18 December 2000

Reaching out

With all the talk about Bush’s obligation to “reach out” to Democrats, it is long past time for some important advice for the President Elect:

Do not reach out. Keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times. Keep your eyes on the road. Keep your hands on the wheel.

It is understandable that Democrats want Bush to “reach out.” When Republicans “reach out,” it seems they are always signaling left turns.

This isn’t the first time we’ve had a President-Elect who won less than half the popular vote, had a less-than-convincing lead in the Electoral College, and entered office with his party also controlling both houses of Congress. In 1992, Time magazine’s cover heralded such results as a “Mandate for Change.” Now that it’s the other party taking over, Time, along with the rest of the mainstream media, questions the legitimacy of the President-Elect and his Congressional counterparts.

To be fair, it may be that some in the media and Democratic Party have actually taken counsel of recent history. They remember the disastrous results when Clinton tried to actually advance his agenda of “stimulus packages,” socialized medicine and massive tax hikes. They remember the Republican tidal wave that followed, wiping out Democrat majorities in both houses of Congress, state legislatures and Governorships across the land. They may realize that hundreds of Democrat office-holders changed parties during the Clinton years. They may understand that Clinton’s successes, such as they were, resulted from his acquiescence to Republican initiatives.

In his boastful speech to the Democrat faithful last summer, Clinton himself ticked off at least a dozen items from the Republican Contract with America as his own achievements: welfare reform, balanced budget, repeal of (his own!) tax hike on Social Security recipients. “Reaching out” worked for Clinton.

So when Democrats advise Bush not to try to ram through the agenda he ran on, they are no doubt concerned that his doing so would damage Republican political prospects.

Right.

The only thing Democrats are afraid of is being out of power, and the only thing they want Bush to do is throw them a lifeline.

Don’t do it George.

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