Priceless differences between the GOP and the Dems

Marvin Olasky

10/1/2002 12:00:00 AM - Marvin Olasky
Some readers of this column view the clash of political parties as meaningless. Here's a letter from Pete Berglar of St Louis: "I find myself agreeing more often than I'd like with the old saw about the two parties, 'There's not a dime's worth of difference between the two.' I read (about Republicans) losing the Senate, House or White House to Democrats, but wonder if it really makes any difference who is in control?" Yes, Pete, many Republicans have been disappointing -- but here's my short list of where we'd be domestically if liberal Democrats had controlled all branches of government over the past two decades: Over 3 million abortions per year. Euthanasia rampant. Gay "marriage" legal everywhere. Home schooling illegal. Christian schools facing severe restrictions. Propaganda in public schools more virulent. Tax rates higher. Nationalized and inferior health care our only choice. The GOP, for all its weaknesses (and the tendency of some Republicans to back the liberal agenda), has helped to keep those developments from occurring. Does the Democratic Party have some honest candidates and the GOP some slimeballs? Of course, and I will not vote for a candidate I know to be an unrepentant adulterer or a major league liar. But political correctness dominates Democrats more than it does Republicans, and PC pandering leads to dishonesty. Look at some specifics. Liberal teachers' unions are so influential in the Democratic Party that it can't see straight on educational choice. Al Gore's foreign policy would leave the United States dependent on the U.N. Congressional Democrats are doing their best to eviscerate welfare reform and make more people dependent on the government once again. The Republican Party is an ideological battleground, and that's upsetting to conservatives who would like a unified party, but the Democratic Party is a dictatorship that silences pro-life voices. As to George W. Bush: Even though I'd like him to push harder in several domestic areas, I'm so glad that he is president, and not only because of the usual policy concerns. Let me mention an encounter I had with Bill Clinton. It came at the very end of 1997 at a "Renaissance Weekend," one of those affairs right before New Year's Eve that brought together over a thousand liberal Friends of Bill and several conservatives such as myself. (We were entertainment.) When I had the opportunity to talk with the president one evening, I mentioned that I was writing a chapter on Henry Clay for a book on American leaders, and saw many Clay-Clinton similarities. Clinton did not ask what the similarities were, or I would have told him: Henry Clay gave insinuating speeches in which he said, essentially, I feel your pain; other Americans saw him as smooth but untrustworthy; he was a big-time womanizer. But the president did not ask; instead he said: "That's such an interesting period of American history. I think about it all the time." OK. The next morning, while I was saying a few words about race relations and trans-racial adoption, Clinton wandered in and during the audience participation segment made a comment: "This is such a crucial matter for America. I think about it all the time." And so it went. I don't know how many times Bill Clinton told people that he was thinking about their particular concern all the time -- or how many times he did not tell people what he was really thinking about all the time. What's the value of having an honest president like George W. Bush? It's priceless. And what's the value of having a Congress that's often disappointing but at least not dictatorially pushing a far-left agenda? Certainly worth a minute in a voting booth.