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Monday, October 24, 2011
Bob Dole with David Brinkley 1988: The Campaign that got away
1988 was a fascinating Presidential Election for several reasons and in both parties. But one aspect of that Presidential Campaign Season was the contest. Between George HW Bush and Bob Dole. Two of the most powerful republicans in the country and Public Officials in the country. George Bush being Vice President at that time and Bob Dole being the Senate Minority Leader. The two most powerful republicans that were eligible at the time to run for President. Squaring off against each other and they had a great contest from last couple of months. Of 1987 to the early months of 1988, after Vice President Bush won New Hampshire and I believe South Carolina. And had it not been for a very negative campaign that Vice President Bush ran against Minority Leader Dole. Bob Dole probably wins those primary's and wins the 1988 Republican Nomination for President.
Bob Dole had the respect and trust of the Republican Party in 1987-88 and had it for much longer having built up a very strong Conservative Record in Congress. For at the time 27 years and put together a fairly successful resume as well. Except for being President Ford's Vice Presidential Nominee in 1976. But he was Chairman of the Republican Party from 1971-73, got reelected to the Senate in 1974. Which thanks to Watergate was an awful year for Congressional Republicans. Where they dropped a bunch of seats in both the House and Senate. Sen. Dole was Ranking Members meaning Minority leader of the Finance Committee. During the Carter Administration and then Chairman of that Committee from 1981-85. During the Reagan Revolution and then became Senate Leader from 1985-87. And then when he lost his Senate Majority to Senate Democrats in 1986, became Minority Leader in 1987. Bob Dole not only had one of the strongest Conservative Records in Congress, both in the House and Senate. So Minority Leader Dole was very well respected in Congress as well in the Republican Party because of his Conservative Record. But also because he was very effective as a Legislature getting Legislation passed and someone President Reagan and even Vice President Bush could count on.
George Bush was seen as a very loyal and very effective as well as powerful Vice President under President Reagan. And had a long impressive record and resume, that included Private Sector Experience. He was President of his own Oil Company in Texas which is why today he's one of the wealthiest people in America. As his family, Legislative experience in the House from 1967-71, Executive Experience, UN Ambassador from 1971-73. More Political Experience Chairman of the Republican Party from 1973-75, Director of the CIA and Ambassador to the Peoples Republic of China in the Ford Administration. Ran unsuccessfully for President in 1979-80. But ran well enough to be Ron Reagan's Vice President in 1980 where he served two terms there. But was untrusted and seen as a weak centrist by the Republican Base even though he had the respect of the Republican Establishment.
George Bush saw himself as a bit of an underdog going into the 1988 Presidential Campaign or at least as someone who had to get by Bob Dole. In order to win the Republican Nomination and I believe calculated early on, that the GOP liked Dole more then him. And that to beat Dole, he had to make the GOP dislike Dole more then himself. Which is how they were able to destroy Bob Dole's Presidential Campaign in New Hampshire and South Carolina. With Negative Campaign after Negative Campaign. And that was George Bush's first test he passed to becoming President of the United States. Being tough enough to literally take down his opponent.
Click on the link of the blog to see Bob Dole on ABC This Week from 1988