the choice 2000
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voter forum: clarify your indecision or make your case, raise questions about the candidates, the coverage, or the process

Dear FRONTLINE


In the final debate Gore stated that he would close down failing schools and reopen them in a few days with a completely new staff. Think about this:
1. How could this be afforded?
2. What about the staff that are performing well?
3. Is this the best approach for struggling students?
4. This obviously would involve the government bringing in the new staff and take away the local voice and accountability.
Is education more like 1+1=2 or is it more similar to a calculus equation?

Karla Anundson
Minneota, MN

Dear FRONTLINE

I so much appreciate your quizzes. At first choice I choose Bush because I liked him better because of the debates. However, I find I'm more in-line with Nader's views. This has been very educational, and also proves a vote for Nader is NOT taking a vote from Gore!!! I will vote for Nader because of this. Thank you for the opportunity to learn.

Marie Martin

Dear FRONTLINE

I was undecided before watching the "The Choice 2000" because neither candidate had made any case for my vote with the exception of Bush's common-sense across the board tax cut.

Given the embarassment this country has experienced under the current presidency, I felt that character and leadership were extremely important when making my final decision. Bush and Gore have distinct backgrounds and there are good things to see in each of them.

In my final analysis, Gore hasn't demonstrated that he is his own man, as he claimed to be in the first debate. Gore seems to be a product of his father's ambitions - not of his own. Bush, on the other hand, could have greatly exploited being the President's son but rather took on his own endeavors. With these demonstrations, I am more comfortable with a man like Bush leading our country into the future.

Based on the useful choice "tools" on this website, I have confirmed that Bush generally aligns with my personal stance on various issues.

Ed Zentera
Oxford, MI

Dear FRONTLINE

Firstly, I loved the program. It was fair to both candidates and was a true work of journalism. Of course, can we expect anything less of Frontline?

Are these two the best choices that the greatest country in the world produced?...

All I can say is that I am a pretty strong conservative and I have been considering Ralph Nader. At least he is a comsumer activist with strong convictions. Or maybe I'll just write in John McCain's name and give him a protest vote...what am I saying...you all know I'm voting for Bush.

Carusoe Park

Dear FRONTLINE

I was brought up middle class. Now I am married 27 years and my husband and I consider ourselves middle class. Al Gore's advertisements tout they will offer tax relief to the middle class. However, when we calculated our tax relief savings under the Bush across-the-board proposal our approximate savings was 17.94% and under the Gore proposal it was 0%. If I had only one question to ask Vice President Gore it would be - In relationship to annual income - Exactly what is your definition of "middle class"?

Linda Goldschmeding
Ada, MI

Dear FRONTLINE


It shouldn't trouble me that others have different opinions than my own but I truly fear for the country when it seems that close to have the population prefers George W. Bush on the basis of his "Aw Shucks" personality. As far as I can see, the man is an intellectual lightweight with only the slightest understanding of domestic and foriegn policy issues. Do my fellow voter really believe that G.W.B's personality alone will be enough to represent the nation internationally or tackle the vexing questions arising due to globalization of the world economy. The Russians, French and Chinese don't care whether Bush is a nice guy and many of the people voting for him won't either once the economy goes south. Texas is last or next to last on almost every quality of life measure there is. If Dubya wins this election I'm moving to Canada.

Lucas Phillips
Oakland, California

Dear FRONTLINE

Well, I just took those quizzes, because I'm new to politics and I thought it might be interesting. According to my "Issues Match" I should vote for Nader. However, I find it very difficult to consider this as a real possibility when we all know he won't win. This is one of those tricky issues - should I take a stand and hope against all hope that others will do the same, or back up one of the two that actually has a chance...Gee,I liked it better when I was politically ignorant.

Susan Sims

Dear FRONTLINE

The environment is a very big issue for me. I cannot believe that G.W. Bush can be so cavalier about going into Alaska. Although I believe in capital punishment for abhorrent crimes and I also believe that hate crimes are more disturbing in a way than a murder of a more personal nature, I had a hard time with his Bushs' smiling when he said those 3 men would pay the ultimate price. It's not a question of justice, but I don't think a politician should smile when he's talking about putting people to death. It's a time for a stern, serious composure. I also believe that gays should have some legal union approved so that they can have the SAME rights as spouses for medical insurance, carrying out living wills, beneficiary for a will, hospital visitation, etc. These things disturb me because ultimately I think I will have to vote for Bush, but I am definitely not happy about it.

Avril Coakley

Dear FRONTLINE

In this election, my concern is about the future. I have 4 grandchildren, ages 9, 8, 5, and 3. I received a statement from the Social Security Administration which said in part, "In 2015, we will begin to pay out more in benefits than we collect in taxes. By 2037, the trust fund will be exhausted...".
Al Gore says he has a plan to extend Social Security until 2054. In the 1st Debate, when asked how he planned to do this by G.W. Bush, Mr. Gore called it "The Full Faith and Credit of the United States Government." I wondered about that phrase and it's meaning.
Then I saw the faces of my grandsons and realized the phrase indicated his willingness to significantly raise their tax rates while they are in their prime earning years!
The alarm has been being sounded for a number of years. We must reform Social Security now, while we still can. I am not sure G.W.B. has the right plan, but at least he has a plan other than tax my grandchildren and yours into the poor house.

