- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 3, 2005

A failed ACT

“A few days after the 2004 election, America Coming Together, the giant pro-Democratic voter turnout group that had raised about $200 million from George Soros, Peter Lewis, and a variety of Hollywood moguls, released a list of its accomplishments,” Byron York writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“On top of it all, it had ‘launched the largest get-out-the-vote effort the Democratic Party has ever seen,’ turning out ‘unprecedented levels of voters in the battleground states.’

“It all sounded very, very impressive. And then ACT listed its accomplishments at the polls, and the results seemed far less impressive. ACT had ‘helped ensure George W. Bush’s defeat in several of the key states and made the race close in others.’ It had ‘enabled Democrats to take back the Oregon state legislature for the first time in 10 years.’ It had helped Missouri Democrat Robin Carnahan win election as Missouri secretary of state. And finally, ‘In New Hampshire, we saw wins for the presidential race and the governor’s race, as well as a gain of four state Senate seats.’

“And that was it. Soros and all his colleagues had spent $200 million to elect a Democratic secretary of state in Missouri,” Mr. York said.

“The question that hung in the air at the time was whether, after such a defeat, the big donors would continue to support ACT — to get ready for the next big campaign — and help it grow into an even larger turnout machine. And now we have the answer: No.

“On Tuesday ACT, which had already downsized dramatically in the months since the election, pink-slipped most of its remaining staff and shut down all its state offices. The money had dried up, the donors were on to other things, and the ‘largest get-out-the-vote effort the Democratic Party has ever seen’ was over.”

Cliffside Democrats

“A favorite quip in the U.S. Capitol is that the most dangerous place to stand is between Sen. Charles Schumer and a microphone,” Manuel Miranda writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“So when New York’s senior senator rose to the podium at the National Press Club last week to share his views on Judge John Roberts’ prospects to sit on the Supreme Court, he was both unimpeded and undaunted by the noticeably small turnout. While Mr. Schumer claimed the limelight yet again, his colleagues in the Senate were wondering whether they would follow him yet again,” Mr. Miranda said.

“The left is divided: ‘Liberal interest groups could not have imagined that they’d be on the outside looking in during what was supposed to be a battle over President George W. Bush’s first Supreme Court nominee,’ Legal Times, a Washington weekly for lawyers, reported last week. ‘But that’s what has essentially happened, as Senate Democrats chart a more moderate course without them.’

“Legal Times quoted an unnamed Democratic staffer who asked, ‘Do we have to follow Nan Aron off a cliff?’ Ms. Aron is the veteran borker who heads up the trial lawyer front group Alliance for Justice, and one of Mr. Schumer’s muses.”

Media cheerleaders

Democrat Paul Hackett lost a special election on Tuesday to fill a U.S. House seat representing Southwestern Ohio, but not before the broadcast networks and CNN all championed the candidacy of the Bush-bashing Marine who served in Iraq,” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker writes at www.mediaresearch.org.

“On ABC on Sunday, reporter Geoff Morrell recited how Hackett denounced Bush as a ‘chicken hawk’ and ‘the biggest threat to America,’ but instead of describing that as mudslinging, Morrell called it ‘candor,’ relaying: ‘If elected, Hackett says he’ll use that same candor to educate Congress about what’s really going on in Iraq.’

“On Saturday, CBS’s Drew Levinson touted Hackett as ‘a tough talker’ who ‘goes as far as saying President Bush is a greater threat to U.S. security than Osama bin Laden.’

“Tuesday on CNN, Bruce Morton noted how Hackett’s attacks on Bush have ‘angered some Republicans,’ but highlighted how one ‘Vietnam vet, who voted for Bush, is having second thoughts.’”

Byrd’s response

Eight-term Democratic Sen. Robert C. Byrd has responded to a Republican ad criticizing his record by putting out his own spot that says the Republican commercial is false and misleading.

The West Virginia lawmaker has yet to announce that he will seek a ninth term in 2006. More than a year before the election, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has begun showing an ad that assails Mr. Byrd for his votes against President Bush on national security and taxes.

The 87-year-old Mr. Byrd ran a 30-second commercial in response.

“Their agenda? Privatize Social Security and tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas,” Mr. Byrd’s ad says.

The spot also features Iraq war veteran and West Virginia University graduate Jared Towner, who praises Mr. Byrd for “bringing jobs to West Virginia, funding schools and hospitals, protecting our flag and supporting our troops.”

Clinton speech

Former President Bill Clinton spoke about his anti-HIV crusade yesterday at the opening session of the National Association of Black Journalists’ 30th annual convention in Atlanta, and took time out to stand up for President Bush.

Mr. Clinton spent the majority of the time speaking about his work in Africa, the Caribbean and Asia battling AIDS and trying to lower the cost of drugs.

“AIDS is 100 percent preventable; there are medicines to prevent mother-to-child transmissions, and one to stop the virus from spreading in the body,” he said. “We can do something about it, and we need to let people know we can.”

But Mr. Clintonsurprisingly backed Mr. Bush’s position against sending soldiers to the troubled Darfur region of Sudan.

“I don’t think it’s fair to blame President Bush because (a) he didn’t have the troops to send with our efforts in Afghanistan, Iraq and South Korea; and (b) the Sudanese government would not take or accept any other troops other than Africans,” he said.

On a somewhat more expected note, he also touted his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, saying that although he didn’t know whether the New York Democrat would run for president in 2008, she would be “the best there ever was” if she won the White House.

Wishy-washy

Democratic Party pollster Stan Greenberg said yesterday that “one of the biggest doubts about Democrats is that they don’t stand for anything.”

During a conference call with reporters, Mr. Greenberg said Democrats deal with “the same doubts they had about John Kerry,” the party’s 2004 presidential nominee. The issue arose as Mr. Greenberg discussed what Democrats need to do to stop Republican gains among Hispanic voters, the Associated Press reports.

Democrats’ lack of clarity was a contributing factor for the gains made by Republicans among Hispanics in 2004, Mr. Greenberg said, adding: “That stands out even more for voters generally and for white Catholics.”

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

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