- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 17, 2000

Feeling good

An influential organization of Arab-American political leaders from the Detroit area gave a unanimous endorsement to Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush on Sunday.
Members of the Arab-American Political Action Committee said their support for the Texas governor was based mainly on political preference, the Associated Press reports.
Many told the Detroit Free Press in a story for editions yesterday that Mr. Bush has reached out for Arab-Americans' support, while Democratic rival Al Gore has not. A few also said they were uneasy with Mr. Gore's Orthodox Jewish vice-presidential candidate, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman.
Mr. Bush is "someone who listens, who's flexible on Middle Eastern issues," said committee member Osama Siblani, publisher of the Arab American News in Dearborn. "Lieberman's culture and religion are embedded. Lieberman is already committed in his soul to Israel."
Other committee members played down Mr. Lieberman's ethnicity and religion.
"We support good Jewish candidates," said Azzam Elder, an assistant Wayne County prosecutor. The group has supported Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, "and he's Jewish," Mr. Elder said. "We go by their policies."
The committee is an influential political force among the nearly 300,000 Arab-Americans living in the Detroit metropolitan area.

The Arab vote

An influential organization of Arab-American political leaders from the Detroit area gave a unanimous endorsement to Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush on Sunday.
Members of the Arab-American Political Action Committee said their support for the Texas governor was based mainly on political preference, the Associated Press reports.
Many told the Detroit Free Press in a story for editions yesterday that Mr. Bush has reached out for Arab-Americans' support, while Democratic rival Al Gore has not. A few also said they were uneasy with Mr. Gore's Orthodox Jewish vice-presidential candidate, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman.
Mr. Bush is "someone who listens, who's flexible on Middle Eastern issues," said committee member Osama Siblani, publisher of the Arab American News in Dearborn. "Lieberman's culture and religion are embedded. Lieberman is already committed in his soul to Israel."
Other committee members played down Mr. Lieberman's ethnicity and religion.
"We support good Jewish candidates," said Azzam Elder, an assistant Wayne County prosecutor. The group has supported Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, "and he's Jewish," Mr. Elder said. "We go by their policies."
The committee is an influential political force among the nearly 300,000 Arab-Americans living in the Detroit metropolitan area.

Pick a year

"Often compared to 1988, when an underappreciated sitting vice president overcame poor early poll numbers to win the White House over a big-state governor, the 2000 presidential contest hasn't been the carbon copy of the George Bush-Michael Dukakis race that many predicted it would be," political analyst Stuart Rothenberg writes.
"But with three weeks to go until Election Day, it still isn't clear whether 1988 (or for that matter 1980 or 1960) offers the best model for understanding what will ultimately happen this year," Mr. Rothenberg said in a column in Roll Call.
He added: "Current polling suggests that the presidential race is tight and likely to remain that way unless one of the nominees makes a blunder. On one hand, the importance of personality in this race is reminiscent of 1960, when Democrat John F. Kennedy nosed out sitting Vice President Richard Nixon. Foreign policy and military preparedness were issues in that election.
"But the 2000 race also continues to resemble 1980's in one important way. That race turned on challenger Ronald Reagan's ability to assure voters that he wasn't too extreme or too much of a lightweight.
"George W. Bush may have taken a step toward doing that during last week's debate."

Polling corner

Going into tonight's presidential debate, Republican George W. Bush holds a slim lead over Democrat Al Gore in three national tracking polls.
The CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll released yesterday gave Mr. Bush an advantage of 47 percent to 44 percent.
The Voter.com Battleground 2000 poll released yesterday gave Mr. Bush an edge of 43 percent to 39 percent.
The Reuters-MSNBC-Zogby poll released yesterday found Mr. Bush with a 1 percentage point lead within the margin of error at 43 percent to 42 percent.

Captive party

"We've reached the point where the Democratic Party's captivity [to the trial lawyers] has become an embarrassment and threat to the nation," the Wall Street Journal opines, pointing to the federally created tobacco cartel that feeds lawyers and their friends in the Democratic Party, and plans by trial lawyers to shake down other industries.
"Candidate [Al] Gore barely dodged one fund-raising boomerang when his name was linked to an apparent attempt to solicit $100,000 from Texas lawyer Walter Umphrey in return for President Clinton's promised veto of a tort-reform bill.
"Mr. Gore walked into it again when his claimed visit with the FEMA head to inspect fire-damaged Parker County [Texas] turned out never to have taken place. As the world now knows, he was in Houston for a fund-raiser with the head of the Texas trial lawyers association," the newspaper wrote in an editorial.
"This is why we have changes of power, to clean out the stables. In Indonesia, it happens once every 30 years, when the reigning strongman gets bumped off or pushed out. Here, preserving the rule of law is one more responsibility of the voters.
"Unless you believe Mr. Gore would have the unlikely gumption to impose discipline on his primary funding constituency, the best chance the Democrats have of escaping their trial lawyer captivity is to spend a few years by a quiet stream, asking themselves what kind of party they've become."

Dumping the 'wealthy'

"[W]ith his relentless hammering at 'the wealthy' and his insistence that 'working families' are his priority, the newly populist [Vice President Al] Gore almost seems to be telling the upwardly mobile families enriched in the Clinton years that he doesn't want their votes," the Los Angeles Times' Ronald Brownstein writes.
"And guess what: He's not getting them. A Time/CNN poll released Saturday (which gave the Republican a 5-point lead overall) showed [Texas Gov. George W.] Bush leading Gore among voters earning $75,000 a year or more by 24 percentage points more than twice the advantage [1996 Republican nominee Bob] Dole had over Clinton.
"Given Bush's relatively moderate persona, it's unlikely Gore can beat the Texan among middle-income voters enough to overcome a blowout that large at the top," Mr. Brownstein said.

Bradley's future

"When Princeton University President Harold T. Shapiro announced last month that he would soon step down, there was immediate speculation that Bill Bradley, class of '65, might be his successor," National Journal notes.
"Wrong. The Daily Princetonian reported last week that Bradley, in an interview, 'laugh[ed] a bit at the suggestion,' pointing out that he's already a university trustee and lacks a doctorate, thus making him 'essentially ineligible' for the job."
The paper also said Mr. Bradley would not accept any bending of the rules for his benefit.

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