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The Dukakis Platform 1988

By Editorial Staff
Published October 1, 1988

“I’m a strong Democrat, a liberal Democrat .”

- Michael Dukakis
Sheldon, Iowa

As the National Democratic party meets in Atlanta to nominate Michael Dukakis, they are about to adopt a short, vague platform heavy on rhetoric but light on specifics. In fact it is so vague as to beg the question:

What are they hiding from the American people?

Apparently, they are not renouncing the ultra-liberal platforms adopted by every National Democratic Convention since George McGovern was nominated in 1972. Certainly, they are not repudiating the liberal special interest groups that dominated the 1984 Mondale convention. Clearly, they are not rejecting the dangerous policies that led to the failure of the Carter Administration.

Obviously, they are hoping the American people will forget their extremist policies and believe they have changed. And truly, they should harbor that hope.

But the plan has gone awry. The problem is their nominee for President – Michael Dukakis. He is liberal in the extreme and his record shows it.

The Dukakis Record is something to hide from the American people. It is everything voters have rejected in recent elections. It is soft on crime, weak on defense, naive on foreign policy, permissive toward drugs, strong on taxes, and it rejects traditional family values.

They don’t want you to see it, and we can understand why. But the American people have a right to know something of the beliefs and values of this man who would be President.

So here it is – the Dukakis Record.

CRIME

“I’m a card-carrying member of the American Civil Liberties Union.”

Michael Dukakis
New York Magazine
8/17/87

“The Governor’s compassion is very pronounced toward criminals, but scarcely visible towards the victims of crime.”

- Paul Craig Roberts
The Washington Times
3/22/88

NATIONAL DEFENSE

“Balancing the budget would require hard choices mostly on the defense side. I don’t see much room for cuts on the domestic side.”

- Michael Dukakis
Chicago Tribune
10/15/87

“In a Michael Dukakis Administration, national security is not a commitment; it is a retreat.”

- Senator Strom Thurmond
7/6/88

FOREIGN POLICY

“The way to stop the arms race is to stop building and testing nuclear weapons.”

- Michael Dukakis
Boston Globe
10/26/87

“… his approach to foreign policy comes so close to renouncing the unilateral use of American power to protect national interests … that it sometimes sounds as if the ghost of Eleanor Roosevelt had taken control of his body.”

- David Broder
The Washington Post
2/10/88

DRUGS

“I’ve never done drugs, but I certainly understand why some people try it.”

- Michael Dukakis
The Baltimore Sun
11/8/87

“At best, Mike Dukakis joined the fight against drugs after the people raised the issue.”

- Rev. Bruce Wall
Newsday
4/26/88

TAXES AND GOVERNMENT SPENDING

“I will do for America what I’ve done for Massachusetts, …”

- Michael Dukakis
U.S. News and World Report
2/15/88

“If Dukakis is elected, he would act next year as he acted last week: trim here and there, but then take a frequent flyer to the last resort [new taxes]. He would accelerate rather than break the spending urge in Congress.”

- William Safire
New York Times
6/29/88

VALUES

“We’ve learned that we can’t improve America’s schools by … putting religion back in the classroom. Good education requires more than a right wing and a prayer.”

- Michael Dukakis
Times-Picayune
2/22/88

“In Michael Dukakis’ America, our values are forsaken values.”

- Governor Guy Hunt
7/6/88

Dukakis Platform:
Analysis

Two very different roads lie before the American people in the upcoming presidential election. The choices have never been so clear in contemporary American politics. As one noted political leader recently wrote in a Newsweek commentary: “The American people are canny enough to listen to what a man is saying instead of how he says it. The 1988 election is not about style anymore than it is about competence or breeding. It is about two starkly different visions of America and how it should be led into the 21st century.”

The issues at stake in this election go beyond the Pledge of Allegiance or who served during the Vietnam and Korean War. What is at stake is our entire value system. The challenge before the voters is to scrutinize the record of the two presidential candidates and the legacy they will leave behind.

