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Jewish World Review April 9, 1999 /23 Nissan 5759

Don Feder

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Bauer and Forbes --- Main Street vs. Wall Street

(JWR) ---- (
THE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL FIELD has something for everyone (and comedy tonight?). But none of the contenders provide a more vivid contrast than social conservative sachem Gary Bauer and "capitalist tool" Steve Forbes.

Both are pro-life and back a flat tax. But Bauer comes from a blue-collar background, while Forbes inherited $200 million, give or take, from Malcolm Sr.

To earn his allowance, young Steve had to serve drinks to guests on his father's 151-foot yacht, among other strenuous duties. Bauer grew up in rough-and-tumble Newport, Ky., the son of a steelworker.

Forbes' platform sounds like a compendium of Wall Street Journal editorials -- in favor of most favored Nation trade status for China, euphoric on immigration, in support of the Kosovo bombing. Bauer has gleefully bucked Republican leaders and the business community on China trade and the family tax cut.

"In economic matters in general, the Republican Party has a reputation to live down," Bauer cautions. "It says that we are the party of the rich, the party of the bottom line, the party of the almighty dollar."

Forbes doesn't contradict that image. Moreover, with his '50s haircut, goofy grin and monotone delivery, he might be mistaken for comedian Ben Stein's younger brother -- minus the dry humor.

Bauer isn't physically imposing, either. Nor can he pound the podium like Pat Buchanan or Alan Keyes. But his soft-spoken style is equally compelling.

"Historically, a nation's greatness is measured by its economy, its military, the splendor of its cities," Bauer told an audience in Manchester, N.H., two weeks ago. However, "You can also measure a nation by its virtue deficit."

He ticks off signs of decline: the racist murder in Jasper, Texas, schoolyard shootings and the New Jersey prom mom, who gave birth in a restroom and threw her baby in the trash "as if it was a Styrofoam cup."

Bauer, "What was the poisoned air she had to breath to think that was OK?" He's the only candidate who makes the moral agenda his primary, though not exclusive, focus. Buchanan is equally committed to traditional values, but trade and sovereignty are his passions, not abortion and the integrity of marriage.

Bauer left the Reagan White House, where he was domestic policy chief, for the Family Research Council. He took the council from a three-person operation to the most respected pro-family group in Washington -- with a $14 million budget and 120 staffers.

Two years ago, he formed the Campaign for Working Families to support candidates whose outspokenness on abortion and homosexuality makes them anathema to the Republican establishment.

In 1998, the political action committee raised $7 million, making it America's No. 2 PAC. In Illinois last year, its $50,000 independent expenditure on partial-birth abortion helped Peter Fitzgerald defeat Carol Moseley Braun, the only democratic incumbent to lose a Senate race.

Gary knows he needs $19 million to make a serious run. In seven weeks, he raised $1.4 million from 16,000 donors. Unlike George W. Bush and Elizabeth Dole, his average contribution is small (around $45), which means he can keep coming back to his donor base.

Organization is the key to Iowa and New Hampshire. Gary has the inside track on recruiting the religious conservatives who increasingly dominate GOP primaries.

At this year's Conservative Political Action Conference, Bauer won a presidential straw poll of 1,000 delegates, beating Bush by 5 percentage points and Forbes by almost 18 points.

Activists trust him. He's fought their battles and knows how to move them. "Someone has called the family 'God's masterpiece,'" Bauer observes. Yet, "We penalize it with taxes, marginalize it with judicial decrees, undermine it with educational policies, redefine it with trendy new ideas -- and still somehow it survives."

Bauer is telling friends he's "not delusional." He knows he isn't the odds-on favorite for the nomination. But he's the only one in the race with the both the resources and the commitment to articulate a moral vision.

Forbes is a nice guy who has the personal fortune to buy into the game, but not much more. Bauer has the passion, the activist network and the savvy to play his hand well.

He believes the early primaries will narrow the field to three -- an establishment candidate (probably Bush), a bridge candidate (possibly Dole) and a conservative champion. If that happened to be a steelworker's son from the Blue Grass state, the GOP might lose its Dun and Bradstreet rating, and get along well without it.


4/05/99: Bubba and Maddy lit Kosovo's fire
3/29/99: At Passover, Egypt is a state of mind
3/29/99: Could the GOP stand Pat in 2000?
3/17/99: Hollywood's party line in 1999
3/15/99: All bow, the court is in session
3/11/99: In praise of negative campaigning
3/09/99: Day-care study defies common sense
3/04/99: Starship Clinton orbits Kosovo
3/01/99: Public will blot out Broaddrick's accusation
2/25/99: Slick Hillie for Senate would be fun
2/23/99: Fascism in the name of fighting fascism
2/16/99: Was anything learned from the impeachment trial?
2/12/99: Educating the democratic voters of tomorrow
2/10/99: First Amendment doesn't apply to pro-life cause
2/08/99: Dems' triumph over Constitution complete
2/03/99: Blood of victims will drown out breakfast prayers
2/01/99: Without a home the heart knows no rest
1/29/99: Poster boy for term-limits
1/27/99: The 'so-what' defense in the City of Saints
1/25/99: Whose choice?
1/21/99: Censure worse than nothing
1/18/99: Words can`t dignify a dishonored presidency
1/13/99: Conservatism "with a heart" is conservatism without a head
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

©1999, Creators Syndicate