Is Bush smarter than a fourth-grader?

Notes from the political sidelines.
May 17 2007 3:58 PM

Is Bush Smarter Than a Fourth-Grader?

Maybe he's failing on purpose, to help our young people make gains in civics and history.

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(Continued from Page 13)

A year ago, Dick Cheney didn't let a few quail stop him from hunting the biggest game possible, a 78-year-old lawyer. Ronald Reagan wasn't elected because America was haunted by the portrayal of its impotence in a movie called The Rabbit Hunter.

In the old days, Republican presidents lived to go after big game, not ground squirrels. Reagan had the Soviet bear. Both Bushes had Saddam Hussein. America fell in love with teddy bears because a cub was the first big game Teddy Roosevelt didn't kill.

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Those days are gone. The United States may face great challenges ahead, from energy independence to competing with India and China to winning the war on terror. But if Romney is any indication, the future of conservatism is limited to shooting BBs at varmints.

For years, the NRA has told its members to vote Republican, or the Democrat will take their guns away. Twice-in-a-lifetime Romney gives Democrats a once-in-a-lifetime chance to fire back: At least our nominee will never brag about hunting rodents. ... 2:22 P.M. (link)

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Wednesday, Apr. 4, 2007

I Dream of Genie: When Steve Forbes endorsed him last Wednesday, Rudy Giuliani appeared to return the favor by dropping his longtime opposition to a flat tax and embracing Forbes' pet idea. As the New York Times reported, Giuliani said that if there were no federal income tax, "maybe I'd suggest not doing it at all, but if we were going to do it, a flat tax would make a lot of sense." It looked like a pawn-for-pawn swap, one dubious cause deserving another.

Everyone knew Giuliani's supply-side stance was a head fake meant to fool social conservatives. "We're going to talk for a long time about the ways we plan to reduce taxes," Giuliani told Iowans on Tuesday. As he explained to the Des Moines Register, "That's a way of appealing to Republicans who may have somewhat different views on social issues."

But now it turns out that Giuliani was conning Forbes as well. As Jason Horowitz blogs in the New York Observer, Giuliani said this weekend that he was just kidding about the flat tax:

"I didn't favor it, I said something academic," Giuliani said at a press conference in Florida on Saturday, in response to a reporter asking him why he had switched from opposing a flat tax to favoring it. "What I said was, and it was not a joke, but it was half-jocular, was if we didn't have an income tax...what would I favor?

"First I would favor no tax," he said laughing and turning to his wife Judith, who duly smiled back. "That would be my first position. My second position would probably be a flat tax."

But, he said, the tax "would probably not be feasible."

As an economic conservative who spent his last campaign professing to be a social conservative, Forbes is no stranger to head fakes. But Giuliani just taught him a lesson in kabuki conservatism: Always get it in writing!

Every campaign has its share of flip-flops and the occasional flip-flop-flip. Giuliani has invented a new form—the Flip-Flop-Flat.

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