Some of you critics have suggested a more positive approach to the column occasionally, so I'll try to oblige. But it's only fair to warn you that my positives may be your negatives.
Here are some things to be sanguine about:
George W. Bush is about to become president of the United States; I won't mention that another administration is leaving, as that may be interpreted as insensitive and, therefore, negative.
Bush is showing no signs of intimidation, and is pressing forward with his agenda. Not only is Bush unruffled by the ceaseless mantra that he has no mandate, he is considering ways to exploit rifts within the Democratic caucus in order to garner Democratic support on key issues.
A recent news story reported that Bush was already backing down on his proposal for school vouchers. Happily, Bush made a point of expressly denying the report, and reaffirmed his commitment to this vital component of his education proposal.
Democrats have been talking down Bush's modest tax-cut plan. Congressional Republicans, similarly, have been suggesting that he implement it in incremental phases. In addition, the Federal Reserve Board reduced the short-term interest rate by half a point, providing further ammunition to the "never cut taxes" crowd, who are saying that a tax cut is no longer needed to boost the economy. Despite all this opposition, Bush is standing firm on his original plan, realizing that the current economic slowdown will require a combination of monetary and fiscal stimuli. Note also that the Fed's rate reduction vindicates Bush's assessment of the declining economy.
Bush convened an economic forum in Austin, Texas. Unlike Clinton's eight years ago, Bush's was essentially closed to the public. This proves that Bush was genuinely seeking the ideas of the attendees rather than putting on a dog and pony show for political purposes. The participants were largely from the private sector -- a development most comforting to capitalists everywhere.
Bush's cabinet is loaded with executive talent, with both public and private sector experience.
Lawrence Lindsey, Bush's chief economic adviser-designate, is a staunch supply-sider, dedicated to equitable and growth-oriented fiscal policy. Lindsey is the antithesis of Dick Darman, the architect of Bush the elder's decision to renege on his "no new taxes" pledge. Lindsey, by the way, when serving on the Federal Reserve Board, was the prime mover in reducing the rate by half a point the last time the Federal Reserve took such action nine years ago.
Bush's announced appointments of John Ashcroft, Linda Chavez and Spencer Abraham, among others, demonstrate his unapologetic conservative instinct.
That Ashcroft will strongly influence Bush's judicial appointments is a good omen for an era of judicial restraint.
Democratic Congressman James Traficant voted for Republican Dennis Hastert for Speaker of the House.
Hillary Clinton is New York's senator, not Missouri's.
Bush's selection of Donald Rumsfeld as Defense Secretary is not reason for concern because Rumsfeld served in earlier administrations, but reason for rejoicing because, once again, it proves that Bush was sincere about his campaign agenda -- in this case, SDI.
Bush's selection of Gale Norton as Interior Secretary and Abraham as Energy Secretary shows that he will not be held hostage by environmental radicals, and that he meant business when he promised to develop a sound energy policy.
As soon as President Clinton signed on to the grossly irresponsible and sovereignty-forfeiting treaty establishing an international court, Bush denounced the action and pledged to oppose it.
Bush is already looking into dismantling Clinton's federal land grab schemes and other usurpations of congressional authority through unilateral executive orders.
Despite his poor showing among African-Americans, Bush will continue to reach out to them and other minorities. There may be signs of a thawing. This week, three South Side Chicago pastors joined together in a pledge to reach out to Republicans denouncing "the monarchy and dictatorship style of the local Democratic machine" and announcing their respect for George Bush.
My friend, the immensely talented Jack Oliver, will be second in command at the RNC.
Clinton just revoked his executive order that barred his top aides from lobbying for five years. How is this positive, you ask? Well, just think, in about two weeks, Clinton will no longer be in a position to commit such outrages.
Now tell me: Do you feel better?