- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 19, 2000

Tax-cut time

"Here's a prediction for the new year: Sometime in February or March, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan will testify on Capitol Hill and declare a version of President Bush's tax-cut plan to be both 'reasonable' and 'prudent,' " the Wall Street Journal's Alan Murray wrote in a front-page story yesterday.
"Democratic deficit-hawks, whose anti-Keynesian fervor is one of the strange legacies of the Clinton era, will bray betrayal. They have been using Mr. Greenspan's pronouncements as a cudgel to beat back tax cuts for the past two years. 'He has always said the top priority is paying down the debt,' says Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad. 'He'll have a hard time retreating from that.'
"But Republicans may recall a similar hearing in February of 1993, when the Fed chief gave his blessing to President Clinton's first economic plan. That plan irritated Republicans because of its large package of spending increases designed to give the economy a kick before proposals for deficit reduction set in. Mr. Greenspan embraced the Clinton proposal as a 'serious,' 'credible' and 'detailed' plan for deficit reduction. No amount of prodding by bewildered GOP senators could shake him from that line."
Mr. Greenspan "has laid ample groundwork for the about-face," frequently saying he preferred deficit reduction to tax cuts, but that if the surplus is going to be spent, he would rather see it go to tax cuts.
"The year-end budget deal wrapped up this weekend by Congress and President Clinton gives Mr. Greenspan all the excuse he needs to revert to the second clause," Mr. Murray said.

The black vote

"The biggest gamble of the past election was made by the African-American leadership," New York Times columnist William Safire writes.
"The NAACP sponsored the most extremist ad attacking Republicans since LBJ's discredited 'daisy spot' of 1964. The Rev. Jesse Jackson went all out to paint the GOP as a hotbed of reaction and its standard-bearer as a danger to the hopes and jobs of black Americans," Mr. Safire said.
"Even now, as most Democrats follow Al Gore's lead in accepting the election verdict and looking forward, Jackson keeps the resentment pot boiling with calls for investigations and unofficial recounts. Though he grudgingly admits George W. Bush may be the 'legal' president-elect, Jackson will not let the word 'legitimate' pass his lips.
"Why this need to demonize the victor as an electoral thief? Because it holds the monolithic bloc together, and because creating a myth that a tied election was a stolen one is easier than admitting the leadership's gamble was a political mistake."
The columnist added: "In terms of self-interest, the trouble with the African-American vote is that it is not in play. It is now more than ever locked up and delivered, seemingly beyond the reach of Republicans and taken for granted by Democrats. Rep. J.C. Watts and a cadre of black Republicans understand this.
"To every candidate, the voter to be courted is the swing voter. (A voting bloc don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing.) Instead of waiting for compassionate overtures on high, black leaders should think about their own anchor to windward. Insert activists into both parties, earn some points for loyalty but threaten to raise a ruckus at national conventions for your constituency."

Bill on TV

David Frost, David Susskind, Dick Cavett … and Bill Clinton?
NBC has been pitched the idea of a TV interview show with the soon-to-be former president as host, NBC spokeswoman Shirley Powell said yesterday.
The suggestion came in a call to a representative of NBC syndication by Harry Thomason, a Clinton friend who produces television shows with his wife, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, she said.
NBC said it was interested, but needed to find out more.
"We have no idea what the show is," Miss Powell said. "We really would have to have a formal pitch before we would move ahead with anything."
The Thomasons could not be located for comment last night, the Associated Press reported.
The possibility was made public late Sunday on the Drudge Report, which quoted a "well-placed source" saying it would be "an interview show in the great tradition of David Frost."
Mr. Clinton's plans "are not confirmed yet," said White House spokeswoman Nanda Chitre.

Welcome back

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman was given a warm welcome home yesterday as he stopped at Connecticut diners to thank voters for re-electing him to the Senate while he ran as Vice President Al Gore's running mate.
At the Stamford Diner, retired FBI Agent Jim Trower said he didn't back the Democratic presidential ticket, but did vote for Mr. Lieberman for Senate, the Associated Press reports.
"I told him that I thought he was very smart not to give up his day job," Mr. Trower said. "He said he thought so, too."
Mr. Lieberman, the first Jew to run for national office on a major-party ticket, campaigned in Connecticut only one day, but easily won a third Senate term by defeating Waterbury Mayor Philip Giordano.
A Gore victory would have opened the door for Republican Gov. John G. Rowland to name a Republican to replace Mr. Lieberman in the Senate.
Mr. Lieberman said that after five weeks of Florida recounts and court battles, he had only one regret about the presidential race: the ending.
"I suppose it's true that defeat is never easy to take. It's disappointing. It hurts," he said.
At the restaurant in Stamford, where Mr. Lieberman grew up and his 86-year-old mother still lives, the diner employees broke into applause when he walked in. They also hung a blue-and-white banner that read: "2004."
"It's great to be home," Mr. Lieberman said.

Unfunny girl

"Bill Clinton's on his way out. Al Gore finally conceded. But in Hollywood, people are wondering when Barbra Streisand will give her concession speech," New York Post gossip columnist Liz Smith writes.
"The super-Democrat was supposed to appear last week at the legendary Egyptian Theater in L.A. for the premiere of the newly restored print of 'Funny Girl.' It was an event sponsored by Sony, InStyle and the Hollywood Foreign Press. La Babs did not show. She was said to be 'sick.'
"Well, even megastars get sick, but most felt Streisand was too distraught by the Supreme Court ruling, and Al Gore's inevitable stepping aside, to do anything as frivolous as appear at a 'Funny Girl' screening. And if she had, she might have launched into a political diatribe, souring the event. As I have often said, screen image aside, Barbra is not a funny girl."

Still hurting

Rep. Maxine Waters, California Democrat, and many other members of the Congressional Black Caucus say they will stay away from the presidential inauguration of George W. Bush, Roll Call reports.
"I think I will not have healed by that time and will not be prepared to be in a celebratory mood," Mrs. Waters told reporter Susan Crabtree.

Check the classifieds

President Clinton says he has to find a way to "make a living" to support Sen.-elect Hillary Rodham Clinton.
"Now I have a senator to support. I have to go out and make a living, you know," the outgoing president told reporters yesterday during an Oval Office press conference with French President Jacques Chirac and EU Commission President Romano Prodi.

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