Keywords: Bob Dole, Bob Dole, Bob Dole, Republican, Republican, Party, Election, Politics, President, Congress
Bob Dole defines himself by what he can block.
Bob Dole may be making a tactical error by defining Bob Dole's candidacy by what Bob Dole can obstruct rather than what Bob Dole can accomplish. By obstructing issues that are popular wit Democrats and Republicans, such as minimum wage and portable health care insurance, Bob Dole is not only hurting Bob Dole electability, but Bob Dole is dragging the Republican party down with him. This might not only cost Bob Dole the election, but may cost the Republicans their majorities in the House and Senate.
To attempt to make Bob Dole look more presidential and more like a leader, the Republicans are trying to go along with him as he uses the Senate floor as his campaign platform. But it's an artificial relationship because Bob Dole isn't, nor has he ever been, a leader in the Republican party. Bob Dole isn't someone who comes up with new ideas. Like George Bush, Bob Dole doesn't have the "vision thing". And when Bob Dole appears in public with Republicans like Newt Gingrich or John Kasich, Bob Dole looks like a tired old fool.
The question is, what is the best strategy for the Republican party? Several Republican strategists like William Krystal and Bill Bennet have openly expressed concern about Bob Dole's chances of winning are are very concerned when they see Bob Dole making stupid mistakes that he will suck the Republican party down with him.
In 1992 the voters decided to prune the dead wood out of government and voted out the incumbent president. In 1994 they pruned the dead wood out of the Democratic party. Now they are going to prune the Republicans and the presumed leader of the Republicans is dead wood.
Like when a tree is pruned you cut back some good wood as well. But you don't want to be standing with the dead wood when the pruning begins. That's why the sharp Republicans are moving away from Bob Dole.
How Bob Dole blocks legislation
Bob Dole as Senate Majority Leader is in a unique position to block legislation he doesn't like. One method is that he can prevent an issue from being voted on. In this situation, if every member of Congress and the Senate wants to pass a bill except Bob Dole, he can by himself keep the country from getting it. For example, Bob Dole held up the Kassenbaum Kennedy bill for months, A very popular bill allowing people to take their health care insurance with them when they change jobs.
When the bill came up for a vote, Bob Dole attached an amendment to it for medical savings accounts that would have poisoned the legislation. Nancy Kassenbaum, the other Republican senator from Kansas opposed it and with a group of Republican defectors, managed to strip off Bob Dole's amendment. The legislation then came up for a vote and passed unaminously.
Now Bob Dole wants to put the poison back in the bill in the conference committee so that President Clinton will have to veto it and Bob Dole can claim that it's Clinton's fault. But since bill passed unaminously by both Republicans and Democrats, and is very popular with the voters, it just isn't smart for Bob Dole to screw it up just to make a political point that no one is going to believe. It puts the Republican party in the awkward position of having to pressure their own candidate into not being stupid. Sometimes Republican want to be able to take credit for doing the right thing.
Taking inconsistent stands
Another serious flaw in Bob Dole's strategy is his rediculus and inconsistent stands on issues that he himself doesn't believe in. This not only makes Bob Dole look like an idiot, but it's insulting that he thinks we're dumb enough to buy it. And it puts the Republican party in the embarrassing position of having to choose between joining Bob Dole and look stupid with him, or to oppose Bob Dole and sacrifice party unity.
However, Bob Dole is making his stand to obstruct it as a way to showcase his "principles". But does it when it's a matter of public record that he supported and voted for several increases in the minimum wage in the past. Where were his principles then?