- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 12, 2004

Daschle’s view

Although Republicans blame Sen. Tom Daschle, the outgoing Senate Democratic leader, for the breakdown of bipartisanship that had held for months after the September 11 attacks, the South Dakotan sees things differently.

Republicans “just didn’t want to give me any political room,” Mr. Daschle told the New York Times. He was referring to his high profile after anthrax was mailed to his Senate office. Mr. Daschle was viewed at the time as a potential presidential candidate.

“I have always felt that it was Tom DeLay and others who felt that this era of bipartisanship had gone about as far as it should,” Mr. Daschle told reporters Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Carl Hulse, referring to the Republican House majority leader from Texas.

Mr. Daschle said he probably will not run for office again, and thus has not bothered to conduct a postmortem on his Nov. 2 loss to Republican John Thune.

“[Wife] Linda and I made kind of a pact,” he said, “that in order to keep the frame of mind that I think you need to go through this, there is nothing to be regained by reliving, re-experiencing the campaign. If I were just beginning my career and wanted to run for re-election, obviously I’d want to walk through it, to determine what we could do differently the next time. But for me, there most likely is no next time.”

Wrong war

Former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft says it’s “understandable” that some military vehicles were not prepared for the Iraqi war.

“We have a wonderful military machine, but it’s basically geared to a World War II kind of massive military operation, not to roadside bombs exploding under vehicles and so on and so forth,” Mr. Scowcroft said yesterday on CNN’s “Late Edition” with Wolf Blitzer.

Mr. Scowcroft, who served as national security adviser to the first President Bush, was responding to a question put to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld last week about a lack of armored vehicles.

“Now, you can argue how rapidly we have been able to adjust our vehicles. And we’re getting a lot better in the whole insurgency kind of thing,” Mr. Scowcroft said. “But this is a kind of war that we thought was behind us. This is not high-tech war now. This is low-tech war. This is routing people out of apartment buildings and so on. This is the toughest, meanest kind of warfare, much more like clearing out Berlin in World War II than it is in either Desert Storm or military operations.”

Recruiting Joe

“If your state has a Democratic senator, but a Republican governor, stay alert,” Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.

“It’s just those situations that the GOP and White House political whiz Karl Rove are looking for as the president searches to fill key jobs while fattening the GOP Senate majority,” Mr. Bedard said.

“Here’s the plan: Tap the Democrat to run an agency, then have the Republican governor pick a GOP replacement. One in focus: Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman as the new intelligence czar,” Mr. Bedard said.

Meanwhile, two senators — one a Republican and one a Democrat — yesterday applauded the idea of Mr. Lieberman in another position in the Bush administration: secretary of Homeland Security.

“I heard on Fox News this morning about several names that the president was entertaining” for the Homeland Security position, Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“They all seem to be good. Senator Lieberman, if he’s interested, would be a terrific pick, but there are a lot of good people out there.”

Sen. Jon Corzine, New Jersey Democrat, who also appeared on the Fox program, said, “I think we need to move forward with a strong Homeland Security director. I hope that Joe Lieberman concept flies.”

Fat chance

The District-based WMAL radio is leading a fund-raising drive on behalf of Fisher House, which, explains talk-show host Michael Graham, assists “the wives, children and parents who have wounded loved ones receiving treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Bethesda Naval Hospital or Malcolm Grow Medical at Andrews Air Force base.”

Mr. Graham offered that explanation in a letter to a potential big donor — or, rather, a big potential donor: documentary filmmaker Michael Moore.

“America’s soldiers have been very good to you,” Mr. Graham writes in an open letter to Mr. Moore. “Most of them don’t like you, but they’re prepared to die attempting to protect you from terrorism so that you can continue to crank out your profitable propaganda.

“They’ve done all this for you. I’m writing to give you the opportunity to do something for them. …

“The message of your books and films is that the American soldier is a victim. The soldiers I’ve spoken with at Fisher House vehemently disagree with you, as do the majority of my active-duty military listeners. However, we all agree that the soldiers who have been the victims of Iraqi terrorist violence … deserve our support.

“Therefore, I am writing to challenge you to give back just a small portion of the money you have earned as a critic of their mission. Your film ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ has grossed around $150 million. Our entire goal for the Fisher House this holiday season is a tiny percentage of that amount. …

“If you feel, however, that the money can be better spent on yet another trip to France, nobody will be surprised.

“You can send your check made out to the Fisher House Foundation, care of 630 WMAL, 4400 Jenifer Street NW, Washington, DC 20015.”

True unbelievers

As it has done for 200 years, Ohio’s delegation to the Electoral College is to meet today to cast ballots for president and vice president — but this time, there are demands that the electors wait until after a recount.

The Electoral College’s vote in the Ohio Senate chamber is expected to be accompanied by demonstrations outside the Capitol sponsored by groups who don’t accept that President Bush won the key swing state by 119,000 votes, guaranteeing his victory over Democrat Sen.John Kerry.

A demonstration was held yesterday as about 100 people gathered outside the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus to protest the delegation’s vote, the Associated Press reported.

Led by a coalition representing the Green and Libertarian parties, the dissidents are paying for recounts in each of Ohio’s 88 counties that will begin this week. The recount is not expected to be complete until next week.

“John Kerry conceded so early in the process that it’s maddening,” said Kat L’Estrange of We Do Not Concede, an activist group born after the election that believes that Mr. Kerry was the real winner in Ohio and nationally.

Zell’s new gig

Sen. Zell Miller, Georgia Democrat, will join the law firm of McKenna Long & Aldridge upon his retirement from the Senate in January.

Mr. Miller will serve in the firm’s national government-affairs practice, which focuses on government and private enterprise in such areas as tax, international trade, homeland security and defense, health policy, agricultural, higher education and energy. He will be based in the firm’s Washington and Atlanta offices.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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