Jewish World Review Jan. 24, 2000 /17 Shevat, 5760
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- FOR PURPOSES OF EXCITING REPORTING on something completely foreign to most Americans, I've been trying to watch the Republican debates.
It's easy to get lost in the details of the disputants' tax proposals, their ideas for "reforming" the Social Security black hole, and their jockeying for the plans that would most help "single mothers" -- whom George Bush, at least, seems to view as the backbone of the Republican Party. (Bush apparently didn't hear Gore's campaign manager announce that the "four pillars of the Democratic Party are African-Americans, labor, women, and what I call other ethnic minorities." Over here in the Republican Party, George, we're the white guys with jobs.)
Throw in the Orwellian doublespeak of the media, which insists on identifying the most tired, statist, tax-and-spend candidates as "mavericks," and it can be a little hard to sort them all out.
All that matters -- or should matter to anyone who is not a pillar of the Democratic Party, anyway -- is how the candidates feel about freedom. Oh sure, they all give lip service to freedom, but what do they say when squashing it is popular with the masses? As with free speech, the real test of a candidate's true feelings about freedom are discernible only when the question involves the freedom to engage in unpopular activities -- things like smoking, drinking, and running "negative" campaign ads.
Interestingly, the fewer years a candidate has spent in public service, the higher his freedom quotient. Senators John McCain and Orrin Hatch, who have collectively spent 40 years in the U.S. Congress, want to be fiddling around in every aspect of your life and taking yet more of your money. Both of them proposed huge spending packages in the Senate that would have been paid for by increased taxes on cigarettes. (But it was "for the children.")
George Bush has been a governor for five years, and Gary Bauer was a government bureaucrat for eight years -- albeit in the Reagan administration. These two are roughly tied in the middle on freedom. (And let me be the first to say it annoys me to no end that W would undoubtedly be pleased by falling in the middle on freedom. This is the sort of man who would consider it a compliment to be called a "centrist" on Satan.)
In a shocking development, however, W has been edging out Gary Bauer on the freedom quotient. Both Bush and Bauer have tax plans laden with child-tax credits, tuition credits, visit-grandma-in-the-nursing-home credits and so on. But Bauer agreed with McCain on stripping the citizenry of their First Amendment rights, agreed with Clinton on "saving" Social Security, and sides with all aspiring fascists on controlling the citizenry through tax credits for doing things President Gary would approve of.
Meanwhile, the combined government service of Steve Forbes and Alan Keyes consists primarily of Alan Keyes haranguing the United Nations for a few years during the Reagan administration. These are the candidates who want to give us freedom.
In a Republican debate about -- oh, I don't know -- 700 debates back, one of the moderators practically begged Forbes to endorse the mammoth middle-class boondoggle of using unemployment funds to "give" parents paid time off. Freedom-snuffers, like McCain and probably even Bush, would have fallen for that one hook, line and sinker, and soon the rest of us would be paying for someone else's lifestyle choice.
But Forbes didn't bite. He said: "The real way you give parents freedom is first let them keep more of what they earn in the first place. They shouldn't have to have an accountant to figure out what tax credits they qualify for. They should have it in their paycheck." (Keyes, of course, has repeatedly made the same point; the only difference being that when Keyes said it, you jumped to your feet, hand on your heart, with tears streaming down your cheeks.)
It's too late now, but next time, I wish you'd all send your campaign donations to the guy
with the least
JWR contributor Ann Coulter is the author of High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton.