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CLINTON WANTS TO BE LIBERAL, BUT COUNTRY WON’T LET HIM

SHARE CLINTON WANTS TO BE LIBERAL, BUT COUNTRY WON’T LET HIM

Can't we just hold the presidential election this Tuesday and get the thing out of the way? It would be mercy to Bob Dole and might spare the rest of us from more of the hot-dog notions President Clinton is putting around to tease a sulky electorate to the polls on his behalf.

The latest: drug tests for teens before they can get their driver's licenses.Like that is going to do one little bit of good.

Any teen who knows dope knows that all you have to do to come out clean is detox for a few days before a test. If the test catches anyone, it likely won't be serious users but kids so naive they are tripped up by incidental use.

Those are hardly the troublesome cases we need to attend to.

You have to sympathize with Clinton a little on this. He's an instinctive activist at a time when 1) there's no money for it, or at any rate we've told ourselves there's none; and 2) years of retrograde Republicanism have pounded home the odd notion that we are incompetent as a people to do anything for our own civic improvement through government.

Here's a president stocked to full wonkery with ideas to get the country moving again and all that, and he has neither the funds for it nor the nation's purpose behind him. We told Clinton when we first elected him that we wanted him to get cracking on the domestic agenda. We lied.

So for a re-election campaign he is reduced to twiddling around with the small change of governance, like a bored kid playing with coins on his bedspread on a rainy afternoon.

And while he's at it, he might as well do a little political business, too. Right?

Are the Republicans, especially their Puritan wing, saying Clinton is a lifestyle disaster, given to loose living, an example sure to corrupt the nation's youth even unto the seventh generation?

They are, so he lets on that he's a stern taskmaster, no coddler of run-amok youth. He would have the nation's young march off to school daily in uniforms. And be kept home at night by curfews.

And are the Republicans saying the president is soft on drugs? They are, of course, and with them unwilling to fund education and treatment, the approaches Clinton rightly prefers, he comes up with this tinkle-for-Mommy program.

Get this: There are about 5 million new drivers a year. Drug tests cost, oh, $5 to $7 a pop. We're going to spend $30 million, give or take, to catch a handful of kids who probably aren't hard-core drug users. And the states get stuck with the tab.

Thus will the next generation in the land of the free be trained in freedom by uniforms, curfews and drug tests. Welcome, guilty and innocent alike, to reform school.

You may wish to pause here and contemplate the charge put about by Dole that Clinton is liberal. Or as Dole puts it, "liberal liberal liberal."

Right, and the Brown Shirts were a Bavarian folk-dance troupe. Bill Clinton, with all his death sentences, habeas corpus short cuts and so on, and now this, is the worst president to happen to civil liberties since Richard Nixon.