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Jewish World Review /Jan. 25, 1999 /8 Shevat, 5759

Cal Thomas

Cal Thomas Gov. George Bush's 'responsibility era'

(JWR) --- (http://www.jewishworldreview.com) AUSTIN -- On the eve of his inauguration for a second term as governor of Texas -- which few people believe he will complete -- George W. Bush spent an hour with me expounding on things one might expect from someone about to run for president.

"We live in a cynical time,'' said the governor. "Underneath the polls and focus groups, people have a sense of embarrassment over the behavior of the president, regardless of their political party.''

Bush and wife
Still, he would "advise whoever the Republican candidate for president is to talk about the future and not remind Americans about how embarrassed they have been. I think one ought to say, `I'm going to conduct myself in office in a way that will make you proud' and then go on and talk about what you intend to do.''

He talked about some of the things he would do:

Social issues: "I think the major social issue facing America is to change the culture from one that has said `if it feels good, do it,' to one I call the `responsibility era.' This means each person has to be responsible for loving your family, for your own decisions and actions, and for loving your neighbor as yourself.'' He added that changing welfare means not only providing less government assistance but also more help from "an army of compassion'' (his version of his father's "points of light'').

Abortion? "Part of our responsibility era understands the value of life. I would hope the next leader would lead America to respect life at all levels, including life of the unborn.'' Bush said for the Supreme Court he would pick "people who interpret the law as opposed to writing the law. Those are the types I've named to the bench in Texas. They are not judicial activists but judicial scholars.''

On his personal life: "While 20-30 years ago I was young and irresponsible on occasion, the question that must be asked of anybody who is going to be in a position of responsibility is, `Have you learned your lesson?' -- not whether you made mistakes. Have you grown up? Are you prepared to assume the responsibilities of whatever it may be -- fatherhood, husband, governor of Texas? And the answer to that is, yes, in my case.''

On taxes: Bush, who has cut taxes here, said he's learned a lesson from his father not to make categorical promises (the famous "read my lips, no new taxes'' speech).

"One's credibility is paramount to being a leader.'' He stated government doesn't need more money in times of peace. "A tax cut makes sense,'' Bush said, "to keep the economy going.'' He fears an economic slowdown because of the Federal Reserve's "stretching fiscal policy by lowering (interest) rates to the point where there may not be enough incentive for consumption.''

On school choice: He favors it for all schools, public, private and religious, "because school choice will make all schools better.''

On the presidency: In a clear contrast to Clinton, Bush said, "I didn't grow up wanting to be president. When I was 14 or 15 years old, I wasn't trying to position myself to be president. I wasn't that way when I was 21, or 31, or 41. I am struggling with this decision because I understand duty, but I also understand what it means to family. I don't wake up in the morning just dying to be president. I'm as surprised as anybody about the polls and the speculation. I never ran for governor to be president, but to be the best governor of Texas I could be.''

Bush told me he will decide something -- at minimum an exploratory committee -- when the Texas legislature adjourns in June. Meanwhile, people like former Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and former Secretary of State George Shultz have paid visits to help him get ready. He used the word "crusade'' to describe what he thinks is needed to transform the country. And he said if he does run he will do so in every primary state. He also mentioned "vision,'' a word disparaged by his father. Bush said he has one, and it's about bringing people together (he got 49 percent of the Hispanic vote and a respectable number of black votes) because "I went after them and showed them I care about them and their issues.''

If he runs, he said he won't decide based on polls: "I've taken only one poll as governor on my reelection. I've never taken a poll on what I believe or to figure out how to position myself on issues. I just know. How do you know to get married? You just know. I'll know. I've never done this before, but I'll know.''


