Fred Barnes and
The Beltway Standard

Jude Wanniski
August 21, 1996


Memo To: Bob Novak
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Fred Barnes' "Bob and Jack Together"

Thanks for faxing me Fred's piece from the 8/26 Beltway Standard, which I normally do not see. It's funny how Fred and I used to get along, and now he writes stuff like this without even giving me the courtesy of a call. Alas, he has been Beltwayized. The piece is designed to drive me and Sears out of the Dole/Kemp camp in order to isolate Jack and turn him into a good soldier instead of the sparkplug of the operation. Unless Sears has a key role, the Bobster and Jack will be buried by Dick Morris & Co. Scott Reed is a marvel at nuts and bolts, but he's never been in this league before, and his education would be extremely expensive.

I'm sure there were plenty of Dole people irritated with me, as I did come into San Diego with guns blazing, announcing that I did not trust the Dole campaign and that unless Jack was represented by John Sears, he would be co-opted the same way he was co-opted by George Bush. Fred Barnes seems to think it would be a good thing for that to happen. I told every reporter who would listen that if Dole had picked Jack in order to put him in a window, like a trophy, with a sign saying "Please do not feed the Kemp," I would raise hell. Fred reported that I criticized Dole in the USA Today piece, when of course all I did was say I was worried about Jack being co-opted by the Dole people. As it happens, so far, Dole & Jack are getting along fine. If, as indicated, Sears is going to be integrated in a way that taps his genius, I will sleep easily, in Morristown, not on the campaign plane.

I had to laugh at Fred quoting a top Dole advisor saying that last year "I had tried to become a Dole adviser," and that "There's nobody he dislikes more [than Wanniski]." I attach the note I sent Dole on March 6, 1995, after two years advising him.

Did you catch Fred's line: "Wanniski wanted Kemp to mention Charles Beard, the Marxist historian, and his notion of a 'fluid society.'" How embarrassing for Fred, who must by now have discovered that Beard was the greatest American historian of the 20th century and had nothing to do with Marx. I can see that someone told Fred about my Marx piece, in which I wrote about his idea that in his lifetime he believed America had the only fluid society, in which anyone born at the bottom could get to the top, and anyone born at the top could get to the bottom.

Anyway, it reminds me why I don't read the Beltway Standard. If you see Fred, tell him I will be happy to be interviewed, no matter how he screws up the quotes. He's still a relatively young man and may be able to learn as he goes along.

March 6, 1995

Memo To: Bob Dole
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: NYT profile

Your quote on Reaganomics was an unfortunate setback to your presidential candidacy. On top of your handling of the BBA, it took all the heart out of me, not to mention the Reaganauts who read it and  talked to me about it. The mere idea that you still have in your head the idea that Reaganomics ran up the deficit was a chilling reminder that you never bother to ask about these things. (My mother-in-law called my wife after reading the article to tell her about your "awful crack about Reaganomics.") I've told both Bob Bennett and Jack Kemp that I've lost all enthusiasm for your candidacy these past weeks, since Jack dropped out and you moved steadily away from our world view. Kemp says I should not throw in the towel and so does Bennett. As politicians, they may be better able to assess your perspective, but they have no satisfactory explanation for your steady move away from Reagan. I began to write a bridge-burning essay today, but Jack talked me out of it, although I have no idea what I'm supposed to wait for. My recent efforts to pull you back from the path that has failed you every time you have tried it have done no good. The Times article makes it clear I have been of no use to you at all in analyzing the world around you. All Nov. 8 means is that the people want change, but you will eat the hat of anyone who can tell you what the change is about. From a dozen people I've gotten the question, why does Dole want to be President? You didn't answer the question in New Hampshire and you didn't answer it in the Times article. The picture you leave is a man at his desk in the Oval Office, waiting for a problem to appear in his "in Basket."

Bob, I still think you are a national asset. You are still the front runner and may somehow find your way to the nomination and the presidency. I think the last two years would have been disastrous without your legislative leadership. I continue to wish you well and if the field does not change, I will probably wind up voting for you in the New Jersey primary. Indeed, I may be of more use to you at a distance than in your corner. At least, you may come to value my opinion more than you have. At the moment, though, I cannot honestly say I can be in your corner, or, indeed, that you want me there.