By: Kuppuswami Girijashanker
Democracy at Work: The Differences Between Our Political Parties America is a land of very diverse people from all parts of the world. They all have wide varieties of interests, which are represented by both parties of its political system. The Democrats and Republicans represent two different standpoints; although they concentrate on the same issues both of them have different views on how the issues should be addressed. Two presidential campaigns in which the parties candidates differed on the issues are that of 1988 and 1996. Democracy only works when the people who represent the masses differ on the issues, so that to protect our freedom and the parties of our political system are the best representation of this ideology. The campaign of 1988 was the first time in two decades that neither opponent was an incumbent. This campaign was bound to be different from the 1984 campaign because unemployment and recession had gone down so much. But there still existed problems of deficit, growing poverty and increased foreign competition. Now the problem most frequently mentioned as most important in mid 1988 was drugs, and also with increasing concern about morality and crime. If the two candidates, Republican George Bush or Democrat Michael Dukakis, were to win the election they need to address these issues. Much of the 1988 Bush campaign was about the difference of ideologies between Bush and Dukakis. Bush intended to campaign around education, crime and the environment, but his no new taxes pledge severely restricted proposing new programs. In the first Bush Dukakis debate on PBS hosted by Jim Lehrer, the first question that was brought up was the problem with drugs in America at the time period. Mr. Bush believed that there had been a deterioration of values and schools need to instill good moral discipline into the school children. we’ve got to do a lot better on education, and we have to do, be tougher on those who commit crimes. But Mr. Dukakis felt that values must be reflected by political leaders themselves to set as an example for the children. He goes on by saying that government should send good messages to young people and its better to advocates early drug education programs and create a good environment in the schools. Another issue with differing viewpoints was that on the federal deficit. Mr. Dukakis believes that there should be less spending on defense system, which we can afford or need. He also says investment in economic growth will expand the revenue and bring down the deficit and finally he believes his programs will get many people out of welfare and become productive citizens, which would save millions of dollars. Mr. Bush refutes his argument with his so called flexible freeze. He believes this program is going to increase revenues to the federal government, and it’s going to create jobs. He supports his argument by saying that John Kennedy had advocated this program and so had Paul Tsongas, a Senator from Massachusetts, and it does not cost the government any money. One of the most important question that politicians have been arguing about since its establishment after the Depression is Medicaid. Mr. Bush tended to see Medicaid as a big financial bill for the government. But we’ve got to keep going forward without killing off the engine and throwing people out of work. Mr. Dukakis was appalled at his answer, and answered with a more appealing one. He thought that Medicare is too expensive of a thing to be bought by the poor or even the middle class families. And I think it’s time that when you got a job in this country it came with health insurance Homelessness was another important issue both candidates addressed. Mr. Bush felt that a McKinney Act will take care of the problem. He hopes that a great deal of funding goes into this ever lingering problem and hopes Congress will fully fund the bill. Mr. Dukakis once more had a differing view to Mr. Bush. Mr. Dukakis believes that rehabilitating and building new housing for low-income families is the best way. He thinks the McKinney bill simply wont do and it’s going to take a president who’s committed to housing, who’s had experience in building and rehabilitating housing, who understands that affordable housing for families of low and moderate income, for young families, first time home buyers, is an essential part of the American dream. Two major issues both candidates disagreed on were the death penalty and abortion. Mr. Dukakis says that its unjust to take a man s life and we need to find ways to rehabilitate the person, so he may once more lead a normal life. But he also says, although he dislikes abortion, I think it has to be the woman, in the exercise of her own conscience and religious beliefs, that makes that decision. Mr. Bush later clearly states that he s for the death penalty