Palisades Park, New Jersey , United States
|| December 13, 1943
Apr 25, 2016 09:50pm
|Info||Jeffrey L. Bell (born ca. 1943) is an author and Republican political consultant. |
Bell, the former president of the Manhattan Institute, ran for the U.S. Senate from New Jersey in 1978 and 1982. Bell also worked as an aide to U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, and to U.S. Representative Congressman Jack Kemp of New York State. Bell has served as a fellow of the Kennedy Institute at Harvard, visiting professor at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, and as the DeWitt Wallace Fellow in Communications at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. He presently serves on the board of directors of the American Conservative Union and of the Campaign Finance Institute at George Washington University. Bell is also a visiting scholar at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. From 1988 to 2000, Bell served as president of Lehrman Bell Mueller Cannon, an economic and political forecasting company based in Arlington, Virginia. As a principal since 2000 with Capital City Partners, a public affairs firm, he participated in the firm's contract with the Department of Health and Human Services to promote greater awareness of human trafficking in the United States. Bell is a graduate of Columbia University and a veteran of the Vietnam War.
In 1975 Bell was responsible for a speech given by Ronald Reagan when he was running against President Gerald Ford in the Republican presidential primaries. In it, Reagan proposed a "systematic transfer of authority and resources to the states - a program of creative federalism for America's third century. Federal authority has clearly failed to do the job. Indeed, it has created more problems in welfare, education, housing, food stamps, Medicaid, community and regional development, and revenue sharing, to name a few. The sums involved and the potential savings to the taxpayer are large. Transfer of authority in whole or part in all of these areas would reduce the outlay of the federal government by more than $90 billion, using the spending levels of fiscal 1975. With such a savings it would be possible to balance the federal budget, make an initial $5 billion payment on the national debt and cut the federal personal income tax of every American by an average of 23 percent".
Bell's speech was intended to provide Reagan with a philosophical edge over President Gerald R. Ford, Jr. The Ford campaign, however, seized on it as evidence that in primary states like New Hampshire which pay no state sales tax or income tax, the state would have to come up with its own funds for programs. Reagan lost the New Hampshire primary to Ford, and the Bell speech was seen as largely to blame for backfiring on Reagan.
In 1978, Bell challenged liberal Republican Senator Clifford P. Case in the New Jersey primary. Bell defeated Case on June 6, 1978, the same day Proposition 13 passed in California (the East and West Coast tax revolts), on a platform of income tax rate reduction that foreshadowed the Reagan tax rate cuts of 1981. Bell lost the general election to Democrat Bill Bradley, 55-43 percent. Bell again ran for the Senate in 1982 but was defeated in the Republican primary by liberal Republican U.S. Representative Millicent Fenwick. Fenwick was subsequently defeated in November by Democrat Frank Lautenberg. (No Republican has been elected to the U.S. Senate in New Jersey since Case's last victory in 1972.)
In 1980, Bell produced and co-wrote the television commercials used by the Reagan presidential campaign in New Hampshire and subsequent primaries. The commercials, which focused on Reagan's policy to fight inflation by lowering taxes, were highly effective in boosting Reagan's popularity in the primary polls. In The Reagan Revolution (Rowland Evans and Robert Novak, 1981), the effectiveness of these commercials is addressed -
It is no exaggeration to say that those Curson-Bell spots...were indispensable to Reagan's solution of his basic political and ideological problems - a solution necessary for him to win the presidency.
Bell was elected as a Reagan delegate from New Jersey to the Republican National Convention in 1980. As deputy chairman of the pro-Reagan group Citizens for America, Bell was actively involved in the passage of the Tax Reform Act of 1986. In addition to his work on the 1980 Reagan campaign, Bell was on the national campaign staff for Richard Nixon in 1968 and Reagan in 1976. In 1988, Bell served as the national campaign coordinator for Kemp for President and in 2000 he worked as senior consultant to Gary Bauer's short-lived presidential campaign.
Bell is a principal of Capital City Partners, which bills itself as "a multi-skilled national public affairs firm specializing in coalitions development and strategic communications." He has written articles for many publications, most recently The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Weekly Standard. He is author of "Populism and Elitism: Politics in the Age of Equality," which Fred Barnes, then with The New Republic, called “the most important political book” of 1992. Bell lives with his wife and four children in Annandale, Virginia.
On the death of his friend Jack Kemp in 2009, Bell penned a eulogy crediting Kemp as the father of the economic policies of the Reagan administration, with Reagan as the principal architect of his own foreign policies.
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