Issue 205 * November 11, 1998
The National Center for Public Policy Research
Amy Ridenour, President
501 Capitol Court, N.E. * Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 543-4110 * Fax (202) 543-5975
E-Mail: [email protected]
Activities at the November 11 Strategy Lunch
chaired by Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation and sponsored
by Coalitions for America (202/546-3003).
Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation introduced a discussion of the House Republican leadership changes. Calling outgoing Speaker Newt Gingrich's speech at the post-election GOPAC Conference "a class act," Weyrich said of Livingston: "[He] needs to be given a chance. I do believe he's an honest individual." Weyrich announced that he prefers that Rep. Steve Largent (R-OK) win the Majority Leader's race between current Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX), Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R-WA) and Largent, saying "Largent has the potential to be a better leader. You cannot discount that we live in a media age... I am not against Dick Armey. I am passionately for Steve Largent." Contact Paul Weyrich at 202/546-3000 or [email protected] (http://www.freecongress.org).
Steve Moore of the Cato Institute delivered a presentation favoring the re-election of Rep. Dick Armey as House Majority Leader. Moore began by reminding participants that he has been an outspoken critic of the House leadership in recent years, but he pointed out that Dick Armey has been very effective in keeping economic and social conservatives working together. After briefing reviewing Armey's record on economic issues, which, he said, is so well-known it scarcely needs review, he reminded participants that Dick Armey personally took on a critical yet uphill battle on behalf of home schoolers a few years ago and won. Moore said that he believes that, from a limited government perspective, "Bob Livingston is going to be a disaster as Speaker... I do not believe he is a fiscal conservative." Moore stressed that conservatives need someone with the "gravitas" to stand up to Livingston, and said Armey is the man for that job. Contact Steve Moore at 202/842-0200 or [email protected] (http://www.cato.org).
Terry Allen, chief of staff for Rep. Steve Largent, delivered a presentation favoring the election of Steve Largent for Majority Leader. Allen focused on the vote tally, saying "Largent is way ahead of Armey and Largent and Armey are way ahead of Jennifer Dunn -- so much so, we are hearing that another moderate may get in, because Jennifer Dunn isn't getting much traction... We are seeing moderates in the conference come to us, because they like Mr. Largent personally." Allen added: "[Largent's] a communicator. And he's effective... So we're building a strong coalition of moderates and conservatives." Allen concluded his comments by pointing out "Steve Largent is the only Member of Congress with his picture on a Wheaties box." Contact Terry Allen at 202/225-2211.
Rep. Tom Coburn (R-OK) delivered a presentation on behalf of the election of Steve Largent, saying, in part: "I love Dick Armey. He's a very dear friend of mine. But when it came to standing up to Newt Gingrich, he failed us... This is a media world. Of the entire leadership, the only one who can be positive [in the media] is Largent. Second, we need someone who will stand up to the leadership... Third, Steve Largent will stand on courage and principles. The last two years the leadership has cowered in fear... Without someone of Largent's character, courage and media positives, we'll lose... I'm worried about our conference if this election doesn't go right." Contact Rep. Coburn via Mike Schwartz at 202/225-2701.
Morton Blackwell of the Leadership Institute (and a Republican National Committeeman representing Virginia), spoke about his hope that Dick Armey is re-elected as House Majority Leader. "I really hope we re-elect Dick Armey. He has bled for many things that are important to me and my organization... When he got flack [for doing so], he kept [supporting us]... I think you have to keep in context the relationship the Majority Leader and the Speaker had running up to the 1994 election to explain the relationship between Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey... Knowing what we now know about the Armey-Livingston relationship, no one can reasonably suggest that the relationship between Armey and Livingston will be what it was between Armey and Gingrich." Blackwell also praised Largent, but reiterated that he believes that Dick Armey should be re-elected. Contact Morton Blackwell at 703/247-2000 (http://www.lead-inst.org).
Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation introduced a discussion about who should head the Republican National Congressional Committee, the incumbent, Rep. John Linder (R-GA), or Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA). Although Davis is more moderate philosophically, Weyrich said, he personally thinks Davis might be better. Morton Blackwell of the Leadership Institute added that he, too, supports Davis, believing that there would be a greater emphasis on people-oriented campaign techniques (like training, voter ID, precinct organization, turnout activities, etc.) if Davis were to be elected. Davis understands, Blackwell said, that campaigns are about more than raising money and spending it on advertising -- activities that, he said, not coincidentally permit campaign consultants to keep 15% of expenditures. Weyrich added that the Republicans, generally speaking, won the "air war" (commercials and similar activities) in 1998 while the Democrats won the "ground war" (voter identification and turnout). "You can be 7% ahead and if the other side knows where their voters are and turns them out, you lose." Amy Myers of the Family Research Council then reported that she had just attended a presentation by Rep. John Linder which convinced her that Linder realizes the importance of doing better to win the "ground war." Andrea Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition added some concerns about Davis, saying that unions gave Davis $48,000 in campaign contributions. She also said that he doubts his word, saying that Davis (who chairs the District of Columbia subcommittee) promised some black pastors in the District that he would look into the issue of sex clubs in the District having non-profit (charitable, tax-exempt) tax status under the law. Davis promised to look into it, she said, but for three years has not. Contact Paul Weyrich at 202/546-3000, Morton Blackwell at 703/247-2000, Amy Myers at 202/393-2100 (http://www.frc.org) and Andrea Sheldon at 202/547-8570.
Major Andy Messing (USA-Ret.) of the National Defense Council Foundation reminded participants of the importance of motivating military-oriented voters, which the GOP did not do in 1998. Messing said this is why, in part, Republican Mark Neumann lost the Wisconsin Senate race against left-wing Democrat Russ Feingold. Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation gave an additional reason: 50,000 new voters showed up in the Second Congressional District to vote for the lesbian candidate, he said, who was a Democrat. Neumann had expected to lose the Second Congressional District by 22,000 votes. Instead, he lost it by 78,000. Contact Andy Messing at 703/836-3443 or [email protected] (http://www.ndcf.org); Paul Weyrich at 202/546-3000.
Johnny Morgan, Field Director for GOPAC, gave a brief presentation
on voter turnout in 1998. He focussed on two issues: black turnout
and union turnout. On the former, Morgan reported that in some
districts, particularly in Maryland 7, in South Carolina 6 and
in three Illinois districts, the black vote was higher than expected.
In Maryland 7 (Baltimore City), in fact, the black turnout was
97% of what it was in 1996, a presidential election year. In other
places, particularly Florida, Michigan, and most of Texas, he
said, the black turnout was not higher than expected. High union
turnout, Morgan said, was also a factor in the GOP not doing as
well as expected. Among the GOP's problems in the past election,
Morgan said: the GOP's handling of the scandal (as a whole); the
budget deal; President Clinton's willingness to say or so anything
and the weak GOP message. Contact Johnny Morgan at 202/484-2282