Maggie Gallagher

By proposing to allow workers to put part of their Social Security taxes in investment accounts, George W. Bush has offered the most important Social Security reform since the program's inception, and what has it gotten him? Terror in the old-age home? No, instead, for the first time ever, the Republican presidential candidate has pulled about even with Democrats in voters' trust on this vital issue.

Americans don't hate the right; they don't hate anybody. Voters want nice people and nice politics. Good folks, they know, can be Republicans or Democrats. They don't want nasty names or ideological labels lobbed into their living rooms.

George W. understands this new mood very well, it is clear, from an interview with The New York Times just before the convention opened Monday, where he promised to highlight his Texas record of working and playing well with Democrats.

"One of the things that people don't really know about me is that I've been good about bringing people together to get things accomplished in Texas," he said, and promised not to subject "the other side to public ridicule."

Leaving good folks like Al 'n' Hill in the desperate position of needing to go negative in this new Era of Good Feelings, when nice guys finish first.

Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.