Bush Delivers Knock-Out Punch

It was a major applause line in President Bush’s stump speech in state after state last week as he asked voters to give him a Republican Senate and a bigger Republican majority in the House.

"The Senate has done a lousy job with my nominees," said Bush. "I need a senator with whom I can work to make sure we stop playing petty partisan politics with the judicial nominations I’ve sent up, to make sure people’s records aren’t distorted, and to make sure we have a bench that is full of judges who aren’t there to write laws, but are there to strictly interpret the United States Constitution.

This was central to the President’s pitch in Minnesota, where former St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman returned Democratic dinosaur Walter Mondale to the political tarpits. It was central to his pitch in New Hampshire, where he helped boost Rep. John Sununu into the Senate over an incumbent Democratic governor. It was central to his pitch in Missouri, too, where he declared: "I know I’ll be able to count on Sen. Jim Talent’s support for putting up judges that you’ll be proud of."

"Make no mistake about it in this race," Bush told Georgia in calling for the defeat of incumbent Democratic Sen. Max Cleland, "if you’re interested in a judiciary which is going to work and represent your views, Saxby Chambliss is the right United States senator"

The other two pillars of the President’s issue-driven campaign were tax cuts and national security. In every state he struck the same themes.

"We need to make tax relief permanent," he said. "Be wary of folks that say we need to revisit the tax relief plan. That’s Washington, D.C., code for ‘I’m fixing to raise your taxes.’"

His most powerful issue, however, was national security. In every speech the President pounded the Democratic Senate for kowtowing to Big Labor by refusing to create a Homeland Security Department unless it included labor-union type job protections for workers charged with following the orders of the Commander-in-Chief in defending America against terrorists.

"The House of Representatives passed a good bill," said Bush. "This bill is stuck in the Senate. It’s stuck in the Senate because some senators are trying to extract a price from the President, and the price is that I will give up the capacity to suspend certain bargaining rules in the name of national security, the ability that every President since John F. Kennedy has had."

"It doesn’t make any sense," said Bush. "I need to put the right people, at the right place, at the right time, to protect the American people."

This was the endgame of a brilliant, carefully crafted, and beautifully executed campaign-one of the best in American history. And indeed, its results were historic. As HUMAN EVENTS presents graphically on Page 3, President Bush has put himself in position to become the first Republican President since Calvin Coolidge to govern alongside a wholly Republican controlled Congress for an extended period of time.

The future shines brightly for the GOP if the party stays on track.

By contrast, a bloody civil war looms among Democrats. House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (Mo.) has already announced he is surrendering his leadership position. Leftist Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and conventional liberal Rep. Martin Frost of Texas will battle ferociously for control of House Democrats.

Ambitious Democratic senators and governors will soon be wandering all over Iowa and New Hampshire running "exploratory" campaigns for the Democratic presidential nomination. They will be trying to outmaneuver one another to the left, to attract the primary votes of the most rabid and ideological Democratic partisans. They will be driven even further left as they try to outflank the certain frontrunner, former Vice President Al Gore, who has already hit the trail talking a leftist line not seen since the days of . . . Walter Mondale.

The Democrats show every sign of forgetting the lesson Bill Clinton’s fleeting and essentially fraud-based political success should have taught them: To win they must pretend to be conservatives, who can win swing voters in Middle America. They must fool people into believing they intend to "cut taxes for the middle class," "end welfare as we know it," make "abortion safe, legal and rare."

And now, in the wake of September 11, they must do something Clinton never did, and could not have done: They must create the illusion they can be trusted with national security

President Bush set up Tom Daschle’s Democrats for a fair-and-square political fistfight. He asked them to make his tax cuts permanent, to confirm his judges, and to give him all the tools he needs to win the war on terrorism. The Daschle Democrats failed on all three counts. The President went to the people. They responded with an election-day knock-out punch that blasted Daschle right out of the Senate leadership and gave the President a bigger, more conservative, House majority.

The Democrats are not just down, Republicans have a chance to keep them out of power for years to come. If Republicans stay their course, they will keep voters’ confidence. If Democrats stay their course, they will fall even harder in 2004.