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Jewish World Review /Feb 22, 1999 /5 Adar 5759

Cal Thomas

Cal Thomas Character-plus

(JWR) --- (http://www.jewishworldreview.com) SOME REPUBLICANS TROLLING NEW HAMPSHIRE for votes one year before the primary think they will capitalize on the character issue and turn it into electoral gold. Gary Bauer, late of the Family Research Council, is a true man of character and believes that someone with qualities like his in the White House will inspire the rest of us to do better.

Elizabeth Dole told the Manchester Chamber of Commerce that "the United States deserves a government worthy of her people.'' But if Bill Clinton is unworthy and a sufficient number of people voted for him twice to make him president (and huge numbers opposed his conviction and removal), perhaps this unworthy president reflects a largely unworthy people. So what do Republicans do in such a circumstance?

Liddy Dole
CNN's Bill Schneider got it right when he observed that while it is true people would prefer a president with character, they do not like "character police.'' That puts Republicans back where they've been since Ronald Reagan strolled out of the White House 11 years ago. They lack a coherent policy and an articulate leader who won't melt when Democrats turn up the heat with charges of "insensitivity'' to the needy and currying favor with "the rich.'' If that person also has good character, so much the better, but it would appear that an ability to formulate and implement credible and appealing policies is the majority's first choice. They'll accept someone who can do this, yet whose character is questionable. They won't accept someone with character who can't do this. Call it "character plus.''

Is there such a man (or woman) among the Republican possibilities? More importantly, can that person win?

Republicans would be nuts to go with their visceral feelings this time around, given the number of Supreme Court nominations that are likely to come in the next presidential term. There are also choices to be made between bigger and smaller government and between high taxes and returning some money to those who work for it. Elect Al Gore and the era of big government will hit overdrive as we all are forced to drive Yugos to placate his environmental gods.

The Clinton scandals are not Watergate, as some might desperately have wished. Many voters saw Jimmy Carter as one who could exorcise demons from the Nixon White House. But they quickly learned that strong personal character without sound policies won't work. Did America catch a dose of integrity and fidelity during the Carter Administration? Carter said people living together should get married. Did they? Apparently not in noticeable numbers. And there was no observable decline in the divorce rate.

Bill Clinton lies about everything, but he does it so well he gets high approval ratings. In fact, he owes much of his perceived success to Fed chief Alan Greenspan, the buoyant Dow Jones Industrial Averages and a lot of luck.

House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt says the public wants Congress to do things that will help their families. Here is where Republicans have their opportunity. They must re-teach the lessons of Ronald Reagan to a new generation and remind those who voted for him what he stood for: government doesn't spend too little, government taxes too much; school choice improves all schools and, besides, they're your children, not government's; there's too much regulation -- if freedom is good for Eastern Europe it should be good for America; this country is about equal opportunity, not equal outcome.

Republicans who are called insensitive to the poor should remind the public how many people are off welfare and holding real jobs thanks to Republican governors who made them go to work, despite Democrat protestations that we would see people starving in the streets.

If Republicans can't make that case, the White House is not worth winning and Republicans don't deserve it. In such an instance they will have demonstrated that not only do they lack ideas they're willing to fight for, but also they are lacking in character.


02/19/99: GOP losers tell winner how to win
02/17/99: The Clinton legacy
02/10/99: More a man, less a president
02/08/99: Mr. President: Tear down this wall
02/03/99: Guess who's coming to breakfast
02/01/99: NBC gets the message;is CBS missing it?
01/25/99: Let's not make this deal
01/25/99: Gov. George Bush's 'responsibility era'
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.