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Jewish World Review Feb. 9, 2000 /3 Adar I, 5760

David Limbaugh

David Limbaugh
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President McCain: End of the GOP as we know it? -- MAYBE I'M BEING AN ALARMIST, but I'm concerned that a McCain presidency could be the end of the Republican Party as we know it.

Before you third-party people spontaneously erupt into the Hallelujah chorus, you should consider the ramifications of such an event. Even before the McCain tidal wave reached New Hampshire's coastline, political commentators and moderate Republicans were talking about a new paradigm for the Republican Party and for the conservative movement. They argued that unprecedented peace and prosperity under a Democratic president have rendered traditional conservative policy solutions obsolete.

Clinton, they said, was a visionary, deftly embracing the centrist Democratic Leadership Council and saving his party from the death throes of extreme liberalism. Third Way governance is the wave of the political future, and unless the GOP climbs aboard, it will be relegated to permanent minority status. I think the opposite is true.

Now that McCain has upset presumptive front-runner Bush in New Hampshire and caught him in the South Carolina polls, GOP moderates are claiming vindication and touting McCain as the only Republican who can beat Gore in November. Again, I disagree.

The McCain effort to remake the GOP in his liberal image represents a capitulation to Clintonomics and a repudiation of Reaganomics that must not stand.

Recently, a number of economists have written that this robust economy began in the early '80s as a result of Reagan's supply-side tax cuts and has continued to the present, interrupted only briefly by a minor recession. Though these economists are mostly conservative, their evidence is objective and their conclusions are quite difficult to refute.

And don't forget that Clinton never even aspired to balance the budget. Had he succeeded in passing his economic stimulus package and universal health care proposal, we wouldn't have made nearly, if any of, the progress we have made on the federal deficits. It was the Republicans who thwarted those behemoth federal spending proposals, helped to curb other Democratic spending, and forced welfare reform down Clinton's throat.

Isn't it bizarre that with such Republican policy successes one of its leading candidates is advocating surrendering the party's ideological reins to liberalism? Isn't that rewarding liberalism for the triumphs of conservatism? Perhaps, but with Bush's more conservative challengers getting such little traction McCain may have calculated that he had nowhere else to go but to the left of Bush. Besides, why not capitalize on the public's perception that Clintonomics is responsible for this prosperity?

Make no mistake that McCain's economic plan is a ringing affirmation of Clintonomics. It lifts not a finger to dismantle the punitive tax rates of the Clinton tax increase -- the largest in our nation's history. And it contemplates diverting even greater amounts of general revenue "to shore up social security," rather than meeting the social security problem head on through privatization plans and otherwise. McCain has also introduced the terminology of class-warfare into the Republican lexicon -- words previously reserved for Democratic demagogues.

Many Republican leaders have criticized McCain's plan as dangerous to the economy and the GOP. Reaganomics architect Jack Kemp warns, "McCain's obsession with the debt makes him a danger to the economy. This would take the Republican agenda and turn it upside down. It would point the party toward Herbert Hoover rather than Ronald Reagan."

Bush has been tagged as the GOP establishment candidate. Yes, but in terms of ideology it is McCain, not Bush, who represents the moderate, Rockefeller wing of the party. If Clinton is a New Democrat, McCain is a New Republican. How else do you explain McCain's myriad of contributions from Hollywood and other traditionally Democratic sources?

Beyond mirroring Clinton's policies on taxes, tobacco, etc., McCain also gives Democrats a pass on their egregious campaign finance violations. The thrust of McCain's reform message is that the system is corrupt, rather than those who have violated the laws. This provides cover for Clinton and Gore, whose infractions with illegal foreign contributions are hidden by this confusion.

Considering the policy direction of Sen. McCain's campaign, Clintonomics is getting two bites of the apple this year: one in the primary and the other in the general election. And if McCain becomes president and implements liberal policy solutions while wearing his Republican hat, Conservatives may then become homeless.

JWR contributor David Limbaugh is an attorney practicing in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and a political analyst and commentator. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


02/07/00: From New Hampshire to South Carolina
02/02/00: SDI must fly
01/31/00: Veep gores Bradley
01/26/00: The issues gap
01/24/00: GOP: Exit, stage left
01/20/00: Nationalizing congressional elections
01/18/00: Do voters really prefer straight talk?
01/12/00: Media's McCain efforts may backfire
01/10/00: Conservative racism myth
01/05/00: Just one more year of Clintonian politics
01/03/00: McMedia?
12/27/99: Al Gore: Bullish on government
12/22/99: Bradley's full-court press
12/20/99: Bush: Rendering unto Caesar
12/15/99: Beltway media bias
12/13/99: White House ambulance chasing
12/08/99: Clinton's labor pains
12/06/99:The lust for power
12/01/99: In defense of liberty
11/29/99: Are Republicans obsolete?
11/24/99: Say you're sorry, Mr. President
11/22/99: Architects of victory
11/17/99: Trump's tax on freedom
11/15/99: GOP caves again
11/10/99: Triangulation and 'The Third Way'
11/08/99: Sticks and stones
11/03/99: Keyes vs. media lapdogs
11/01/99: Signs of the times
10/27/99: The false charge of isolationism
10/25/99: A matter of freedom
10/20/99: Clinton's mini-meltdown
10/18/99: Senate GOP shows statesmanship
10/13/99: Senate must reject nuclear treaty
10/11/99: Bush bites feeding hand
10/06/99: Jesse accidentally opens door for Pat
10/04/99: Clinton and his media enablers
09/29/99: Reagan: Big-tent conservatism
09/27/99: The Clinton/Gore taint?
09/22/99: Have gun (tragedy), will travel
09/20/99: Hillary's blunders and bloopers
09/15/99: GOP must remain conservative
09/13/99:Time for Bush to take charge, please
09/10/99: Bush's education plan: Dubya confounds again
09/07/99: Pat, savior or spoiler?
09/02/99: Character doesn't matter?
08/30/99: Should we judge?
08/25/99: Dubyah's drug question: Not a hill to die on
08/23/99: Should Dubyah start buying soap ... for all that mud?
08/16/99: 'W' stands for 'winner'
08/11/99: The truth about tax cuts
08/09/99: Hillary: Threading the needle
08/04/99: What would you do?
08/02/99: No appeasement for China
07/30/99: Hate Crimes Bill: Cynical Symbolism
07/26/99: Itís the 'moderates', stupid
07/21/99: JFK Jr. and Diana: the pain of privilege
07/19/99: Smith, Bush and the GOP
07/14/99: GOP must be a party of ideas
07/12/99: Gore's gender gap
07/08/99: Clintonís faustian bargain: our justice
07/06/99: The key to Bush's $36 million
06/30/99: Gore: a soda in every fountain
06/28/99: 'Sacred wall' or religious barrier?
06/23/99: GOP must lead in foreign policy
06/21/99: Crumbs of compassion
06/16/99: Compassionate conservatism: face-lift or body transplant?
06/10/99: Victory in Kosovo? Now What?