Do They Mean What They Say?
Bush uses such slogans as "Prosperity with a Purpose" and
"Compassionate Conservative" to distance his campaign from the
hard edge of Bob Dole and the anger of Pat Buchanan. But do his
and Cheney's records match the kinder, gentler rhetoric?
It's hard to find a Bush photo shot without minorities in the
background. Last month Bush said apologetically to the
N.A.A.C.P., "The party of Lincoln has not always carried the
mantle of Lincoln."
BUSH He pledges "strong civil rights enforcement" but studiously
avoids issues that matter most to minorities-- police brutality,
racial profiling, affirmative action, the death penalty.
CHENEY In Congress he voted against the Equal Rights Amendment,
and he opposed sanctions against South Africa, using federal
funds to pay for busing and strengthening fair-housing laws.
"Every low-income working family in America must have access to
basic health insurance--for themselves and for their children,"
says Bush. He boasts that Texas was first to let patients sue
BUSH In Texas he opposed expanding the Children's Health
Insurance Program. He fought the Patients' Bill of Rights. His
federal plan will cover less than half the insurance costs for
most poor families.
CHENEY In Congress he voted to cut Medicare spending, and he
opposed grants to states to fund insurance for the unemployed.
He says he is considering supporting Medicare drug benefits.
It's America's "solemn pledge to edu-cate every child," says
Bush. Citing the 51% increase in kids' passing Texas' test
during his tenure, Bush says he has the record to start an
BUSH The Texas test scores are Bush's best claim to results. His
federal plan is tough on standards (schools that fail lose funds
to vouchers) but limited on resources: only $13.5 billion over
CHENEY His record here is consistent: keep the Feds out of
schools. He voted against creating the Department of Education,
and he opposed funding student loans, adult education and Head
Bush says a goal of his $1.3 trillion tax cut is to "ensure the
American dream touches every willing heart ... the greatest help
for those most in need." And he says he can do it using only 25%
of the surplus.
BUSH Millions will no longer pay income tax under Bush's plan,
but more than 60% of the cut goes to the richest 10% of
Americans, only 10% to the poorest 60%. His figures on the
plan's costs may be low.
CHENEY He defends his record in Congress as an effort to
control spending. He voted to contain the costs of social
programs but in favor of most weapons systems. He supported a
"This President will save Social Security," says Bush about
himself. Future payouts will increase, he claims, by letting
people invest part of their payroll taxes, so "even low-income
workers" can "build wealth."
BUSH His plan could worsen the system's long-term deficit by
diverting funds into private accounts. This could mean either
benefits cuts or higher taxes; Bush is hoping high stock yields
soften the blow.
CHENEY His record shows a desire to contain the program's costs.
He voted to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67 after the
year 2000 and to limit the annual cost of living adjustments.
In April, Bush became the first presumptive Republican nominee
to meet with a group of gay Republicans. He said it made him a
"better person." He later added, "I welcome gay Americans into
BUSH While the Log Cabin Republicans credit Bush for "reaching
out," he opposes hate-crime laws, gay marriage and gay adoption,
and has defended Texas' sodomy statute.
CHENEY In Congress he voted against a federal hate-crimes bill
and funding for AIDS counseling and testing, and in favor of
cutting AIDS research. He has defended the military's ban on
Bush speaks of "our calling as stewards of the earth" and
believes "prosperity is meaningless without a healthy
environment." He boasts that Texas is No. 1 in the U.S. in
reducing toxic pollution.
BUSH Critical of Washington's history of "mandate, regulate and
litigate," Bush says voluntary cleanup may be best. In Texas, one
of the most polluted states, he let oil and gas write an
CHENEY He has opposed funding the Safe Drinking Water Act, the
Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. He has supported
Wyoming wilderness, but also drilling in the Arctic Wildlife
Bush points out that he is willing to buck the N.R.A. He supports
background checks at gun shows, the ban on automatic weapons and
increasing the minimum age for owning a handgun from 18 to 21.
BUSH In Texas, Bush made it legal to carry concealed weapons and
illegal for cities to sue gunmakers. He believes tougher
enforcement of existing laws is better than increased regulation.
CHENEY In Congress he was a staunch critic of gun laws: he
opposed the seven-day waiting period to buy handguns and the
bans on "cop-killer" bullets and imports of plastic "terrorist"