WASHINGTON (Oct. 17)
Campaigning and governing are two very different processes. A political campaign is built of words — speeches, debates, slogans and ads. But a record in government is built of actions — policies chosen and implemented, reforms instituted, new programs launched.
In this year’s presidential race, the key choice for voters is between a man who campaigns well and a man who will govern well — or put another way, it’s a choice between words and actions.
Are promises more important, even though they are not fulfilled, or do we choose our leaders based on what they have actually accomplished? For Jewish voters in particular, the answer to that question is of vital importance, because our choice will have a tremendous impact on the issues of special concern to us.
As Election Day nears, it is worth looking back at the words and the actions of the men on the two presidential tickets.
As a candidate for president four years ago, Bill Clinton promised to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem; as president he refused to sign legislation to move the embassy. Under the Clinton administration, the U.S. ambassador to Israel did not attend the opening ceremonies of the Jerusalem 3000 celebration. And the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations abstained from voting on a U.N. resolution that called Israeli control over Jerusalem “illegal … and null and void.”
Sen. Bob Dole wrote the historic legislation to move the embassy to Jerusalem and personally ensured its passage by a wide margin. Dole has not wavered from his commitment to see that Jerusalem remains the united capital of Israel.
President Clinton has invested considerable personal and national prestige in the success of the Oslo agreements between Israel and the Palestinians. In order to keep the peace process moving, the Clinton administration has pressured Israel to make concessions to Syria, accepted Yasser Arafat’s empty assurances that the Palestine Liberation Organization’s covenant was revised to remove references to the destruction of Israel and pushed Congress to continue American aid to the Palestinian Authority, despite the PLO’s non-compliance with many parts of the Oslo accords.
Bob Dole and Jack Kemp are committed to the establishment of a stable and lasting peace in the Middle East. However, their chief focus is on Israel’s security. Sen. Dole has called on the PLO to comply fully with its commitments to control violence and stop terrorism in the areas it administers. Both Dole and Kemp have called on the PLO to change its covenant and remove all language calling for the destruction of Israel. A Dole administration would work for a stable peace that guarantees the security of Israel and her citizens.
Similarly, President Clinton has claimed that the fight against terrorism is a priority for his administration. Yet he has pursued a weak and lenient policy toward states that sponsor terrorism: Iran, Iraq and Syria. Sen. Dole wrote and guided through the Senate comprehensive legislation to fight terrorism. The bill, which won approval from both houses of Congress, gives American law enforcement agencies more tools to combat terrorism. Dole has also taken a much tougher stand than the president against the states that support terrorism.
One significant area of concern for both American and Israeli defense analysts is the threat of a ballistic missile attack from Iran or Iraq. Both of them are rushing to acquire nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and the missiles to deliver them. President Clinton has said the need for a large-scale missile defense system is “not urgent.” He has supported working with Israel to develop a small, less-effective laser system to stop ballistic missiles. Sen. Dole has a strong record of supporting joint Israeli-U.S. development of a top-of-the- line missile defense system that could be used to protect both the United States and Israel.
On domestic issues, the contrast between words and actions is equally clear. Everyone knows that in 1992, candidate Bill Clinton promised the American people a tax cut. Shortly after taking office, he reneged on that promise and instead gave us the biggest tax hike in our history. Bob Dole and Jack Kemp are offering American families a tax relief package, specifically a 15 percent reduction in taxes over a three-year period and a $500 per child tax credit for families with children younger than 18.
Cutting taxes is nothing new to the Dole-Kemp team. The tax cut Jack Kemp authored and fought for in Congress in 1981 was the engine for the economic boom this country experienced in the 1980s. Both Dole and Kemp are well-versed in the effects of high taxation and tax cuts as well as the benefits families will receive from lower taxes.
President Clinton has consistently demonstrated his belief that people are victims who must be helped to overcome their race, gender, age and disability through government affirmative action. His administration has been one of the most pro-quota administrations in history. Bob Dole understands that people should be judged on merit, not on race or gender. He knows that equality means equal access to opportunity, not equality of results. Quotas are destructive to the individuals touched by them and to society as a whole. Bob Dole and Jack Kemp are working for equality without quotas.
The failure of the welfare state and the great damage it has done to American families have become clear to all of us. Candidate Bill Clinton promised to end welfare as we know it. As president he vetoed two courageous, far-reaching welfare reform bills. Only the public outcry for welfare reform prompted him finally to sign a third welfare reform bill. But that bill was a product of the Republican Congress, not the Clinton administration. Bob Dole has a long record of working for real welfare reform, giving states the chief role in allocating assistance according to local needs, helping people enter the work force and ending the disincentives to the establishment of stable, two-parent families.
Crime is an evil that touches every community today and much of the most violent crime is fueled by drugs. President Clinton promised to put 100,000 new policemen on the streets. To date, just a fraction of that number has been trained and deployed. President Clinton promised to wage a serious war on drugs. Then he cut the budget of the “Drug Czar’s” office by more than 80 percent. Today, drug use among young people has doubled. As a senator, Bob Dole introduced tough anti-crime legislation to prevent felons from getting guns, to stop the abuse of the appeal system and to require convicted felons to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences. Dole is also committed to stricter enforcement of the drug laws already on our books.
In 1996, Jewish voters will choose between words and actions. President Clinton is a great campaigner, but he has not fulfilled his promises. Bob Dole, by contrast, keeps his promises and acts on his principles. His record in government is one of solid accomplishment. As we go the polls, let’s remember which is more important. Actions really do speak louder than words.