Radio Commentary

October 3, 1997

Republicans in Reno

estern GOP leaders including the governors of Utah and Montana, Idaho Senator Larry Craig and Arizona Senator John McCain gathered last month for what was called the Western States Republican Leadership Conference held in Reno. And yes, you heard right: Newt has invaded the Silver State. Callously disregarding the mental well-being of all good liberals in the Truckee Meadows, the Speaker has arrived, no doubt to throw Reno’s orphans in the street in between cocktail parties. Newt and friends have gathered to talk about their party’s future. Of course, that’s assuming the GOP has a future.

You see, the party of Ronald Wilson Reagan isn’t quite what it once was. Reagan may not have had much success in shifting the nation’s lumbering government in a rightward direction, but at least he never relented on the conservative message. Today, Republican leaders sound much more like warm and fuzzy Bill Clinton Democrats than the Gipper could ever imagine. Kidcare, banning smoking, raising the minimum wage—you name it, Republicans are incorporating their opponents’ policies with pride. It’s left me to wonder if we even have an adversarial political system anymore. These days I spend a lot of time dreaming of relief from the de facto one-party government we’ve got now. I’m pinning my hopes on the 2000 presidential contest. Perhaps a tunnel-visioned zealot like Dick Gephardt will make some noises on the left, and an articulate advocate on the right, such as Steve Forbes, will lay rhetorical waste to the nation’s big government statist quo. No matter who wins, at least it would be interesting. u


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