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    Tuesday, October 12, 2004

    Don't run away from the 'C' word 

    Now that George Bush has thrown down the gauntlet by using the dreaded "L" word and making John Kerry very defensive (I've never heard anbody complain about scare-tactic labeling when the "C" word is used), I hope he has the courage to go the rest of the way tomorrow night and actually debate as a conservative. When Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush (campaigning as a Reaganite the first time around) talked about conservative values to the American people, they won rather handily.

    A dilemma for Bush now is that he hasn't actually governed as much of a fiscal conservative; his rhetoric was a lot more serious than his actions have been. He believed (or let himself be persuaded, at any rate) that pushing through some big-government items, i.e. Medicare "reform" and No Child Left Behind, could help increase his base. But of course these two items have become two of the biggest clubs Kerry hits him over the head with - he's not spending enough. No matter how hard he tries, a Republican can never outpromise a Democrat when it comes to domestic spendig. (Although Kerry has boxed himself in with his foolish "Read My Lips" pledge to not ever raise taxes on the middle class; doesn't he remember Bush 41's experience?)

    Bush can talk about the economy, which is really performing pretty well, but there are some structural deficits that either he or a President Kerry are going to have to come to terms with very early on. He'd be much better off talking about tax cuts, which will bring much-needed growth and on which he got some support on this week from the newest Nobel Laureate economist. That would draw Kerry in on a class warfare debate, which is really the strongest weapon in his arsenal.

    Or maybe Kerry can bring up Christopher Reeve again and promise to make everybody get up out of their wheelchairs and walk. At least the body will be cold by then.

    posted by Leo Morris at # 6:00 PM


    On the left: Carol Towarnicky, chief editorial writer for the Philadelphia Daily News, from a liberal point of view.

    On the right: Leo Morris, editorial page editor of the Fort Wayne (Ind.) News-Sentinel, from a conservative point of view.

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