If you've caught much of the TV commentary about the "war
against terrorism," you've probably seen a lot of Richard Perle, the portly,
Ronald Reagan-era assistant secretary of defense who kept the defense-hawk home
fires burning throughout the Bill Clinton years from a perch at the American
Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. On such shows as MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews and CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, Perle
advocates taking our fight against Osama bin Laden to the next level and using
American military power to overthrow Saddam Hussein. And if the president's
recent comments are any indication, his media blitz is having an effect. Politics
Had November 7 put an end to this year's campaign frenzy as election days normally do, political analysts would now be focusing much more attention on the Republicans' unexpectedly strong showing in the House--and on the man who has as solid a claim as any to credit for that outcome: John McCain. Throughout the fall, the Arizona senator crisscrossed the country in support of some 50 Republican congressional candidates, using campaign appearances to douse candidates with much-needed free media, headlining fundraisers (no soft-money fundraisers, thank you), and cutting commercials for radio and TV.
By custom, vice presidential candidates get the nod because they appeal to some highly sought-after constituency. Perhaps it's a state rich in electoral votes. A prized ethnic group. Or maybe just the right or left wing of the party. Look diligently enough, though, and you'll almost certainly strike upon some group the nominee was trying to propitiate. Seemingly, it appears Al Gore ignored this rule in picking Joe Lieberman. But that's only because Gore was reaching out to a constituency you might not have thought of--that maddeningly small, but terribly important, constituency called the Washington press corps.
A decade ago, if someone had told the president of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), Al From, that Al Gore would be heading up the Democratic ticket in the year 2000, he would have thought the DLC millennium had truly arrived. Today, though, it's not so clear. Gore's support for free trade, welfare reform, and what some consider balanced-budget fetishism makes him seem like a DLC-style New Democrat. But some in the DLC are not so sure; and perhaps with good reason.
It's easy to overlook how much the second Clinton-Gore administration, even in its more centrist moments, has already departed from DLC orthodoxies. Consider a few examples: