Jewish World Review July 3, 2000 / 30 Sivan, 5760
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- AS GEORGE BUSH vets various potential vice presidential candidates, he should remember how much liberals used to "respect" Jack Kemp (while fervently insisting that they hoped Republicans would be stupid enough to run someone like Ronald Reagan). If Bush wants them to respect him in the morning, he better send someone into the debates who is courageous enough to be an out-of-the-closet Republican.
Most Republicans would rather face down the Vietcong than Katie Couric. It's one thing to be hanged upside down and have bamboo shoots stuck under your fingernails. But for the media to accuse you of being stupid or heartless -- that makes strong men tremble and weak men Democrats. And no matter how much they claim to respect this or that "moderate" Republican now, the moment Bush names his vice presidential candidate, he is going to be treated like he's John Rocker.
You'd be better off having someone like Liddy Dole in a foxhole with you than as your comrade on the "Today" show. Just ask her husband. Except when she's running for office, Mrs. Dole is a very smart woman. But turn on the campaign cameras and she starts babbling like a half-wit.
In New Hampshire in May 1999, Liddy Dole summarily announced to cheers from the media and boos from her Republican audiences: "I don't think we need an AK-47 to defend your family. I think that we have to eliminate all forms of cop killer bullets, bullets which would pierce the soft armor worn by our police force." Except the thing was: Congress banned the AK-47 and "cop killer bullets" (which have never been used to kill a cop, by the way) in 1994.
Dole also said she supported the war in Kosovo. When asked how she could support U.S. intervention in Kosovo, but not in, say, Rwanda, Dole suddenly announced that she would have gone into Rwanda, too. (Fortunately, no one asked her about Northern Ireland, or she would have come out for universal conscription from age 14 to about 55.)
Mrs. Dole has called abortion "the most difficult question there is," which is not only insulting, but incomprehensible to opponents of abortion. If it's a life -- as Mrs. Dole claims she believes it is -- abortion is a pretty easy question, unless you're Hannibal Lecter.
Indeed, this is why abortion is such an excellent litmus test for a Republican candidate on a national ticket. Not because abortion is the most crucial moral issue facing the country today or because it is a winning issue electorally -- which it is. The reason it's such a handy litmus test is that any politician who is pro-life has proved that he can get by just fine without liberals' phony "respect," thank you.
Republicans who realize they cannot rely on their own genetic capabilities to avoid being called stupid realize that being pro-choice is a surefire way of being identified in the press as a deep thinker.
Consider the pro-choice governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Ridge. Back in April, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani announced he had prostate cancer. Out of respect for the mayor, discussions of whether Giuliani might drop out or who might replace him if he did were conducted exclusively sotto voce.
Not Governor Ridge. At a Lincoln Club meeting the very day after Giuliani's announcement, Ridge indecorously introduced Rick Lazio -- Giuliani's presumed replacement -- by saying, "Who knows? He may have a pretty difficult decision to make here in the next couple of weeks himself." Ridge went on to mumble something about "We all certainly hope the very best for Rudy Giuliani," but the enormous insensitivity of what the man had just done was blinding.
Earlier that same month, Ridge had helpfully volunteered that he thought the Republican platform on abortion should be changed, leading to dozens of articles about whether the platform should be changed, whether Ridge would fight for it, and what Bush's response to Ridge's statement was. (In point of fact, the platform's abortion language will be changed about the time pigs fly.) Eventually Ridge announced that he was encouraging Republicans not to try to change the platform. So why did the moron raise this hornet's nest to begin with?
Being a "moderate" Republican will satisfy the beast when you're running for any office
far, far away from the presidency. But when it comes to an election that will determine whether
Al Gore or George Bush will be choosing Supreme Court justices, "moderate" Republicans will
forfeit their protective coloration. The press will start to notice little things like Liddy
Dole inadvertently proposing a reinstitution of the draft and Tom Ridge campaigning on Rudy
Giuliani's deathbed. And the Republicans Democrats so "respect" have no practice at not
JWR contributor Ann Coulter is the author of High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton. You may visit the Ann Coulter Fan Club by clicking here.
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