Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Jan. 4, 2001 / 9 Teves, 5761

George Will

George Will
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Bush's picks reveal Right attitude -- IT IS A LAW of the political universe from which, due to an oversight on the part of Providence, George Bush is not exempt: When a Democrat wins a presidential election he is said to have received a mandate to keep his promises, but when a Republican wins he is said to have acquired a duty to be "statesmanlike" by trimming his promises to suit "bipartisanship."

However, Bush's Cabinet selections communicate his conviction that the election, although close, awarded him 100 percent of the presidency, and he intends to use all of it. The selections also bespeak his confidence and conservatism.

Last fall the media criticized Dick Cheney's low-voltage campaigning - at least until Cheney took Joe Lieberman to school during their debate. Now the stories are that Cheney is such a dynamo he overshadows Bush. But Bush's selection of Cheney indicated, as have subsequent personnel decisions, how confident Bush is in surrounding himself with strong, seasoned people such as Colin Powell and Don Rumsfeld.

With the transition almost cut in half by the Florida unpleasantness, Rumsfeld has the crucial advantage of already knowing the complex culture in the building - all 17.5 miles of Pentagon corridors - he must manage. Furthermore, Rumsfeld chaired the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat. By nominating Rumsfeld, Bush strongly reaffirms his promise of defenses against ballistic missiles.

Critics say missile defenses will aggravate Russia by requiring substantial revision, even renunciation of the 29-year old ABM Treaty. Rumsfeld will have the stature to oppose Powell if Powell acquires the State Department penchant for avoiding friction with Russia. (During the Rumsfeld commission's work, this axiom was heard: The State Department is like tundra - anything you do to it improves it.)

Tommy Thompson has been the nation's most tenaciously innovative governor regarding welfare reform tied to work requirements. He has presided over the reduction of the number of Wisconsin's welfare families from 98,000 to 6,700 since 1986. He will become secretary of Health and Human Services at a crucial moment.

The most important congressional act of the last decade was the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, which repealed a 61-year-old open-ended entitlement to welfare - Aid to Families with Dependent Children - and set a five-year lifetime limit. It has been a rousing success - welfare rolls have been cut in half.

But it has succeeded in optimum circumstances, during an unprecedented economic expansion. And the welfare recipients easiest to move into the work force have been moved. Now the economy is slowing, and the five-year limit will soon begin to bite. Thompson brings a governor's perspective to what is, post-1996, largely the responsibility of governors.

The most important, and baneful, congressional act of this decade might be passage of the McCain-Feingold bill, "campaign finance reform" expanding government regulation of political speech. If John McCain is right in thinking he now has 60 votes to break a Senate filibuster, the arrival on Bush's desk of McCain-Feingold will be an early test of Bush's toughness in Washington: Is he impervious to the disapproval of McCain's base, the media?

McCain, who has threatened to disrupt the Senate unless he gets his way, says passage of his bill would be "one of the best ways Gov. Bush could reach out to Democrats." But another election season has come and gone and what Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell - McCain's nemesis and the First Amendment's best friend in the Senate - has long said is still true: No one has ever lost an election because he or she opposed campaign-finance reform.

In 2000 two candidates, McCain and Bill Bradley, made reform central to their campaigns. Their campaigns expired early. Bush won 100 percent of the presidency.

Comment on JWR contributor George Will's column by clicking here.


