- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 23, 2000

Reagan Democrats

Reagan Democrats "to a large extent" no longer exist, "and the Republican Party must change its message to fit the time," Michael Deaver writes in the New York Times.
"The union guys who once stood with Ronald Reagan are no more," many of them having found new jobs as technicians. "The ones who remain are now the foundation of today's Democratic Party. More than likely, they aren't coming back," said Mr. Deaver, who served as Mr. Reagan's deputy chief of staff.
"Bill Clinton said recently that he felt sorry for Republicans because they had nothing to run against. The Russians are lambs, the welfare system has been fixed, and the only pessimists are in the bond market.
"Life is good, but Republicans still have something to run against. Our current political system is weakened by corruption, complacency and a lack of character.
"If Ronald Reagan were running today, he'd focus on these problems and a different audience. He'd be more at home in Silicon Valley than Macomb County [in Michigan]. His optimistic message of individuality, distrust of government and reliance on markets would undoubtedly make him a dot-comer."

Great White Hope

Both Al Gore and Bill Bradley, during their debate Monday night, lambasted Republican presidential hopefuls Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Arizona Sen. John McCain for not condemning the Confederate battle flag and, in Mr. Bush's case, for visiting Bob Jones University, which prohibits interracial dating.
"Some nerve these guys have. Both of them have a big, fat Bob Jones problem of their own," writes New York Post columnist Rod Dreher.
"The sanctimonious Bradley, who positions himself as the Great White Hope of racial reconciliation, has accused Bush and McCain of embracing 'the narrow political expediency of the Republican Party' in order to 'bottom-fish for votes from the most right-wing elements of the Republican Party.'
"What a hypocrite.
"David Duke aside, there is no bottom-feeder in American politics more lowdown than [the Rev. Al] Sharpton, the rotund controversialist who sustains his career exploiting racial resentments.
"Bradley forfeited his right to criticize others for sacrificing principle to political expediency when he visited Sharpton at his Harlem headquarters."
The columnist added: "Somebody should ask Gore and Bradley why it's wrong for Bush to visit Bob Jones University and it is but it's OK to coddle Sharpton."

Goode backs Bush

Virginia Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr., who recently left the Democratic Party to don the label of independent, has endorsed the presidential candidacy of Republican George W. Bush, the governor of Texas.
At a news conference Monday in Danville, Mr. Goode said, "We need a president who will listen to the ideas and concerns of our area, instead of firing broadsides simply because a poll says it is a popular thing to do."
Mr. Goode has announced he will caucus with House Republicans.

Troubling clue

"Not surprisingly, Hillary Clinton's discovery of the punishing tax burden faced by residents of New York's Westchester County is apparently not enough to cause her to embrace broad-based tax reduction. But what might we expect in the way of tax policy from the Senate candidate?" asks Kelly Jones, president of the Taxpayers' Alliance of New York, in a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal.
"One very troubling clue has come to light. On a recent Buffalo radio talk show, Mrs. Clinton volunteered that she would have voted against the Reagan tax cuts had she been in the Senate at the time. She may well back away from this implicit endorsement of the 70 percent marginal tax rates on income in effect prior to the enactment of the Reagan cuts," the letter continued.
"In the meantime, New York voters have a right to know just how high the marginal rates have to be to pay for universal health care, thousands of new public school teachers, peace in every conflicted region on the globe, while paying down the debt and saving Social Security and Medicare."

