Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Dec. 18, 2000 / 21 Kislev, 5761

George Will

George Will
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
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Beware the 'Bipartisanship' -- After Europe's liberals helped Count Cavour unify Italy, he was asked how he would discharge that moral debt. He said he would astonish the world with his ingratitude. Today conservatives, who are temperamental pessimists and George W. Bush's base, are bracing themselves for betrayal in the name of "bipartisanship." They know talk about bipartisanship is usually a partisan tactic.

But Bush, too, probably knows that most political and journalistic boilerplate about the need to "heal" the "deeply divided nation" has the partisan purpose of paralyzing him, turning him away from his political program, toward therapeutic gestures of "healing." But what wounds need healing? Those inflicted by a campaign best described by Freud's phrase "the narcissism of small differences"?

Fifty years ago the names of Joseph McCarthy, Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs denoted America's differences. Thirty-five years ago Americans argued about guaranteeing African Americans access to public accommodations and polling places. Thirty years ago the nation was riven by a ground war of attrition in Asia. Twenty years ago a president who believed the Soviet Union was "the focus of evil in the modern world" replaced a president whose secretary of state had said that Leonid Brezhnev "shares our dreams and aspirations." Today, who really believes Americans are at daggers drawn about the differences between Bush's and Gore's plans for prescription drug benefits?

Granted, many African American leaders are miffed, but what else is new? For Jesse Jackson, it is forever Selma, Ala., 1965. Brit Hume of Fox News notes that Jackson, a diligent recycler of rhetoric, has recently been reminded of Selma by: the Supreme Court, the butterfly ballot, a Houston debate about racial preferences, a Decatur, Ill., dispute about high school discipline and an accidental police shooting in Riverside, Calif. Jesse Jackson Jr. has said, jokingly, his father wanted to name him Selma.

The Congressional Black Caucus is pouting, many members threatening an action that might not be noticed -- a boycott of inaugural events. The three most admired Americans may be Oprah Winfrey (Bush's kiss of her helped reignite his sagging campaign), Colin Powell and Michael Jordan, and the three most eminent African Americans in public service -- Clarence Thomas, Powell and Condoleezza Rice -- have ascended with Republican sponsorship. Yet the Black Caucus in its time warp clings to the idea that African Americans are as much victims of racism as they were 40 years ago.

Tom Daschle, Senate Democratic leader, says bipartisanship is wonderful. He also says: Bush's proposed tax cut "would divide this nation more quickly" than anything Daschle can think of. Bush's proposal for partial privatization would "destroy" Social Security. Bush's proposal for school choice for pupils in failing schools is "a nonstarter." Bipartisanship as Daschle offers it is akin to what Grant offered Lee at Appomattox: a chance to surrender.

But the sputtering economy is strengthening the case for Bush's tax cut. The younger the voters polled, the more they support partial privatization of Social Security, so the evolution of the electorate favors Bush. School choice is the most direct appeal Bush can make to African American voters. They support choice more than do most African American leaders, who are in league with teachers' unions, and more than affluent whites, who are satisfied with their public schools.

Pressing for repeal of the estate tax and marriage penalty will either give Bush early signing ceremonies or give Republicans issues for 2002. And Bush cannot lose by asking Congress to choose between defending America from ballistic missiles and defending the 1972 ABM Treaty, which allows Russia to veto America's plans to defend itself.

Bush, fresh from a crash course on the courts, should begin his presidency by standing his ground so he will have had ample practice doing that when the stakes become highest, with judicial nominees. For example, three of the 66 vacancies on federal benches are on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit. Five of that court's nine serving judges were nominated by Presidents Reagan and Bush. That is why the Environmental Protection Agency, a Niagara of scientifically dubious, economically imprudent and legally suspect regulations, has lost most of its cases in that court. If that court ceases to block regulatory excesses, the result will be as harmful to the economy as a reckless increase in taxes or interest rates.

So, here are four rejoinders to "bipartisanship" rhetoric: Conflict avoidance becomes habitual. Risk-averse presidents are constantly at risk. The rule regarding power is use it or lose it. And Bush will never have more of it than he will have next spring.

Comment on JWR contributor George Will's column by clicking here.


