- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 3, 2005

List grows longer

“We’ve got more names to add to the growing list of 2008 presidential hopefuls,” Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.

“On the Democratic side, pen in Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin. Allies say his trip south last week was the first of many to red states where he hopes to push his progressive agenda,” Mr. Bedard reports.

“On the GOP side, add rookie South Dakota Sen. John Thune, who took down former Democratic leader Tom Daschle. Senior Republicans say he’s being groomed for a veep or even presidential run.

“Include Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Insiders love his record of balancing the budget, boosting education and protecting the environment.

“Finally: ousted Environmental Protection Agency chief Christie Whitman, the former moderate New Jersey guv.”

Not so ‘bipartisan’

John Bolton, undersecretary of state and current Bush nominee for ambassador to the United Nations is ‘receiving so much bipartisan criticism that there is a widespread question about whether or not the administration was expecting the nomination to pass the Senate.’ So noted CBS News foreign-affairs analyst Pamela Falk in a report last week on a letter opposing Bolton’s appointment, signed by 59 former U.S. diplomats and sent to Sen. Richard Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” the Weekly Standard’s Scrapbook column says.

“Much of the news coverage of the letter inanely treated the group as ‘bipartisan,’ noting that the former diplomats had ‘served in both Democratic and Republican administrations’ — as is true of any Foreign Service officer with a career of normal duration. Which is to say, this fact tells you nothing special about the political views of the diplomats. As it happens, their politics run the gamut from left to farther left, and their letter is thus an ordinary partisan swipe at the nominee of a president they dislike.”

Backing Bolton

Former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, ex-CIA Director James Woolsey and 64 other retired arms-control specialists and diplomats are lined up in support of John R. Bolton’s nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

In a letter scheduled to be delivered today to Sen. Richard G. Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, other committee members and congressional leaders, they said the attack on Mr. Bolton is really an attack on President Bush’s policies, the Associated Press reports.

Last week, 59 critics of Mr. Bolton signed a letter calling for his rejection by the Senate, especially because of his opposition to the United States’ signing a number of arms-control treaties.

Bolton supporters said his stance “reflects a clear-eyed necessity of the real limits” of accords with other nations that demand one-sided terms from the United States. They included Max Kampelman and Edward Rowny, arms-control negotiators in the Reagan administration.

Mr. Lugar, Indiana Republican, has scheduled a hearing on the nomination for Thursday.

Finding ignored

“The report released Thursday, by the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, determined that ‘no analytical judgments were changed in response to political pressure,’ thus undermining a tenet of the left often repeated by the media,” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker writes at www.mediaresearch.org.

“But CBS’s John Roberts ignored that finding and instead lamented how President Bush did not comment on ‘how he felt taking the nation to war on such flawed assumptions.’ On NBC, David Gregory stressed how Bush ‘sidestepped any personal responsibility’ for the bad intelligence. Gregory asked the co-chairmen of the commission: ‘Does the president of the United States bear ultimate responsibility for bad intelligence on his watch?’

“While Gregory acknowledged that ‘the panel found no evidence the administration pressured intelligence analysts to reach any conclusions about Iraq,’ he noted that ‘the commission also avoided any judgment about going to war based on flawed information.’ After Gregory, Andrea Mitchell focused a story on how ‘critics say the White House and Pentagon wanted to attack Iraq and were eager to accept intelligence that made their case.’”

Process servers

“This month, Democrats may use procedural tricks to stop all Senate business and block a Republican effort to eliminate minority filibuster rights and jam through seven federal judges proposed by the president,” Time magazine columnist Joe Klein notes.

“The fight may be winnable, but it is a culture of law cul-de-sac. The Democrats will be shutting down the Senate over a matter of process rather than substance, a pinhead of principle most civilians will find difficult to understand. The Armageddon of confirmation battles — over the next Supreme Court justice — will probably follow soon after, and it may cement a public impression of the Democrats as a party obsessed with the legal processes that preserve the status quo on issues such as abortion, gay rights and extreme secularism — and little else. The political damage may be considerable,” Mr. Klein said.

“Oddly, a solution to the Dems’ dilemma may be on offer from liberal academia. ‘The hot new idea in liberal law journals is called popular constitutionalism,’ says Paul Gewirtz of Yale Law School. ‘It argues that legislatures and voters should have more control over government, and the judiciary should take a more subsidiary position.’

“In other words, issues like abortion should be put to a vote. This is an idea unthinkable to most Democratic politicians, who believe the right to an abortion is tucked somewhere in the Constitution — and also to the more extreme religious conservatives, who believe abortion is murder. That leaves the rest of us. And I imagine most of us would prefer some good, messy legislative compromises, hammered out at the state level, with the unimpeachable imprimatur of public approval. Perhaps it is time, finally, for Democrats to embrace democracy.”

Ad campaign

A new organization created to defeat President Bush’s plans for Social Security intends to open a TV ad campaign this week depicting the proposal as the tip of an iceberg that will cut benefits and raise the national debt.

Erik Smith, a spokesman for ProtectYourCheck.org, said the group will spend nearly $1 million to show the commercial on cable networks nationally over the next three weeks, the Associated Press reports. Other ads will follow on broadcast stations aimed at individual lawmakers of both parties, he said.

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

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