Continuing the conversation

Memo: To House Speaker Dennis Hastert. Mr. Speaker, you need to demonstrate to the country that the slim Republican majority is concerned with more than the scandals of the Clinton administration and that the House Republicans’ focus on the Lewinsky matter was based on more than a desire to embarrass a president who has consistently outmaneuvered them.

A strong policy-based offensive will show the country that the Republican majority has the resolve to govern. What I like to call "progressive conservatives" made the Republicans a majority party in 1994. The new congressional leadership needs to articulate the principles we hold dear. The disappointment many of us have felt, evidenced in the failure of the Republican base to vote in large numbers in the most recent election, is not so much that our goals-limiting abortion and encouraging local community renewal-were not fulfilled. What really disappointed us was that a seemingly sympathetic Congress did so little to implement those goals.

No effort, for example, has been made to pursue an effective program to protect fetal life. The ban on partial-birth abortion was a significant first step. Still, Clinton’s veto continues to make such legislation unlikely to become law. Efforts to label Clinton a prochoice extremist have also failed. More imaginative strategies are needed. For example, many prochoice advocates offered legislation that would prohibit all...

To read the rest of this article please login or become a subscriber.

About the Author

Robert E. McCarthy is an attorney in New York City.