The President’s job

By Jeffrey Gross

Upon reading Lee Feder’s column “Problems for the next president,” (Mar 6) I came across several statements which I feel express a completely inaccurate representation of our political system.

First, I believe that he underestimates the general conservatism of the country. He claims that Republican candidates are “too conservative for the country.” Is he aware that, given that only those who vote have a right to a representative stake in the political system (you cannot be a part of and criticize something that you do not participate in), the country that he speaks of has now elected a conservative candidate in five of the past seven elections, only one of which had a disparity between the popular and electoral vote? Additionally, and this is important to note, in the 1992 election, it is widely accepted that there were considerably more conservative votes cast than those in favor of the Democrats (let alone any liberal organization). Clinton did not have more national support in this election; it was Ross Perot, who ran on a conservative platform, that was the intervening factor. It was Perot, not Clinton, who was able to successfully deter enough Republican votes with his radical ideas in order to cause Bush Sr.’s to lose the ’92 election. That said, “the popular vote” too in five of the last seven elections has favored conservative candidates – candidates who fall under the common definition of “very conservative.”

Secondly, to his implications that Clinton was one of “the top ten presidents,” I say this: public opinion on “good politics” are commonly accepted to be ignorant (how many justices of the supreme court can the average person name?). These public polls more accurately represent which presidents “looked better on TV” or were “nicer to cats.” Why else would JFK, one of the country’s worst political policy presidents (both domestically and internationally), constantly top these kinds of lists? Clinton’s poor foreign policies towards Rwanda, Haiti and Somalia (to name just a few) only escalated the trend of international bitterness towards US foreign politics. If you wish to analyze Al Gore’s potential as a president in this global society via transitive properties, let’s just point out that Clinton was not the best foreign leader to be taking advice from. Finally, to the allegations you make about the moral decrepitude of Republican candidates – of which I question why you target Giuliani (an ex-Democrat, by the way); Clinton, who you praise in your article, cheated on his wife too – I say this: At least George W. Bush wasn’t too busy getting a blow job from members of his staff to respond to various international political crises.

Jeffrey Gross

sophomore in LAS