- The Washington Times - Monday, January 5, 2004

Concealed Democrats?

Among the more intriguing political observations as we approach the Democratic presidential primaries is candidate “backpedaling” on the issues of guns and gun control.

Alan M. Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, says the priority of his gun lobby this 2004 election year is to make sure “none” of the declared anti-gun rights candidates “gets near the Oval Office and gets the chance to reinstate Bill Clinton’s gun-grabbing agenda.”

“Even Sen. John ‘I’m not the gun lobby’ Kerry had his photograph taken on a pheasant hunt in Iowa,” notes Mr. Gottlieb, who also recalls that the Democratic Leadership Council held a meeting with candidates in Atlanta to explain how to show that they are “friends of the Second Amendment” without turning off their liberal Democratic base.

Says the lobbyist: “We gun owners know what that’s called: camouflage.”

Four-point policy

Now that Osama bin Laden apparently has reared his murderous head again, we thought it timely to publish the official U.S. Counterterrorism Policy, obtained yesterday from the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism, Ambassador J. Cofer Black:

“First, make no concessions to terrorists and strike no deals;

“Second, bring terrorists to justice for their crimes;

“Third, isolate and apply pressure on states that sponsor terrorism to force them to change their behavior; and

“Fourth, bolster the counterterrorism capabilities of those countries that work with the U.S. and require assistance.”

Closing the circle

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is only the most recent native Austrian to make waves in American policy circles.

The “liberty” philosophies of the late F.A. Hayek and Ludwig von Mises and other modern philosophers of the “Austrian School” of economics — being icons of the American center-right — helped guide the coalition on the heels of the 1976 elections into a governing bloc that continues today.

(The story of the Austrian School begins in the 15th century, when the followers of St. Thomas Aquinas, writing and teaching at the University of Salamanca in Spain, sought to explain the full range of human action and social organization).

Now, with the help of another Austrian economist, Gunther Fehlinger, these pioneers’ labors, having helped transform the American conservative grass roots and intellectual base, are making their way full circle to Europe just as that continent escalates its own supra-nationalist revolution into a growing European Union.

Mr. Fehlinger is director of the new think tank of the EU Parliament’s governing center-right European People’s Party, the European Enterprise Institute (EEI). Modeled largely on Washington-based think tanks and resonant of the Republican Revolution of 1994, EEI is tackling barriers to the all-important “SME” (small and medium enterprise) sector, or entrepreneurs, who can be more readily crushed by a rigid, centralized and ever-growing bureaucracy.

Through his visits to Washington, Mr. Fehlinger has cultivated the support of such policy-makers as then-chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee, Republican Sen. Christopher S. “Kit” Bond of Missouri, and current House Small Business Committee Chairman Rep. Donald Manzullo, Illinois Republican.

The fiercely pro-American wonk, operating on the premise that to successfully continue spreading economic freedoms worldwide both Atlantic bookends must control overly intrusive bureaucracy, has now reached out to American experts to provide counsel on the European Union’s burgeoning regulatory state.

Christopher C. Horner, Washington lawyer and senior fellow at the free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute, is one of those with whom EEI is working to address governmental efforts to limit the citizenry’s access to, for example, affordable energy and automobility on the premise of one erstwhile catastrophe or another.

“EEI and the forces it represents disprove yet again the general media spin, of a ‘Europe’ strongly at odds with America and its deregulatory bent, which leaves it out-of-step with the social paradise supplanting individual freedoms with the all-wise and benevolent state,” Mr. Horner tells Inside the Beltway. “Could there be a worse time for the big government, gloom-and-doom left?”

John McCaslin, a nationally syndicated columnist, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]

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