Jewish World Review Nov. 8, 1999/27 Mar-Cheshvan, 5760
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- DEMOCRATS ARE CRYING FOUL because Republicans have finally wised up and adopted some of their successful marketing techniques.
They are nervously reacting to a month-long, $445,000 National Republican Congressional Committee ad campaign portraying them as raiding the Social Security surplus and various Republican news releases suggesting that the Clinton administration has treated the retirement system like a credit card.
House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt is particularly exercised that the congressional majority has purloined the Social Security issue in its ongoing PR battle with President Clinton over the budget.
The exasperated Gephardt said, "It's kind of ironic that they have picked this issue to try to demagogue on, because this is the party that fought the creation of Social Security and Medicare."
Texas Democrat Martin Frost added, "The concern is if you repeat a big lie often enough, people may begin to believe it." Indeed.
I feel your pain, gentlemen, on two counts. First, Democrats, yourselves prominently included, have been demagoging issues and demonizing Republicans for years. Second, they have misappropriated many traditional Republican issues. In fact, there's overlap in these two because some of the Democrats' most effective demonization of Republicans has centered on issues they have stolen from them.
By now, everyone is surely familiar with the Mediscare episodes where Clinton, Gephardt and their cronies deliberately mischaracterized the Republican plan to reduce the rate of increase in Medicare spending as Draconian cuts that would ruthlessly deprive the elderly of their health care benefits.
And how can anyone forget the similar depiction of congressional Republicans as starving schoolchildren because they refused to increase spending on the federal school lunch program as well?
Just wait until the next election cycle to see how the Democrats picture Republicans as reckless champions of nuclear proliferation for failing to ratify the nuclear test ban treaty.
Perhaps the most offensive, though, is the repeated Democratic charge that Republicans, because they are beholden to the evil NRA, are causing violence and death in schools and society in general by opposing unreasonable and unconstitutional gun control legislation.
The list goes on an on, but suffice it to say that Democrats have mentored the Republicans quite well in the art of political warfare. But this isn't about revenge -- it isn't even primarily about demonizing Democrats.
It is, first and foremost, about budget negotiations with the president. It is a preemptive strike against Democrats to keep them from browbeating Republicans into capitulating again to Clinton's budget demands.
The Republicans, after turning their other cheek at Democratic abuse one too many times, have finally decided to become proactive and launch a PR offensive before Democrats have a chance to poison the public against them again. It's unfortunate that it's necessary for Republicans to resort to this tactic, but it is necessary.
It is also very difficult to sympathize with Democrats in their charge that Republicans are stealing their sacred Social Security issue. This brings to mind the adolescent rejoinder "it takes one to know one."
President Clinton and congressional Democrats are the quintessential issue thieves. A brief rundown will illustrate the point.
11/03/99: Keyes vs. media lapdogs