Jewish World Review Nov. 4, 2002 / 29 Mar-Cheshvan 5763
Key victories on Tuesday would fortify the American right
Through November 5, conservatives and libertarians should
focus on four specific campaigns. The free-market movement needs the
right men to win these key races:
- Sacking New York's Republican governor George Pataki should be the
Right's top priority, given his potential for high-level sabotage of its
principles. Independent entrepreneur Tom Golisano should send Pataki
Pataki cut taxes modestly early on, but his spine softened severely in
his second term. Craving re-election, Gelatinous George pushed in
January for $1.8 billion and $200 million, respectively, in
taxpayer-funded pay raises for hospital workers and teachers. Their
left-wing unions then endorsed him.
Manhattan Institute scholar E.J. McMahon reports that the 15 percent
real growth in state-level spending through Pataki's first seven years
nearly doubles the 8 percent growth rate during liberal Democrat Mario
Cuomo's final eight years. Since 2000, Pataki has boosted state
cigarette taxes from 56 cents-per-pack to $1.50 and allowed cities to
impose a new 30-cent-per-month cell-phone tax.
Pataki's greener-than-Greenpeace plan to dredge the Hudson for PCBs will
stir up chemicals buried in upstate riverbeds since 1976. Too bad local
fish and wildlife can't vote. They will suffer as Pataki drags these
toxins to the surface to impress environmentalists. He even has put the
brakes on the Millennium Pipeline that would bring natural gas to
clean-burning power plants in Westchester County. Pataki wound up to the
left of New York's Democratic senators, Charles Schumer and Hillary
Rodham Clinton, both of whom support the project.
Pataki also has turned Albany into Jakarta on the Hudson. Its equatorial
atmosphere of cronyism delivers public favors to private donors. For
instance, in July 2000, U.S. District Judge Frederick Block declared
Pataki's current Parole Board chairman, Brion Travis, an unindicted
co-conspirator in a scheme that sprung armed robber John Kim from prison
after his father steered $7,000 into Pataki's 1994 campaign. (Kim
stun-gunned a shop owner and terrorized an eight-year-old girl at
gunpoint in her home.) Three Parole Board officials and a Pataki
fundraiser pleaded guilty or were convicted in this scandal.
In my informal, non-scientific discussions with GOP and free-market
activists here, Pataki's support looks an avenue wide and a subway token
deep. Many seem unenthused and are itching for a reason not to vote for
him. The terminally-liberal New York Times' embrace of Pataki on October
27 didn't help. Appalled, one conservative former aide to Rudy Giuliani
says Pataki "certainly must have lost his way to win this
"During the last eight years, we have seen the state's per-capita
debt increase to the highest level in the U.S.," says Hudson
Institute president Herbert London. "This is the legacy of Pataki's
stewardship." London, a well-respected New York conservative
activist, ran for state comptroller on Pataki's 1994 GOP ticket. London
endorsed Golisano in a radio ad recorded October 28.
For his part, Golisano has surged past Democrat Carl McCall in some
polls with a reform agenda featuring property tax cuts, spending
controls, term limits and access to medical marijuana for sick people.
Surveys show Golisano waxing as Pataki wanes.
Pataki's defeat would achieve two objectives: First, prevent him from
running for president as New York's thrice-elected governor or Dick
Cheney's replacement on the 2004 ticket should he step aside for health
reasons. Second, invertebrate Republican politicians must learn that
building socialism is a recipe for retirement. "The Fall of
Gelatinous George" would be a powerful cautionary tale.
- Will California elect freedom-minded Republican Bill Simon, or will
America's most populous state retain a profligate Democrat with ethical
woes? While Simon's campaign has suffered its stumbles, his agenda is
encouraging. He proposes to renegotiate long-term energy contracts that
Governor Gray Davis approved during California's 2000 electricity
crisis. Simon plans to revive the economy through an overall tax freeze,
capital gains tax cuts and urban empowerment zones. Meanwhile, France
has outstripped California as Earth's fifth largest economy. To regain
its position, Simon urges voters to send Davis there.
Davis could use a Left Bank hiatus. He has turned an $8 billion surplus
into a $23.6 billion deficit in just four years. He also has been
tainted by numerous cash-for-goodies swaps, such as a $55,000 donation
from Tosco that arrived in February 2000, shortly before state
regulators permitted its oil refinery to quadruple its dioxin discharges
into San Francisco Bay.
Bill Simon is the right man to burnish the tarnished Golden State back
to a glowing sheen.
- New Jersey Republican Doug Forrester deserves to win for running for
Senate on missile defense and permanent Bush tax cuts while opposing
former U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg, a free-spending dove who voted
seven times to spare terrorists the death penalty. More important,
Forrester's victory would curb the corner-cutting culture that the
Clintons bequeathed to American politics. Lautenberg's last-minute
appearance on the ballot after scandal-plagued Democrat Robert Toricelli
fled the race wagged a wizened middle finger at the Constitution,
provisions of the federal Voting Rights Act and state election statutes.
This is intolerable. A vote for Doug Forrester is a vote to restore
respect for basic institutions, among them: the law, living by the rules
and obeying deadlines.
- Mark Sanford's triumph as South Carolina's new GOP governor would be a
welcome antidote to his 2001 departure from Congress. After keeping his
promise to limit himself to three terms, Sanford left Capitol Hill to
"He was our number-one-rated guy in Congress," says Sean Rushton,
Media Director at Citizens Against Government Waste. He departed the
House with a 96 percent CAGW lifetime rating. The National Taxpayers
Union gave Sanford "six straight, solid years of As -- from 1995
through 2001," says spokesman Pete Sepp. "That's his whole career
in Congress." Sepp adds: "In 1998, Sanford scored the highest in
the entire House of Representatives."
Handsome, funny, relaxed and lauded across the political spectrum for
his integrity, Sanford makes 180-proof libertarianism taste like mint
juleps. He currently is serving up a plan to eliminate the
state income tax over 18 years, front-loaded in the first five. Sanford
also was an early and energetic advocate of Social Security choice.
Columbia's governor's office would be a superb platform from which this
promising visionary can spread free-market solutions across the Palmetto
State... and beyond.
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JWR contributor Deroy Murdock is a columnist with the
Scripps Howard News Service and a Media Fellow with the Hoover Institution
on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. Send your comments by clicking here.
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04/13/01: The impunity of federal agents
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03/23/01: This American life: Taxing everything from womb to the tomb
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02/09/01: Say goodnight, Jesse
02/02/01: Waiting in vain for the Clintons' final insult
01/31/01: Jesse Jackson's Church of Instant Forgiveness
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12/15/00: The Right is too nice for its own good
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11/14/00: Florida officials use telepathy in prez ballot hand-count
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© 2002, Deroy Murdock