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Jewish World Review Nov. 15, 1999 /6 Kislev, 5760

David Limbaugh

David Limbaugh
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GOP caves again -- WHY IS BILL CLINTON so militantly opposed to letting the states and local communities decide how to allocate federal education funds? Maybe he was just kidding when he piously announced that the era of big government was over.

Apparently caught off guard by a reporter's question, he gave us a glimpse into his guiding worldview. When asked what was wrong with letting local school districts decide how best to spend federal education dollars, he snapped, "because it's not their money."

Just chew on that for a minute. Clinton's knee-jerk response says it all. Money sucked into the federal coffers through onerous taxes on individuals and entities is his money. Just like those jets of the military he loathes are his jets, and the oval office is his bedroom.

Clinton has been absolutely intransigent about his statist demand that federal monies be earmarked to hire 100,000 new teachers. Congressional Republicans were insisting that these education decisions be left to states and cities.

In sharp contrast to the failed negotiations that resulted in their being blamed for the government shutdown in 1995, until this week, congressional Republicans have been much more adroit in their budget dealings with Clinton this time around.

Instead of falling into his snare again, they had kept their noses to the grindstone, stayed on message and passed one continuing resolution after another.

Rather than giving in to their fatigue and consolidating the spending measures into an omnibus-spending package, Republicans wisely separated them into 13 distinct proposals. This had the desired effect of flushing Clinton out and forcing him to decide which specific bills to veto.

Until Wednesday, an impasse remained as both White House and congressional budget negotiators had their heels dug in over certain ideologically important issues involved in the remaining spending bills.

Congressional budgets are approved on an annual basis and authorize government expenditures for each fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 and ending Sept. 30. If Congress and the president fail to approve any part of the budget for the next fiscal year prior to the end of the then current fiscal year, e.g. Sept. 30, 1999, the government runs out of authorized funds to operate into the next fiscal year.

In the absence of a complete budget agreement, Congress and/or the president can either allow the deadline to expire, in which event, we will have a government shutdown as in 1995, or they can agree to extend the deadline through continuing resolutions.

These resolutions have the effect of continuing the funding of programs (for which there has been no spending bill passed) at the same level as the just-expired fiscal year.

It was unrealistic to expect that Congress and the president would agree to run the government on this basis in perpetuity. It was inevitable that one or both would compromise. I am extremely dejected to report that Republican negotiators are the ones who caved on the education issue.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that Republicans had agreed to almost all of the president's education demands. They dropped their efforts to convert the federal education monies to a block grant that would leave local school boards with broad discretion in spending the funds.

Some may view this Republican capitulation as an honorable compromise. Perish the thought.

Clinton praised the Republicans for their "bipartisan spirit" (read: cowardice).

What about all the lofty GOP rhetoric about states' rights, freedom and local autonomy? Do they truly believe that empty words are just as noble as the actions they advocate?

How can these congressional Republicans possibly expect to rally support from the conservative base of their party when they roll over like this?

At the last presidential debate, Alan Keyes aptly reminded us that "liberty is one of those things that once you lose it, you don't even know what you have lost." Indeed.

It is extremely disappointing that so often our Republican officeholders literally do not put our money where their mouths are. Apparently, Clinton has convinced them that it is indeed his money.

It turns out that Republicans really talked a good game but in the end, getting out of town must have been more important than standing on the principles of freedom.

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.


11/10/99: 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?