Jewish World Review Feb. 9, 2000 /3 Adar I, 5760
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- MAYBE I'M BEING AN ALARMIST, but I'm concerned that a McCain presidency could be the end of the Republican Party as we know it.
Before you third-party people spontaneously erupt into the Hallelujah chorus, you should consider the ramifications of such an event. Even before the McCain tidal wave reached New Hampshire's coastline, political commentators and moderate Republicans were talking about a new paradigm for the Republican Party and for the conservative movement. They argued that unprecedented peace and prosperity under a Democratic president have rendered traditional conservative policy solutions obsolete.
Clinton, they said, was a visionary, deftly embracing the centrist Democratic Leadership Council and saving his party from the death throes of extreme liberalism. Third Way governance is the wave of the political future, and unless the GOP climbs aboard, it will be relegated to permanent minority status. I think the opposite is true.
Now that McCain has upset presumptive front-runner Bush in New Hampshire and caught him in the South Carolina polls, GOP moderates are claiming vindication and touting McCain as the only Republican who can beat Gore in November. Again, I disagree.
The McCain effort to remake the GOP in his liberal image represents a capitulation to Clintonomics and a repudiation of Reaganomics that must not stand.
Recently, a number of economists have written that this robust economy began in the early '80s as a result of Reagan's supply-side tax cuts and has continued to the present, interrupted only briefly by a minor recession. Though these economists are mostly conservative, their evidence is objective and their conclusions are quite difficult to refute.
And don't forget that Clinton never even aspired to balance the budget. Had he succeeded in passing his economic stimulus package and universal health care proposal, we wouldn't have made nearly, if any of, the progress we have made on the federal deficits. It was the Republicans who thwarted those behemoth federal spending proposals, helped to curb other Democratic spending, and forced welfare reform down Clinton's throat.
Isn't it bizarre that with such Republican policy successes one of its leading candidates is advocating surrendering the party's ideological reins to liberalism? Isn't that rewarding liberalism for the triumphs of conservatism? Perhaps, but with Bush's more conservative challengers getting such little traction McCain may have calculated that he had nowhere else to go but to the left of Bush. Besides, why not capitalize on the public's perception that Clintonomics is responsible for this prosperity?
Many Republican leaders have criticized McCain's plan as dangerous to the economy and the GOP. Reaganomics architect Jack Kemp warns, "McCain's obsession with the debt makes him a danger to the economy. This would take the Republican agenda and turn it upside down. It would point the party toward Herbert Hoover rather than Ronald Reagan."
Bush has been tagged as the GOP establishment candidate. Yes, but in terms of ideology it is McCain, not Bush, who represents the moderate, Rockefeller wing of the party. If Clinton is a New Democrat, McCain is a New Republican. How else do you explain McCain's myriad of contributions from Hollywood and other traditionally Democratic sources?
Beyond mirroring Clinton's policies on taxes, tobacco, etc., McCain also gives Democrats a pass on their egregious campaign finance violations. The thrust of McCain's reform message is that the system is corrupt, rather than those who have violated the laws. This provides cover for Clinton and Gore, whose infractions with illegal foreign contributions are hidden by this confusion.
Considering the policy direction of Sen. McCain's
campaign, Clintonomics is getting two bites of the apple
this year: one in the primary and the other in the general
election. And if McCain becomes president and
implements liberal policy solutions while wearing his
Republican hat, Conservatives may then become
02/07/00: From New Hampshire to South Carolina