What is Bush's campaign strategy?

A viewer asked this question on 8/25/2000:

What is the main focus of George Bush in this election? What is his strategy? What benefits he can provide for American citizens?

JesseGordon gave this response on 8/25/2000:

Bush's main focus is that he would be a better leader than Gore. His tag line at his nomination acceptance speech was, "They have not led. We will." He applied that to just about every program that Clinton/Gore had enacted, or that Gore has proposed.

His other hot issues are:
EDUCATION: Pro-vouchers.
SOCIAL SECURITY: Partially privatize.
TAX CUTS: About $100 billion per year.
WELFARE: Let churches do it privately.
DEFENSE: More pay, and build SDI.
ABORTION: Moderately pro-life.
GUN CONTROL: Pro-gun rights.

You can read details of his stances on the issues at

His strategy is pretty straightforward: maintain his base on the right, and capture as many centrist votes as possible.

He's maintaining his base by agreeing in principle to limit abortions, to be tough on crime and drugs, to go easy on gun laws, and to spend more on defense. And picking as V.P. Dick Cheney, who is more conservative than Bush, helps out his right-wing side also.

He's appealing to the centrist vote by being moderate on the hardest issues (details below), while being outspoken on spending (which appeals to centrists).

Being moderate on hard issues means:

* He has not demanded a "litmus test" for Supreme Court nominees.

* He hardly talks about the Drug War (he supports it, but so does Gore)

* His hardest line is on the death penalty (he's overseen the execution of nearly 140 Texas prisoners, but Gore supports it too).

Being outspoken on spending means:

* He's proposed $10 billion on new education spending, from phonics programs to Indian schools.

* Another $10 billion on new health care programs, from nursing homes to Medicare prescriptions.

* Another $2 billion for adoption & child welfare, etc., ad. inf.

Those things make him look very moderate, because they're usually issues more associated with Democrats. And lest Gore consider calling him too moderate (i.e., unafraid to take on entrenched interests), Bush can tout his Social Security privatization plan. Bush says, "I will touch the third rail so I can fix it," referring to the old political adage that touching Soc. Sec. will kill one's political hopes.

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