Well, it's finally over. The primaries are finished and the Republican Party that rose to power on the strength of its anti-government crusade has picked its most consummate government insider to bear the party's standard. Bob Dole wants to be president because....well, he thinks he deserves it.
Dole's positions on issues have changed over the years, but this time he will be against affirmative action, welfare (at least for poor people), raising the minimum wage, gay rights, and especially against abortion. What Dole really believes may become clear after a few more focus groups and perhaps a phone conversation with the Christian Coalition's Ralph Reed.
But the advice of the Coalition may sometimes come into conflict with the advice of Dole's old political mentor, Richard Nixon, who said always run to the Right during primaries and then back to the center during the general election. If Dole does run to the center, he may have a real race to stop Bill Clinton from getting there first. It indeed could be a very boring presidential year. There has been only one interesting campaign during this primary season-Pat Buchanan's.
In the New Hampshire primary, Buchanan shocked the nation and his own Republican Party by putting together a winning coalition of religious conservatives and disaffected workers. He did so by injecting into the campaign the economic fears and insecurities that increasingly define the lives of many American families-issues that were scrupulously avoided by the other Republicans and the Democrats.