Reagan Campaign
Jude Wanniski
September 15, 1980

 

The enclosed clips of the last several days represent the harvest of the Reagan campaign's decision to go for "respectability" on economics. Note, that while RR has essentially given up on Lafferian rationales for his economics, he still gets sandbagged for "Me-Too Economics" by the NYTimes and is denounced on Kemp-Roth by Gerald R. Ford (who takes counsel from Herbert Stein).  The RR people don't seem to think they've given up anything  except they still don't realize they are promising inflation and tax cuts, which was the Connally and Baker platform during the primaries.  That is, we will cut your taxes after we inflate you a little faster into higher brackets. This is "respectability" because it is conventional.  There is no more "bigger pie" argument, which is what has thus far enabled RR to stay on top of his adversaries.  Remember, he demolished John Anderson in the Illinois debates, when he was a Lafferian.  Now, unless he can find away to climb back on board the supply-side ship, Anderson will wrap the old debate around his neck when they meet this coming Sunday.

Good News:  Reagan has promised Jack Kemp that Kemp will be in on the briefings, which means there will be an opportunity to get RR back on board. RR must somehow separate himself from the economic projections put out in his name (based on congressional assumptions that include an 8 percent inflation rate in 1984).  He must also use Anderson as a surrogate for Jimmy Carter in Carter's absence, blasting both as big-tax, big-spend Malthusians, anti-growth.  Kemp did meet with RR on September 11, in Buffalo, and was critical of the campaign's drift, the low quality of RR's TV spots (which RR said he had not seen), and the planning for the GOP event on the Capitol steps (today).  This squeaky wheel has gotten some grease.  Kemp was invited to speak on the Capitol steps in the leadoff spot.  The TV outfit, Peter Dailey of LA, will now (he says) consult Kemp.  But the campaign still seems to be in a defensive posture.  If Sunday RR can overpower Anderson as he did in the Spring, though, he will be forgiven all previous errors.