McCain's pals, foes

"Gary Bauer says that many of his old friends disagree with his endorsement of John McCain," Ramesh Ponnuru and John J. Miller note at National Review's Web site (www.nationalreview.com).
"He argues, surely correctly, against 'those who claim that my endorsement [which] they disagree with cancels out a lifetime of work.' But McCain isn't making Bauer's life any easier. Over the weekend, John McCain was asked about his campaign chairman Warren Rudman's remarks trashing Christian conservatives.
"Rudman, he explained, was only talking about those conservatives who had had the gall to criticize Colin Powell, an American hero. McCain cited Paul Weyrich, whom he has ample reason to hate (Weyrich has raised the possibility that McCain is a Manchurian candidate, having been turned during his captivity in North Vietnam).
"But one of the conservatives who stood with Weyrich at the press conference denouncing Powell in 1995 was Gary Bauer.
"Also at that press conference: Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform. It's hard to understate the hatred the McCain camp bears for him. Rudman is in The Washington Post [yesterday] saying, as he has before, that 'Norquist is fighting for his pocketbook, not for conservatism.'
"Now it's possible to criticize Norquist on any number of grounds that he wears too many hats, works too closely with the Republican leadership on the Hill, has bad table manners. But the notion that he's in politics for the money is just absurd, as anyone who's been to his southeast Washington abode nice, but not palatial knows.
"For better or worse, Norquist is a true believer. Besides, who's Warren Rudman to tell anyone who is or isn't a conservative?"

Democrats vs. Ashcroft

Democrats yesterday chided Sen. John Ashcroft, Missouri Republican, for accepting an honorary degree from a Christian college that bans interracial dating.
The criticism came in advance of a Missouri visit by Texas Gov. George W. Bush, who has been criticized for speaking at the same college, Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C.
"It is absolutely sickening that John Ashcroft would lend his personal endorsement and the prestige of his office to the causes of bigotry, racial separation and anti-Catholicism," said Jim Jordan, political director of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.
Mr. Ashcroft is battling a re-election challenge by Democratic Gov. Mel Carnahan, whose campaign said Mr. Ashcroft should return the honorary degree.
A spokesman for Mr. Ashcroft said the senator "totally repudiates attacks on religious denominations or beliefs and completely embraces the American heritage of the equality of all people and religious and racial diversity and tolerance."

Oh, no, not him

Bryant Gumbel, host of CBS' "The Early Show," who never hides his dislike for Republicans in general and conservatives in particular, was clearly appalled Monday when his co-host guessed that Ronald Reagan had been chosen the greatest president of all time in a C-SPAN survey of historians.
Plugging an upcoming interview on the show, Mr. Gumbel announced: "Well, later on this morning, we're going to be talking on this Presidents Day about this presidential survey. Who would you think finished first?"
Co-host Jane Clayson tried to duck the question, the Media Research Center reports. "Hmmm. Good question," she said.
Mr. Gumbel: "Of all the presidents, when they did first to worst. Oh c'mon. You would know."
Ms. Clayson: "Ronald Reagan."
Mr. Gumbel, appalled, exclaimed: "First?"
Miss Clayson: "Who was it?"
Mr. Gumbel chastised her: "No. Reagan wasn't even in the top 10. Abraham Lincoln. Maybe you've heard of him."
Mr. Reagan finished 11th in the survey.
Later, Mr. Gumbel expressed his dismay that President Clinton had finished 21st.

Unmanned verbiage

"It's no longer politically correct around the military to use the term 'unmanned aerial vehicles' for those robotic flying machines that don't have humans male or female at the controls," National Journal reports, pointing to "the latest batch of Pentagon budget charts."
"Call them 'unattended aerial vehicles' until further notice, please. So what does this portend for skippers of Navy ships used to bellowing 'Man overboard' when a sailor falls into the sea? 'Crew member awash'?"

Hillary and Mandela

President Clinton told Nelson Mandela yesterday that his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, was a good politician, but not quite as gifted as the former South African president.
Mr. Mandela bantered with the president about his wife, who is running for a U.S. Senate seat from New York, as well as their daughter, Chelsea, before Mr. Clinton spoke by video link to the Burundi peace talks in Arusha, Tanzania.
"Please convey my love to both of them and tell Hillary that we wish her all the luck," Mr. Mandela said, referring to the first lady's race against her likely Republican opponent, New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.
"Thank you. She's working hard. You'd be proud of her," Mr. Clinton replied, adding with a laugh: "She's not as good as you are, but almost … at getting votes."

Drink up

James Carville, political strategist and foremost defender of President Clinton, has signed on as master of ceremonies for a party at the National Press Club tonight.
Mr. Carville, assisted by funny-man Al Franken, will announce the formation of the Captain Morgan (of Original Spiced Rum fame) Presidential Exploratory Committee.

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