Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Nov. 20, 2000 / 22 Mar-Cheshvan 5761

Morton Kondracke

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Debbie Schlussel
Sam Schulman
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Can next president and Hill deal? -- WHOEVER ends up being president, it behooves both him and the barely ruling Republican Congress to end the toxic partisanship that's dominated Washington for the past 15 years and collaborate on a moderate policy agenda.

Not only would bipartisanship and a record of accomplishment restore the public's faith in government, it would give a boost to the politicians who achieve it. It's the new president's responsibility to take the lead in this process, of course, but Congress will be the first to pay the price if Washington produces nothing but rancor and stalemate between now and 2002.

Agreement won't be easy. Even though the 2000 presidential campaign was relatively civil and substantive, the post-election action has been intensely partisan. Each side has employed a former secretary of state to argue its case, but beneath the surface, the tussle for power has hardly been diplomatic. Unless the endless recounts in Florida produce a decisive result, the next president is likely to be regarded as "His Illegitimacy" by partisans on the other side.

According to the CBS News/New York Times poll, 71 percent of Vice President Al Gore's supporters disapprove of the way Texas Gov. George W. Bush has handled post-election maneuvering, and 70 percent of Bush voters disapprove of Gore's conduct. Sixty-three percent of voters think one candidate or both are placing politics above the interests of the country.

Moreover, after Vietnam, Watergate and the Monica Lewinsky scandal, the American presidency has been drained of moral authority. According to exit polls, by 60 percent to 34 percent, voters expect their president merely to manage the government, not provide moral leadership for the country.

The good news is that this demystification provides a low hurdle for the next president to jump. If he makes a continuing good-faith effort to reach out to the opposition and achieve policy results through compromise, he's liable to win cheers from the public.

As many commentators have recommended, Bush and Gore should be looking for top people in the other party to serve in the next Cabinet.

Democrats who might perform well in a Bush Cabinet include outgoing Sens. Chuck Robb, Va., and Bob Kerrey, Neb., either of whom could serve as Defense secretary; Rep. Bob Matsui, Calif., as a possible U.S. trade representative; and former Sen. Jim Sasser, Tenn., as a possible United Nations ambassador.

Republicans who might serve in a Gore Cabinet include former Rep. Vin Weber, Minn., or Rep. Jim Kolbe, Ariz., as USTR; Gen. Colin Powell as Education secretary; and former Sens. Warren Rudman, N.H., or John Danforth, Mo., as attorney general.

On most policy issues, Bush and Gore were not poles apart. Bush labeled himself a "compassionate conservative" and managed to win the votes of 44 percent of self-described moderate voters. And even though Gore campaigned as a populist "fighter" against special interests, his economic policy was almost Bob Dole-ish, aimed primarily at paying down the national debt. He received 52 percent of the moderate vote.

The two candidates differed over the size of tax cuts and over who should get them -- a subject inherently amenable to negotiation and compromise with Congress.

They differed over Medicare reform and the size and scope of a prescription drug benefit for seniors. Reform -- involving the extent to which benefits are paid through private insurance companies -- is an issue of principle that will be tough to mediate.

However, the prescription drug piece is a good place to start looking for agreement. Bush's insurance-based program could be made more generous than it is. Gore's government-based plan could provide for two or three regional authorities to negotiate with drug companies, rather than one, lessening the danger of price controls.

Social Security reform was the subject of intense ideological disagreement, with Bush favoring partial privatization and Gore favoring the status quo. But it's conceivable that a new bipartisan commission could come up with a means for Social Security funds to earn a higher return than they do now. After all, state governments invest their pension funds in private markets without dominating them.

Both parties are anxious to improve education. It ought to be possible to agree on some balance between Republicans' demands for state autonomy and Democrats' eagerness to reduce class sizes.

Exit polls show the country is more divided around cultural and moral issues than economic and political ones. But even on race, there should be a way to achieve compromises on hate crimes legislation.

Concerning abortion, ways can be found to make the procedure more rare. And gun legislation always ends up being compromised out.

Congress and the new president may not be able to come to agreement on all of these divisive issues. Yet Republicans did make an effort to cover themselves politically by at least looking busy on patients' rights and prescription drugs. However, no legislation passed in these areas.

In a presidential year, Republicans survived politically. In an off year, they'll have to show results.

