- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 2, 2002

Bush's 'best bud'?
Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes is an incumbent Democrat in a state that hasn't elected a Republican governor since Reconstruction. So why is he campaigning so furiously and running a TV ad that, as the Associated Press reports, "makes him look like President Bush's best bud"?
"They're stuck under 50 percent" in polls, says Dan McLagan, spokesman for Mr. Barnes' Republican challenger, former state Sen. Sonny Perdue. "They can't move. They don't know what to do."
Reporter Dick Pettys of the AP explains: "With some teachers still angry over his education reform effort and some whites still mad that he changed the state flag, Barnes faces a much different electorate this fall from the one that gave him a 52 percent victory over Guy Millner in 1998." Mr. Millner is a Republican.
Despite his problems, Mr. Barnes has one strength: money and lots of it. His campaign reported $9.4 million cash on hand at the time of the last disclosure reports in June, compared with $876,000 for his Republican opponent.
Mr. Barnes is filling the airwaves with ads showing him with President Bush and Georgia's popular Democratic Sen. Zell Miller, while major national Republican donors seem to be ignoring the Perdue campaign, which is starving for cash.
"One of the things Perdue desperately needs is the ability to get on TV to get his message out," said Charles Bullock, a political science professor at the University of Georgia. "Right now, all he can count on is getting the votes of people who may not know much about Sonny Perdue but know they don't like Roy Barnes."

A political explosion
"Don't believe the insta-hype that says the Democratic Party may now be in a better position than it was before Bob Torricelli quit the New Jersey Senate race" Monday, writes New York Post columnist John Podhoretz.
"Yes, the Torch was almost certainly going to lose to Doug Forrester, and his move changes the dynamic in the New Jersey Senate race," Mr. Podhoretz said.
"But still, the Torricelli withdrawal is the first major political story involving the U.S. Senate since Jim Jeffords changed his party allegiance last year and it makes a major national issue out of a serious ethical lapse on the part of a high-profile Democrat.
"This is a political explosion, and it's exploded on the Democrats at just about the worst possible time.
"The Democratic Party is in chaos right now. There is no other word for it. The Torch's vanishing act was only the latest piece of bad news for a party that ought to be sitting very pretty with only 36 days to go before a midterm election.
"The economy is weak, which should help Democrats. The White House is held by a Republican, which should help Democrats.
"But for the next month, the Democratic Party will now have to battle some uncomfortable ethical questions, even as it must also deal with the fact that two senior Democrats in the House of Representatives just defended Saddam Hussein and attacked President Bush live from Baghdad on your TV set."

Bye-bye Bob
"Bob Torricelli can be forgiven if he thinks his real mistake was bad timing," the Wall Street Journal says.
"Only last August, Majority Leader Tom Daschle responded to the New Jersey senator's ethics rebuke by saying the 'sensational allegations made against Senator Torricelli have been proven false and without foundation.' But Mr. Daschle and his colleagues ran the Torch out of town because his defeat might cost them Senate control," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"Mr. Torricelli tearfully announced he was dropping his re-election bid at a late afternoon press conference, following a day of leaks out of Washington that forced his hand. His own early counter-leaks tried to break the stampede, but they couldn't stop what was clearly a push over the ledge from his own party colleagues and donors. A political lifer and renowned scrapper, the Torch wouldn't abandon his career unless he was given an offer he couldn't refuse.
"The senator's fatal blunder was getting caught amid the more sober post-September 11 national mood. The terror war and leaner economic times have made politics seem relevant again, and voters are suddenly more serious. One consequence is that they're showing a refreshing intolerance for political cads and cranks. The Torch should have had his political canoodling with donor David Chang exposed during the 1990s, when canoodling wasn't canoodling if well, you remember."

Streisand in hoax
"Just days after a spelling error-ridden memo outlining Barbra Streisand's political views on the pending Iraq war is faxed to congressional leaders, the artist finds herself in another highly embarrassing turn: Streisand recited made-up Shakespeare lines before thousands at Sunday's National Democratic Gala in Hollywood," Matt Drudge writes at www.drudgereport.com.
"To make her case not to go to war against Iraq, Streisand quoted extensively from William Shakespeare but the quotes were from a William Shakespeare hoax that has been circulating on the Internet!" Mr. Drudge said.
"Streisand told the crowd: 'You know, really good artists have a way of being relevant in their time but great artists are relevant at anytime. So, in the words of William Shakespeare, "Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded with patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader, and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar."'
"Streisand explained to the audience: 'Imagine that was written over 400 years ago. It's amazing how history without consciousness is destined to repeat itself.'"
However, a search of "The Complete Works of Shakespeare," Oxford Edition, found no such passage, Mr. Drudge said.

Stacked hearing?
Republican senators are charging Democrats with playing politics in the weeks leading up to the elections in November by holding a one-sided hearing tomorrow on President Bush's Social Security commission.
In a letter sent Monday to Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, the five senators accused him of stacking tomorrow's hearing with five opponents of the president's options for reforming Social Security and inviting only two advocates for it. Worse still, none of the advocates was a member of Mr. Bush's commission even though one of the commission's chairmen was former Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, New York Democrat, who at one time held Mr. Baucus' position on the finance committee.
"Such an imbalance suggests that the purpose of this hearing is to present a biased view of the commission and its proposals," wrote Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona, Craig Thomas of Wyoming, Phil Gramm of Texas, Minority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi and Assistant Minority Leader Don Nickles of Oklahoma in their letter to Mr. Baucus.
Yesterday, a spokesman in Mr. Kyl's office said, Mr. Baucus relented and decided to allow a commission member to testify.

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