Posted on June 15, 1992 in Washington Watch
The President’s continuing downward slide in the polls and the repeated errors made by his campaign in recent weeks have even his strongest supporter’s asking “What’s happening to George Bush?”
The picture emerging from June’s polling data looks bleak for the President. Every major poll now shows Ross Perot leading in a three-way race with an average of 37%. George Bush has slipped to second place with 32% and Bill Clinton is dead last with barely 25%.
In the all-important state-by-state polling, Perot is leading in 15 states, which would yield him 227 electoral votes. Bush also leads in 15...Read more
Posted on June 08, 1992 in Washington Watch
It is becoming increasingly difficult to write about U.S. politics without focusing on Ross Perot.
Once again, this week Perot dominated the media—winning a majority of support in exit polls in California and Ohio, qualifying for the ballot as an independent in two more states, conducting a television pep rally by satellite for supporters in six states, and hiring two top political organizers (1976 Carter campaign manager Hamilton Jordan and 1984 Reagan campaign manager Ed Rollins).
Perot has been so successful in staging events and appearances that focus press attention on his campaign that he has all but pushed President...Read more
Posted on June 01, 1992 in Washington Watch
Whether he wins or loses, Ross Perot has already changed U.S. politics in this critical election year.
The year began with Republicans confident of victory, gleeful over the final demise of the Democrats as a national party. The stagnant economy, the end of the Cold War, and the constant barrage of negative press on Bush, Congress and a seemingly endless series of political scandals and stories of corruption—these things have all taken their toll.
Out of all this chaos, the Perot phenomenon has emerged, and while some dismissed it at first, it must now be taken seriously as a genuine...Read more
Posted on May 25, 1992 in Washington Watch
This past week I had the opportunity to testify before the Democratic platform drafting committee.
The platform process in both parties is important because it provides a forum for the nation’s key constituencies to debate and negotiate the political parties’ position on a broad range of issues.
Being the only Arab American leader invited to provide testimony was both an honor and a special responsibility. Party platforms have historically been strongly pro-Israel while ignoring foreign policy issues in the wider Middle East. Even the 1988 Republican party platform was so tilted toward Israel that the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC termed it...Read more
Posted on May 18, 1992 in Washington Watch
While incumbents have reason to be concerned about the wave of discontent being expressed by voters in the ongoing 1992 elections, the mood of the electorate also presents challengers with great opportunities.
As the count now stands, more than 60 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and eight members of the Senate have resigned. Those numbers are already much greater than the normal election-year turnover in the House and Senate. With 19 new Congressional seats being created due to reapportionment and many current members of Congress expected to lose in November, political analysts are now predicting that the turnover...Read more
Posted on May 11, 1992 in Washington Watch
The verdict in the Rodney King trial and the riots in Los Angeles that followed thrust the issues of race and the decline of urban America onto center stage of this year’s political debate.
The judgment finding four white police officers innocent of the charge of brutality was a shock to both white and black Americans—an embarrassing reminder of the continued existence of racism in American society. The widespread violence, the killings and the wanton destruction of South Central Los Angeles was equally traumatic to most Americans.
A Los Angeles Times poll taken one week after the riots found that...Read more
Posted on May 04, 1992 in Washington Watch
While America’s Presidential candidates bear party labels (Democrat or Republican), there is no national political party structure to speak of in the United States today.
Local political parties, consisting of a few hundred activists, exist in a weakened condition in most communities, compared to their status years ago. The national party headquarters have come to serve mainly as fund raising apparatuses for candidates and in many areas of the country there is very little functional contact between local and national party leaders.
Party membership and organization in the United States is not comparable to that of Europe, where parties are...Read more
Posted on April 27, 1992 in Washington Watch
Looming over the horizon of the 1992 Presidential campaigns of George Bush and his Democratic opponent (presumably Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton) is the threat of an independent campaign by Texas billionaire H. Ross Perot.
At this moment, a virtual “Perot-mania” appears to be developing. Although two-thirds of all Americans say they know little or nothing about Perot or what he stands for, he is nevertheless receiving 20-25% support in many state and national polls. A recent poll put Bush at 40%, Clinton at 30%, and Perot at 23%. And a surprising mid-April poll of Texas voters by Texas A &...Read more
Posted on April 20, 1992 in Washington Watch
This past week more than 2,000 California Democratic delegates met for their 1992 state party convention. Twenty Arab American delegates were present at the convention. They held their annual caucus meeting (the Arab American Caucus is now an officially recognized branch of the California Democratic party). They also hosted a gala Arab American reception which was attended by more than 500 delegates. Most importantly, the Arab American caucus also confronted pro-Israel Democrats at the convention in a platform debate on Israeli settlements and U.S. loan guarantees to Israel.
To strengthen their political position for the debate, the Arab American delegates...Read more
Posted on April 13, 1992 in Washington Watch
This week’s election story can be written in three words: anger, confusion and alienation. It is interesting to note, however, that it is not only voters expressing these attitudes toward politicians: politicians themselves are now speaking out against the political process.
It has been clear for a number of years that there were dangerous and destabilizing undercurrents in American politics, but the depths and rage with which they run are only now becoming apparent.
Look at these recent indicators:
1) Voter participation continues to drop to new all-time lows. The total vote in this week’s New York and Wisconsin primary...Read more