Dukakis’ “Miracle” Economic Policies

Massachusetts Gov. Mike Dukakis is offering the nation “post-Reagan managerial competence and better-than-Bush self-confidence.“1 He cites his “Massachusetts Miracle,” the rebound of the state’s economy, as evidence of his ability to manage the federal budget. A self-styled McGovern Democrat, Dukakis is considered a technocrat who is well able to build an efficient administration.

However, his “post-Reagan managerial competence” is yet to be proven among his Bay state electorate, who have said in polls with a two to one margin that they think Dukakis has been bad for the state economy. Here are several reasons why:

The measures he opposed, which voters passed were:

One of his advisers, Harvard Professor Ralph Whitehead, told the Boston Globe in 1986 that without Proposition 2 1/2, Massachusetts was on its way to becoming a banana republic.

Three economic measures Dukakis introduced while governor were defeated by the state legislature. “In 1985, he proposed a damaging worldwide unitary tax on corporations. The legislature defeated it. He proposed a sales tax on real estate transactions. The legislature killed it. For three years he pushed the Massbank, a big state development bank. The legislature defeated it, again and again. It’s now dead,” Flood explained.

“Dukakis says he cut taxes five times in the last four years – but all of those tax cuts were proposed by our committee … So, if Dukakis has been on the wrong side of every major economic policy issue with the voters and the legislature, would the commonwealth be better off economically today if he had won his position on all of these issues?

“Not only has this been the worst spending spree in Massachusetts history, we have almost nothing to show for it in better services. Just a bigger payroll, and a huge pension liability rising from $6 billion to $10 billion,” Flood said.

Massachusetts debt and spending is rising faster than the nation as a whole. The Massachusetts House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Voke, a Democrat, said “My advice to the governor … is that he shouldn’t be fighting with poor people over cutting services, but cut the payroll costs. Personnel expense has risen twice as fast as expenses for the poor … State employees have gone from not being the best paid around to being better paid than comparable positions in private industry.”

Voke added that Massachusetts state employees have the second highest sick leave in the nation – almost double the national average. He explained that the current budget crisis in the Bay state was due to bad fiscal management. “There hasn’t been any will to control spending in this administration for at least five years. Every year it seems every agency comes in looking for more than the other agencies.“4

Although he campaigned on not rewarding jobs according to political patronage, the increase of contractors and consultants hired by the “03 Account” has been noted as a “flagrant abuse of this account to reward political patronage,” according to the state auditor in 1986. Since 1983, the state’s own direct payroll soared by 10,000 full-time jobs – which is the largest increase in Massachusetts history.5

Despite the budget crisis, Dukakis contends that his budgets have always been balanced compared with Reagan’s rising deficit budget. However, former Gov. Ed King, who beat Dukakis after he raised taxes, says state law requires a balanced budget. “In effect, he’s trying to take personal credit for obeying the law, and that’s dishonest.“6

Ironically, the source of Dukakis’ touted “Massachusetts Miracle,” the economic rebound during his first term, was President Reagan. Reagan’s military build-up, opposed by Dukakis, resulted in three times the national average being spent in Massachusetts, mostly on military hardware. The defense spending and research dollars resulted in the rebound.

As Boston Globe columnist David Wilson said, “The real Massachusetts Miracle may be that this activist tax-raiser didn’t prevent it from happening.” Using his “Massachusetts Miracle” as a model for his promised performance for the American people, he is not likely to tell us that analysts at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government say that recent growth in the state economy was minor – less than five percent. The Harvard study found that the economic strength of the state was partly due to growth in the high-technology sector.

