- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 5, 2003

Howard hits back

Sen. Joe Lieberman believes Howard Dean’s bid for president is a “ticket to nowhere” for the Democratic Party, and has advised the former Vermont governor that any candidate who opposes the war in Iraq and calls for a repeal of tax cuts now is just plain clueless.

Mr. Dean has a rebuttal for the Connecticut Democrat — and several of his rivals.

“I’m tired of politicians that say everything, promising everything. And that’s what the president does and that’s what the four Washington Democrats do,” Mr. Dean told NBC yesterday.

“The difference between my campaign and the four Washington campaigns is that we plan to beat the president by bringing enormous numbers of new people into the race,” Mr. Dean said. “The other guys plan to beat the president by trying to be a little bit like him. And I think that’s impossible. This is the most conservative, really almost radical, president that we’ve had. He certainly can’t be conservative if he doesn’t balance budgets.”

Al on Howard

The Rev. Al Sharpton is convinced that despite Mr. Dean’s much-ballyhooed Newsweek and Time magazine covers this week, the former Vermont governor is a passing fancy.

“I think the media has flavors every month,” Mr. Sharpton told Fox News yesterday. “I mean, it was John Edwards during the first part of the year. Now Dean. It’ll be somebody else.”

And summing up

Is it Easy Street for Howard Dean in his bid for the Democratic nomination?

“Not to put too fine a point on it, you are Leonidas at Thermopylae, Scott of the Antarctic, and Col. William Travis at the Alamo all rolled into one — namely, the gallant leader of a doomed band,” John O’Sullivan wrote in the Chicago Sun-Times yesterday.

“You are narrowly leading in Iowa and Massachusetts polls; you have raised large sums of money via the Internet; you are on the covers of Time and Newsweek; and a tailor’s dummy could seem lively alongside most of your rivals,” Mr. O’Sullivan noted.

Democrats, “by ramping up their criticism of President Bush over Iraq, seem intent on placing the Democratic Party on the wrong side of the defense and foreign policy issues that voters care most about in the aftermath of Sept. 11. … Which leaves the party hoping for an economic catastrophe to improve its fortunes.”

But it looks like the economy is reviving, Mr. O’Sullivan said.

“However ambitious you may be, however ruthless you fancy yourself, however badly you want to win, you will never bring yourself to campaign on issues like illegal immigration and cutting government spending. You have internalized multiculturalism and Keynesianism too thoroughly to think seriously on these topics. You will go down to defeat in a thoroughly principled way.”

Tilting at windbags

Meanwhile, Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, aspires to “save his party from the Angry Left,” wrote James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal’s OpinionJournal.com yesterday.

“Lieberman’s own career illustrates how the demands of the Democratic Party pull usually reasonable politicians to the left,” he observed.

“Meanwhile, Lieberman’s erstwhile running mate, Al Gore, seems to have gone off the rails,” Mr. Taranto wrote. “Gore will be speaking to a gathering of MoveOn.org — the far-left, pro-Saddam group whose online ‘primary’ gave Howard Dean a victory over second-place Dennis Kucinich — at New York University on Thursday. Saving the Democrats from themselves is a noble goal, but it seems a hopeless task. Maybe Lieberman ought to consider a different tack: switching parties.”

Gray matter

California Gov. Gray Davis may be battling a recall, but the Democrat is taking time out Friday night to join HBO “Real Time” host Bill Maher for a heart-to-heart.

Also appearing on the show will be Donna Brazile, Al Gore’s 2000 campaign manager; Rep. David Dreier, California Republican; and comedian Janeane Garofalo, who had a second career as an antiwar protester earlier this year.

Mr. Maher has conducted his own online poll about the recall election, revealing that 51 percent of his viewers felt a recall would result in “a great, big, huge mess,” while 42 percent said it would yield “absolutely nothing.” Seven percent said it would signal an immediate improvement.

Diplomatic moment

And speaking of the recall election, Bill Simon — who was defeated in a bid for California governor last year by Gray Davis — is on the brink of announcing whether he’ll seek the office again.

“Whoever runs — Arnold, Riordan, myself — they must have a plan for California,” he told CNN yesterday.

But 300 people have now filed papers to run, including Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, who bills himself as the “compassionate smut peddler.” What did Mr. Simon think of that?

“I have faith in the common sense of the voters,” Mr. Simon told CNN.

The flag flies

The mayor or Hamilton, N.J., is breathing easier today after weeks of turmoil surrounding the decision of a local retirement community to prohibit residents from flying a POW/MIA flag.

The Evergreen Condo Association had barred Dori and Ralph McIlvaine from displaying a “Prisoner of War/Missing in Action” flag, claiming it would mar the look of the private neighborhood.

The group reversed its decision Monday night, confronted by “a protesting group of flag-waving bikers, local politicians and a circus of media personnel,” the Trentonian newspaper reported yesterday.

But the couple must pay more than $1,000 in court fees and penalties for defying previous injunctions to remove their banner from their home late last month. The POW/MIA flag is now on the list of flags that may be flown in the community.

“Unfortunately, the process created a hardship for everyone,” said Hamilton Mayor Glen Gilmore, who proposed an ordinance prohibiting homeowner groups from denying residents the right to fly the flag. He also contributed to the couple’s legal fund.

“It was a long month,” said Mrs. McIlvaine. “I lost 4 pounds. For all those MIAs and POWs, those families don’t have closure. We have to remember them.”

It must be Springer

Will he run for U.S. Senate? TV host Jerry Springer will reveal his decision at 2 p.m. today at a Columbus, Ohio, hotel.

The Cincinnati Enquirer calls him a “populist pol” along the lines of former independent Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, but his supporters say he has “authenticity. He’s never claimed to be something he’s not.”

But the former mayor of Cincinnati won’t be rushed.

His communication director, Dale Butland, said Mr. Springer had hoped to announce his intentions by the end of July.

“He simply needed a few more days,” Mr. Butland said in a statement released yesterday. “It’s obviously a huge decision with many ramifications — not just for Jerry and his family, but also for the constituency he cares about and the Democratic party he loves.”

Snack attack

Beer Nuts, Lemonheads or popcorn? The nuts and candy lost. The “official snack food” of Illinois is popcorn, courtesy of legislation signed Monday by Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich.

Popcorn now joins the cardinal (state bird), square dance (state dance) and Drummer silty clay loam (state soil) as an official symbols of Illinois, the Associated Press reports.

Oddly enough, Illinois is ranked fourth in the nation’s top popcorn-growing states, with 23,376 acres of the stuff. The leader, Nebraska, had 81,147, said the Popcorn Board, an industry marketing group.

Popcorn farmers are not even represented by the Illinois Corn Growers Association, although spokesman Mark Lambert said he welcomes popcorn’s new status.

“If it makes people feel warm and fuzzy toward corn, we’ll take it,” Mr. Lambert said.

Contact Jennifer Harper ar jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.

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