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Jewish World Review /Jan. 13,1999 /24 Teves, 5759

Don Feder

Don Feder Conservatism "with a heart" is conservatism without a head

(JWR) --- (http://www.jewishworldreview.com) CALLS FOR COMPASSIONATE CONSERVATISM are invitations to play footsie with the welfare state. Real conservatives will shun such allurements.

Last week, The Washington Post ran a piece on the hottest emerging political trend -- Republican governors who don't gloat at the sight of widows and orphans starving in the streets.

The article profiled Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore, who "urges conservatism with a heart." With the state's budget surplus, Happy Gilmore wants to cut tuition at public colleges, give government workers a raise and lower the sales tax on groceries.

The Post reports that compassion also echoes in the agendas of Republican Govs. George Bush Jr. (Texas), Christine Todd Whitman (New Jersey) and Frank Keating (Oklahoma).

Kinder-and-gentler conservatism targets tax cuts to lower-income wage-earners, to dispel the notion that (in the words of a Gilmore advisor) Republicans "don't care about the little guy."

The Tax Foundation reports that the most affluent 10 percent now pays 62 percent of all federal income taxes. What's compassionate about tax cuts that offer them little if any relief in favor of those who pay next to nothing to begin with?

Conservatism with a heart is conservatism without a head.

Conservatives should strive for justice. They should view reality through eyes unclouded by emotion. At the very least, conservatives should have the integrity not to preen for popular approval with professions of devotion to the less fortunate.

Bill Clinton -- who can cry on cue and has a hug that would shame Oprah -- should have discredited the notion of political compassion once and for all.

The president is committed to the cause of women's rights, when he isn't busy sexually exploiting or harassing individual women. He cares about kids, but was willing to risk alienating his own for a little on-the-job nooky.

Republican governors are trying to counter the media myth that congressmen of their party are ax-wielding skinflints. This perception supposedly cost the GOP support in the last two elections.

But Stephen Moore of the Cato Institute notes that after four years of a Republican Congress, meaningful tax reform is nowhere in sight. Between 1995 and 1998, the federal tax burden rose from 19 percent of GDP to 21 percent. In the same years, the Department of Education's budget swelled 29 percent and spending for the Department of Health and Human Services went up 24 percent.

The National Taxpayer Union's Pete Sepp caustically comments, "The first significant vote of the 105th Congress was to reinstate the airline ticket tax, and one of the last significant votes was to squander the budget surplus on pork-barrel spending programs rather than provide tax relief."

The NTU rates congressmen based on every tax and spending vote. Since the GOP gained control of Congress in 1994, its pro-taxpayer rating for the average House Republican fell from 83 percent to 56 percent.

Political compassion hasn't played well at the polls. The only GOP senators defeated in 1998 both thought appropriations were the shortest route to voters' hearts. Sens. Al D'Amato (New York's Senator Pothole) and North Carolina's Lauch Faircloth respectively voted for $25.3 billion and $24.3 billion more in spending than the average Republican senator.

In 1993, Whitman ran for New Jersey governor as a tax rebel and ousted incumbent James Florio. In her first two years, she hewed to principle and cut the state income tax by 30 percent.

In the second half of her term, Whitman contracted a near fatal case of compassionitis, seeking to raise the gas tax among other levies to pay for government goodness. In 1997, she was re-elected by a scant 27,000 votes, out of 2.2 million cast.

Jesse Ventura, who became Minnesota's governor last week, wasn't elected by mimicking Mother Teresa. When asked by college students how he would help them to pay for their educations, Ventura growled, "Get a job."

During the campaign, he criticized state-subsidized child care, charging families shouldn't have children until they can afford them. Though he's now waffling on a campaign promise to give the state's surplus back to residents in $1,000 increments, it was part of a winning strategy.

Voters looking for love at the ballot box don't elect a former professional wrestler and ex-Navy Seal who tells them to stand up straight and stop whining (you lousy gold-bricks!).

Compassion is the province of families, neighbors and charitable institutions. Political compassion has brought us a national debt of $5.6 trillion, the injustice of racial quotas and chaos in the inner-cities.