because he s not going to let a man live who comes intoxicated and kills a police officer. Mr. Bush also points out that he is against abortion. He thinks that instead of killing millions of babies, they should be given to families who will give them the love they deserve. I’m for the sanctity of life, and once that illegality is established, then we can come to grips with the penalty side, and of course there’s got to be some penalties to enforce the law, whatever they may be. Another major debate was an environmentalist issue. Mr. Bush says very clearly that he s for clean water. He says he s an environmentalist and is for clean parks. But Mr. Dukakis lashes against him by saying that it was because of him that Boston harbor was polluted for four years and he did everything to kill the clean water act. The final major issue that was discussed in the debate was foreign policy. Mr. Dukakis states I think that’s one reason why we need fresh leadership in the White House that can make progress now in bringing peace to the Middle East. Let’s go to work and end this fiasco in Central America, a failed policy that has actually increased Cuban and Soviet influence. We want to work with them and build a new relationship, and they with us And we’ve got to work with them if we are going to create an environment for human rights and democracy for the people of this hemisphere, and go to work on our single most important problem, and that is the avalanche of drugs that is poring into our country and virtually destroying those countries. Those are the kinds of priorities for national security and for foreign policy that I want to pursue – Mr. Bush and I have major differences on these issues – and I hope very much to be president and pursue them. Mr. Bush then states In terms of regional tensions, we have now gotten the attention of the Soviet Union. And the reason we’ve gotten it is because they see us now as unwilling to make the very kinds of unilateral cuts that have been called for and to go for the discredited freeze. My opponent had trouble, criticized us, on our policy in Angola. It now looks, because of steady negotiation, that we may have an agreement that will remove the Cubans from Angola. We see the Russians coming out of Afghanistan. That wouldn’t have stopped if we hadn’t been willing – wouldn’t have even started, the Soviets coming out, if we hadn’t even been willing to support the freedom fighters there. And the policy in Central America, regrettably, has failed because the Congress has been unwilling to support those who have been fighting for freedom. It was possible for both sides to win the election. The Dukakis strategy called for emphasizing that the Governor was on the side of the average citizen, stressing concern about America s economic future, contrasting the character and leadership potential of the candidates. The Bush strategy was based on building the Vice Presidential character in his own right, increasing negative perceptions of Governor Dukakis, and controlling the agenda. Bush and Dukakis both had different interests and different issues, and that s why we have two political parties, or we would just have one. Although Bush eventually won, this campaign showed that it takes more than professional thinking to win, you need charisma and character as exhibited by President George Bush. Another election that of 1996 also gave the people of the US a wide variety of choices in political ideas and thinking. The incumbent, Democrat President Clinton and his opponent of the Republicans clash is the most modern election the nation has ever seen. In the first televised debate of 1996 aired on PBS in the News Hour with Jim Lehrer. A Balanced budget had been a problem for both parties. Last term, after many years of Republican foul ups and after Republicans had quadrupled the deficit, Mr. Clinton stepped in, and had cut deficit, expanded trade and invested in the people. For the next term, Mr. Clinton says he will try to balance the budget and still preserve Medicare and Medicaid. my balanced budget plan adds 10 years to the life of the Medicare trust fund. Ten years. And we’ll have time to deal with the long-term problems of the baby boomers. Mr. Dole and the Republicans say that Medicare is becoming bankrupt and despite repeated Republican efforts to work with his administration to save Medicare, his response has been a barrage of propaganda. We propose to allow unprecedented patient choice in Medicare, so that older Americans can select health care arrangements that work best for them, including provider-sponsored organizations offering quality care with strong consumer protections. Crime also played a part in the debate. Mr. Dole is proposing a plan in which computer systems won t allow criminals access to any guns. He calls it the instant check; when you walk in the store and