- The Washington Times - Friday, March 10, 2000

Texas Gov. George W. Bush handed Arizona Sen. John McCain his lunch Tuesday in all the major Republican primaries. Yet it is now Mr. McCain, the man who just got clobbered at the polls, who is demanding that Mr. Bush, the victor, negotiate the terms of Mr. McCain's surrender. Unlike Sen. Bill Bradley, who unconditionally withdrew from the Democratic presidential race yesterday and graciously endorsed his victorious opponent, Mr. McCain announced that he was merely "suspending" his campaign. Instead of the customary endorsement, Mr. McCain pointedly offered only his "best wishes."
Mr. McCain's campaign "suspension" will allow him to determine how he could "best continue to serve the country and help bring about the changes to the practices and the institutions of our great democracy," Mr. McCain said. In other words, Mr. McCain seems determined to make Mr. Bush adopt his campaign-finance "reform" proposal. "I love my party. It is my home," Mr. McCain declared today, but he failed to explain why his campaign-finance proposal is virtually unanimously embraced by the Democratic Party and rejected by very substantial majorities of his Republican Party colleagues.
Despite having recently rejected any possibility that he would run on a third party ticket in November, Mr. McCain cagily retreated to his "Straight Talk Express" after announcing his campaign suspension and refused to answer any questions, including the inevitable question about current third party intentions. Meanwhile, several high level advisers let the press know that some of Mr. McCain's chief strategists are now pushing him to mount a third party bid for the presidency, an effort that would almost certainly deliver the White House to Vice President Al Gore. Surely Mr. McCain understands this.
Former New Jersey Sen. Bradley arrived in the U.S. Senate with much promise as a bona-fide New Democrat in 1979. But as he officially ends his quest for the Democratic presidential nomination, he does so as an extreme liberal. For most people who have undergone a major ideological transformation, the path has been in the opposite direction. Mr. Bradley was instrumental in passing tax reform in 1986 that reduced the top rate to 28 percent. Several years later, however, Mr. Bradley enthusiastically supported the Clinton-Gore plan that increased the top marginal rate to nearly 40 percent. Today he strongly opposes reducing the top marginal rate.
Until he began seeking the votes of Iowa's corn farmers, Mr. Bradley had steadfastly opposed taxpayer subsidies for ethanol, a corn-based fuel. Unashamed to pander to Iowa farmers, he embraced them in a remarkable policy reversal.
Coming from a state that has some of the nation's worst public school systems Newark and Jersey City, for example Mr. Bradley courageously supported experimental programs for school vouchers in the early 1990s. In the face of ferocious attacks from Al Gore, and to curry favor with the teachers' union lobby, Mr. Bradley abandoned his support for experimental voucher programs. Moreover, seemingly oblivious to the destructive effects of inter-generational welfare dependency, Mr. Bradley opposed the bipartisan welfare-reform legislation passed in 1996. For all of his professed concern for child poverty, Mr. Bradley was strangely silent during his presidential campaign, like all the candidates, about the effects of illegitimacy. Mr. Bradley was at his most self-righteous when he expressed outrage at the nation's campaign-finance system. But talk is cheap. When his Republican challenger suggested that he limit his expenditures to $3 million during his final Senate campaign in 1990, he declined.
In between his several meetings with the Rev. Al Sharpton, Mr. Bradley indignantly traveled to South Carolina to condemn Republican candidates who declined to pillory the state for flying the Confederate flag. Such hypocrisy will not be missed.
Now, if only something can be done to spare us the self-righteous indignation of John McCain for the rest of the year.

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