- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 9, 2000

Interesting statistic

By 46 percent to 44 percent, Americans say George W. Bush is "more likely to continue the nation's economic expansion" than Al Gore, according to a USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll released yesterday. The survey of adults had a 3 percentage point margin of error, which means the candidates are in a statistical tie on that question.

Disappointed Democrat

We're not quite sure what to make of the following quote, culled from a New York Times story by reporter Randal C. Archibold, but here it is:
"A lot of Democrats were very disappointed that they could not vote for a Republican," Al Krooler, a polling inspector in Mount Kisco, N.Y., told the reporter. "We had to convince some of them that once you go in the booth you have to vote for somebody. One guy was in there and he said, 'If I can't vote Republican, I don't want to vote.' And I said, 'Just vote for the person you like the least.' "

Chief Justice Clinton?

If Al Gore gets elected president in November, he may appoint Bill Clinton to the Supreme Court, suggests Barbara Olson.
"What more suitable compensation from President Al Gore for all the support his campaign has received from Clinton?" Miss Olson writes in the latest issue of the Republican Party's Rising Tide quarterly. "The outgoing president doesn't seem to need a pardon. So why not give him the Supreme Court?
"The thought may be chilling, but it's time for Republicans to realize that our next president will … set the ideological course for the Supreme Court for perhaps the next 20 years by appointing up to four Supreme Court justices including a new chief justice."
Mr. Clinton "whom no one ever accused of underestimating the political significance of an election," Miss Olson writes has warned Democrats that "one of the things that will clearly be up for grabs [in the November elections] is somewhere between two and four seats on the United States Supreme Court."

Martinez defeated

Nine-term Rep. Matthew G. Martinez, who had alienated fellow Democrats with recent votes on guns and abortion, was swept from office by a California state senator.
Mr. Martinez, 71, was the only member of Congress to lose his seat in Tuesday's primary voting. He was ousted by state Sen. Hilda Solis, 42, who is virtually assured of winning the general election because there are no Republicans in the race.
Miss Solis said her campaign gave voters in the heavily Hispanic district east of Los Angeles a choice between an incumbent with little to show for nearly two decades in Congress and a leader who sets a legislative agenda.
"People know that I am a very hard worker," said Miss Solis, the first Hispanic woman elected to the state Senate. "That's what this is really about, somebody who is working hard on behalf of their constituents. People want to have results."
With all precincts reporting yesterday, Miss Solis had 44,085 votes, or 63 percent, while Mr. Martinez had 20,079, or 28 percent.
Mr. Martinez's support for a National Rifle Association-backed gun-control measure in the House last year and for efforts to help ban partial-birth abortions prompted key Democrats to promote a challenger, the Associated Press reports. Miss Solis won endorsement from the state Democratic Party and held a 5-to-1 fund-raising advantage.

Boon or bane?

"Will the religious right prove to be a boon or a bane to the GOP?" Wall Street Journal columnist Gerald F. Seib asks.
"The conventional wisdom on this question says Mr. Gore will sink Republicans by hanging Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell around their necks. Maybe. But things aren't necessarily that simple," Mr. Seib writes.
"Religious conservatives were a slumbering force, apathetic about this election, before [John] McCain awakened them with his frontal assault on Messrs. Robertson and Falwell. They now will turn out in force to help Mr. Bush throughout the South. Moreover, exit polls [Tuesday] showed voters of various stripes thought Mr. McCain's attack on religious conservatives went too far; Mr. Gore will court a backlash if he goes too far."

Victim-in-chief?

"Even in an America that worships victimhood, you can't run for president as a victim," New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd writes, referring to John McCain's constant complaint that rival candidate George W. Bush was not playing fair.
"The senator kept saying he didn't want to fall into self-pity or negative attacks. But then he fell into self-pity and negative attacks. He kept saying he didn't want to act like Bill Bradley, and make the race about his own moral superiority. But then he acted like Bill Bradley and made the race about his own moral superiority."
The columnist added: "The senator went beyond making the case that the Bush campaign played out of bounds. He took the smarmy tactics too personally, and tried to make the case that he was good and everyone who opposed him was evil. His righteousness slowly morphed into a kind of narcissism, in which he became the personification of everything worth voting for."

Culture of bribery

Illinois Gov. George Ryan suggests bribery in the state's driver's license agency is "part of the culture, I guess."
"It was there when I was there, probably going to be there in the future," Mr. Ryan, a former secretary of state, said in an interview Tuesday with the Chicago Tribune. The driver's license program is under the secretary of state's authority.
A 19-month federal investigation of license sales during Mr. Ryan's two terms as secretary of state has resulted in charges against 30 persons. Mr. Ryan has not been charged.
Low-level secretary of state employees have admitted granting licenses to unqualified drivers in exchange for bribe money, some of which was then used to buy tickets to Ryan fund-raisers.
Mr. Ryan has expressed regret that the scheme occurred while he was secretary of state, but says he knew nothing about it at the time.
"It isn't like we didn't do anything," he said of efforts to uncover corruption in the agency. "We investigated, we looked, we brought in the other authorities when we thought it was necessary, and sometimes we made the case and sometimes we didn't. We did arrest some people."
Among those indicted is Dean Bauer, a close friend of Mr. Ryan and his former inspector general while Ryan was secretary of state. Mr. Bauer has pleaded innocent.

Judge opposed

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, for the first time in memory, has come out against a judicial nominee.
The Chamber yesterday announced its opposition to the nomination of U.S. District Judge Richard Paez to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which reviews federal court decisions in California, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada and Montana.
"Judge Paez's lower-court rulings demonstrate an alarming degree of judicial activism that must not be rewarded," said Lonnie Taylor, Chamber senior vice president.
Mr. Taylor said the Chamber was particularly alarmed by Judge Paez's ruling that U.S. companies doing business overseas were liable for the actions of foreign governments, thus opening the door for environmental activists and others to bring class-action lawsuits against disfavored business projects.

Do it again?

Republican Chairman Jim Nicholson says he will not hesitate to give out the phone numbers and e-mail addresses of TV anchormen and network officials if they blatantly ignore or play down Democratic scandals.
That's exactly what Mr. Nicholson did this week after ABC, NBC and CBS offered little or no coverage of the money-laundering conviction of Maria Hsia, a former fund-raiser for Vice President Al Gore.
"If something like this happened again, I would again," Mr. Nicholson told the New York Post.

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