- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 11, 2005

‘Sweet Neo Con’

Ah-nawld, Callyfawnia and …Jagger? California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger hopes to raise $50 million for his 2006 re-election from those willing to spend big bucks to rub elbows with the Rolling Stones.

The same Rolling Stones whose newest tune is “Sweet Neo Con,” a President Bush-bashing anthem.

Though Rolling Stones member Mick Jagger denied yesterday that the song is unfriendly to Mr. Bush, it contains these lyrics:

“How come you’re so wrong? My sweet neo con, where’s the money gone, in the Pentagon,” and “It’s liberty for all, democracy’s our style, unless you are against us, then it’s prison without trial.”

This cultural twist has not deterred Mr. Schwarzenegger. For $10,000, donors can attend a private reception with front-row seats to watch the Stones kick off their “A Bigger Bang” tour at Boston’s Fenway Park, while $100,000 will land the donor with the governor in his luxury box.

The event was arranged after lender Ameriquest Mortgage offered the governor 40 fabulous seats worth about $1,600 each.

“We were offered an opportunity for some tickets we could have for fundraiser purposes,” spokesman Marty Wilson told the San Francisco Chronicle yesterday.

But this doesn’t mean that Mr. Jagger suddenly likes Mr. Bush, or even Mr. Schwarzenegger. Mr. Wilson emphasized the concert “shouldn’t be construed as an endorsement by the Rolling Stones.”

Baseless Belafonte

In press interviews this week, singer Harry Belafonte dismissed the presence of blacks in the Bush administration by saying: “Hitler had a lot Jews high up in the hierarchy of the Third Reich. Color does not necessarily denote quality, content or value.”

Mr. Belafonte based his premise on the 2002 book “Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers”, by Bryan Mark Rigg, a history professor at the American Military University. But he got it wrong, Mr. Rigg said.

“Belafonte continues to distort history. My book shows that a number of people of partial Jewish ancestry served in the German military, but they did not even consider themselves Jews. Moreover, the vast majority of them were drafted — they were forced to serve Hitler,” Mr. Rigg said yesterday.

“In fact, many of them were later dismissed from the German military and sent to forced-labor camps, where they themselves were persecuted and some were murdered. Belafonte should take the trouble to read the books he cites, before claiming they support him. My book doesn’t support him,” Mr. Rigg said.

The Sheehan saga

“It’s easy to see why Cindy Sheehan, the 48-year-old mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, has become the new face of the anti-war movement,” the New York Sun noted yesterday. “But as sad as Ms. Sheehan’s loss is — and we don’t belittle it — she has put herself in league with some extreme groups and individuals.”

Among her sympathizers, the Sun pointed out: filmmaker Michael Moore, Code Pink, Veterans for Peace, Military Families Speak Out and the Crawford Peace House; Rep. John Conyers Jr., Michigan Democrat; Rep. Maxine Waters, California Democrat; and United for Peace, which is “flogging Ms. Sheehan’s story in the run-up to its big weekend of ‘civil disobedience’ and ‘direct action’ next month in Washington.”

And while liberal-leaning watchdog Media Matters for America tracked Mrs. Sheehan’s story as “a lie through the conservative media,” Matt Drudge was selected as the conduit for a message from the greater Sheehan family. In an e-mail to Mr. Drudge, the family wrote yesterday:

“The Sheehan Family lost our beloved Casey in the Iraq War and we have been silently, respectfully grieving. We do not agree with the political motivations and publicity tactics of Cindy Sheehan. She now appears to be promoting her own personal agenda and notoriety at the the expense of her son’s good name and reputation. The rest of the Sheehan Family supports the troops, our country, and our President, silently, with prayer and respect. — Sincerely, Casey Sheehan’s grandparents, aunts, uncles and numerous cousins.”

Impending catfight

Jeanine Pirro, the Westchester County district attorney who is the latest Republican challenger to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, has a splendid lead in at least one poll, anyway. She’s the darling over at Vote.com — an online site gauging issues du jour, managed by none other than former Clinton adviser Dick Morris.

Can Mrs. Pirro beat Mrs. Clinton? Of the about 2,300 respondents, 83 percent said yes, she was “a formidable candidate against Hillary.”

Newtie in 2008

Newt Gingrich is returning to Iowa today, poised for a weekend loaded with politically charged events. Is there a whiff of the White House in the air?

“We are seeing a definite interest,” Kim Schmett, a local Republican and chief of staff for former Iowa Rep. Greg Ganske, told the Des Moines Register yesterday.

Mr. Gingrich will meet with Rotarians, former Gov. Terry Branstad, U.S. House candidate Jeff Lamberti and, of course, attend the Iowa State Fair.

“A lot of the Republican base — particularly if we’re looking at the caucuses, where you are dealing with activists — really views Newt Gingrich as the founder of the modern Republican Party,” Mr. Schmett said. “Because of that, you have that activist base and staunch Republican leadership that has a high degree of respect for him.”

Mr. Gingrich, 61, served in the House for 20 years and was speaker from 1995 until 1999, when he left Congress.

But there is no official posturing. “His answer is the same,” spokesman Rick Tyler insisted. “He’s conditioning the battlefield of ideas, speaking to activists and party leaders, trying to get people to talk about the issues.”

Woes of ARMPAC

A federal audit of Americans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee (ARMPAC) — a political fundraising committee founded by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay — found that it incorrectly paid for some activities with money from another DeLay-connected political committee and failed to report $322,306 owed to 25 vendors.

ARMPAC’s state, nonfederal division paid some expenses and costs for events and activities that should have been paid by ARMPAC, according to the report, which said that “a payment from the federal account to the non-federal account may be required.”

The Federal Election Commission audit of the committee was posted yesterday at PoliticalMoneyLine.com, a Web site that tracks political fundraising and spending.

The audit’s contents were made available earlier to ARMPAC officials, who filed corrected reports on contributions and spending in May and June. In the meantime, a spokesman for Mr. DeLay’s office referred calls to ARMPAC, according to the Associated Press. Attorneys for Mr. DeLay could not be contacted.

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

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