Kemp is younger, a better public speaker and a vigorous exponent of the deep tax cuts that Dole now proposes. This could turn out to be an inspired choice. Dole will need all the help that Kemp can give him. Kemp was a key supporter of Ronald Reagan on supply-side economics and authored the 1981 tax cut.
But those were different times - the economy was in recession - and the Republicans had a different leader. Dole is no Ronald Reagan, but he's trying to be, and he has one of the original supply siders to help him.
In the short run, the favorable reception of Kemp's selection gives Dole a boost going into the Republican convention this week in San Diego.
But the week may not be a breeze for the candidate. There are already bruised feelings over the abortion issue. The decision to deny governors of two important states - Pete Wilson of California and William Weld of Massachusetts - opportunities to address the convention because of their pro-abortion views could prove costly.
This could be a repeat of the 1992 convention, which was dominated by ultra-conservatives with damaging effects on George Bush's candidacy. The treatment of Wilson and Weld, in addition to the triumph of anti-abortion forces on the party platform, does not bode well for Dole's efforts to reach out to moderate voters.
Colin Powell's decision to speak to the convention should help, in view of the retired general's enormous popularity, but Dole must deliver the address of his life in accepting the nomination in order to make the week a plus for the campaign. And he must find a way to pacify the GOP's feuding factions, at least long enough to preserve a facade of unity through the week.
Passage of this bill is welcome evidence that congressional Republicans have rethought their hostile stance on environmental regulation and are taking a more reasoned approach.
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