01/19/99: Prophets without honor
01/12/99: The Senate's predicament and opportunity
01/08/99: ‘Compassionate conservatism’ is redundant
01/06/99: Don't give my regards to 'Narroway'
01/04/99: In culture war, a parking space trumps sex
12/28/98: Until we've learned our lesson
12/24/98: Peace in Bethlehem!? Something to think about during Xmas
12/22/98: The slime machine brings Apocalypse Now
12/15/98: The 'moving finger'
12/11/98: This sorry president
12/09/98: The eclipse of principle
12/03/98: Destroying Jewry on the installment plan
12/07/98: Before the Age of Clinton
12/01/98: Apathy and ignorance
11/19/98: Ken Starr's moment of truth
11/19/98: The fall of journalism's empire
11/17/98: Republicans drift while conservatives float
11/13/98: Supreme Courtupholds freedom of school-choice
11/10/98: The revolting Republican 'revolution'
11/06/98: Hulk Hogan for president?
11/03/98: Clinton's greatest peril isn't Monica
10/30/98: Mother Teresa was right about killing
10/27/98: Clinton to Netanyahu: 'You're despicable'
10/21/98: A 'peace' agreement: Wye not?
10/19/98: Vanity Fair snubs some of the greatest women 'leaders'
10/14/98:The mean machine
10/09/98: Impeachment: an outside perspective
10/07/98: The corruption of the Secret Service
10/02/98: Land erosion in Israel
10/01/98: The race panel: lies in black and white
9/18/98: The Clinton strategy and the Clinton legacy
9/18/98: Stopping him before he sins again
9/15/98: Repenting when the end is near
9/11/98: Faithfully executing: Congress vs. the President
9/10/98: The degrees of separation between Dan Burton and Bill Clinton
9/08/98: Joe Lieberman and the Democrats' conscience
9/04/98: Clinton vs. Reagan and the struggle for power
9/02/98: If only Bubba had been a Boy Scout
8/31/98: Liberal clergy and the Lewinsky affair
8/27/98: Combating the terrorists among us
8/25/98: The president as 'Chicken Little'
8/20/98: That was no apology
8/18/98: Big government's crab grab
8/14/98:Untruths, half-truths and anything but the truth
8/12/98: Lying under oath: past and present impeachable offenses
8/10/98: Endangered species
8/04/98: In search of an unstained president
7/31/98: The UK is ahead of US in one area...
7/28/98: Murder near and far
7/21/98: Telling the truth about
homosexual behavior
7/17/98: One Nation? Indivisible?
7/14/98: Who cares about killing when the 'good times' are rolling?
7/10/98: George W. Bush: a different 'boomer'
7/08/98: My lunch with Roy Rogers
7/06/98: News unfit to print (or broadcast)
6/30/98: Smoke gets in their eyes
6/25/98: Sugar and Spice Girls
6/19/98: William Perry opposed
technology transfers to China
6/19/98: The Clinton hare vs.the Starr tortoise
6/17/98: The President's rocky road to China
6/15/98: Let the children go
6/9/98: Oregon: the new killing fields
6/5/98: Speaking plainly: the cover-up continues
6/2/98: Barry Goldwater: in our hearts
5/28/98:The Speaker's insightful remarks
5/26/98: As bad as it gets
5/25/98:Union dues and don'ts
5/21/98: Connecting those Chinese campaign contribution dots
5/19/98: Clinton on the couch
5/13/98: John Ashcroft: another Jimmy Carter?
5/8/98: Terms of dismemberment
5/5/98: Clinton's tangled Webb
4/30/98: Return of the Jedi
4/28/98: Desparately seeking Susan
4/23/98: RICO's threat to free-speech and expression
4/21/98: Educating children v. preserving an institution
4/19/98: Analyzing the birth of a possible new nation
4/14/98: What's fair about our tax system?
4/10/98: CBS: 'Touched by a perv'
4/8/98: Judge Wright's wrong reasoning on sexual harassment
4/2/98: How about helping American cities before African?
3/31/98:Revenge of the children
3/29/98: The Clinton strategy: delay, deceive, deny, and destroy
3/26/98: Moralist Gary Hart
3/23/98: CNN's century of (liberal) women
3/17/98: Dandy Dan
3/15/98: An imposed 'settlement' settles nothing
3/13/98: David Brock's Turnabout

©1998, Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Inc.