Republican National Convention
Wednesday, August 02, 2000

Ky. delegates say optimism is genuine

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        PHILADELPHIA - This year is going to be different for the Republican Party's efforts to take the White House, veteran Kentucky GOP activists are saying. This year is going to be a winner for George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and the GOP, they say.

        Kentucky delegates to the Republican National Convention say the political optimism the party is attempting to portray during broadcasts of the four-day event is genuine. And many admit that in the last two presidential elections the party faithful were not as excited at this point about the candidates or the party's prospects for victory.

        “You just didn't feel the enthusiasm and the sense of winning that we've had not just here in Philadelphia but even before that in this campaign,” said delegate Charles Buchanan, 77, of Barbourville, Ky., who is attending his sixth GOP convention.

        “I had that same feeling with 1980 and 1984 with (Ronald) Reagan, but I didn't have it in 1992 or ' 96,” he said Tuesday.

        Kentucky Senate President David Williams, a delegate from Burkesville, said one aspect that is fueling the party's hopes is the tone of the Bush/Cheney campaign.

        “The (poll) numbers look good because we are being positive,” Mr. Williams said. “We're not talking about (Bill) Clinton. You're hearing some references to him, but we're not making it a big part of our campaign this time around, and that's good.”

        The party is also working harder to appeal to the moderate voters who did not vote for Republican candidate Bob Dole in 1996 and who never bought in to the sometimes harsh political rhetoric and heavy-hand of former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

        “Take the theme of Monday night, "Leave No Child Behind.' That's my kind of Republican politics,” said Mr. Williams, a moderate who often clashes in Frankfort with the more hardline conservative members of his party.

        Alternate delegate Marc Carey of Sparta, the 4th District Republican Party chairman, said the biggest difference he sees in this convention is the lack of Clinton bashing.

        “That's very good for the party and it's one of the reasons I think we have a winning message,” said Mr. Carey, who attended the 1996 GOP convention in San Diego.

        “We're not hearing all the negative stuff about (Mr.) Clinton,” he said. “(Mr.) Clinton is behind us now. We're looking out the front window, not the rear view mirror, and the picture out the front window is a whole lot bigger and brighter than looking behind us.”

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