Jeffrey Bell (political operative)
Jeffrey L. Bell (born ca. 1943) is an author and Republican political consultant.
Jeff Bell 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 Jack Kemp of New York State. Bell is a former president of the Manhattan Institute, has served as a fellow of the Kennedy Institute of Politics at Harvard University; a 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. A principal of Capital City Partners from 2000 - 2012, a public affairs firm, Bell participated in the firm's contract with the United States Department of Health and Human Services to promote greater awareness of human trafficking in the United States. Since 2010, Bell has been director of policy of the American Principles Project (APP), a Washington-based advocacy group. He heads APP’s Gold Is Money project. Articles written in this capacity include:
- “Our Unaccountable Fed,” Wall Street Journal, April 4, 2011 (with Sean Fieler);
- “Follow the Money,” The Weekly Standard 21 February 2011;
- “Requiem for the Paper Standard and a Call for Restoration of the Gold Standard,” Washington Examiner, August 15, 2011;
Author and Political Consultant
Bell is the author of two seminal books on modern American politics. The first, "Populism and Elitism: Politics in the Age of Equality," published in 1992, was called by political journalist Fred Barnes, then with The New Republic, “the most important political book” of 1992. His second book, "The Case for Polarized Politics: Why America Needs Social Conservatism," was published by Encounter Books on March 6, 2012. James Taranto in a February 18, 2012 Wall Street Journal article, summarized the Bell thesis as follows:
Social conservatism, Mr. Bell argues in his forthcoming book, "The Case for Polarized Politics," has a winning track record for the GOP. "Social issues were nonexistent in the period 1932 to 1964," he observes. "The Republican Party won two presidential elections out of nine, and they had the Congress for all of four years in that entire period. . . . When social issues came into the mix—I would date it from the 1968 election . . . the Republican Party won seven out of 11 presidential elections."
Bell discussed his book on an August 19, 2012 C-SPAN Washington Journal program. C-SPAN Bell Interview Bell has also written articles for numerous publications, most recently The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Weekly Standard.
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.
U.S. Senate Candidate
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, by a 55%-to-43% margin. 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.)
Reagan's "$90 Billion" Speech
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 policy was interpreted by some as a contributing factor.
1980 Reagan Television Spots
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.
Other Political Work
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.
- Home > Fellows & Scholars >
- US News and World Report, "Two Tall, Young Ivy Leaguers Go At It", 10-9-1978, p.26
- "Jeffrey Bell: Kemp Brought America Back from 1970s". Newsmax.com. Retrieved May 3, 2009.[dead link]
- The Reagan Revolution, 1981, p.78
- The Reagan Revolution, 1981, p.62
- Booknotes interview with Bell on Populism and Elitism: Politics in the Age of Equality, July 12, 1992.
- Biographical information for Jeffrey Bell from The Political Graveyard
|Party political offices|
Clifford P. Case
|Republican Nominee for the U.S. Senate (Class 2) from New Jersey
Mary V. Mochary