Reprinted with permission from the August 4, 2000 Human Events
Do not reprint without permission
Copyright Human Events
Bush for President
When the news broke that George W. Bush was going to pick former Defense Secretary Dick Cheney as his running mate, the disappointment among liberal Democrats in Washington, D.C., was palpable.
Cheney was not what they wanted: He guaranteed unity in the Republican Party through election day in November.
What the liberal Democrats wanted was for the Republican Party to self-destruct just as it did in 1992 and 1996, when Bill Clinton was elected President with only a plurality of the popular vote.
They wanted Bush to alienate the conservative base of his own party by picking a pro-choice liberal as his vice-presidential nominee. They wanted someone like Pennsylva- nia Gov. Tom Ridge, someone they could disingenuously praise for alleged “open-mindedness” or “tolerance” or some other nebulous and dubious quality they associate with their own debased value system, while blasting conservatives (who would have opposed Ridge) for lacking it.
What they wanted was a Republican ticket they could beat—and that they could beat, once again, without mustering a majority of the popular vote, which Al Gore, like Bill Clinton before him, is incapable of doing.
No Whipping Boy
So, when Bush picked Cheney, they were dumbfounded. He was a flawless choice. Intelligent, articulate, experienced in positions of public trust, and of manifest high character, Cheney clearly is qualified to step in and serve as President if fate calls him to do so. Unapologetically pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment, pro-limited government, and patriotic, he sits to the right of George W. Bush himself philosophically (see page 3), with conservative credentials that resemble those of former Vice President Dan Quayle, the man the liberal press labored to make the whipping boy of the 1988 and 1992 campaigns.
For almost 48 hours, however, the liberals fumbled for a way to whip Cheney, too. With no obvious avenue open for ad hominem attack, they were almost struck mute. But then, in desperation, they found their voice: They would attack the Republican running mate for . . . his conservatism.
Hopefully, they will keep it up.
Attacking the Bush-Cheney ticket for being conservative could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It will help Bush win a mandate in the fall for shifting the direction of the federal government.
Just as Clinton-Gore proved that a center-left coalition could not win the presidency without the help of a large third-party vote, and could not enact its central legislative goals such as nationalizing the health-care system, Bush-Cheney can prove that a clear majority of Americans will endorse a presidency that goes into office candidly pledging to cut taxes, advance the pro-life cause, defend U.S. national interests in the world, and transfer power back from the government to individual citizens and private enterprise.
Human Events endorses George W. Bush for President, and encourages conservatives to cast their votes for the Bush-Cheney ticket in November.
We do so recognizing that many conservatives have good reason to disagree with Bush on some important issues.
Bush is more internationalist and interventionist than we would like. He favors extending Permanent Normal Trade Relations and World Trade Organization membership to the Communist regime in Beijing without even imposing any conditions. And he endorsed President Clinton’s unauthorized war in Kosovo, an intervention Bush’s own delegates at this week’s Republican Nation Convention (according to a survey by the American Conservative Union) opposed by a margin of 7 to 1. (See Human Events cover story last week.)
While conservatives believe the federal Department of Education is unconstitutional, Bush favors increased federal education spending and a form of national testing.
As Ward Connerly points out in this week’s coverbox story, Bush is unlikely to stem the flow of illegal immigrants across our Southern border.
And as Steve Moore points out on page 5, Bush increased state spending in Texas (although he hardly drove the state into debt, as Gore & Co. would have voters believe), and during his presidential campaign, he has not cited a single federal program that he would eliminate from a $1.8-trillion federal budget.
On the other hand, Bush is committed to several major items on the conservative agenda—items conservatives can expect legislative action on if he is elected President with a Republican majority Congress.
He has called for cutting federal income-tax rates across the board and repealing the federal death tax.
He has called for reforming Social Security by allowing taxpayers to create privately owned individual retirement accounts with a portion of their payroll taxes.
He has called for deploying a ballistic missile defense to shield the United States and its allies from attack by weapons of mass destruction.
He will restore the morale and readiness of our armed forces, which have been decimated in the Clinton years.
And he has taken a pro-life stance, and promoted retention of the Reagan pro-life platform plank, giving conservatives reason to expect he will advance this cause wherever feasible: naming pro-lifers to key administration posts, vetoing funding for fetal-tissue research and for groups that perform or promote abortions, and nominating strict constructionists to the Supreme Court who will respect the fundamental right to life and who will understand that the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision was unconstitutionally decided.
The ultimate success or failure of a Bush presidency, and the resolve of conservatives to support him for reelection, likely will pivot on his Supreme Court nominees. Because the court now teeters, in shifting 5-to-4 divisions, over such profound issues as whether partial-birth abortion is a constitutional right or whether the Boy Scouts shall be compelled to hire homosexual scoutmasters, just two good nominations by Bush could point the nation back in a healthy direction for decades to come. One bad nomination could drive us down to a new national low.
There is no doubt that Al Gore would put additional liberal activists such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer on the court. Bush, in his primary campaign, said he would apply no litmus tests to judicial nominees. But he also said that about his vice-presidential pick—and then gave us Dick Cheney, who passes our litmus tests, whether Bush used any or not.
Conservatives should vote to end the Clinton-Gore years, and then work, from inside and outside, to keep the Bush Administration on the right track.