Memo To: John Judis, The New Republic
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Your 9/16 e-mail*
I appreciate your observations and agree almost entirely with them. Dole is floundering around and if he continues on this track he will be overwhelmed. I've now decided I will vote for him, though, because of Iraq. I was absolutely shocked by Clinton's decision to drop bombs without even consulting Sam Nunn, for goodness sakes, let alone the top leaders of the Congress who this year happen to be Republican.
Don Rumsfeld, who has always been one of my favorite political people in the world, was on the mark Sunday on the Tony Snow show when he said Clinton goes to work and looks in his "In basket." And that's what Iraq reminds us about. Dole's biggest problem in the campaign right now is that he is not letting the country see how much better his team is than Clinton's. You don't pick a President. You pick a team. Once Dole brought Kemp onto his team, he is able to boast that he could "govern" more effectively than Clinton, who is only able to "campaign" better.
And John, we really do need a brand new tax system, which only Republicans seem willing to do. It's their turn. In 1913, Woodrow Wilson and his team got that ball rolling.
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* September 16th e-mail from John Judis below:
Jude, some responses to last week's cyperdispatches:
1. I also found Dole's new counterattack strategy pathetic. First I saw Clinton's commercials on TV, which portrayed Dole as harsh and vindictive. Then, on one of the network news shows, I saw Dole's angry response, which, sheerly in its presentation, seemed to confirm the portrayal of the commercials. If he does that stuff in the debate, the campaign will be over, if it's not over already.
2. I treasure Kemp for his unwillingness to accept the racial divide between the parties, but his Farrakhan speech is not going to win blacks for Dole, and will just confuse the already befuddled GOP electorate. Kemp's boldness on race didn't help him in '88. It won't help this year.
3. Should Dole attack the illusion of growth and promise to perform radical surgery on the IRS? You sound like some of my friends who insist that if Perot really went after the trade issue full-bore (!), he'd pass Dole. The electorate does not want to hear bad news about the economy this year, and does not want to hear about tearing up anything and starting over. In 1984, I can remember railing (largely to myself) about the superficiality of the Reagan recovery. I was right, and so are Clinton's critics this year, but I and they are politically irrelevant. Wait until '98: we can both trot out our radicalism then.