Jewish World Review Jan. 31, 2003 / 28 Shevat, 5763
Debra J. Saunders
State of approval
BUSH-HATERS, I feel your pain.
The Bush economic stimulus package will pass --
with changes, yes, but also with tax cuts -- and it will
pass with a healthy share of Democratic votes.
Americans want it. Taxpayers don't like the marriage
penalty; they want lower tax rates. They aren't buying
the soak-the-rich rhetoric of the Democrats. An ABC
News poll found that 75 percent of those who
watched President Bush's State of the Union speech
approved of "most of what Bush said. " A mere 19
Now Republicans can point to the polls and gloat.
In his rebuttal speech, Washington's Democratic
Gov. Gary Locke referred to the 2 million jobs lost
since Bush took office in an indictment of Bush's
handling of the economy. "There's no (economic)
recovery for working Americans, " Locke said.
Nice try. But economists say the recovery is under
way. A national unemployment rate of 6 percent,
while too high, is hardly scandalous. Voters
understand that the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and
corporate scandals that incubated before Bush was
elected president have battered the economy -- even
if many don't know that the recession began before
Bush took office. Voters don't blame Bush for the job
losses, although they do think it is his "duty," as the
president put it, to prod the sluggish economy into
Locke also honed in on how the Bush budget will
produce "massive deficits." Sadly, he's right.
While some of the deficit spending is unavoidable for
the moment, not all of it is. It would help if the
president and Congress pared federal spending by
cutting corporate welfare. That includes the $1.2
billion Bush proposed to spend on developing "clean
As Pete Sepp of the National Taxpayers Union told
me last year, if the hydrogen-fuel cells touted by
Bush had "such great promise, investors in the
private sector would be lined up to get in on the
ground floor." Let Detroit pay for its own research and
That said, the Demos are not credible when they
denounce deficit spending because they always
follow their complaints with calls for new programs.
Right after Locke bemoaned deficit spending, he
called for a "Medicare prescription drug benefit for all
seniors" -- even the rich who can pay for their own
Talk about a deficit enhancer.
Americans know that an economic upsurge won't
happen tomorrow. As White House chief political
adviser Karl Rove acknowledged Tuesday, Iraq is "an
overhang on the economy."
One difference between the Bushies and the
Clintonians: When Bush talked about the Clinton
recession during the presidential 2000 race,
Clintonians indignantly charged that Bush was trying
to talk down the economy to win an election.
Now the shoe is on the other foot, but Bushies aren't
hurling back that silly charge.
On war with Iraq, Bush was crisp. The U.N.
inspectors were not sent on a "scavenger hunt," but
rather to disarm Iraq. "The world has waited 12 years
for Iraq to disarm." If Saddam Hussein doesn't
disarm, "we will lead a coalition to disarm him."
Why? Because if Hussein gives chemical weapons
to al Qaeda terrorists, America would experience "a
day of horror like none we have ever known."
The president's critics are half-paralyzed. Most are
reduced to arguing that they want to give the
inspectors more time to disarm Hussein, when it's
clear that Hussein is just running the clock.
Bush had the perfect riposte to that jab: "America's
purpose is more than to follow a process. It is to
achieve a result."
For eight years, the Dems told American voters that
when Republicans criticized President Clinton, they
were haters, obstructionists or just plain bad sports.
Now the Democrats are carping. Nitpicking, really.
Yes, the Bush goal is right, but it's too "unilateral."
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., dismissed the
address as offering nothing new. Sen. Chuck
Schumer, D-N.Y., told the New York Daily News that
the speech was a "missed opportunity" to sell the
Yes, they're bashing Bush, but they're not calling him
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© 2000, Creators Syndicate