for their own defeat.

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