Presidential candidate Steve Forbes had a lot on his mind as he traveled to London this week.
In a speech yesterday at the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library, Forbes "rails" (that's his campaign's own word) against the European Union's "Third Way socialism and statism." He also proposed a North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement among the United States, Britain and Ireland, while urging Britain to withdraw from the European Union.
In calling for stronger economic ties between the United States and Britain, Forbes echoed the sentiments of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher, an international conservative icon and close friend of Forbes. But the politics du jour throughout much of Europe today happen to be the centrist, "Third Way" politics epitomized by British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
"Let me be clear: The euro and the Third Way theory of socialism and statism that comes with it could doom the prosperity of your country and your neighbors in Ireland," Forbes said in his speech. "And I submit to you that such a prospect is not in your interests, or ours." He added: "It is time to show the world that the Reagan-Thatcher-Forbes model offers true economic liberation for those who languish in poverty and economic stagnation."
On the other side of the Atlantic in Washington, hundreds of people gathered this week for the centrist Democratic Leadership Council's annual national meeting, this year titled, "The New Politics of Globalization." Some of those who heard of Forbes's comments were aghast.
Will Marshall, president of the Progressive Policy Institute, an arm of the DLC, said: "I couldn't believe it. The temerity of an American presidential candidate going over there and dismissing the whole project of European integration. . . . I guess this is another version of Republican identity politics."
Marshall also said it was ridiculous to equate Third Way politics with socialism, because as much of the resistance to the political movement has come from Europe's unreconstructed socialist lefties as its free-market fundamentalists.
No State Lottery for Alabama
Alabama voters soundly rejected a state lottery Tuesday, heeding the warnings of ministers over the governor's arguments that the money would be vital to improving the state's lagging schools.
"We are not giving up," Gov. Don Siegelman (D) said yesterday, the Associated Press reported. "I didn't get my black belt in karate--some years ago, I might add--by being a wuss."
In a state that ranks last in per capita spending on elementary and secondary schools, Siegelman had made the lottery the cornerstone of his successful campaign last year against Gov. Fob James (R).
Siegelman said a lottery would generate at least $150 million a year for college scholarships, a prekindergarten program and computers in schools. But when the lottery went before the voters, they defeated it 54 to 46 percent. Religious groups and other anti-gambling forces had lined up in opposition.
Siegelman declined yesterday to analyze why his lottery went from a 20-percentage-point lead in the polls last month to defeat, even though supporters outspent opponents 3 to 1. He said, however, that he would look for new ways to fund education.
State Sen. Bill Armistead (R), a conservative Christian, said recent revelations that well-connected Alabama drivers often got their traffic tickets dismissed with the help of state officials made voters suspicious about how a lottery would be run. But he said the main blow came from a last-minute campaign by churches of many denominations. "I have never in my life seen churches come together like they did," he said.
Patrick J. Buchanan has settled on a new date to announce his decision whether he will bolt the GOP for the Reform Party: It will be Oct. 25 at a Northern Virginia hotel. Earlier this week, he said he would not meet his original Oct. 15 deadline.
CAPTION: GOP presidential candidate Steve Forbes urged Britain to leave the European Union and offered a "Reagan-Thatcher-Forbes model" of economics.