What I Saw at the GOP Convention
by Gary Aldrich - Volume 1 Issue 21 August 7, 2000
For more than seven years Iíve spent most of my professional time attempting to solve "the case of the missing ethics." Or, the missing honesty, or the civility, or decency, and integrity, or kindness - all those things missing from the current White House.
Also missing were the safeguards for the protection of our national security, and I have a firm belief that you canít have the one without the others.
I was invited up to the GOP Convention, and I agreed to go, knowing full well that those of us who had a large or small part of Clintonís Impeachment would be as welcome as ants are at a picnic. But I wanted to see what kinds of people George W. Bush and Richard Cheney would have as their associates and friends. I reasoned that many of the same people I saw at the convention would end up in a Bush/Cheney White House.
I arrived at the convention on Monday and went right to the media tents set up for those of us who didnít have anything to do with the actual work of the convention. I learned that access was much harder to get than access to the Clinton White House. Only those with the coveted yellow floor passes were given the best access. I finally knew how it felt to be denied access, and frankly I was envious of those who could come and go from the more secure areas by a wave of that magic yellow card.
For the next four days I met with dozens and dozens of good citizens from around the country, who were attending the convention in one capacity or another. Meanwhile I appeared on many national radio shows to report what I saw and what my impressions of these people were, and frankly, I was impressed.
Before and after each dayís action being held at the convention site, I attended several related social events around Philadelphia. And there, many of the Bush and Cheney campaign staff mingled with the rest of the convention goers, enjoying the fellowship and a break from the stress and intensity of what was a very well organized, well managed convention - some say the best convention since 1984.
I listened to the speeches, and closely to the ones given by former Secretary Cheney and Governor Bush and they said pretty much what I expected they would say. There were no real surprises - I had seen Secretary Cheney before, when he was a major force in the Bush Administration. I knew many that worked for him at the Department of Defense. Uniformly he was liked very much by those in the military, and when he said to those same people, "Help is on the way," I knew exactly what he was trying to say. He knows that todayís US military under Clinton and Gore has never had it so bad, unless you count Jimmy Carterís days in the White House, and who wants to remember that?
Everyone agreed that George Bush looked presidential. Many said that his speech was magnificent. I believe major portions of it will be quoted regularly and the speech will be remembered for its power, grace, and humility. I think his speech was very clever for its many obvious invitations to read between the lines.
In fact, there is no need to speak of the many Clinton/Gore blunders and outrages - there are so many and they will be so hard to forget. Likewise, there is no point to showcasing one, or even hundreds of individuals who worked night and day to bring Bill Clinton to some kind of justice, although the heart wants to thank them very much for their sacrifices. Many who labored to bring Clinton to court, now find themselves in tough reelection circumstances.
But in the process of finding the truth, genuine heroes like Bob Barr and Henry Hyde shone a bright light of truth on Clinton and Gore that will forever cement a vision of stark corruption into the American conscience. That frightening vision cannot be erased by time or by the cleverest of spin-doctors or even by history revisionists, and each time we see Al Gore we will remember him on the South Lawn of the White House on Impeachment day, telling the world that Clinton will go down as the best president we ever had...
Gore is correct about one thing: Clinton will go down, but not soon enough.
As Congressman Barr put it so clearly to a reporter who asked why nobody was talking about the many Clinton-Gore scandals Barr said, "The die is cast. The Clinton/Gore legacy is made, so what else is there to say?" Barr nailed it.
Most agree with him. The problem we have has been discovered, then investigated, then well defined. Now all that is left to do is for us to solve "the problem." Part of the solution is to replace the current administration and thatís simply a product of time - the Constitution says so. But the more important question is, who will occupy the White House for the next four years?
I think I know. I was at the GOP Convention, and the people I met there were civil, polite, honest, decent, mature and all the things that Clinton/Gore are not. People are tired of the constant circus sideshow that this bunch has been. One friend said, "Decent folk cannot stand the thrill a minute, 24-hour a day porn show that the White House has become under Clinton/Gore." I think heís right.
The good folks I saw at the GOP convention were confident and determined, positive and optimistic. Those attitudes seem like a dynamite combination.
What else did I see at the GOP convention? I saw the future of this country in the balance, but I saw a vision that the American people would do the right thing. I still think this country is composed of mostly decent people.
Can Bush and Cheney address the many national security problems that would face them if indeed they win the election? In my next alert Iíll suggest how they can address these important and urgent tasks. Can a Gore Administration fix whatís wrong?
Youíll be the judge of that in November.