3 sides of the same coin

Welcome to Three Sides of the Same Coin! In this section of verbosity you get to serve as witness to a knock-down, drag-out verbal equivalent to a professional wrestling match. Each issue, our editors debate amongst themselves a new, ever-so-riveting topic. This month, you'll be treated to a debate over the upcoming election that's lurking just around the corner.

s i d e  1
To be honest, I don't like the looks of things this year. We're faced with a presidential election where, in my opinion, the options just aren't that good. There's no good guy and there's certainly no Gipper. So, who does a self-respecting college student vote for in a situation like this?

Basically (unless you're some sort of "radical" like Corey), you're faced with two primary entrees and a big-eared side dish in this election. As far as I'm concerned, the three of them have yet to impress any sort of view upon me during the campaigns that have swayed me solidly to their side. Therefore, I feel elimination is the only way to decide this race for me.

First of all, it's a waste of time and ballot to vote for Ross Perot. All you are doing by voting for Ross is voting against Bob Dole--not that this is a bad thing for all people. Actually, this is enough reason for some people to cast their Reform Party vote, but, we should all just realize that it's a lost cause! That guy from Arkansas stood a better chance in 1992 than Perot--wait, nevermind.

Okay, there's President Clinton. In the past four years under his administration, we've managed to keep things under control for the most part. There aren't any angry Canadians pushing in from the north and, the last time I checked, he hadn't legalized murder or soccer or anything. However, as much as I hate to see it enter an election, the character issue is just too many strikes against President Clinton in my book. He's simply got too much going on around him. Whether he knew what he was getting into with Whitewater, he still got into it--directly or indirectly. The nation crucified Nixon for a couple of misplaced files; what's to become of Clinton? I'm also sure we've all heard the commercials where Clinton admits he would inhale now if he could. I'm not saying that we shouldn't vote for the man just because he might have smoked pot at some point in time. However, I am saying we should think about casting our vote for someone who, as president, would make a comment as stupid as that.

That leaves us with Republican candidate Bob Dole. I admit, I like Bob Dole from what I've seen of the man. He seems to care about the nation and its future. Would he be a good president? I don't know; I'd like to think so. Would be be more upstanding that Bill Clinton? I don't know; he hasn't given us any reason to suspect he won't be yet. Is he too old for the job? That's a good question. It's also one we don't have an answer to.

I would have to uphold that casting my vote for Bob Dole is the only viable option I see in this election. When it boils down to it, I base this entirely on one factor: trust. I trust that Bob Dole will strive to do what's best for the country. Bill Clinton, on the other hand, has been spending that last four years undermining whatever trust he had with the American people. In my book, trust can become a very important thing.

Jess likes to talk about politics. It makes him happy.

s i d e  2
As the presidential elections come down to the wire this year, it can be said that the bureaucratic "games" will again leave America with a president who is, perhaps, not the best man for the job.

No, I'm not a staunch, fat-pocketed, Bible-thumping republican who is crying about the inevitable Bill Clinton re-election. As much as I respect Mr. Dole, I can't bring myself to vote for a candidate whose party amasses most of its funds from three notorious public interest groups, namely the tobacco lobby, the National Rifle Association (NRA), and the Christian Coalition. Ralph Reed doesn't give money to the GOP because three Christmas ghosts visit him in the middle of the night, and Joe Camel, while friendly to grade school children, doesn't freely toss around $1.3 million dollars in contributions to Newt and friends. The interest groups expect legislation and support for their (questionable?) causes. A Dole administration, backed by the likely republican legislature, would end up (only slightly hyperbolized) with chain-smoking Baptists forcing mass conversions at gunpoint on the doorsteps of America -- or the steps of the Supreme Court.

On the other hand, I don't particularly like the idea of a Clinton re-election. First, with the ethical questions -- and later convictions -- raised during his administration, his has become second only the highly Reagan-involved Iran-Contra affair, in terms of criminal investigation. Whitewater, while probably greatly oversensationalized by republicans in Congress, still casts a cloud of doubt for me, and only Gennifer Flowers knows the true "moral edge" of the man. However, the ethical issue is far overshadowed by the picture of a Denny's Grand Slam breakfast that I see when I look at the Mr. Clinton's first(!) four years -- He's a walking Waffle House waiting to happen. A Texan legislator once compared Clinton to Emmitt Smith: he fakes to the right, then runs left... or was it vice-versa? As it stands, Clinton's political record has been mediocre at best, but his PR has been superb, and most likely has saved him.

So what is one to do? Voting for a third party (not neccessarily Ross Perot's circus) is an option. The purpose of an election is not to force one party or another out of office, it is, in all reality, designed as a peaceful revolt, with a turnover in power, as noted the in political principles set forth by John Locke. The candidate you vote for may not win the election, but your statement does and will send a message to those who are elected. However, many feel that this is still not effective enough, blatantly obvious by the relatively small percentage of Americans who have voted in recent elections. Perhaps a more pleasant choice would be to have a NONE OF THE ABOVE option -- give anyone 75 million reasons to be displeased, and it's very likely that someone would get the message.