slide the card down the computer, it will not let you access any guns. Mr. Dole says the Democrats Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons Ban has not brought many prosecution or ban a lot of guns, and further more his method would be better. But Mr. Clinton says, the Brady Bill has kept at least 60,000 felons, fugitives and stalkers from getting handguns. Senator Dole led the fight against the Brady bill. He tried to keep it from coming to my desk. He didn’t succeed, and I signed it, and I’m glad I did. Foreign policy was a major issue on debate during the election. Clinton, before he took office, Haiti was governed by a dictator, and the worst war was waging on Bosnia. But there are democratic elections in Haiti, and peace in Bosnia. We made progress in Northern Ireland and the Middle East. We’ve also stood up to the new threats of terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, organized crime, and we have worked hard to expand America’s economic presence around the world with the biggest increase in trade with the largest number of new trade agreements in history. Over the past four years, the Administration has undertaken the most successful restructuring of our military forces in history. Even as the size of our forces has decreased, their capabilities, readiness and qualitative edge have increased. The Republicans believe that their foreign strength lies in that of NATO to ensure peace to the nations of the world. As Bob Dole said, “It is an outrage that the patriots who threw off the chains of Soviet bondage have been told by Bill Clinton that they must wait to join the NATO alliance.” The Republicans also say the Bill Clinton broke his promise to lift the illegal arms embargo on Bosnia, and with only the help of Bob Dole it was possible. Environment also played a disagreeable role in 1996. The Republicans who supported the Safe Water Drinking Act which provided clean water to local communities. But Clintons s disagreed and funded other projects instead. The Republicans claim they have always advocated conserving the animals and plants, but the endangered species act is flawed. We will improve the ESA by implementing an incentive-based program in cooperation with State, local, and tribal governments and private individuals to recognize the critical relationship between a healthy environment and a healthy economy founded on private property rights and responsibilities. After years in which Republicans neglected the global environment, the Democrats claim the Clinton Administration has made America a leader in the fight to meet environmental challenges that transcend national borders and require global cooperation. The Clinton-Gore Administration led the world in calling for a global ban on ocean dumping of low-level radioactive waste and for a legally binding treaty to phase out persistent organic pollutants such as DDT and PCBs. The Democrats will seek to a strong international agreement to regulate greenhouse gases to prevent the depletion of the ozone layer. At home, Democrats claim to know that sound economic development means sound environmental protection. Finally, one of the most important issues of debate is education. The Democratic Party believes that students not only need to learn, they need to learn good character, values and responsibilities. When Dole advocated cutting funds for the school safety funding and the lunch program, the democrats and Clinton went after him and stopped him cold. . We must help schools set the highest standards for good behavior and discipline in our schools. Children cannot learn — and teachers cannot teach — without order in the classroom. The Republicans believe that Clinton spends federal money on wrong things. He should be focusing on giving scholarships to poor children. Besides education depends on the family and the community, not the federal government. So that is why we will abolish the Department of Education, end federal meddling in our schools, and promote family choice at all levels of learning. We therefore call for prompt repeal of the Goals 2000 program and the School-To-Work Act of 1994, which put new federal controls, as well as unfounded mandates, on the States. Both the presidential campaign of1988 and 1996 tend to promote democracy in our nation. The political parties attack each other on the mistakes each other makes so that to protect our freedom, or they won t receive our votes. Although they address the same issues, their methodology and ways of advocating them are different. The different values and ideas they represent truly make them a symbol of American Democracy.