Ronald Hithcox
Hephzibah, GA

Dear FRONTLINE

I will vote for George W. Bush because: 1. His record as Governor of Texas has been amazing. Our daughter is a teacher in Texas and has high praise for the specific pluses of his record on education.
2. His plan on Social Security will save the system...it can not survive as it now is.
3. We now are at the mercy of rogue governments for missile attacks and germ warefare...we have no missile defense policy. Bush/Cheney have a specific policy that I agree with.
4. Senior RX plan of Bush is better than Gores. I spent 27 years in a medical-related field and know a lot about what can and can't work.
5. Democrats in Texas say that Bush can be trusted to build cooperation in Washington, DC...he did it in Texas.
6. Gore has made far too many mistakes in policy, misrepresentations and out in out lies...he is NOT to be trusted.

Gary Alcorn
Larkspur, CO

Dear FRONTLINE

The State of Texas, under the leadership of Governor George W. Bush, is ranked:

50th in spending for teacher's salaries
49th in spending on the environment
48th in per-capita funding for public health
47th in delivery of social servies
42nd in child-support collections
4lst in per-capita spending on public education
and,
5th in percentage of population living in poverty
lst in air and water pollution where did that 70 million dollars go?
lst in percentage of poor working parents without insurance
lst in percentage of children without health insurance
lst in executions average: l every two weeks for Bush's 5 years

Just think of what he could do for you and the rest of the country if he were elected President.


Kathleen Lynch
Middletwon, CA

Dear FRONTLINE

My quandry is whether to vote for Nader, with whose views on key issues like health care I am in agreement, or for Gore, whose views are more conservative than mine but who could undoubtedly work more cooperatively with Congress. I don't want my Nader vote to help elect Bush!!

Tom Townsley

Dear FRONTLINE

I have some real misgivings about Al Gore. His values, or those issues most important to him, seem to change with the tide: change with how popular he is at the time, or with what group he is speaking to. During his acceptance speech at the DNC, he said that "this is not a popularity contest." But since then, since his popularity has increased a bit, he seems more inclined to be Mr. Cool, relaxing on Oprah in a casual shirt and sport coat like a movie star, not a Presidential hopeful. He changes with the tide. He takes a strong stand against Hollywood one day and then is significantly softer in his approach when asking the very people he spoke out against for money a week later. Who is he true to? Where do his real loyalities lie? He talks about reform, but my gut feeling is that he has learned too much from Bill Clinton - say or do what you must to pacify the people, anything to win. In my opinion, that is not leadership, that is manipulation. And if we allow ourselves, as a nation, to be manipulated like that if our vote sways because he's friends with Tommy Lee Jones, for example then we deserve the slippery underhandedness that comes with a President who will say or do anything to get what he wants.

Camille Gold
Idaho Falls, Idaho

Dear FRONTLINE

To the undecided voters:

I have to admit I'm more than a little perplexed at all the people saying-- and it's not just voters, journalists and others say it all the time-- that there's not much difference between the candidates. At least on the issues I care most about-- the environment, gun control, and access to legal abortion-- there are HUGE differences!

I'd also like to make the point selecting a presidential candidate is not like choosing a spouse. You know, out of such a small field, you're not going to find a candidate that's a "perfect match" with all your beliefs and issues. For instance, I disagree with Gore my candidate on free trade. I'm also more liberal than him on social issues, and I worked on Bradley's campaign in the primaries. But of the 2 major candidates, he's the by FAR the best match with my priorities. I don't at all think of it as choosing "the lesser of two evils"-- I think you have to be realistic about the fact that in a national election, the candidates will ALWAYS be somewhat middle of the road. They are trying to appeal to a hundred million people.

Clare Kernek

Dear FRONTLINE

I am Texan, born and raised. Up front I must admit that my deepest self supports the goals and ideals set forth by Raplph Nader's Green Party agenda. Unfortunately, at this point in history, the Green Party does not have a chance. The sad reality is that, at this point in history, a vote for the Green Party will be a vote given to George W. Bush. I encourage any voter who has "Green" on their minds to vote for Al Gore. The Green Party needs time to grow and gain momentum in this country. Given the reality of the numbers, Al Gore is the only environmental candidate that makes sense. I sincerely hope that all voters who would vote "Green" this election will take a closer look what their vote will really do for George W. Bush. "Green" voters need to realize that our day will come, and soon, but only if we keep George W. Bush out of the White House. We have an environmental friend in Al Gore. Mr. Gore could do much, once in office, to smooth the way not only for election finance reform, but for the establishment of a viable "Green" third party as well. Texas Green for Gore !!

SUSAN ERLINE WHITE
FORT WORTH, TEXAS

Dear FRONTLINE

I find it interesting as one born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri and now a current resident of Houston, Texas that the "Profiles of Undecided Voters" all focus on the attitudes of St. Louisians. Frontline undecided focus group is from the more if not most liberal part of Missouri, textured though it may be still by the Catholic church's influence. Additionally, it is important to note that the responses may reflect wittingly or unwittingly the strong connection between St. Louisians and the Bush family. Specifically, former President Bush's mother G.W.'s grandmother was born and raised in St. Louis, and his brother G.W.'s paternal uncle has been a long-time resident of a St. Louis suburb.

With this knowledge, it is not at all surprising to see the responses of the 5 undecided voters. Perhaps a better cross-section of Missourians from St. Louis to the bootheel to Kansas City would have been more truly representative of the Missourian undecided voter. While there is no reason to dispute the contention that Missourians determine the Presidency, I, as a Missourian still at heart, hold true to the state's motto: show me. I want more convincing evidence that the next President has not already been chosen.


e heitman

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