Along the campaign trail, GOP presidential candidates have largely indulged in pandering and scapegoating. Yet, occasionally, each blurts out the truth in order to expose the hypocrisy of his rivals. If the candidates’ moments of candor jelled into a GOP platform, what would it look like? Probably something like this:

Welfare: “The American people will not tolerate cutting off [welfare] benefits for children…. If [Phil Gramm] was proposing that the child would get no support, would have to starve because of mistakes of that child’s parents…the American people and I wouldn’t support it.”–Steve Forbes, 9/23/95

Taxes: “What we did in 1982 and 1983–and certainly, Mr. Forbes would understand this, because he knows all about big corporations and big money–we discovered…a lot of corporations…were ripping off the American public…[for] hundreds of millions of dollars [in taxes]. What we did was close loopholes.”–Bob Dole, 1/13/96

Medicare: “Dole owes us an explanation of how he drifted so far outside…Republican philosophy on Medicare. Most of us…believe that a secure social safety net can exist along with…a balanced budget.” –Phil Gramm, 10/27/95

Democracy: “We have a government that does not listen anymore to the forgotten men and women who work in the…factories…and businesses of this country…a government that is too busy taking the phone calls from lobbyists for foreign countries and the corporate contributors of the Fortune 500.”–Pat Buchanan, 3/20/95

Civil Rights: “When you talk about racial preference, which I condemn, without condemning racial discrimination, I think that sends a mean-spirited message.”–Lamar Alexander, 12/1/95

Education: “My brother, my two sisters, and I have been able to share in the American Dream because of educational opportunity…. And that’s why I think that educational funding, opportunity for the future, is a very, very high priority, none higher.”–Arlen Specter, 10/11/95

Campaign finance: “All Republican candidates are millionaires except for me and Alan Keyes. Money does contaminate the process. Disclosure should be everything, and we should do away with all PACs.”–Bob Dornan, 11/22/95

Values: “[We act] like the only thing that matters in this country is money. And Bill Clinton will stand up and say that it matters that we take care of the old, and it matters that we take care of the children, and it matters that we care about each other. And you know something? He is absolutely right.”–Alan Keyes, 1/7/96


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