Notes on Campaign '96 V
Jude Wanniski
October 16, 1996

DOLE: He has caved to pressures from the ďbombersĒ in the GOP. These are the people who prefer the use of force to diplomacy in either foreign or domestic policy. Dole campaign manager Scott Reed, who has never been involved in a presidential campaign, saw the utility of negative campaigning in the primaries, when Steve Forbes spent millions running up Doleís negatives. Forbes then fell apart when Dole used negatives against him. There is no parallel at this point in the race between Clinton and Dole, as both men are thoroughly familiar to the American people. In reciting every allegation made against Clinton in the last four years by the GOP bombers, led by the Wall Street Journal editorial page, Dole yesterday only reinforced the electorateís view that he can be persuaded to bomb -- which is the source of the widening gulf between him and the President with American women. In the debate tonight, the whole country has been told Dole will throw punches, which might expand the audience. He can only help himself by sticking to the weaknesses in the Presidentís character that affect public policy. Dole continues to suffer because his media team still hasnít figured out that the electorate is waiting for Dole to tell them what it should trust him to do. Doleís latest tv spot asks the voters to trust him because he is a man of his word. Trust him to drop bigger bombs on Iraq? Trust him to join Newt in throwing widows and orphans into the snow? Trust him to balance the budget by Halloween?

INDEXING CAPGAINS: Jack Kemp spoke before the California League of Cities in Anaheim Monday afternoon, as we reported he would. He told 3,000 California mayors that Bob Dole, as President, would on Day One in the Oval Office issue an executive order indexing capital gains, retroactively as well as prospectively. The announcement got the most enthusiastic ovation of the entire speech. In subsequent speeches in California and Las Vegas, where Kemp has repeated the pledge, heís had similar responses. Why havenít you read about this in The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times? Alas, the political reporters on Kempís campaign plane have treated the idea as if it were an economic boilerplate. I talked to the chief financial correspondent for the Times yesterday, Richard Stevenson, and he hadnít heard a word about this until I called. Ditto Tom Mulligan, the top financial writer for the Los Angeles Times and Robert Shogun, the LATimes political bigfoot, who is not on the plane, both of whom I called. Bob Kittle, editorial page editor of the San Diego Tribune sounded shocked when I talked to him last night, asking that I fax him what I had, because there hadnít been a word about this in the paper. With a little more than two weeks to go in the campaign, it would seem that a promise to lift a potential tax liability of almost $2,000,000,000,000 from the backs of the American people next January -- that is, 28% of $7 trillion -- will eventually creep into the news somewhere. The financial writers at least promise to look into the matter if Dole mentions it tonight in the debate. Several editors, writers and columnists for The WSJournal received our fax Monday, but thereís not a word yet from Dow Jones on the information superhighway. Reuters, which began by using carrier pigeons to transmit important financial news, may get there first.

FARRAKHAN: Jack Kempís gutsy gamble a month ago in praising the self-help message of the Nation of Islamís Louis Farrakhan paid off with what I consider a Jackpot last week. As we reported last Friday, Farrakhan not only responded positively to Kempís challenge to denounce anti-Semitism once and for all. He also telephoned Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League and offered to sit down this week to begin a process of reconciliation between the black and Jewish communities. Foxman not only declined, but stepped up the ADLís efforts to have the Nation of Islam prohibited from meeting today at the United Nations Plaza for the first anniversary celebration of the Million Man March. Farrakhan also called the American Jewish Committee with a similar offer, but pressure from the ADL is killing any chance of talks. The New York tabloids are even denouncing Farrakhan for making the offer. Kemp, a devoted supporter of Jewish causes for a quarter century, is being cut to pieces by Jewish opinion leaders. Abe Rosenthal of the NYTimes yesterday devoted his column to ridiculing Kemp for his efforts, but did not quote the statement Farrakhan made in direct response to Kempís appeal: ďLet me say frankly, I denounce anti-Semitism in all its forms, and anybody who would hate Arabs, Jews, or any people because of their faith or color, I denounce that. It is easy for me to denounce anti-Semitism, because I know that in the eyes of God I am not that.Ē The national political press, which went to great trouble to report on Jackís praise of Farrakhanís central message of self-help and the criticisms of Kemp by Jewish leaders, but has chosen to say not one word of Farrakhanís response. Or maybe it also will arrive by carrier pigeon. On our website today, I include an op-ed essay on the subject I was asked to write by the Jewish weekly Forward on Monday, which the editors chose not to publish when they discovered they did not agree with it.†[Question for editors: What good is the First Amendment if you are afraid of the ADL?]

CALIFORNIA: The Dole campaignís decision to invest in California, instead of writing it off as George Bush did in 1992, was one of the best decisions made thusfar. It has forced the energies of the campaign to think in terms of economic growth, minorities, entrepreneurial capitalism, and the Pacific rim -- all of which militates toward Kempís issues. I donít think the decision on indexing capgains would ever have been made if the campaign had decided to shift back toward the Rust Belt. If the media team can cut at least one good tax/growth spot to run in the last week of the campaign, it can help win California and its 54 electoral votes. California is the land of milk and honey, the most entrepreneurial of all the states, save Alaska. If California opts for slow growth with Clinton over rapid expansion with Dole and Kemp, it might as well join the Rust Belt. The capgains indexing, the first big victory for the Kemp team, can make an enormous difference if they get the message out. The black, Latino and Asian minorities would come over too, if the Dole media team had the sense to spend a few dollars on minority radio. As far as I know, not ten cents of the zillion dollars of taxpayer money that was deposited in the Dole campaign account is going to radio spots or newspaper ads in the minority media.†

BLAME GAME: I am already getting calls from political reporters asking me why Dole lost the election. The announcement that the race is over, with Clinton re-elected, has been spread by Bill Kristolís Beltway Standard, which has decided in advance that Dole would have triumphed easily if he had not chosen Kemp as his running mate. Kemp is the wimp, they say, who criticized Clinton for bombing Iraq without asking the opinion of Congress or the leaders of other powers. They seem to be saying: Why doesnít everyone understand that the United States is the only superpower in the world, and can bomb anyone it pleases? Beltway Bill Kristol, who believes he inherited his wisdom genetically from his father Irving, one of the intellectual giants of our time (Bill having read about eugenics in The Bell Curve) has also derided Kemp for seeking reconciliation between the black and Jewish communities through Farrakhan. By the way, I tell reporters (ha, ha) that if Dole wins, it will be because the bombers persuaded him to get tough with Clinton. If Dole loses, it will be because he listened to Kemp (and you know who), who urged him to send out messages of hope, growth and opportunity by carrier pigeon.