JWR contributor Morton Kondracke is executive editor of Roll Call, the newspaper of Capitol Hill. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


11/15/00: With nation split, leaders must reach across party divide
11/07/00: The Envelope, Please:Bush Beats Gore, GOP Holds Hill
11/03/00: Parties appeal to two 'gospels'
11/01/00: Lurking in the shadows
10/26/00: What's Gore's Social Security plan?
10/18/00: While Bush, Gore debate surplus, Congress spends it
10/16/00: Two debates leave lots of questions
10/03/00: What questions should be debated?
09/28/00: Gore and Bush should prepare to lead
09/19/00: Bush let values issue slip away
08/25/00: Gore hands center to Bush
08/22/00: AlGore, look to future, not to Bubba
08/08/00: 2000 race could leave high road for low
08/03/00: Convention must point Bush to center
08/01/00: GOP Readies 'Debt Lockbox' As 2000 Strategy
07/27/00: Cheney adds heft to GOP ticket
07/25/00: Foreign, Defense Policy Deserves Full 2000 Debate
07/20/00: Truman Show: Gore Replays 1948, But Bush Isn't Dewey
07/18/00: Bush Must Fight Gore's Drug Plan As 'Bad Medicine'
07/13/00: Mexico's Election Supports U.S. Action On NAFTA, Bailout
07/10/00: Abortion is good for something --- just ask AlGore
07/06/00: Meet Steve Ricchetti, Bubba's secret weapon
06/30/00: AlGore is down, but is he out?
06/27/00: Social programs caught in election-year game of one-up
06/22/00: Congress Is Near Flunking a Test On School Reform
06/16/00: Doting on the grandparents
06/13/00: On Stem Cells, Bush Has Wrong Pro-Life Stance
06/08/00: Has Gore Caught Bush?
05/26/00: PNTR Vote Could Tell Which Party Fits 'New Economy'
05/23/00: The secret to winning the election: Economic programs
05/18/00: Gore should regroup
05/16/00: McCain's Support Is Tepid, But Lets Bush Focus on Gore
05/11/00: Voters need wonk training
05/09/00: Bush Could Score With Charge That Gore's Too Partisan
04/28/00: Reno's force aids Clinton, not Elian
04/25/00: Should Clinton be indicted?
04/24/00: Can Gore win on Bush tax cuts?
04/18/00: Levin's 'bridge' key to China trade?
04/11/00: Congress, U.S. Voters Still Aren't Ready For Campaign Reform
04/06/00: Bush, Gore Silent As Popular Culture Gets Ever Coarser
03/30/00: Is 2000 Like 1948, 1976 or 1960? Or Is This Unparalleled?
03/28/00: Will Bush, Gore Go for a Better Way To Pick Nominees?
03/23/00: Medicare cutbacks bleed hospitals
03/20/00: Chances Improve That China Trade Will Pass Congress
03/16/00: Lieberman as veep would help Gore
03/14/00: Can Bush, McCain Unite to Beat Gore?
03/09/00: Can GOP Forge Unity After Nasty McCain-Bush Race?
03/07/00: What accounts for McCain's excesses?
03/02/00: 'Debate' Proved Gore Is This Year's Best Gut-Fighter
02/29/00: Surprises! The 2000 GOP race is full of it
02/25/00: Voters want centrist in White House
02/23/00: Gore would hit McCain's record
02/15/00: Will negativity hurt McCain in S.C.?
02/10/00: How hard should Bush hit McCain?
02/08/00: Bush must retool his entire campaign
01/27/00: Could Gore beat Bush as Truman beat Dewey?
01/20/00: Big New Surplus Estimates Could Alter 2000 Politics
12/21/99: Bush improves, everyone panders
12/16/99: Prospects improve for campaign reform
12/14/99: Riots raise free trade as 2000 issue
12/10/99: Gore won GOP 'debate' in N.H.
12/07/99: Election pits Bush cuts vs. Medicare boost
12/03/99: Can race be a constructive issue in 2000?
11/19/99: White House race may be best in decades
11/16/99: Where is Bush on health care fight?
11/11/99: Will TV stop profiteering from politics?
11/09/99: Is GOP isolationist, or just partisan?
11/04/99: Gore, Bradley Run Opposite Races On Style, Substance
11/01/99: GOP, Clinton could reach deal swiftly
10/27/99: Bush to fight 'culture wars' -- positively
10/21/99: Porter, Mack: heroes on medical research
10/19/99: Gore scores among party big shots, but polls go South
10/14/99: Bush critiques could help GOP Congress
10/12/99: Congress can save health care from ruin
10/07/99: Will gun-control cause the GOP to shoot itself in the foot?
10/05/99: Gore moves: Desperate but necessary
10/01/99: Fox, Armstrong make case for NIH
09/28/99: Dems' race brightens Bush's chances
09/23/99: East Timor deflates `Clinton Doctrine'
09/21/99: Buchanan v. Bush? Yeah right
09/17/99: Candidates turn attention to poverty
09/15/99: Bush's education problem
09/09/99: Budget makes 2000 an `issues' election
09/07/99:Airport rage increases, with good reason
09/02/99: U.S. future up for grabs in 2000
08/31/99: U.S. Capitol needs visitor's center -- soon
08/24/99: Will 2000 be the year of the foreign crisis?
08/19/99: Neither party has upper hand for '99
08/17/99: Ford gets freedom medal one month early
08/12/99: There's time to catch Bush, say Gore aides
08/10/99: Rudy, Hillary try much-needed makeovers
08/09/99: GOP must launch new probe of Chinagate
08/02/99: Pols blow fiscal smoke on budget surplus
08/02/99: One campaign reform should pass: disclosure
07/27/99: Gore leads Bush in policy proposals

©1999, NEA