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Jewish World Review August 2, 2000 / 30 Tamuz, 5760

Don Feder

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Consumer Reports

Time for conservatives to back Bush -- TOMORROW EVENING, George W. Bush will accept his party's nomination for the office of president. It's time for conservatives to masticate the metal projectile and get behind his candidacy.

Bush wasn't my first, second or third choice for the GOP nomination. For the problems confronting the nation, he offers mostly piddling reforms.

(Taxes, where his proposals have substance, are the exception.)

Still, there is this inescapable reality: On Jan. 20 of next year, one of only two men will place his right hand on the Bible and take the oath of office as our 43rd president -- Gov. Bush or Vice President Al Gore.

Can we afford another four or eight years of one of the most corrupt, incompetent, despicable and (in terms of foreign policy) dangerous administrations in American history?

"One of our greatest presidents," Gore called our first elected president to be impeached. With those words, he disqualified himself from the office of assistant registrar of deeds in the most desolate county in North Dakota, let alone the presidency.

Bush may not be one of us, but by choosing former Defense Secretary Dick Cheney as his running mate, he has sent an unmistakable signal that he will work with conservatives -- will listen to our counsel with an open mind and make a place for us at the table.

Let the party's so-called moderates, retired Gen. Colin Powell and Sen. John McCain, have the convention speeches. With Cheney and the platform (pro-life plank securely intact), we got the substance.


More than any time since 1980, when it looked like Jimmy Carter inadvertently was going to give the Kremlin a long-term lease on the Third World, in this election America's security is at stake. Communist China (that aggressive, inflexible, chauvinistic, totalitarian giant) is the greatest threat confronting us.

With his choice of Cheney -- who, as defense secretary, cut his teeth by helping to cut Saddam Hussein down to size -- Bush is committing himself to a strong national defense and a clear-headed foreign policy.

The election of Gore would be a continuation of an administration with calluses from knocking head to Beijing. These pushovers allowed the PRC to loot our nuclear secrets, parroted its "three no's" on Taiwan and cling blindly to the illusion that China is our "strategic partner." If that weren't enough, it emasculated our military through reckless defense cuts, peace-keeping follies and political correctness.

If America Firsters had controlled U.S. foreign policy in the late 1930s, our stance toward Nazi Germany would have been nearly indistinguishable from our appeasement-minded relationship with Red China under Clinton and Gore.

Then there's the federal judiciary -- a government unto itself. If the next president only made three Supreme Court nominations, that alone would make the election crucial. (Most of the court's worst and best decisions have hinged on one or two votes.) But if he serves two terms, the next president could appoint over half the entire federal bench.

There's only a slim chance that Bush will give us another Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas. It's guaranteed that in his judicial selections Gore will have a litmus-test for every day of the week (pro-abortion, anti-school choice, pro-quotas, in favor of federal intervention to secure the "civil rights" of homosexuals). Chief Justice Hillary Rodham Clinton is not beyond the realm of imagining.

Despite Bush's lead in the polls, he needs the right. We're still three months away from the election and the establishment left -- big labor, big media, Hollywood, feminists and professional minorities -- will use every means short of kamikaze attacks, but including character assasination,l to assure the continuation of an administration that has been, for them, an eight-year Caribbean cruise.

Conservatives should not go into this election with starry-eyed visions of a Bush administration as Morning-in-America II. Like his father, the governor will alternately enrage and disgust us a good deal of the time. But what separates the authentic conservative from utopians of the left and right is our willingness to deal with reality on its own terms, unappealing though they may be. George Bush or Al Gore -- modestly virtuous or clearly catastrophic, pleasant placebo or cyanide -- that is the only choice confronting us.

JWR contributing columnist Don Feder's latest books are Who is afraid of the Religious Right? ($15.95) and A Jewish conservative looks at pagan America ($9.95). To receive an autographed copy, send a check or money order to: Don Feder, The Boston Herald, 1 Herald Sq., Boston, Mass. 02106. Doing so will help fund JWR, if so noted. He is also available as a guest speaker. To comment on this column please click here.


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© 2000, Creators Syndicate