Counting

Commentary by Pete du Pont

Host intro: Most people just listened when president Clinton gave his state of the union address last week. Commentator Pete du Pont of the National Center for Policy Analysis had his calculator out.

If you thought this was the end of the era of big government, You weren't counting.

I was, and by my unofficial tally, the president launched 60 proposals -- one a minute.

Most of the proposals reeked of big government: education and health programs expanding Washington's reach; a computer in every home and constantly open schools, with no details on who's paying for it; AIDS research; more community banks; safety locks on handguns. And expanding head start. Listen, when I ran for Congress in 1970, this was an issue. We've expanded it to three and a half billion dollars, and 40 percent of third graders can't read on their own. How much expansion can we stand?

And with all this micro-managing, three lines about defense. No mention of anti-missile defenses, which the president is required by law to provide. Nothing about tax reduction or economic growth. This wasn't a speech for Joe six-pack, it was a memo to Washington bureaucrats.

Mr. Clinton clearly enjoyed the spotlight, and as president, he's entitled to it. But the best line of the night came in J.C. Watts' Republican response: character is doing right when nobody's looking.

Those are my ideas. And at the NCPA, we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you tomorrow.

Host outro: coming up Friday, Pete du Pont reports on the 2.2 percent solution.