F.R. Duplantier reporting Behind The Headlines
Week of:
September 10, 2000
It's Time to Tackle Those Taboo Topics

F.R. Duplantier

by: F.R. Duplantier

Republicans have dared to touch the so-called 'third rail' issue of Social Security reform, but there are other taboo subjects that need to be addressed as well

"For the first time since Ronald Reagan, Republicans are well positioned for the November elections," remarks Washington Times columnist Paul Craig Roberts. "Republicans have a good presidential candidate," he asserts. "Republicans are unified. Republicans are again attracting 'Reagan Democrats,' many of whom are hunters turned off by the Democratic Party's incessant attacks on guns."

Roberts argues that "Republicans have a sound platform, one that they can deliver if they retain control of Congress. More privatization of retirement and education," he anticipates, "would go a long way toward saving the self-reliant feature of the American character. A missile-defense system would partly compensate for the extraordinary loss or gift of our top nuclear weapons secrets to China. The Justice Department would get a thorough cleansing, and the White House would cease to be a source of demoralization for law-abiding and moral elements of the population."

Roberts praises the selection of Dick Cheney as the vice presidential candidate. "Mr. Cheney," he notes, "is thought of more as a person with a sound head on his shoulders than as a politician. The choice shows that George W. Bush is comfortable with senior people of stature who will speak their mind." Roberts emphasizes that Cheney "is not obviously an heir apparent who would . . . burden the Republican campaign in 2008 with political baggage and boredom."

Roberts is optimistic not only about Republican prospects for victory in November, but also their chances for implementing the key elements of their platform. "For the first time since Mr. Reagan, Republicans are positioned to win and to make a difference," he declares. "Only a falling and stagnant stock market can stop increased reliance on private retirement assets. Missile defense is a certainty," Roberts affirms, "as are further inroads on public school monopoly."

While giving Republicans credit for tackling the "untouchable issue" of Social Security reform, Roberts complains that other subjects are still deemed too hot to handle, such as "immigration, quotas, judicial rule, and the corruption of the criminal justice system. Republicans will not touch [the law-enforcement corruption issue], because they believe holding police and prosecutors accountable would set off a crime wave," he explains. "Republicans will not touch immigration, because they are 'reaching out' to blacks, Hispanics, and Asians, groups favored by the immigration rules put in place in 1965."

As for judicial activism, Congress is ultimately to blame for failing to protect its prerogatives. Roberts laments that Congress "has become the weakest branch of government. Its statutes," he emphasizes, "are nothing but authorizations for executive branch agencies to legislate. The Supreme Court has taken other issues, such as abortion, out of the legislative arena."

Roberts sees trouble ahead if these currently taboo topics are not addressed forthrightly and expeditiously. "A multicultural tower of Babel has no chance of holding together without a limited government committed to strict constitutional principles," he warns. "Unequal group rights, the politics of redistribution, and a Constitution whose meaning varies with changeable coalitions are a recipe for civil war."

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