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Movado Esperanza Quartz Watch

By Kroykine Smith Subscribe to RSS | July 23rd 2012 | Views:
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I was profoundly distressed by the election, far more than I ever let on in public. We probably would not have lost either the House or the Senate if I had not included the gas tax and the tax on upper-income Social Security recipients in the economic plan, and if I had listened to Tom Foley, Jack Brooks, and Dick Gephardt about the assault weapons ban. Of course, if I had made those decisions, I would have had to drop the EITC tax cut for lower-income working families, or accept less deficit reduction, with the attendant risk of an unfavorable response from the bond market; and I would have left more police officers and children at the mercy of assault weapons. I remained convinced that those hard decisions were good for America. Still, too many Democrats had paid a big price at the hands of voters who nevertheless would later reap the benefits of their courage in greater prosperity and safer streets.

We might not have lost either house if, as soon as it became clear that Senator Dole would filibuster any meaningful health reform, I had announced a delay in health care until we reached a bipartisan consensus, and had taken up and passed welfare reform instead. That would have been popular with alienated middle-class Americans who voted in droves for Republicans, and, unlike different decisions on the economic plan and the assault weapons ban, this course of action would have helped the Democrats without hurting the American people.

Gingrich had proved to be a better politician than I was. He understood that he could nationalize a midterm election with the contract, with incessant attacks on the Democrats, and with the argument that all the conflicts and bitter partisanship in Washington the Republicans had generated must be the Democrats fault since we controlled both Congress and the White House. Because I had been preoccupied with the work of the presidency, I hadnt organized, financed, and forced the Democrats to adopt an effective national counter-message. The nationalization of midterm elections was Newt Gingrichs major contribution to modern electioneering. From 1994 on, if one party did it and the other didnt, the side without a national message would sustain unnecessary losses. It happened again in 1998 and 2002.

Though far more Americans had received tax cuts than income tax increases, and we had reduced the government to a much smaller size than it had been under Reagan and Bush, the Republicans also won on their same old promises of lower taxes and smaller government. They were even rewarded for problems they had created; they had killed health care, campaign finance reform, and lobbying reform with Senate filibusters. In that sense, Dole deserves a lot of credit for the Republican landslide, too; most people couldnt believe that a minority of forty-one senators could defeat any measure except the budget. All the voters knew was that they didnt yet feel more prosperous or more secure; there was too much fighting in Washington and we were in charge; and the Democrats were for big government.

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