JWR Jeff JacobyBen WattenbergRoger Simon
Mona CharenLinda Chavez

Paul Greenberg Larry ElderJonathan S. Tobin
Thomas SowellMUGGERWalter Williams
Don FederCal Thomas
Political Cartoons
Left, Right & Center

Jewish World Review / Nov. 10, 1998 /21 Mar-Cheshvan, 5759

Cal Thomas

Cal Thomas The revolting Republican 'revolution'

IT IS IRRITATING TO HEAR some people say that conservatives, especially those with a social conscience, lost an opportunity to expand Republican majorities in the House and Senate. Like God, it isn't that conservatism was tried and found wanting. It was not fully tried, except in the states where principled conservatives won, with a few exceptions.

Moderates, who are prepared to relinquish any principle in order to win approval from the establishment, now claim that only they can lead. That's like the pacifist movement taking credit for winning World War II. How soon we forget what gave Republicans control of the White House for 12 years and won them Congress in 1994. What has nearly done them in is timidity and loss of vision. The congressional "leaders'' caved on liberal judges, the flawed Chemical Weapons Treaty and the International Monetary Fund. They mistakenly tried to win Hispanic votes by supporting statehood for Puerto Rico.

Does anyone believe that moderation will improve our national character? Shortly before the election, the Josephson Institute released a survey in conjunction with National Character Counts Week. It revealed that nearly half of all high school students are thieves, that the proportion of teens who admitted cheating on an exam in the past year jumped to 70 percent, that almost all teens lie to their parents, and that more than one-third of high schoolers say they would lie to get a good job. Will political moderation cure this trend? Do moderates think character can be restored by making virtue subject to a line-item veto?

Rep. Bob Livingston (R-La.) is the most likely successor of Newt Gingrich as House Speaker. He was off to a good start when he told ABC's "This Week'' program that the people want more honesty from their leaders. He said he would introduce a bill to repeal the Johnson administration's policy of putting Social Security off-budget. This might increase the deficit on paper, but it would be an honest budget.

Democrats have been fooling the public with a compassion initiative devoid of substance. Underneath it's the same old liberalism with a different face. Republicans have been inconsistent, first offering a Contract With America, then appearing to abandon any agenda when faced with opposition from people with a personal stake in preserving big government.

Here's what Republicans need to do to recover from their near-disaster on Nov. 3.

First, they should create an agenda which every faction of the party can endorse. This would include tax cuts and a reduction in the size of government. Start with the spending and bureaucratic extremes so Democrats can't demagogue again on "saving Social Security by not spending the surplus,'' even though that is precisely what the Clinton administration is doing. This should include a "no more pork'' pledge. How can Republicans be trusted when they loaded up the last budget bill with so much spending that it resembled a "swine bill of rights''?

Second, to address social issues, Republican governors should convene a meeting of religious and humanitarian leaders. The purpose of such a gathering would be to ask them to more fully implement their primary "calling'' before government steps in. Social conservatives are making a mistake liberals make.

They turn to government as a first resource, not a last resort. Governors could give special attention and encouragement to those pregnancy help centers that answer the question "who's going to take care of me and my baby if I don't have an abortion?'' Many women are not aware of such centers or of compassionate alternatives to abortion because the press mostly ignores them. Abortion could be significantly reduced just by making such resources more widely known. Then, when the public knows the help is there, it might be persuaded to tighten legal restrictions against "convenience'' abortions.

Republicans should continue to support private scholarship efforts that offer poor people a choice of where to send their children to school. As initial data show, choice improves grades and behavior. The pressure will then build for universal choice in education, with tax dollars following the child. School choice will break the country's last big monopoly and restore quality education for all.

Ronald Reagan's secret, which nearly everyone misses, was not only his ideas: He restored the people's faith in themselves. Two of America's greatest problems -- divorce and illegitimacy -- cannot be solved by government, only by individuals who choose to live differently.

When more people realize they can make it on their own if government will get out of the way, the real Republican revolution -- which is now just revolting -- will have been won. That is the message and the agenda that new Republican leadership must pursue.


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.