Dukakis as Crusader for Gay Rights

Another very well-hidden fact about Dukakis is his support among the homosexual community – due to his lobbying on their behalf when he was a state legislator. “We have in Michael Dukakis a candidate who is instinctively supportive, who has a good record on gay rights, who wants our support and who can win,” said Jean O’Leary, executive director of National Gay Rights.7

Dukakis lobbied for a homosexual rights bill in the state House, and filed five bills on the behalf of Bill Baird, who is an abortion and homosexual rights advocate.3 The bills he introduced were:

He has stated that he supported passage of the Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights Law pending in Congress (H.R. 709) that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Last year he reassured homosexuals that he supported federal legislation banning discrimination against persons with AIDS or those with the HIV infection.

The Dukakis Record on Crime

The Dukakis prison furlough program has proven to be a political embarassment. He insists now that he inherited it from a Republican predecessor; however, during his first term he vetoed a bill to outlaw furloughs for first-degree murderers. There were an average of 388 furloughs a year to killers. Four hundred and twenty-six prisoners, including 11 first degree killers, disappeared on the furlough program according to The Wall Street Journal.9

One of these murderers, Willie Horton, was convicted of slaying a Lowell, Massachusetts, service-station attendant in 1974. Despite being cited for 11 disciplinary infractions, three of them drug-related, he was given 10 furloughs since his conviction in 1975. On the last furlough in 1987, he went to Maryland where he tied and tortured a man and raped his fiancée.10

Horton was captured and sentenced to two life terms to be served in Maryland. In explaining the sentence, the trial judge said, “With all due respect to … Massachusetts … Horton will never return there. I am not going to take the chance that he will be furloughed or released there.”

Horton became a rallying cry for Bay state protestors demanding that the program be ended. Dukakis defended the program by saying, “I think a good, strong, aggressive correctional system requires a well-managed and responsible furlough program.” After irate citizens gathered 70,000 signatures for a referendum to end furloughs for those with life sentences, with opinion polls showing the question passing by a three to one margin, and a revolt in the legislature (which passed a furlough ban by a veto-proof margin), he reluctantly signed the measure.

Staunchly against the death penalty, Dukakis vetoed a capital punishment bill during his first term and regularly testifies against the measure before legislative hearings. “I don’t think we’ve had a candidate for President so far who was against the death penalty,” said Griffin Bell, former attorney general for Jimmy Carter.

Foreign Policy: Dukakis Style

In March of 1985, while returning a toast to his Chinese Communist hosts during a visit to Canton, Michael Dukakis confessed: “I was a 13-year-old boy at the Baker School in Brookline, and I was asked to debate changes in China. I delivered a ringing condemnation of the Kuomintang and strongly advocated revolution in China. So you see, you have a friend here. In fact, some friends of President Reagan occasionally refer to Massachusetts as the People’s Republic of Massachusetts.“11

The revolution Dukakis advocated murdered millions of people and remains one of the most horrible chapters in world history. This innocent confession betrays the naiveté of Dukakis’ understanding of foreign policy. On “Meet the Press,” Dukakis told Washington Post columnist David Broder that the Monroe Doctrine had been superceded by the Pact of Rio, which obliged the U.S. not to interfere in the affairs of its neighbors.

On that basis, he said he would not assert American power unless these Soviet client states in this hemisphere introduced offensive weapons. However, the Rio Pact of 1947, first of the collective security agreements signed by the Truman Administration, did not commit the U.S. to passivity and non-intervention, as he claimed, but to mutual vigilance on the part of this country and its neighbors against the threat of aggression.

Clearly, his naiveté signals that the Soviets’ establishment of client states in the Americas would not be considered a threat to our national security by a Dukakis administration.

1 Newsweek, June 25, 1988.
2 Warren T. Brookes, “Did Dukakis Help or Hurt the Massachusetts Economy?” Human Events, August 6, 1988.
3 The Washington Times, June 6, 1988.
4 Warren T. Brookes, Human Events, June 25, 1988.
5 Human Events, May 21, 1988.
6 Conservative Digest, July 1988.
7 National Review, June 10, 1988.
8 West Roxbury Transcript, February 27, 1974.
9 The Wall Street Journal, November 19, 1988.
10 Conservative Digest, September 1988.
11 The Boston Globe, March 6, 1987.


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