Let's Unmake A Deal
(TIME, May 5) -- If it were just up to White House and Republican negotiators, there might already be a budget deal. Agreement was close enough last week that a secret rendezvous was arranged between White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles, House Budget Committee chairman John Kasich and Speaker Newt Gingrich to discuss a final sticking point: whether it was possible to legislate a change in the Consumer Price Index, freeing up billions of extra dollars to pay for G.O.P. tax cuts and Democratic spending programs. Kasich and Bowles argued in favor, with Bowles suggesting that President Clinton's support would neutralize criticism from liberal Democrats, unions and senior citizens, for whom a CPI change would mean smaller annual increases in their Social Security checks. But Gingrich wasn't buying. He and other House G.O.P. leaders consider a CPI fix "political suicide," as one put it. But the White House wants to make a deal with Gingrich, who they think may prove a more durable budget ally than House Democratic leaders. Meeting with Democratic brethren last week, the President shared none of the details of the emerging agreement, but promised he wouldn't seal a deal without support from at least half of all congressional Democrats. The message was double-edged and not very reassuring. As a participant said, "The President is willing to split his party in half just to get a deal."
--By James Carney and John F. Dickerson
Winners & Losers: Seizing The Moment
Judge Richard Matsch
20th Century Fox
And A Baby-Faced Consultant Shall Lead Them
(TIME, May 5) -- When one of his fans complimented Ralph Reed by calling him the Christian Lee Atwater, she meant that he combined conservative morality with electoral smarts. But Atwater is gone, and other prominent Republican kingmakers of the Reagan-Bush era--James Baker, Ed Rollins, Charles Black--are out to pasture. To Reed, who last week announced his resignation as executive director of the Christian Coalition, this adds up to what he describes as a "strategic void." The 35-year-old Christian operator is not forsaking God for Mammon, but is seeking to fill that vacuum and lead the religious right to the promised land of real electoral power. Yes, Reed built the coalition into a prominent faction within the party, but as a nonprofit advocacy group, it was barred from out-of-the-closet electioneering. It also proved frustratingly ineffective in influencing postelection governance. Reed's ambitious corrective: while keeping a seat on the Christian Coalition's board, he will launch a political consulting firm, Century Strategies, that will bring forth candidates who adhere to the movement's principles and also have wider appeal to the general electorate. "We have enjoyed enormous success in the arena of issue politics," he told TIME. "In order to take that forward to its logical conclusion, we have to have the same measure of success in winning elections." Forget Lee Atwater; Reed wants to be the prophet of the next great Republican awakening in 1998 and 2000.
By Laurence I. Barrett
By Janice M. Horowitz, Nadya Labi, Lina Lofaro, Emily Mitchell, Kate Noble And Megan Rutherford
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