Bush/Cheney, Congressional Races, Prozac, Lieberman
Jude Wanniski
August 11, 2000


BUSH/CHENEY 355, GORE/LIEBERMAN 138. That's the current standing by electoral votes in the vote were held today, in the 4th electorate college round-up by the Evans/Novak Political Report. All Gore has now is California, the Northeast, and, by a very slim margin, Illinois, and his home state of Tennessee. Everything else is Bush. Since the last Evans/Novak round-up, states Democrats have relied on in recent years -- Washington, Oregon, Wisconsin -- have moved into the Bush corner.

CONGRESSIONAL: The Zogby Poll, the most accurate in recent years, now shows an astonishing lead for the GOP in likely voters in congressional races if the vote were held today. The number is 40.5% Republican, 33% Democratic. It is impossible to recall that wide a gap at this time since the 1920's. It is at least in part due to unanimous Republican support for elimation of the "death tax," we think, with Clinton/Gore fighting it off. Karen Kerrigan says Gore is expected to make the argument at the Dem convention this week that elimination of the death tax would cause charitable contributions to dry up. Sen. John Kyl (R AZ), principle sponsor in the Senate, expects "death tax" repeal is "dead" for the year, but a sure bet after a Bush landslide.

PROZAC: The biotech market has been rattled by the U.S. Court of Appeals decision to cut two years off Eli Lilly's extended patent on Prozac. Does this mean the federal courts are going to redistribute wealth by forcing high-priced drugs into generic forms? That's what the nervousness is about. Karen Kerrigan thinks the court was not THAT worrisome, in that the while the court bought the "double patenting" claim of Barr pharmaceutical, the plaintiff, it dismissed Barr's "best mode" claim, which means Lilly's modified versions of Prozac will still be protected. Even little nibbles at patents must rattle the NASDAQ and high-tech investors, as indications of the eagerness of "liberal" political forces to demand "sharing" of innovations with the masses, as opposed to "selling" them. Prozac came to market in 1987 and Lilly has enjoyed 12 or so years of exclusivity. According to industry sources, the average exclusivity life span is 11 years. In terms of legal trends in patent protection cases involving the drug industry, we may see more decisions coming down the pipeline restricting the use of "add on" patents. The courts will say they are merely being filed to extend the life of the original patent, and as such those filing patent add-ons are frivolously doing so in order to ward off competition from the generic industry. We will do a more extensive analysis soon.

LIEBERMAN: If you have some time to kill, it is interesting to go back to the record of the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings. I'd forgotten it was freshman Sen. Joe Lieberman who asked for a delay on the voting in order to call Anita Hill for her testimony -- this after taking the trouble to have his staff contact dozens of people who worked with Thomas and who universally gave him raves for his integrity and uprightness. The feminists who still believe Anita told the truth can never explain why, after all his "harassment," she agreed to go on a business trip with him to Tulsa, Okla., and there was never an assertion from her that he even touched her. Yet Lieberman changed his mind and voted against the Thomas confirmation, making no floor statement. Here is the complete record.... http://www.people.virginia.edu/~govdoc/thomas/hearings.html

SSU LESSON: Twenty four years ago, on the day President Ford and Jimmy Carter were going to have their first debate and said they would discuss taxes, I wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal. The more things change, the more they stay the same, more or less.