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POTOMAC OBSERVER Newt Gets the Chair Washington, D. C. In Mordecai Richler’s viciously comic novel The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, young Duddy does everything his Montrealer elders tell him. They value material success and clout. He duly hustles, makes money, spends it lavishly. So, naturally, they all hate him for it. Bill Clinton and the Democrats are kind of in the Duddy posture these days. Having agreed with the Republicans and Perotistas that deficit reduction should form the cornerstone of federal economic policy, Bill and Congressional Democrats expended considerable political capital on getting genuine, effective deficit reduction passed. They gave up on his economic stimulus package in order to get it through, in fact. So now we have measurable deficit reduction for the first time since the Vietnam War first began consuming our national treasure and our youths. But do those who most benefit from reductionthe property owners, the bondholders and stockholdersreward Bill and the Democrats for it? It don’t take a Kravitz to know which way the wind blows. All stories about the inherent and irreversible morbidity of the Democratic Party are completely suspect, since the exact same stories were all written about the Republicans two years ago. A defeat of the magnitude of 1994, however impermanent \(as is building opportunities amid the ruins. Think of four years of Shrub’s weak copy of his father’s most insincere smile, as he presides over the dismantling of the government and the promise of the erection of more prisons. One Term For Sure. The main thing to remember about 1994 is that, ideologically, it was more a rejection of conservative Democrats than it was of liberal Democrats. Psephologically, the Democrats couldn’t deliver for their urban, minority, women and disenchanted base, who then didn’t bother to vote for them. This is how you get de-elected: Don’t deliver, while scaring your enemies into thinking you’re going to. Al Hunt, an actually half-decent reporter with the wholly execrable Republican James McCarty Yeager is an inadvertent entrepreneur in Bethesda Maryland, who edits Minority Business Report, visits Congress more often than is proper for a delicateminded lad, and occasionally misses the massed high rainclouds of Houston. Street Journal, summed up the election on CNN as one which “repudiated liberalism but did not approve Republicanism.” If you substitute “conservative Democrats” for “liberalism” there might be some truth to the whole thing. But letting the Republicans and their conservative Democratic allies do the analyzing for us would prove as damaging to the public weal as letting them vote for us. Oops, they’re about to do that in Congress. The new Speaker of the House will be Rep. Newt Gingrich, a puff-cheeked, whitebread, draft-dodging, frat-boy, Atlanta-suburban, attack-Republican Congressman. He is known as “Nuke-‘Em Newt” for the subtlety of his foreign policy views, also as “Gingrich-Khan” for the delicacy of his domestic policy intentions. Next to Newt, Senate Majority Leader-designate Bob Dole, a Kansas Republican, looks almost responsible, just like “the convict Veep,” Spiro Agnew, used to make the unindicted Richard Nixon look almost statesmanlike in comparison. However, Newt’s being sentenced to the chair of the House of Representatives could well turn out to be a Br’er Rabbit moment. Newt cried out to thrown into the leadership briar patch, but the thorns are going to be mighty sharp. Aside from the usual platitudes about his having to govern instead of oppose, nothing is more calculated to engender public disgust with Republicanism than passage of the more salient portions of its agenda. Since the Republicans will be in a hurry to pass their legislation before their majority runs out in two years, they might have to combine a few things. How about the Enforced School-Prayer and Pregnancy Act? In the new dispensation, the rule will be “You have to pray; and you have to get knocked up.” In the old days, of course, one frequently had recourse to the former in order to evade the latter; but no more. Now we’ll have to do both. We shall doubtless get the Prison Schoolyard Act, under which all the new prison beds will be built next to urban high schools, perhaps sharing chain-link fences, administrations, and weapons. The Urban Area Abandonment and Toxic Dumping Bill will merge two long-standing Republican ideas, contempt for cities and for environmental safety. Then, of course, we’ll get the Balanced Term-Limit Budget Constitutional Amendment through the Congress, though probably not through three-quarters of the states, that will call for a limit on Democratic of fice holders’ terms but not on Republicans’, and for balancing the budget except for military spending. An extra added attraction of the coming biennium is that, as a Washington journalist \(who wishes to remain nameless in order to under the Republicans we can all buy lots of guns to make the revolution.” While accurately reflecting current Republican social policy, this view perhaps overstates the weight of civic discontent. If we were half-mad enough to revolt, wouldn’t we at least try to vote first? Maybe not. Mercifully, we’re not going to have to wait too long to watch these people shoot themselves in the feet. Repeatedly. If they can’t manage to make themselves unpopular in two years by carrying out the crackpot schemes they imagine they were elected because of, the volatile citizenry, which now blames Bill for everything including the baseball strike, will have had to show an unusually long-lived stability of attitude. If somebody as inoffensive, good-natured, and warm-hearted as Bill can hack people off in two years doing the things they elected him to do, I can’t wait to see what happens when Dole, Gingrich, and incoming Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Jesse Helms get together to, say, authorize invasion of Cuba. FOOTNOTES: 011ie North’s defeat proves that even if you shouldn’t even be there you can still run close. And Kay Bailey’s reelection over the bumble dicked opposition of Richard Fisher proves that Perotism without money is invisible. The Republicans’ dismal emphasis on welfarewhen, it is such a small percentage of the budgetwhile signalling their moral bankruptcy, also shows that they are too rabid to run the country for long. I can’t wait for the split between the 011ie/Newt/Phil Gramm incendiaries vs. the Dole opportunists. How about the rural and trailerpark Christian right vs. Catholics, Jews and secular suburbanites? This could be real fun. My final electoral image comes from the late Charles Addams. One of his cartoons shows a building labelled “Acme Silk Purse Co. Research Dept.,” into which is being driven a herd of pigs. Visualize the Capitol building with such a sign, and a herd of elephants being driven in. I’m not buying any silk purse futures from them. James McCarty Yeager THE TEXAS OBSERVER 13