01/02/01: Prosperity in perspective
12/28/00: Soft landing in a spoiled nation
12/26/00: When laws replace common sense
12/21/00: Beware the 'Bipartisanship'
12/18/00: ... A Brief Moment
12/13/00: Judicial activism on trial
12/11/00: Truth optional
12/06/00: A Chastened Court
12/01/00: Counting on some slippery language
11/28/00: Florida's rogue court
11/27/00: This willful court
11/22/00: Ferocity gap
11/17/00: Slow-motion larceny
11/13/00: Gore, Hungry for Power
11/09/00: No, the System Worked
11/06/00: The case for Bush
11/03/00: The Framers' Electoral wisdom
10/30/00: Political astronomy
10/27/00: Candidates condescending
10/23/00: No Partners For Peace
10/20/00: Talking peace with thugs
10/11/00: A feast of retreats
10/10/00: .. And what's gotten into the Danes?
10/05/00: The Agony of Debate
10/02/00: Senate Canvas
09/28/00: Milosevic: Not Another Saddam
09/25/00: Blaming the Voters
09/22/00: Saying No to the Euro
09/18/00: Farewell, Mr. Moynihan
09/14/00: When 'Choice' Rules
09/12/00: Colombia Illusions
09/08/00: Will He Spend It All?
09/04/00: Back in the U.S.S.R.
08/31/00: Stonewalling School Reform
08/28/00: Uphill for a California Republican
08/24/00: Sauerkraut Ice Cream
08/21/00: The Partial-Birth Censors
08/18/00: A Party to Prosperity
08/14/00: The National Scold on the Stump
08/10/00: The Thinking Person's Choice
08/07/00: The GOP of Powell And Rice
08/03/00: Panic in the Gore Camp
07/27/00: . . . Both Radical and Reassuring
07/06/00: Harry Potter: A Wizard's Return
07/03/00: Recalling the Revolution
06/29/00: An Act of Judicial Infamy
06/26/00: Life, Liberty and ... the Pursuit of Foxes
06/21/00: Fumble on Prayer
06/19/00: The unified field theory of culture
06/15/00: Schools Beset by Lawyers And Shrinks
06/12/00: Missile Defense Charade
06/07/00: The Grandparent Dissent
06/05/00: Liberal Condescension
06/01/00: Great Awakenings
05/30/00: Suddenly Social Security
05/25/00: Forget Values, Let's Talk Virtues
05/22/00: AlGore the Hysteric
05/15/00: Majestic Avenue
05/11/00: Just How Irrational Is the Exuberance?
05/08/00: Home-Run Glut
05/04/00: A Lesson Plan for Gore
05/01/00: The Hijacking of the Primaries
04/28/00: The Raid in Little Havana
04/24/00: Tinkering Again
04/17/00: A Judgment Against Hate
04/13/00: Tech- Stock Joy Ride
04/10/00: What the bobos are buying
04/06/00: A must-read horror book
04/03/00: 'Improving' the Bill of Rights
03/30/00: Sleaze, The Sequel
03/27/00: How new 'rights' will destroy freedom
03/23/00: Death and the Liveliest Writing
03/20/00: Powell is Dubyah's best bet
03/16/00: Free to Be Politically Intense
03/13/00: Runnin', Gunnin' and Gambling
03/09/00: And Now Back to Republican Business
03/06/00: As the Clock Runs Out on Bradley
03/02/00: Island of Equal Protection
02/28/00: . . . The Right Response
02/24/00: Federal Swelling
02/22/00: Greenspan Tweaks
02/17/00: Crucial Carolina (and Montana and . . .)
02/10/00: McCain's Distortions
02/10/00: The Disciplining of Austria
02/07/00: Free to Speak, Free to Give
02/02/00: Conservatives in a Changing Market
01/31/00: America's true unity day
01/27/00: For the Voter Who Can't Be Bothered
01/25/00: The FBI and the golden age of child pornography
01/20/00: Scruples and Science
01/18/00: Bradley: Better for What Ails Us
01/13/00: O'Brian Rules the Waves
01/10/00: Patron of the boom
01/06/00: In Cactus Jack's Footsteps
01/03/00: The long year
12/31/99: A Stark Perspective On a Radical Century
12/20/99: Soldiers' Snapshots of the Hell They Created
12/16/99: Star-Crossed Banner
12/13/99: Hubert Humphrey Wannabe
12/09/99: Stupidity in Seattle
12/06/99: Bradley's most important vote
12/03/99: Boys will be boys --- or you can always drug 'em
12/01/99: Confidence in the Gore Camp
11/29/99: Busing's End
11/22/99: When We Enjoyed Politics
11/18/99: Ever the Global Gloomster
11/15/99: The Politics of Sanctimony
11/10/99: Risks of Restraining
11/08/99: Willie Brown Besieged
11/04/99: One-House Town
11/01/99: Crack and Cant
10/28/99: Tax Break for the Yachting Class
10/25/99: Ready for The Big Leagues?
10/21/99: Where honor and responsibility still exist
10/18/99: Is Free Speech Only for the Media?
10/14/99: A Beguiling Amateur
10/11/99: Money in Politics: Where's the Problem?
10/08/99: Soft Thinking On Soft Money

© 2000, Washington Post Writer's Group