Democratic National Convention, 1996 Democratic National Platform. http://www.perkel.com/congress/platform.htm The website provided me with information on what the Democratic issues were and how they wanted to accomplish them. Kessel, John H. Presidential Campaign Politics. Pacific Grove, CA.: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company, 1992. Chapter eight of this book gives information on the debate between Bush and Dukakis as they campaigned for the presidency and key statements that provided clues to their policy on different issues. Lehrer, Jim. Presidential Candidates in First Presidential Debate: October 6, 1996. http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1996/debates/transcripts, PBS, 1996 The website gave me information the candidates actual stand on issues. Lehrer, Jim. The First Bush-Dukakis Debate: September 25,1988 http://www.debates.org/Debates/bd1-88.htm, McNeil Lehrer News Hour, PBS, 1988. The website provided me with information on the issues Bush and Dukakis addressed in the 1988 campaign Pfiffner, James P. The Strategic Presidency: Hitting the Ground Running. Lawrence, Kansas.: University Press of Kansas, 1996. Chapter seven of this book provided information about the issues Vice President Bush in the campaign of 1988 and how Governor Dukakis attacked Bush s views to win the election. Republican National Convention, 1996 Republican platform. http://www.nytimes.com/specials/issues/ihome/bin/plat.cgi?comp= This website provided me with information on the Republican issues and how the Republicans hope to accomplish them. Shaw, Bernard. The Second Bush Dukakis Debate: October 13,1988 http://www.debates.org/Debates/bd2-88.htm, CNN, 1988. This website also provided me with information on the issues discussed by Mr. Bush and Dukakis in the election of 1988. Works Cited James P. Pfiffner, The Strategic Presidency: Hitting the Ground Running. (Lawrence, Kansas.: University Press of Kansas, 1996 ), p 228. 2 Lehrer, Jim. Presidential Candidates in First Presidential Debate: October 6, 1996. http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1996/debates/transcripts, (PBS, 1996.) p 2. 3 Lehrer, Jim. Presidential Candidates in First Presidential Debate: October 6, 1996. http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1996/debates/transcripts, (PBS, 1996.) p 3. 4 Lehrer, Jim. Presidential Candidates in First Presidential Debate: October 6, 1996. http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1996/debates/transcripts, (PBS, 1996.) p 6. 5 Lehrer, Jim. Presidential Candidates in First Presidential Debate: October 6, 1996. http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1996/debates/transcripts, (PBS, 1996.) p 9. 6 Lehrer, Jim. Presidential Candidates in First Presidential Debate: October 6, 1996. http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1996/debates/transcripts, (PBS, 1996.) p 9. 7 Lehrer, Jim. Presidential Candidates in First Presidential Debate: October 6, 1996. http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1996/debates/transcripts, (PBS, 1996.) p 17. 8 Lehrer, Jim. Presidential Candidates in First Presidential Debate: October 6, 1996. http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1996/debates/transcripts, (PBS, 1996.) p 20 9 Bernard, Shaw. The Second Bush Dukakis Debate: October 13,1988 http://www.debates.org/Debates/bd2-88.htm, (CNN, 1988.) p 41. 10 Bernard, Shaw. The Second Bush Dukakis Debate: October 13,1988 http://www.debates.org/Debates/bd2-88.htm, CNN, 1988. p 42. 11 John H. Kessel. Presidential Campaign Politics. Pacific Grove, CA.: (Brooks/Cole Publishing Company, 1992), p 252. 12 John H. Kessel. Presidential Campaign Politics. Pacific Grove, CA.: (Brooks/Cole Publishing Company, 1992), p 252. 13 Jim, Lehrer Presidential Candidates in First Presidential Debate: October 6, 1996. http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1996/debates/transcripts, (PBS, 1996.) p 3. 14 Republican National Convention, 1996 Republican platform. http://www.nytimes.com/specials/issues/ihome/bin/plat.cgi?comp= p. 58 15 Jim, Lehrer Presidential Candidates in First Presidential Debate: October 6, 1996. http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1996/debates/transcripts, (PBS, 1996.) p 8. 16 Jim, Lehrer Presidential Candidates in First Presidential Debate: October 6, 1996. http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1996/debates/transcripts, (PBS, 1996.) p 8. 17 Democratic National Convention, 1996 Democratic National Platform. http://www.perkel.com/congress/platform.htm, p 46 18 Republican National Convention, 1996 Republican platform. http://www.nytimes.com/specials/issues/ihome/bin/plat.cgi?comp=, p 69 19 Republican National Convention, 1996 Republican platform. http://www.nytimes.com/specials/issues/ihome/bin/plat.cgi?comp=, p 63 20 Republican National Convention, 1996 Republican platform. http://www.nytimes.com/specials/issues/ihome/bin/plat.cgi?comp=, p 28 21 Republican National Convention, 1996 Republican platform. http://www.nytimes.com/specials/issues/ihome/bin/plat.cgi?comp=, p 55