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THE SCOOP for October 23, 1996
Clinton's Indonesia Deal:
Bob Dole Tries Telling The Truth As A Last Resort
(C)1996 Bob Harris
Warning: this article contains a Star Trek analogy. Hello, I am a geek.
There's an early episode where Spock is trapped in a dying shuttlecraft with no way to signal the Enterprise. As a last gamble, he jettisons his fuel and ignites it. Miraculously, the fireball catches Kirk's attention, and Spock beams to safety just before the shuttlecraft burns up.
In pushing for campaign finance reform, Bob Dole just did the exact same thing.
Too bad for Dole that you can't beam out of the Hindenburg.
Not that he isn't frantically pushing every button in sight: the Senate resignation, reversing himself on tax cuts, "Just Don't Do It," choosing his nemesis Jack Kemp as a running mate, hypothetical Whitewater pardons, even "www.dole-kemp96.org."
Listen closely, and you can almost hear Dole's fist banging on a navigation console. "Fly, dammit! Bob Dole says fly! Fly!!!"
Dole's desperate mayday flare is lighting up his own soft money, which until now has been gathered in bundles, stacked into PACs, and rolled into tax-free foundations.
The Indonesia deal is like this: the daughter of a partner of the father of one of Clinton's Arkansas pals -- hang on, we're almost there -- gave Bill about $425,000; in exchange for what we don't know yet, although nobody hands out a half-mil just to say yoo-hoo.
That's what Bob Dole calls a big scandal.
Forget Nixon's genocidal bombing of Cambodian villages, Reagan's deals with terrorists and drug-dealers, and Bush's secret arming of Saddam Hussein. Doing a favor for a donor is apparently "the greatest White House scandal in American history."
It's also how Bob Dole has made a living for the last 35 years.
Of course Clinton cuts deals. So does Dole, Gore, Kemp and every major politician in America. That's what happens when you have campaigns financed with private money -- almost two billion dollars for this November alone. For any politician even to mention the problem amounts to self-incrimination.
Studies by the Center for Responsive Politics show that the suit with the deepest pockets wins over 90% of the time. That's why The Scoop predicted a Clinton win almost six months ago. The elections are a charade.
Here's how they play:
Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs gave Clinton millions; Bill made their CEO Secretary of the Treasury. The Big Five insurance firms horked up some dough, and Clinton tried to sell us a health-care program that would have given them all the business.
And Bob Dole? Dole takes millions from ADM and sponsors billions in subsidies for their products. Bob Dole rakes in tobacco money and then fights to prevent tobacco victims from suing.
And so on.
That's why for years Bob Dole led the fight against the very same reforms he now suddenly recommends.
And how's this for "character?" Bob Dole singles out foreign money -- pandering to racism -- when he knows damn well that most of the dirty money is homemade. And Bob Dole's biggest fundraiser in Florida is a Cuban citizen for whom Dole has created multi-million-dollar sugar subsidies.
Do you smell smoke?
Bob Dole's last public act is an attempt to prove himself by pointing out the very reason why both he and Clinton are unworthy of holding public office.
Listen again: that rattling sound is Bob Dole trying to find the transporter room on a burning blimp.
Bob Harris is a political humorist who has lectured at over 275 colleges.
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