12/18/00: ... A Brief Moment
12/13/00: Judicial activism on trial
12/11/00: Truth optional
12/06/00: A Chastened Court
12/01/00: Counting on some slippery language
11/28/00: Florida's rogue court
11/27/00: This willful court
11/22/00: Ferocity gap
11/17/00: Slow-motion larceny
11/13/00: Gore, Hungry for Power
11/09/00: No, the System Worked
11/06/00: The case for Bush
11/03/00: The Framers' Electoral wisdom
10/30/00: Political astronomy
10/27/00: Candidates condescending
10/23/00: No Partners For Peace
10/20/00: Talking peace with thugs
10/11/00: A feast of retreats
10/10/00: .. And what's gotten into the Danes?
10/05/00: The Agony of Debate
10/02/00: Senate Canvas
09/28/00: Milosevic: Not Another Saddam
09/25/00: Blaming the Voters
09/22/00: Saying No to the Euro
09/18/00: Farewell, Mr. Moynihan
09/14/00: When 'Choice' Rules
09/12/00: Colombia Illusions
09/08/00: Will He Spend It All?
09/04/00: Back in the U.S.S.R.
08/31/00: Stonewalling School Reform
08/28/00: Uphill for a California Republican
08/24/00: Sauerkraut Ice Cream
08/21/00: The Partial-Birth Censors
08/18/00: A Party to Prosperity
08/14/00: The National Scold on the Stump
08/10/00: The Thinking Person's Choice
08/07/00: The GOP of Powell And Rice
08/03/00: Panic in the Gore Camp
07/27/00: . . . Both Radical and Reassuring
07/06/00: Harry Potter: A Wizard's Return
07/03/00: Recalling the Revolution
06/29/00: An Act of Judicial Infamy
06/26/00: Life, Liberty and ... the Pursuit of Foxes
06/21/00: Fumble on Prayer
06/19/00: The unified field theory of culture
06/15/00: Schools Beset by Lawyers And Shrinks
06/12/00: Missile Defense Charade
06/07/00: The Grandparent Dissent
06/05/00: Liberal Condescension
06/01/00: Great Awakenings
05/30/00: Suddenly Social Security
05/25/00: Forget Values, Let's Talk Virtues
05/22/00: AlGore the Hysteric
05/15/00: Majestic Avenue
05/11/00: Just How Irrational Is the Exuberance?
05/08/00: Home-Run Glut
05/04/00: A Lesson Plan for Gore
05/01/00: The Hijacking of the Primaries
04/28/00: The Raid in Little Havana
04/24/00: Tinkering Again
04/17/00: A Judgment Against Hate
04/13/00: Tech- Stock Joy Ride
04/10/00: What the bobos are buying
04/06/00: A must-read horror book
04/03/00: 'Improving' the Bill of Rights
03/30/00: Sleaze, The Sequel
03/27/00: How new 'rights' will destroy freedom
03/23/00: Death and the Liveliest Writing
03/20/00: Powell is Dubyah's best bet
03/16/00: Free to Be Politically Intense
03/13/00: Runnin', Gunnin' and Gambling
03/09/00: And Now Back to Republican Business
03/06/00: As the Clock Runs Out on Bradley
03/02/00: Island of Equal Protection
02/28/00: . . . The Right Response
02/24/00: Federal Swelling
02/22/00: Greenspan Tweaks
02/17/00: Crucial Carolina (and Montana and . . .)
02/10/00: McCain's Distortions
02/10/00: The Disciplining of Austria
02/07/00: Free to Speak, Free to Give
02/02/00: Conservatives in a Changing Market
01/31/00: America's true unity day
01/27/00: For the Voter Who Can't Be Bothered
01/25/00: The FBI and the golden age of child pornography
01/20/00: Scruples and Science
01/18/00: Bradley: Better for What Ails Us
01/13/00: O'Brian Rules the Waves
01/10/00: Patron of the boom
01/06/00: In Cactus Jack's Footsteps
01/03/00: The long year
12/31/99: A Stark Perspective On a Radical Century
12/20/99: Soldiers' Snapshots of the Hell They Created
12/16/99: Star-Crossed Banner
12/13/99: Hubert Humphrey Wannabe
12/09/99: Stupidity in Seattle
12/06/99: Bradley's most important vote
12/03/99: Boys will be boys --- or you can always drug 'em
12/01/99: Confidence in the Gore Camp
11/29/99: Busing's End
11/22/99: When We Enjoyed Politics
11/18/99: Ever the Global Gloomster
11/15/99: The Politics of Sanctimony
11/10/99: Risks of Restraining
11/08/99: Willie Brown Besieged
11/04/99: One-House Town
11/01/99: Crack and Cant
10/28/99: Tax Break for the Yachting Class
10/25/99: Ready for The Big Leagues?
10/21/99: Where honor and responsibility still exist
10/18/99: Is Free Speech Only for the Media?
10/14/99: A Beguiling Amateur
10/11/99: Money in Politics: Where's the Problem?
10/08/99: Soft Thinking On Soft Money

© 2000, Washington Post Writer's Group