Corey is itching to see tripartisan legislation.

s i d e  3
The 1996 election is an incredible letdown after all my anticipation for it. I had hoped to see figures such as Dan Quayle, Colin Powell or Pete Wilson run. Unfortunately they all fizzed out early on. I was disenchanted with Colin Powell after studying some of his views, and Pete Wilson wasn't really the man I thought he was. Dan Quayle, however, remains one of my personal heroes. In a fair world, Mr. Quayle could have easily bested Clinton in an election. Unfortunately, this world is far from fair. With a media that thoroughly mocked Quayle and yet loves Clinton, it was all but impossible. Incidentally, the media voted overwhelmingly for him; 89% of the press said, "Yes! I want a womanizer, a socialist, and a draft dodger to lead the free world!" In 1992, I was almost a Clinton supporter. I thought he had some good ideas, and maybe he would do some good if elected. I also loved George Bush, so I felt it was a win-win situation. I wouldn't have really minded Perot, either. Four years later and four years wiser, my views have changed drastically.

Bill Clinton is mediocre at best. His presidency accomplished virtually nothing, and as our president he is a disgrace. My disagreements with him lie in his deceptive trickery as evidenced by his Whitewater dealings, his deplorable conduct in association with the White House Travel Office, and his flagrant abuse of authority as evidenced by the FBI file fiasco.

Most people don't understand exactly what the people were upset about with Whitewater. The fact was, the Clintons were bilking people out of money with the Whitewater development, then illegally shuffling that money around between the McDougall's Savings and Loan and Clinton's Gubernatorial campaign fund. The Clintons were making money off of the Whitewater development in a way that was barely legal. They would sell a plot of land to someone, but in tiny print in the contract was a hidden disclaimer. It stated that if the buyer ever defaulted by missing a payment, they would not only lose the land, but also all of the money they had already invested in it. A grain elevator operator in Texas bought a piece of land for his retirement, paid $3,000 deposit and made payments for 4 years. His land was almost paid for, but when he was involved in an accident and had to spend several months in the hospital he missed several payments for obvious reasons. That means that not only did he lose his claim to the land, but also the $15,000 he had paid on it. In this way the Clintons were able to sell the same piece of land several times over, mostly to older people planning for retirement. Strike one against Bill.

The travel office firings are another prime example of Bill's character. The Spoils system has been in place ever since the days of Andrew Jackson in 1828. It is commonplace and an accepted part of our political system; whether it is good or not is beside the point. What was definitely not good, however, was the way that the Clintons decided to clear out the White House Travel Office. Clinton could have given Billy Dale and the rest of the staff severance packages by asking them to resign or just outright removing them from the office. Apparently, though, that would have made him the 'bad guy.' Instead, Bill trumped up charges against him and got him arrested, which then gave him just cause to fire him and thus remain the 'good guy.' Of course, Mr. Dale was quickly cleared of the false charges and Congress voted to pay the $600,000 for his defense and court fees. That is $600,000 of our tax dollars that were wasted to put Clinton's friends in office. Strike two against Bill.

The final straw for me came with what the media has oh-so-creatively termed "Filegate." This evokes memories of Watergate, when Nixon had to resign because some of his associates had seen only two FBI files. After over nine hundred FBI files were discovered missing earlier this year, they mysteriously turned up in the White House living quarters. The oddest thing was that after Congress subpoenaed the files from the White House, Bill first claimed that the White House had them by mistake, that it was a bureaucratic mix-up and nothing more. After that, he proceeded to refuse to give them to Congress based on 'Executive Privilege,' which means that it was a matter of national security. If it was an honest mistake by some peon and they were there by mistake, why didn't he turn them over to Congress? Part of the public outcry regarding Watergate was that the White House admitted that it had an 'enemies list.' Oddly enough, the 'bureaucratic snafu' that landed the files in the White House had only 'snafued' the files of high ranking Republicans...almost as if the White House was compiling...an enemies list. Hrm...Strike three against Bill. In my opinion, he's out.

Granted, no president is perfect; Reagan had the Iran-Contra affair, Nixon had Watergate, and countless presidents have had mistresses. But my dislike for Bill Clinton runs deep. It is based on these three reasons, as well as his waffling policies, his lying, adulterating and scheming. He told Congress to give him a Welfare reform bill, then he vetoed two of them. He finally signed the third bill because he had no choice. After he signed it though, he pledged to make 'significant changes' to it if re-elected. Sadly enough, it looks as though he will be re-elected. Bob Dole stated it best when he asked, "Where is the outrage?" in reference to the American public ignoring or glossing over Clinton's illegal dealings. In the 1970s there was such a public outcry against Nixon that he was forced to resign to avoid impeachment. The public should be calling for Clinton's head on a platter, but instead, they've decided to re-elect him. I know that Bob Dole isn't the best candidate in the world, but he is a good, decent and intelligent man, and would do us proud as our president. I voted for Mr. Dole, and I'm not ashamed of it. If only everyone would open their eyes and think for themselves, instead of voting for 'who looks better.' Campaigning for the presidency is nothing but a popularity contest, and Bill Clinton is the political equivalent of the starting quarterback.

Seth is disgusted by the America media. Of course, verbosity is technically part of the American media. D'oh!

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