Jewish World Review July 11, 2000 / 8 Tamuz, 5760
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- REPUBLICANS, like all politicians, have a deeply ingrained sense of self-preservation. If they cannot defend themselves competently by dint of their own wits, they feed the beast by compromising -- or as The New York Times identifies the process, "growing in office." In an important presidential election, such candidates will forfeit their base, pick up no Democrats, and generally fulfill the media's repeated claim that Republicans are stupid. See, e.g., Bob Dole and Jack Kemp.
Republicans who cannot weather attacks avoid criticism altogether by taking the conservative bull's-eye off their backs. Show me a Republican who is praised by The New York Times, and I will show you a Republican who has an incurable habit of saying and doing stupid things.
What George Bush needs on the ticket with him is a man with the political courage that comes from being smart (an elusive quality in politicians). What Bush needs is Gov. Frank Keating of Oklahoma. (In point of fact, Bush could probably take Jack the Ripper as his running mate and beat Al "Ice Tea" Gore, but there's no point in taking any chances.)
Keating has been tested on one of the most heated political topics of the day -- the single issue on which the left is acutely interested in the opinion of the Catholic Church -- the death penalty.
When asked about the alternative of life imprisonment without parole on "Meet the Press," Keating didn't equivocate: "Unacceptable. Morally, innocent human life is precious, and an individual who takes another person's life with premeditation, in my opinion, should forfeit their own."
Keating was also asked about whether he had a death penalty litmus test for appointees to the pardon and parole board. (One cringes to imagine what Liddy Dole or John McCain would have said to a question like that.) Keating responded by noting that he did not interview the nominees himself, but went on to say: "Did any member of our staff say, 'We want you to support capital punishment?' I would hope they would. I would not support someone to go on the pardon and parole board who did not believe in capital punishment."
Keating is Alan Keyes without the shouting (which I, for one, am going to miss, but I gather this would be a big plus in winning the soft-middle, double-X chromosome vote). As governor during the healing, the mourning, the wailing and the hugging after the Oklahoma City bombing, he can get into the touchy-feely Clintonian muck with Gore.
Here is Governor Keating on "Hardball" explaining the difference between Republicans and Democrats, after Chris Matthews complained that "everybody" is for saving Social Security, for safe streets and for high employment rates:
"I think the difference (between the two parties) is that they believe in groups and we believe in individuals. We think that every individual has a right to achieve whatever he or she wishes to achieve. It's the genius of the individual American that made our country great. So give more of what I earn to me to let me save and invest and spend the way I wish. Give me responsibility for my own life. Encourage me to be up and be somebody. I think that's what America tomorrow is all about. That's why we're 3 percent of the world's population and 25 percent of the world's wealth."
Oklahoma -- to its eternal credit -- will probably go for Bush with or without Keating on the ticket. But Bush needs to carry the country, and Keating has something almost no other Republican politician has -- the proven ability to survive the media's hazing of Republicans.
If the media could have destroyed Keating, they would have by now. There would be a moratorium on the death penalty in Oklahoma and free abortions for the poor, as there is in Illinois (where the Republican governor has been -- totally coincidentally -- implicated in a major bribery scandal).
Keating is ferociously pro-life, but also stands up to the pope and his state's archbishop
in defense of the death penalty, and acquits himself admirably on national television defending
these positions. Only a man of great intellectual self-confidence and fearlessness does
something like that. That's the guy we want in the vice presidential
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.
07/07/00: Gore invented 'Clueless'