It's difficult to think of a more compelling reason to vote for Jim Talent for Senate than that the notoriously liberal St. Louis Post-Dispatch endorsed his opponent, Senator Jean Carnahan.
The Post described Republican Talent as a staunch conservative, which on its face is not objectionable. But if you are familiar with the ideological proclivities of that newspaper, you will understand that to its editorial board, "conservative" is a cuss word.
And we know that "staunch" means "steadfast" or "unswerving." Translation: Talent is an ideological ogre, even if he may be "congenial" and despite his "effective(ness) in the Missouri Legislature and Congress, sometimes showing an ability to work across party lines."
Lest there's any doubt the Post was trying to create this impression, don't miss their unsubtle effort to morph Talent into one of the Left's favorite symbols of despicability: Newt Gingrich. "In Monday's debate between the two, Mr. Talent said he wanted to be judged on his congressional record of making a difference for "vulnerable people," wrote the Post. "But Mr. Talent was Newt Gingrich's loyal lieutenant on the Contract With America. If Missourians take a hard look, they will find Mr. Talent closer to the ideological fringe ..."
Liberals love to demonize Newt and anyone they can conveniently associate with him, such as Talent, but their memories are notably selective. The truth is that they owe Newt a debt of gratitude for saving Clinton's presidency. Don't buy into the revisionism. It was the Contract With America and other Republican congressional initiatives that mandated the fiscal discipline to bring Clinton's unbalanced budgets into balance.
Yet the Post has the audacity to suggest that "tax-cut-and-spend Republicans, like Mr. Talent, are a threat to a prosperous future." Republicans have consistently been far more responsible in spending than Democrats, and Jim Talent particularly distinguished himself in the fiscal discipline department. About the only area on which you can count on congressional Democrats to be austere is defense.
As for taxes, Democrats have never acknowledged the stubborn but irrefutable fact that federal revenues nearly doubled during the '80s with Reagan's tax cuts. And they will apparently never tire of uttering the mantra that the Bush tax cuts were only "for the wealthiest Americans." The Bush tax rate cuts applied to all brackets, and in fact, the lower income groups received a greater proportional cut. In other words, the cuts were skewed, in relative terms, against the higher and highest income producers.
But you have to understand that the Post obviously believes that Americans' earnings are the government's money and the government, in its beneficence, allows us to keep the portion that is not taxed. That's why they consider tax cut rates as government philanthropy. And that's why they slam Talent for "divert(ing) some Social Security money to individual accounts." Diverting? This is our money they're talking about. What in the world is wrong with allowing individuals the right to invest a very small portion of their own retirement funds?
As for Mrs. Carnahan? Well, they reserved a euphemistic oxymoron for her. She's a "relentless moderate." Even if that were true, it would be grounds to oppose her. Who would want a senator who is passionate about fence-sitting?
But it's not true. Carnahan is a liberal in the mold of Tom Daschle and Missouri's own Dick Gephardt. If that had previously escaped you, you couldn't overlook it in her recently televised debate with Talent. It appeared that every line was scripted from DNC talking point memos.
And what's this Post canard that Mrs. Carnahan "has a visceral dislike of the supercharged partisanship of the closely divided Senate?" Was it in that spirit that she voted against the confirmation of fellow Missourian John Ashcroft, whose unparalleled graciousness following her husband's death gave her the Senate seat in the first place? Is that attitude what prompted her to make her "Osama" reference the other day?
I'm sure Mrs. Carnahan is a fine person. But she's very liberal -- just check her record. If that's your cup of tea, vote for her, but don't be deceived by efforts to sanitize her liberalism.
Jim Talent is one of the most decent, admirable and exceedingly competent people to grace national politics in many years. He is a mainstream conservative, a man of principle and conviction, and steeped in Midwestern values. These things may bother the Post, but they are attributes Missouri voters should find appealing. Let us help restore a Republican Senate majority by electing Jim Talent.