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Governors spurn substance in favor of political sniping

July 12, 2000

Governors spurn substance in favor of political sniping



Like a bratty child who just won't be shushed, the "blame game" version of presidential politics elbowed its way onto center stage last Saturday at the opening of the National Governor's Conference, though neither one of the major party contenders was in attendance. When will they learn that rhetoric is less important than real accomplishment?

To his credit, Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening tried to steer the talk back to the real issues, including the link between technology and economic growth and education's importance in preparing young people for a high-tech future.

But partisans of Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush used the platform to tout their candidate's good points and their foe's perceived shortcomings. Republicans accused President Clinton and Gore of blocking GOP measures on health care, Social Security and jobs. Meanwhile, Democrats sniped at Bush and his family, saying that the presidency is something to be earned, not inherited.

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Frankly this is a waste of brainpower on a burst of partisanship that won't be remembered a week from now, let alone by election time. The governors should leave the politicking to the national campaigns and do what they can to share the best ideas from their own regions, as they've done previously on topics like welfare reform.

Perhaps no topic is more in the news this summer that the rising price of gasoline, and more recently, the possibility that fuel oil and natural gas prices will undergo a drastic hike this coming winter. What alternative does the country have?

One possibility comes from Ohio, where the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments is conducting a test of a fuel called bio-diesel, created by combining fast-food grease and regular diesel fuel.

Not only does the fuel apparently have no ill effects on diesel engines, but it would also provide a way to dispose of the 3 billion gallons of vegetable oil that U.S. companies toss out each year.

Now tell us the truth: Which do you want to hear more about - the governors' presidential favorites or what they're doing to make life better for their constituents?

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