Jewish World Review Jan. 13, 2004 / 19 Teves, 5764

Martha Zoller

Martha Zoller
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Consumer Reports

Conservatives should support the President now and in November because they asked for his kind of leadership | You hear it in the coffee shops all over the "red areas" of the map. Everyone knows that is where the real politics is discussed in America. Conservatives are asking themselves, "What was the President thinking?" They might be talking about No Child Left Behind, or steel tariffs or the signing of many less than conservative bills.

In the coffee shops in the "blue areas," liberals don't sit around much. They are too angry and busy to stop for a while but many are thinking that President Bush is the most conservative president in years, since "oh, my God, Reagan," and he must be stopped.

Both of these assessments cannot be true and after spending years looking at politics, I took my first serious stand on a candidate in 1968 at the tender age of 9, if both sides are mad at you, you are probably on the right track. So why should conservatives and moderates support the President, now on issues and later this year at the ballot box?

First of all, the dirty little secret that was hidden after the 2002 elections is that we are not a 50/50 nation. Most of us are conservative to moderate rather than liberal to moderate. We are in a new Great Awakening period in our history, partly because of the backlash of the Sexual Revolution, but mostly because of how we felt on 9/11. Being attacked on your own soil has a way of putting into focus things that you took for granted.

A caller on my show recently said that we have built walls to keep people out of America before and they were the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Those were indeed natural barriers and they did protect us for two centuries. But mobility and time has changed that and we didn't build those walls, G-d did.

Conservatives should support the President now and in November because we asked for his kind of leadership. What was the thing conservatives (and many closet conservatives) hated the most about President Clinton? It was that he had no core values. He was poll driven and whatever the people wanted he gave it to them as watered down as possible as not to make anyone mad. We said we wanted someone who would do what he thought was right for America even if it was unpopular. We got what we asked for in George W. Bush.

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There are many issues that conservatives take issue with the President. He compromised too much in No Child Left Behind, but even so, there are pockets of improvement that are beginning to crop up around the country. It is starting to look like he did the right thing.

The Steel Tariffs go against conservative free market principles, but they were temporary as promised and it appears that the steel industry has taken this time to retool and it looks like he was right on this one, too.

The list has been lengthens with the announcement last week of a new Immigration policy, there are calls in some corners to teach him a lesson in November. In the days since the announcement, the DNC has sent out emails saying that the President has not gone far enough in his proposals. This is the first time in a generation that a President or candidate from the two major parties has a stated immigration policy. The Democrats and many Republicans, too, have had the "wink and a nod and sweep it under the rug" policy in the past.

This President is taking a stand in an election year that may harm him in very conservative areas that are dealing with unchecked illegal immigration. However, the issue will be debated out in the open. Up until this point, lawmakers living in areas most influenced by illegal immigration have been dropped into the "racist/prejudiced" category and have not been given credit for knowing their district. This proposal, while having many areas of deep concern, will bring the discussion to all levels of government across this country.

Based on the history of this President, we better not count him out till we see how things unfold. He is what conservatives asked for in a President. He cut taxes, got our economy going again and lives and breathes the safety of this country and the people in it. When it is all said and done, George W. Bush does what he believes is right for the American people and he is willing to stand on his record in November.

Ten months is a lifetime in politics and much can happen. There will be debates on making tax cuts permanent, on spending priorities, education and illegal immigration. Conservatives must not give up on any of these issues and the President understands these issues. However, he does have to govern all of Americans and do what is best for the long term interests of our country. Americans will like some of the results and dislike others, but in the end they will make their decision in the voting booth all around this great land of ours.

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JWR contributor Martha Zoller is a radio talk show host in Georgia. Comment by clicking here.

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© 2004, Martha Zoller