1/11/99: If he isn't removed, watch out for Bill!
1/07/99: We can learn a lot from Teddy
1/05/99: Monica and a call to modesty
12/30/98: Will Bubba get away with it again?
12/28/98: Zionist dream alive and well on West Bank
12/18/98: Impeach or abandon the Rule of Law
12/16/98: Clinton moves Middle East closer to war
12/14/98: Why we lost interest in the homeless
12/10/98: No place at table for conservatives
12/07/98: The day America lost its innocence
12/02/98: Pilgrims Pilloried in streets of Plymouth
11/30/98: Caribbean dogpatch not a good candidate for statehood
11/25/98: Will Vermont force gay marriage on the nation?
11/23/98: The ACLU wants your kids to get a love life
11/18/98: Why liberals hate tobacco and guns more than drugs and crime
11/16/98: "Pleasantville" a countercultural morality play
11/13/98: Ads are a tough sell for abortion
11/09/98: Why gutless Republicans lost
11/06/98: Historians against the Constitution
11/02/98: Loving response to a hateful conference
10/28/98: Professor Death will fit right in at Princeton
10/26/98: Plymouth caves to Pilgrim foes
10/21/98: On '98 election, keep a critical eye on polls
10/19/98: Clinton could yet be 'prosperity president'
10/16/98: Working families -- Dems love 'em (stuffed)
10/09/98: Majoring in 'weirdness'
10/07/98: Friends of Billy Clinton
9/29/98: Letter from ex-soldier highlights defense peril
9/28/98: Answering arguments against impeachment
9/18/98: The nation that doesn't exist
9/14/98: Bubba isn't the only one who should be ashamed
9/11/98: Resolution of Clinton crisis will define national character
9/09/98: We're still just wild about Harry
9/07/98: Mexican banditry didn't end with Pancho Villa
9/02/98: Clinton forgives us!
8/31/98: Ashcroft's plain talking touches responsive chord
8/26/98: Public opinion be damned
8/24/98: Why liberals condone Clinton's lies
8/20/98: Time to move on -- to impeachment
8/12/98: With Bubba in the sexual privacy zone
8/10/98: The truth won't set Clinton free
8/06/98: Truth about Hiroshima is incontrovertible
8/04/98: Clinton not the first hollow president
7/30/98: "Small Soldiers" -- a fractured Vietnam allegory
7/27/98: Crime wave hits hometown
7/22/98: Love in an Internet fishbowl
7/20/98: Ads bring ex-gay movement out of closet
7/15/98: Brian and Amy -- the children of Roe
7/13/98: Why are we scared of obnoxious 'activists?'
7/6/98: Fonda still resists reality
7/1/98: New York blesses domestic partnerships
6/29/98: Teddy and Calvin stood for virtue
6/24/98: Will Clinton betray Taiwan?
6/22/98: Big tobacco? What about big casinos?
6/15/98: Religion -- God for what ails you
6/10/98: Planning Clinton's China itinery
6/8/98: Republicans' Custer offers advice
6/4/98: Oh, Dems Christian-bashers!
6/2/98: Goldwater did conservatives more harm than good
5/27/98: A Clinton-hater confesses
5/15/98: Giuliani's assault on marriage
5/13/98: Hillary knows what's best for everyone
5/11/98: To honor her would not be honorable
5/6/98: Conservative chasm: pragmatism vs. worship of marketplace
5/4/98: Anglo-saxon me
4/29/98: Needle exchange programs are assisted-suicide
4/27/98: Chretien's mission of mercy to Fidel
4/22/98: School-choice is a religious freedom issue
4/20/98: Corporate execs deliver body parts to Beijing
4/14/98: National sales tax --- looks better all the time
4/13/98: The U.N. sinister? Hey, where did that idea come from?
4/8/98: Unions fight workers rights in 226 campaign
3/30/98: Africa's leaders should apologize
3/25/98: GOP shouldn't look to media for advice
3/22/98: You should care about Clinton's 'private life'
3/19/98: Color-coded reading, product of obsessive minds
3/16/98: Amendment will end exile of G-d from our public lives
3/9/98: Havana will break your heart
3/2/98: Vouchers Terrify Teachers' Union
2/25/98: Presidential politics starts at a resort hotel
2/23/98: Hillary's support comes at a price
2/18/98: How many times must we say "no" to gay rights?
2/16/98: Enoch Powell spoke the truth on immigration
2/11/98: Bubba behaving badly
2/9/98: A conservative dissent on the flag-burning amendment
2/5/98: We get the leaders we deserve
2/2/98: Send a signal that could penetrate boardroom doors
1/27/98: State of the president: hollow rhetoric
1/25/98: For Monica's playmate, we have no one to blame but ourselves
1/22/98: At Yale, bet on yarmulke over gown
1/19/98: Commission tackles America's fastest-growing addiction, gambling
1/15/98: Capital punishment and the hard case: no exceptions for Karla Faye Tucker
1/12/98: Partial-birth abortion and the GOP's future: the "big tent" meets truth in advertising
1/8/98: IOLTA: the Left's latest scam to crawl into our pockets
1/5/98: Connect the dots to create a terrorist state
1/1/98: The Unacceptables of 1997: Long may they rave
12/28/97: Hypocrisy is a liberal survival mechanism
12/23/97: Chanukah is no laughing matter
12/22/97: No merry Christmas for persecuted Christians around the world
12/18/97: Bosnia, Haiti, and how not to conduct a foreign policy

©1998, Boston Herald; distributed by Creators Syndicate, Inc.