European Stars And Stripes Newspaper Archives Dec 23 1999, Page 13

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European Stars and Stripes (Newspaper) - December 23, 1999, Darmstadt, HesseThursday december 23, 1999 stars and stripes Page 13 Many candidates missing voters concerns David Broder presidential candidates use the primary season debates to Sharpen their skills for the general election. Voters use those same debates to get sense of who these people Are and what they intend to do if that the full Fields of republicans and democrats both have debated among themselves three times some things Are becoming the Republican Side skill in debate correlates very badly with likelihood of nomination. The most effective debaters Are three men with Only the remotest chances of winning Gary Bauer Alan Keyes and Orrin Hatch. Steve Forbes and George w. Bush look ill at ease. And while the camera loves John Mccain s visage he is voluble on Only three topics National Secu Rity Campaign finance Reform and for the democrats Al Gore has shown himself More aggressive than Bill Bradley and More determined to press Home his Points. But he risks looking like a $400-an-hour corporate lawyer Cross examining Huck finn he does t know when to let significant than the comparative ratings within each Field is the stunning contrast Between the Agen Das of the two parties displayed in these debates. As a Rule the White House is won by the candidate most Vot ers judge Likely to act on the matters that most concern Clinton did not defeat president Bush in 1992 because people thought him a More admirable human being. The Little known governor of Arkansas won by convincing people he would focus on the challenges of the Domestic Economy. Thus far to put it bluntly the democrats Are talking about the things most voters care about republicans Are not. In october the Washington Post polled Large numbers of people and sent me and other reporters out to talk to voters in their Homes in an intensive Effort to discern what concerns were uppermost As the Campaign began. The worries that dominated the list entered heavily on health care and schools patients rights prescription drugs health insurance education Quality the Cost of College school safety. Taxes were Well Down the list. No foreign policy Issue made the top 10.through a combination of Luck and design Bradley and Gore have used their debates to Lay out their views on the voters top is sues. The message has been we care about the same things you do. In two of their three debates the questions have come from voters and no Surprise health car and education have been the most frequent topics. In their third debate on last sunday s meet the press Moderator Tim Russert de voted almost two thirds of the time to education medicare and social Security before swinging off to Campaign finance Reform the Linton record and . Military contrast when i reviewed the transcripts of the three Republican debates they confirmed my sense As a Spectator that the Candi dates had been largely off Mes Sage. The topics that have taken most time Are tax cuts and foreign policy both far Down the list of voter concerns. Bauer and Keyes have pressed divisive social issues such As abortion and school prayer and the Field has spent More time on internet taxation and Regula Tion ethanol subsidies and farm problems than on drug costs or social debated in the farm state of Iowa democrats did not. Republicans have been questioned by to anchors not voters. But even when they have had a Chance to ask each other questions the topics have been All the republicans Bush seems most aware of what is on the voters minds and he talks about schools and social Security along with defense and taxes when he and a of its Ai pact people 4$ or the political no. Look tm6 card ju5t done t a Ber sware of file Motev 7m�n All that " ref Ofira c it would Wrt republicam5. q i describes his own Agenda. But Bush has Little to say on health care and his chief rival Mccain is cursory to put it politely on both education and health care subjects which have never been part of his Senate Agenda. Forbes has advanced proposals in both areas but has yet to demonstrate the capacity to sell them. Given the meager record of the Republican Congress on the main Domestic issues the Republican presidential candidates can ill afford to shortchange these topics. They Are making it awfully easy for Bradley and Gore to capture the voters attention the first step toward winning their support. Washington Post writers group laser surgery is. The intimate Comfort of myopia by Gene Weingarten the Washington Post he hottest thing in consumer Medicine right now is laser Eye surgery. The ads Are everywhere. There Are clinics in shopping malls. You d have to be Blind not to notice. Because i m nearsighted i m the Type of person who is supposed to Benefit the most from this procedure. But i m waver ing about whether to do it and not for the obvious reason. I m not squeamish. It s just that i like being nearsighted. Or at least i like the option of being nearsighted. I want Eye glasses so i can take them laser Eye surgery usually eliminates the need for glasses or Contact lenses improving imperfect vision by slicing into your Cornea and reshaping say this procedure has be come much safer since the 1970s, when russian doctors first performed it with and this is the truth Gillette Razo Blades. Now it s done with beams of Light that annihilate tissue i know this is an improvement but it still seems disturbing. It seems somehow a sort of superficial improvement Over something irredeemably suspect the Way lethal injection is an improvement Over the electric chair radio spots for laser Eye surgery must walk a slender Tightrope. On the one hand the Eye slice moguls emphasize their surgical skill implying that this is a Poten should t entrust your eyeballs to some thick fingered nitwit employed elsewhere. On the other hand being in a wildly competitive Market these clinics also tend to pitch themselves with All the dignity of ads for monster truck rallies. One clinic Bills itself As the exclusive laser Eye Center of the Washington another suggests eyeball surgery As the perfect Christmas gift hoho hold still now. The clinics ask you to sign consent forms As thick As a Tombstone. These documents detail everything that can go wrong with unnerving specificity. Here is an actual quote from one other reported complications include corneal ulcer formation endothelial cell loss loss of cell density in the inner layer the Cor Nea Ptosis droopy eyelid corneal swell ing Lens intolerance retinal detachment , As i said none of this bothers me much. I d do one Eye at a time so the worst that could happen is that i would lose sight in that one Only. With Only on Eye your greatest problem is depth perception which mostly leads to Amusin slapstick situations such As raising your Finger to signal a nearby waiter and Acci dentally picking his nose. No my problem is that i Don t hat being nearsighted. Without glasses even the seriously nearsighted person can Seewell up can read a newspaper though to onlookers it May seem i am Licking the Page. It s when i try to see at a distance that things get Dicey. From my head to a computer screen things Are a Little Blurry. Farther away the world becomes a strange Gauzy mys Tery. A benign homogenization takes place what s that out there a Man a cow a Chevy s-10 Blazer no Way to be sure who cares this is the Beauty of nearsightedness. The world shrinks to manageable size. Things become cozy. Only the nearsighted can understand the comforting intimacy of their affliction. Only the nearsighted can remove their glasses and be suddenly profoundly alone with the Book they Are Reading or the person they Are Loving. At night Street lamps take on a warm convivial glow with a scalloped crystalline Halo. You Are living in a painting by Van Gogh. The artistic advantage of nearsighted Ness first occurred to me 20 years ago while i Lay on the floor of a Cabin at a Little inn in Vermont on a cold Winter night. Inches before me was a Glass of Claret its Stem sunk deep into the russet pile of the carpet. The Orange flush of a roaring fire was dancing on the belly of the Glass. It was Beautiful and it was All i saw clearly. I had removed my glasses. The rest of the room was a warm blur. I Felt alone in an elegant old photograph a tintype with softened could t see anything to mar the ele Gance of the scene. I could t see the Tacky furniture. I could t see the unmade bed. I could t see the pizza Box with the ruins of dinner. My world was a Blissful distortion of contemplated my great Good i j

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