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Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) - December 19, 2000, Altoona, Pennsylvania Page A8 Tuesday, December Altmma Ultmir opinion Edward W. Kruger Publishc, David M. Mentzer Sr. Operations Manager Daniel N. Slep Circulation Manager Raymond M. Eckenrode Mariaying Editor Don Watson Sales Manager John L. Eggers Accounling Manager Steven P. Carpenter Opinion Page Editor Don't sell Bush short as a leader Cox News Service AUSTIN, Texas As George W. Bush enters his first full week as president-elect, he lacks neither advice nor outside assess- ment. The punditocracy spent last week discussing, analyzing and handicapping the future of his presidency and isn't inclined to quit just yet. Members of Congress and every politi- cal consultant in a Washington producer's Rolodex have been interviewed. Television pundits have spent hour after hour inter- viewing their favorite subjects each other on what kind of job Bush will do. The conventional wisdom is that he must govern from the center Bush prepares unless you listen to the to lead countervailing conven- ______tional wisdom that he owes his soul to the far right wing of his party. How will Bush respond to the pressure? He'll do do just fine. The caricature of the clueless rube drawn by the opposition and the national press would lead the unsuspecting to believe that he's never been to town, as they say in West Texas. Well he's been to town. Texas is no Washington, D.C., but despite its enduring dumb cowpuncher stereotypes, the Lone Star State is a com- plicated, cosmopolitan and diverse society with an increasingly sophisticated urban economy. The state constitution limits the gover- nor's power; nonetheless, but modern Texas requires much of its chief executive as well as the Legislature. Even though the Legislature meets in regular session every two years, demands of the job keep mem- bers in Austin more often with interim committee meetings on issues ranging from redistricting to appropriations. As Texas has grown in population and economic complexity, the governor has become the state's No. 1 traveling salesman. Because of the North American Free Trade Agreement, Bush has needed to focus on the state's relationship with Mexico, and there he has done a superb job. Let the low expectations continue if critics feel they must hammer away at that theme. It will be OK with Bush. Throughout his political career, he's capi- talized on low expectations. He's been to town after all. He's no stranger to Washington and its complex aafl fractious ways. JjQNCKALL AROUNP, NO TOSUKAtt MAKIN' A H6 DEAL MR YOU TAKE I YOU'RE GOMNA MAKE IT AFTER ALL, YOU'RE GONNA MAKE IT AFTER ALL YOUR VIEW Protest School of Americas Nov. 18-19 marked the llth year of peaceful vigil and civil disobedience at Fort Benning, Ga., to protest American funding of the School of the Americas. This school trains soldiers of Latin America in techniques of torture and counter insurgency to use against the poor people in their countries, as well as the missionaries, teachers, students and others who travel to Latin America to give aid to the poor and oppressed. Despite the Army's attempt last spring to divert attention away from the issue by changing the name of the school and a nar- row margin of approval in Congress to support the school for another year, about people turned out to give voice to those who are unable to speak for them- selves. I was among the people arrested and served with a ban and bar order from Fort Benning. What was my crime? It is illegal to enter military property and express my opinion that rape, torture, disappearance and mur- der of civilians is against the moral code of God. Jesus taught us "Love thy neighbor as and the com- mandments instruct us, "Thou shall not kill." The Army keeps saying the problems are in the distant past and that the school is "advancing but again and again names of graduates surface amid charges listed above. While the people responsible for the Write a letter All letters must be original and include your full name, complete mail- Ing address and daytime telephone number for verification purposes. The Mirror will contact the writers of letters selected for publication to verify authorship. Letters of 300 words or less are pre- deaths and disappearances of countless numbers of women, children and men have never served one day in prison for their atrocities, 50 people have col- lectively served 30 years of prison time in acts of civil disobedience to bring this topic into public awareness. Please contact your members of the House and the Senate and tell them if you do not wish to have your tax dol- lars spent in this fashion. Elizabeth J. Enright, Bedford ferred. The Mirror reserves the right to edit or reject any letter. Submit your material by: E-mail: Mail: Altoona Mirror Letters P.O. Box 2008 Altoona, PA 16603 Fax: (814) 946-7540 In person: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday Let fur fly on domestic politics BY TOM TEEPEN Cox News Service There's a lot of happy-talk prattle going around to the effect that whichever of these fellows becomes president, he must reach out to the other side and create an admin- istration that will unify the country. Nuts to that. What this country real- ly needs is a good spell of down and dirty, ear-bitin', eye-gougin' politics. Without that, we're newer going to set- tle anything and will have to keep muddling along in a constant quibble over small matters. Oh, sure, where our large national interests are at stake in threats to national security, in matters of funda- mental economic soundness a work- ing measure of political cooperation will be essential. For the rest, let the fur fly. We're in this current mess in part because the presidential election avoid- ed any sharp debate over key issues. Both campaigns were engineered by consultants and driven by focus-group drivel. Neither had any larger purpose than to be elected. Every utterance was first market-tested. By the end, given his unfortunate knack for verbal prat- falls, George W. Bush was as pro- grammed as an electronic toy and Al Gore had become a political automa- ton. Did Bush have a big tax cut for everybody? Gore had tax cuts, too, smaller but targeted to the middle class. Would Gore see to it that seniors could afford their prescriptions through Medicare? Bush would look after the old folks' medicine cabinets, too, by subsidizing insurance compa- nies. Yet there are major issues untended in this country: How is federalism to work in an Internet age and a global era? How should the United States exercise its unique leadership in inter- national relations? Unlike other devel- oped nations, will we resign ourselves to another century of endemic domes- tic poverty amid plenty? Will we reform a skewed criminal justice sys- tern that is producing racial havoc? Do we mean it about environmentalism or will we just tug pretty pieties over wanton practices? Gore is holding his cards as close to the chest as sly W. C. Fields in that famous photograph, but Bush has been playing president-elect in public, so we have some tentative idea of what the great uniter may be up to. It is not, thank goodness, uniting. The Democrats being mentioned as possible Bush administration appointees are nearly all members of Congress and almost all of those are "blue dog" that is, conservative, usually southern Democrats whose districts would likely replace them with Republicans. The uniting the Bush camp has in mind, if it is serious about these names, is uniting around a more Republican Congress. Now, that's real politics. The prospect is promising in the Senate, too, which with a Bush victory would be split 50-50. Majority Leader Trent Lott has rejected Democratic pitches for even-Steven committees and co-chairs, and the GOP caucus passed up two moderates for mid-level leadership roles in favor of hard-right warriors. And with the House likely to be led as much by its hit-man whip, Tom DeLay, as by make-nice Speaker Dennis Hastert, there is little danger there of comity. Let the games begin. CUJ.H 1JL CHjLJ.UU.i3 VVCtJ O. ICUIUJUO f lUJLUgl Cipll, UUL UUOli 11OO UCCJt -LJCL U.1C gfUllCO UCgill. at 8: The Partridges don't live here anymore BY JULIE SALAMON show aimed directly at teen-agers and canceled, not because it offered overt sex- and the WB emerged as full-fledged r Times News Service which has drawn strong ratings with uality at 8 p.m. which it did but works and the Internet began invadi rwpnt ptiisodp of "Rnstnn youngsters and adults. Surely outrage was because audiences rejected the show's homes with blithe democratic disi imminent. retro soap opera story lines. gard for prudishness or modesty ore iJL fife ir wah a nice voung woman in the pub- Still, those who find themselves furtive- ial temperance of any kind. In d.UUlll iiic 111 I lit; II bLIlUUZ, oCOLL i ;j___t____i____L n__...T-: T-. ______a
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