Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Nov. 8, 1999/27 Mar-Cheshvan, 5760

David Limbaugh

David Limbaugh
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
David Corn
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Arianna Huffington
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Debbie Schlussel
Sam Schulman
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports
Weekly Standard


Sticks and stones -- 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.

  • For years, Democrats proudly accepted the "tax and spend" mantle and even advocated deficit spending to prime the economy's pump. They still try to spend like drunken sailors in the name of compassion. Though the Republican Congress finally curbed spending enough to balance the budget, Democrats now claim to be the fiscally responsible party.

  • The Democratic Party became the home for pacifists and quasi-isolationists during the Cold War and particularly the Vietnam War. Many of them even did their best to prevent U.S. involvement in the Persian Gulf War. Yet, today, they are painting mainstream Republicans as isolationists.

  • Bill Clinton, after deceitfully promising to end welfare as we know it, twice vetoed welfare reform legislation before signing it under duress the third time. But now that the program has worked so well, he claims to have originated the concept.

  • The Democrats even had the audacity to try to steal the "family values" issue after castigating Dan Quayle and other Republicans for promoting it.

In closing, a few additional and fitting puerile barbs come to mind: "What goes around comes around" and "turnabout is fair play."

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.


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?