Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

GOVERNMENT No Time for Timidity

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

GOVERNMENT No Time for Timidity

Article excerpt

Pundits are wrong when they say George W. Bush lacks legitimacy as president-elect and therefore is obligated to govern, almost apologetically, from the political center.

A recent Gallup Poll shows Americans overwhelmingly believe the U.S. Supreme Court made the right decision when it stopped the Florida recount -- and, by more than a 4-to-1 margin, they will accept Bush as the legitimate chief executive when he takes the oath of office later this month.

Besides, the latest Zogby survey shows far more Americans identify with the so-called religious right than with the AFL-CIO. That's hardly a reason for timidity in pushing the conservative agenda.

Bush has said education reform will be his priority -- and that will draw vehement opposition from the largest teacher union, which opposes a provision allowing low-income children to escape from perpetually failing public schools.

But polls show African-Americans overwhelmingly support school choice, viewed by many as the key civil rights issue of the 2000s, so Democrats risk alienating a key constituency if they try to obstruct the reform.

The incoming president also has no reason to back off from his 10-year, $1.3 billion tax cut. While hardliners oppose anything that might slow the rapid growth of federal revenues, there are deepening fears of a recession -- and not just among economists. A mid-December Rasmussen poll found 24 percent of the American people thought one was coming, twice as many as expected it just one month earlier.

There is a growing consensus that some sort of tax cut is needed to stimulate the economy. Bush's plan should appeal to liberals because it drops the bottom tax rate to 10 percent, helping low-income families. And soccer moms will support the provisions that double the child tax credit and reduce marriage penalties. …

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