- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 17, 2001

Still standing
Although Rep. Gary A. Condit, California Democrat, has hidden from the press since girlfriend Chandra Levy disappeared more than two months ago, he did speak recently to his old state Assembly buddy and current director of California Parks and Recreation, Rusty Areias, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Said Mr. Areias: "I told him, 'Gary, this will pass and life will be good again. It just takes time and it's someting you have to ride out.' He said, 'Don't worry, Rusty, I'll still be standing when this is all over.'"

Hurrah for Hastert
"We'll have to admit to having underestimated House Speaker Dennis Hastert. Who'd have thought he could induce the supporters of campaign finance reform to kill their own bill?" the Wall Street Journal says.
"Yet this is precisely what happened last week, notwithstanding crocodile outrage afterward from John McCain, Dick Gephardt, GOP Congressman Christopher Shays and the New York Times.
"They sound like O.J. Simpson promising to search the countryside for the real killer. Rather than risk a vote they might have lost, supporters chose to defeat the House 'rule' for controlling the amendments and terms of debate on their own bill. They slit their own throats," the newspaper said in an editorial.
The Journal added: "Speaker Hastert earned his pay last week. Now if he can scuttle the lawyers' right to bill, sometimes called the Patients' Bill of Rights, we'll really be impressed."

Moving left
Hundreds of Democrats from across the nation gathered in Indianapolis yesterday for a two-day session intended to show the party's moderation, but liberals in Washington laughed out loud.
"The DLC got mugged by the reality of the 2000 election," Robert Borosage, head of the left-leaning Campaign for America's Future and a former aide to Jesse Jackson, told the Wall Street Journal. He and other liberals say the DLC is in retreat before a resurgent left wing of the Democratic Party.
The DLC "decided to declare victory and get out" of its fight with liberals, said Rep. Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat.
Journal reporter John Harwood said the DLC now sides with teachers unions in opposing experiments with private-school vouchers. It also "has stopped short of endorsing partial privatization of Social Security. And its allies in Congress show increasing sympathy with labor's demands for protection of workers and the environment in trade deals."
Among yesterday's scheduled speakers in Indianapolis: Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the archliberal from New York. DLC Chairman Evan Bayh, the Democratic senator from Indiana, was expected to call for an anti-tax-cut "trigger" to funnel cash from the citizenry to the government should the economy worsen.
Meanwhile, the DLC magazine urges repeal of tax cuts that benefit what the organization feels are the undeserving rich.
"We Democrats are the genuine centrists in American politics," Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, told the gathering.

Michigan map
"The GOP-led Legislature in Michigan voted along party lines to approve a House map last week that could force six Democratic incumbents to face off in three primaries, but Democrats have already filed a court challenge to the plan," Roll Call reports.
"The Republican plan would pit Democratic Reps. John Dingell and Lynn Rivers against each other in a district that favors Dingell; Dale Kildee against James Barcia in a seat that favors Kildee; and Sander Levin against David Bonior. Bonior, the minority whip, is retiring to run for governor in 2002," reporter John Mercurio writes.
"Gov. John Engler, a Republican, has said he will sign the redistricting bill. Republicans were able to target so many Democrats in part because Michigan's 16-member delegation lost a House seat in reapportionment.
"Last Wednesday, a group of mostly Democrats filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Detroit challenging the plan, which experts say could switch the state's House delegation from 9-to-7 Democratic to 9-to-6 Republican."

Speak for yourself
The controversy surrounding California Democratic Rep. Gary A. Condit has two Republicans clashing over whether marital fidelity is a requirement to serve in Congress, the Associated Press reports.
The dispute between Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi and Connecticut Rep. Christopher Shays began Sunday when Mr. Lott said on a talk show that Mr. Condit should resign if he had a sexual relationship with Chandra Levy, a former federal intern who has been missing for two-and-a-half months.
Mr. Shays, appearing on the same show but during a different segment, responded: "If infidelity is the test, there'd be a number of members of Congress that should resign."
Mr. Lott was asked yesterday about Mr. Shays' comment and said, "Is he speaking for himself?"
Mr. Shays then issued another statement, though not responding directly to Mr. Lott.
"Being faithful to your spouse and living up to your marriage vows is a moral imperative, but having Congress set that as a standard of whether one can continue to serve in office is a serious mistake," Mr. Shays said.
Shays spokeswoman Katie Levinson said he would have no further comment.

Pretty good numbers
"President Bush's obvious attempts to make nice with Democrats and project a congenial, guy-next-door image are meeting with considerable success in how Americans judge him as a person," USA Today's Richard Benedetto writes at that newspaper's Web site, USAToday.com.
"As the former Texas governor prepares to mark his six-month point in the Oval Office, polling suggests his charm offensive is working with the folks who live outside the Capital Beltway, despite what his critics in this town say."
Mr. Benedetto cited the latest USA Today-Gallup poll in which 78 percent say they respect Mr. Bush, regardless of how they feel about his political views; 70 percent approve of him as a person, up from 60 percent in January just as he was about to take office; 66 percent say he is honest and trustworthy; 62 percent say he has been very or somewhat successful in fulfilling an inaugural pledge to bring civility back to the debate between Democrats and Republicans in Washington; 59 percent say he has cooperated enough with Democrats in Congress, while only 46 percent say Democrats have cooperated enough with him; and 57 percent approve of the overall job he is doing as president, including 55 percent of women.
"These are pretty good numbers for a guy who won just 48 percent of the vote in November and came into office following a highly disputed election," Mr. Benedetto said.

Get the handcuffs
Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, says he is eager to be arrested.
In an address last week to the Latino Vote 2002 Banquet in Pasadena, Calif., Mr. McAuliffe said he was in Pomona, Calif., recently to help register new citizens as they emerged from their swearing-in ceremony.
"The Republicans had some volunteers, too two little old ladies sitting under an umbrella. I guess they didn't like that we had so many people there, so they called the police. I sent our volunteers home when the police came, but they did almost arrest me," Mr. McAuliffe said. "I wish they had. Can you imagine the story chairman of the Democratic Party arrested for trying to register people to vote?"
Mr. McAuliffe added: "I may just have another chance to get arrested. I've agreed to travel to Puerto Rico with Bronx Democratic leader Roberto Ramirez, who was just released after 40 days in prison for protesting the continued military exercises on the island of Vieques. They've arrested Robert Kennedy Jr. and Dennis Rivers — why not Terry McAuliffe?"

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