- The Washington Times - Friday, February 7, 2003

Clinton and Edwards
Former President Bill Clinton is acting as a coach to various Democratic presidential candidates, James Fallows writes in the latest issue of the Atlantic Monthly.
"The coaching relationship is complicated, for some obvious reasons and the most intriguing tension is between Clinton and [North Carolina Sen. John] Edwards," Mr. Fallows said.
Mr. Edwards' presidential hopes were set back when he seemed "ill-informed" on the issues during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" in the spring, the writer noted.
"According to Washington lore, Clinton called Edwards after the appearance to offer him some Dutch-uncle counseling. Look , young man, you've got a great future ahead of you, he is supposed to have said. But you've got to learn the issues so stay off the airwaves for the next year and hit the books.
"I asked Clinton if that was true. Not exactly, he said which turns out to mean, essentially, yes," the writer said, quoting Mr. Clinton as saying, "But it's got a smidgen of truth in it."
Mr. Clinton added: "I never saw the 'Meet the Press' program. But way before that appearance when [Mr. Edwards] was making all these other television shows, he called me. I told him: John, you're great on TV. You make a great talk. You can talk an owl out of a tree. So I told him, months before that 'Meet the Press' thing, that he'd been on TV enough to be hot. Which was good. But if I were in his position, I'd spend lots of time trying to think things through."

'Strange disconnect'
"The headline from Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle's news conference Wednesday was his threat to filibuster the appeals court nomination of Miguel Estrada," Byron York writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).
"'There is overwhelming opposition within our caucus to Mr. Estrada,' Daschle said. 'Because we're in the minority, we have no other option in some cases … than to filibuster nominations. We don't take that responsibility lightly, but we hold it to be an important tool that we will use.' Daschle said he will make the filibuster decision next week.
"But the more interesting story from Daschle's appearance was the strange disconnect between the reasons he gave to oppose Estrada and the reasons cited by a number of Hispanic interest-group leaders who appeared with Daschle," Mr. York said.
"To hear Daschle tell it, Estrada's alleged refusal to answer questions at his confirmation hearing had virtually forced Democrats to vote against him, and perhaps to filibuster the nomination. Democratic senators take their advise-and-consent role very seriously, Daschle said, and, 'In our view, we have been thwarted from fulfilling our constitutional obligation.'
"But to hear representatives from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, and others tell it, the Estrada nomination should be killed not because of Estrada's alleged refusal to answer questions or because of constitutional obligations, but because Estrada, who was born and raised in Honduras before coming to the United States and learning English at the age of 17, is simply not authentically Hispanic.
"'Being Hispanic for us means much more than having a surname,' said New Jersey Rep. Bob Menendez, a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. 'It means having some relationship with the reality of what it is to live in this country as a Hispanic American.' Even though Estrada is of Hispanic origin, and even though he lives in this country, Menendez argued, he falls short of being a true Hispanic. 'Mr. Estrada told us that him being Hispanic he sees having absolutely nothing to do with his experience or his role as a federal court judge. That's what he said to us.' Menendez found that deeply troubling."

Fighting back
"Miguel Estrada's appeals court nomination finally made it to the Senate floor [Wednesday], where Democrats are debating whether to filibuster the prominent Hispanic lawyer," the Wall Street Journal notes.
"Of course Democrats aren't announcing their intentions, lest Univision and the rest of the media report this to the country. They'd like nothing better than to intimidate Republicans into giving up on Mr. Estrada without forcing a floor vote, or a long debate. That way they can demonstrate their power to kill Mr. Bush's nominees even though they are now in the minority," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"We hope Republicans won't let them get away with it. The truth is that Democrats have no reason to oppose Mr. Estrada other than the fact that he is a conservative who also happens to be Hispanic. They have nothing else against him. …
"If Democrats want to filibuster, Republicans should keep the debate going, for weeks if need be. Put Mr. Estrada on the talk shows, and have Mr. Bush go on Univision to talk about the Senate tactics. Democrats who refuse even to give Mr. Estrada a confirmation vote should be made to pay a political price. If Republicans let Democrats get away with this abuse of the system now, it will happen again and again."

Surprising switch
Mary McGrory has spent the past few months bemoaning the Bush administration's movement toward war, so it came as something of a shock yesterday when The Washington Post columnist said that she had changed her mind about the threat from Iraq.
"I don't know how the United Nations felt about Colin Powell's 'J'accuse' speech against Saddam Hussein. I can only say that he persuaded me, and I was as tough as France to convince," Miss McGrory wrote.
"I'm not exactly a pacifist. Vietnam came close to making me one, but no one of the World War II generation can say war is never justified. I have resisted the push to war against Iraq because I thought George W. Bush was trying to pick a fight for all the wrong reasons big oil, the far right against the wrong enemy," she said.
But Mr. Powell's arguments persuaded her that Saddam Hussein "is more of a menace than I had thought."
"I'm not ready for war yet. But Colin Powell has convinced me that it might be the only way to stop a fiend, and that if we do go, there is reason," she wrote.

Ventura's new gig
The rumors have been circulating for more than two months, and they are true: Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura will host a nightly talk show on cable channel MSNBC.
Mr. Ventura, an independent who left office just a few weeks ago, let everyone know his plans in an appearance Wednesday night on NBC's "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno."
"I'm going to educate 'em, entertain 'em and tell people the truth," Mr. Ventura said, adding that he hopes the show attracts the sort of young people who helped him get elected in 1998, but who may not be paying much attention to politics these days.
Mr. Ventura said he did not know when the show would begin airing or who would be his first guest. He said that he will be on five nights every week and that the show probably would start within a month.
Mr. Ventura's announcement may have surprised his own network, which issued a press release yesterday about the program. The network, like Mr. Ventura, offered few details beyond saying that it will be an hourlong program before a live audience and will focus on issues of the day.

Go to the video
The chief spokesman for the National Park Service announced yesterday that the agency had begun an official review of a video shown at the Lincoln Memorial for the past seven years a video that implies Abraham Lincoln would have supported such liberal causes as homosexual and abortion rights, Marc Morano reports at www.CNSNews.com.
"The issue has been raised to the Department of Interior and the Park Service management, and so we have asked our cultural resource staff to review the film to see if it's appropriate in the context of interpretation … at the Lincoln Memorial," David Barna, chief of public affairs for the National Park Service, told the news service.

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