.. f staff, Rumsfeld made Cheney his deputy. When Rumsfeld left the White House to be defense secretary, Cheney moved up to become the youngest chief of staff ever, at age 34. He held the post for 14 months. After Ford left office, Cheney returned to Casper, Wyoming and ran for the state’s single congressional seat.
Despite his heart attack in the middle of the first campaign — which he discussed with all of Wyoming’s Republicans in a letter explaining why he would continue to campaign — Cheney won decisively. He went on to win five more terms. In Congress, Cheney quickly rose within the GOP power chain. He was one of President Reagan’s most ardent supporters, backing him up on defense issues like the “Star Wars” missile defense system. He also voted against Democrats on almost every social issue, including abortion rights, gun control and the Equal Rights Amendment.
During the Iran-Contra scandal, as vice chairman of the congressional investigation commission, Cheney became of one Congress’s most stalwart defenders of the Reagan administration. William Cohen, the current defense secretary and a former member of Congress, recalled Monday that he served with Cheney on the Iran-Contra commission and worked with him during Cheney’s years at the Pentagon. Cheney was not President Bush’s first choice to be defense secretary. His initial pick, Sen. John Tower, withdrew after it became clear he could not win Senate confirmation.
Cheney quickly established himself in the Pentagon. When the Air Force chief of staff, Gen. Michael J. Dugan, talked to reporters in unusual detail about U.S. war plans in the Persian Gulf in September 1990, Cheney said he went too far and fired him.
But Cheney, the former politician and Washington insider, also has a deft diplomatic style that was typified during the Gulf War, again, when he flew to Saudi Arabia to convince King Fahd that allowing U.S. forces into his kingdom would be wise. In 1995, Cheney became chairman and chief executive officer of Dallas-Based Halliburton Corp., one of the world’s leading engineering and construction firms focused on oil companies. Under Cheney’s guidance, the company’s stock price and profits have soared, as has Cheney’s personal portfolio. In 1998, he made $2.2 million in salary and controlled another $10 million in Halliburton stock.
He is also a director of several large corporations, including Procter & Gamble, Union Pacific, and Electronic Data Systems. The biggest question about Cheney may be his health. His 1978 heart attack was the first of three and in 1988 he had a quadruple bypass. Cheney remains physically active, and his heart problems do not seem to have slowed him down — he continues to go on hikes that last for days and fly-fishing trips. One skeleton that could hurt a Bush-Cheney ticket is the ever-constant specter of the Vietnam War.
Cheney received five student and marriage deferments of service during the war. He told The Washington Post in 1989, “I had other priorities in the ’60s than military service. .. I don’t regret the decisions I made. I complied fully with all the requirements of the statutes, registered with the draft when I turned 18. Had I been drafted, I would have been happy to serve.” Perhaps the most important factor in making a choice for either party is the candidate’s stands on issues affecting voters.
I will discuss and analyze six specific issues, education, healthcare, abortion, environment and energy, gun control and tax plans. In education, the implimentation of vouchers has become an important issue. While Gore strongly opposes vouchers, believing that the money used for them should be given to aid improvement of public schools, Bush favors them. His plan for vouchers would require a three year waiting period for any action to then take place. Concerning class sizes, Gore supports federal initiatives to decrease class sizes at all grade levels.
Bush signed a Texas law allowing districts to opt out of class-size limits. He argued that class size should be determined by the district. Gore opposes education block grants that would allow schools to shift funding like Title I from neediest students. He supports hiring two million new teachers, raising standards for students, teachers and schools and universal pre-K. Bush places Title I at risk by pledging to restore local control by converting more than 60 federal programs into block grants. On the issue of college affordability, Gore would make up to 10,000 of college tuition tax-deductible, helping parents and students save tax-free for college costs.
Bush would expand “Education Savings Accounts” by increasing the the annual contribution limit from $500 to $5000. As they do concerning issues about education, Gore and Bush differ greatly in their views on healthcare. While Gore supports a Patients’ Bill of Rights, Bush opposes it. Gore opposes cuts in Medicare, and will use the federal budget surplus to ensure the stability of the Medicare program and guarantee prescription drugs to seniors. If elected, Bush would cut Medicare by $350 billion and end the federal guarantee of funding.
His tax cuts leave no money to shore up the Medicare system. Gore supports universal health care while Bush opposes it. Gore opposes the privatization of social security, while Bush supports it. Gore proposed a 10-year $225 billion Medicare plan that includes a prescription drug benefit with free coverage for low-income recipients. Bush proposes providing prescription drug benefits as an option under his $158 billion Medicare reform.
He would allow states to voluntarily provide drug coverage for low-income retirees until his reform is complete. As illustrated with healthcare as an example, the candidates strongly disagree on almost every issue. Among women voters, the issue of abortion has become an important concern in the upcoming election. When each candidate was questioned on whether they would only nominate Supreme Court Justices who share their views on abortion, Vice-President Gore responded by saying he would, “always protect a woman’s right to choose.” Governor George W. Bush said he would nominate strict constructionists , also known as justices sympathetic to abortion restrictions.
He also opposes the federal spproval of the abortion pill RU-486, while Gore supports the pill. Al Gore had continually stressed the inportance of the environment and issues concerning the nation’s energy policies. His ten year plan of $150 billion is dedicated to obtaining a cleaner environment and ways to obtain energy. This includes tax credits for buying evergy-efficient new homes and cleaner vehicles and $68 billion in incentives for cleaner power plants. He supportes tapping the petroleum reserve to ease the nation’s continually climbing gas prices.
Governor Bush opposed this. The major issue Gore and Bush have clashed on has been whether or not to drill in the Alaskan refuge. While Governor Bush supported this drilling, Vice-President Gore adamantly opposed it. While Vice-President Gore has been a long time advocate of strict restrictions concerning gun control, Governor Bush’s perspective on the issue differs greatly. He believes that United States citizens that have proven themselves responsible enough to bear arms, a right dictated in the constitution, should be allowed to do so. In his opinion, the regulation of firearms should be left to the individual states.