EDITORIAL BUSH'S PHILLY STORY.
Social Security for the elderly, better health care and better schools were high on his agenda as he accepted the Republican nomination for president.
In reaching out to all segments of society and committing himself to tackle the problems and concerns of the majority of Americans, Bush was clearly borrowing a page from the Bill Clinton book on politics.
As a Democrat, Clinton was twice elected president by sounding Republican themes and moving his party to the political center.
Now, we have Bush, a Republican, talking a little like a Democrat and moving his party to the center.
Polls taken during the convention in Philadelphia show the nation liked what it saw of Bush, with the GOP nominee opening up as much as 14 percentage points ahead of Al Gore, who will be nominated in just two weeks at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.
Such a bump in the polls is normal, and Bush will be hard-pressed to define concrete policies and convince the majority of voters that he has the will and the skill to fulfill his social agenda.
That said, Bush has shown he is a Republican with genuine political acumen - the likes of which the party hasn't seen since Ronald Reagan steamrollered his way to victories in 1980 and 1984.
His acceptance speech contained the winning elements that were present throughout the four-day convention. He called for bipartisanship. He rallied the country to address long-ignored national-security questions. He demanded an end to ``the politics of fear.''
He acknowledged the prosperity the nation has been enjoying while promising to do even better - and pledged not to let ``the challenges of our time become crises for our children.''
Three months is, indeed, a long time. And if Al Gore and the Democrats can rival the Republicans' performance when they come to town, the race will tighten.
There is no sign that Americans are yet enamored of either candidate. Both will have ample opportunity in the months ahead to prove themselves in what is certainly the toughest political contest of them all.
Bush and the Republicans seem off to a good start, embracing the concerns of the American people and making promises to work to make life better for all.
Next we'll see what Gore has to say.