Just when I think President Bush is about to cave to the opposition for the sake of furthering this "new tone," he comes through -- in a big way. With his recent actions, he's made clear that he is not going to squander the mandate he received in the November elections.
Just a few short weeks ago, word was circulating that the president was going to dilute his tax-cut plan significantly. I would have been despondent but for the fact that I've grown accustomed to the Republicans' inability to handle their own prosperity. Plus, as an unapologetic supply-sider, I've always thought the Bush plan was way too modest to get very excited about.
Then, lo and behold, the president unveiled his plan, which turned out to be
anything but a capitulation to the class warriors. He not only did not scale it back; he injected it with steroids by accelerating the reduction in marginal rates. Now, in addition to adjusting rates to a more reasonable level, his plan will stimulate economic growth.
There seems to be persistent confusion about supply-side theory. It isn't about putting more money in peoples' pockets -- though it's always a good thing to give people back more of their own money. That's the demand side. It's about stimulating production (supply) by marginal income tax-rate reductions. By accelerating the rates there's a vastly greater chance that supply-side incentives will kick in. And the elimination of corporate dividend taxes is a delicious sweetener.
Please understand that the source of my gratification is not that Bush has gotten in Democrats' faces, which, by the way, he hasn't. Rather, I'm tickled that he's trying to implement a truly conservative policy here. Had he emasculated his proposal, as expected, we'd get the worst of all worlds. The non-conservative tax policy would have had little beneficial economic effect, but conservatism would still have been blamed for its failure.
I am similarly pleased with another courageous and principled action by President Bush in renominating judges Charles Pickering and Priscilla Owen to the federal appellate bench, both of whom were denied a full Senate hearing by the Democratic Majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Wow. Again, we were led to believe that Bush wouldn't risk re-opening these old wounds, especially on the heels of the Senator Lott ordeal. (Lott and Pickering are close friends, and Lott sponsored Pickering's nomination.)
President Bush could take the easy way out and avoid the inevitable resurrection of the outrageously false racism charges against Pickering. After Lott, I feared that President Bush would retreat from policies of racial equality and from controversial decisions like this where the race card could be played. Granted, the administration has greatly disappointed by staying neutral in the Michigan law school affirmative-action case. But this Pickering reappointment is a refreshing consolation.
Indeed, this could represent a turning point of sorts for Republicans on race. They can either roll over every time they are taunted on race, or they can fight back. By renominating Judge Pickering Bush is telling Democrats they are not going to intimidate him from appointing conservative judges, even from the South, by hurling bogus charges of racism.
And boy, will the charges come! Already have. Senator Charles Schumer said the Pickering nomination shows Bush is trying to destroy "basic civil rights" in this country. Senator, have you no shame? Senator Tom Daschle accused Bush of "extraordinary insensitivity." These guys are so annoyingly predictable.
It's not insensitive for Bush to appoint a conservative, constitutionalist Southern judge who, in fact, has worked hard to improve racial relations, and put his own family at personal risk by testifying against a KKK member. Liberal race hustlers have deliberately distorted his record, including his decision in a 1994 criminal cross-burning case.
No, "extraordinary insensitivity" is when Democratic Senator Robert Byrd agrees to play a racist Southern general on a Warner Brothers movie when in his real life he was a card-carrying member of the KKK. Get that plank out of your eye (and your colleague's eye), Senator Daschle, before you start lecturing Judge Pickering about phantom splinters in his.
Senate Democrats know judges Pickering, Owen and the rest of Bush's slate are not racist, nor hostile to the civil rights movement. But they
are conservative and the "end" of imposing an ideological litmus test against conservative nominees, justifies the despicable "means" of fraudulently painting them as racists. Bravo, President Bush, for standing up to the race and class warriors. It has been a good week for conservatives.