- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 27, 2005

Praise for Zell

Republican Party Chairman Ken Mehlman, who served as President Bush’s campaign manager last year, says that Democrats and the press completely misread the power of the blistering keynote speech given by Sen. Zell Miller, Georgia Democrat, at the Republican convention.

“Zell Miller got a better reception than George W. Bush did” when they campaigned together, Mr. Mehlman said at a forum with John Kerry’s campaign manager, Mary Beth Cahill, moderated by former President George Bush at his library in Texas.

“You saw, when [Mr. Miller] spoke, someone who was unbelievably sincere. You might not agree with him, but you saw someone who believed what he was saying,” Mr. Mehlman said.

That prompted the elder Mr. Bush to recall that the Georgia Democrat also spoke at the 1992 Democratic convention, the New York Times reports.

“Could I editorialize here about Zell Miller, who I like, but who gave the Democratic keynote speech knocking the socks off of me?” Mr. Bush said. “He was not, by definition, my favorite guy. But he is now.”

Abortion anchor

“Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has given a speech on abortion that is befuddling the political class. Did she, in her speech Monday to abortion-rights supporters, say what she’s always said on abortion, or something new?” Terry Eastland writes at the Weekly Standard Web site (www.weeklystandard.com).

“Clinton affirmed her long-standing support for abortion rights, as declared in Roe v. Wade. But ‘then she quickly shifted gears,’ the New York Times declared in a front-page story, ‘offering warm words to opponents of legalized abortion and praising the influence of “religious and moral values” on delaying teenage girls from becoming sexually active.’

“A day later a Clinton aide told reporters that the senator had said nothing new and that the speech didn’t merit A-1 coverage. So the Times was wrong to see the speech as an effort to reach out ‘beyond traditional core Democrats who support abortion rights’ — or was it?

“This much is clear: It would have been front-page news everywhere if Clinton had said that it’s time for her party to quit defending Roe v. Wade,” Mr. Eastland said.

“That would have been heresy to ‘traditional core Democrats,’ of course, but the truth is that the Democrats’ fierce attachment to Roe is a big reason for the party’s gradual decline. …

“As abortion-rights supporter Benjamin Wittes writes in the current Atlantic Monthly, Roe had ‘a deep legitimacy problem.’ But soon the Democratic Party swore allegiance to just such a decision. That meant as well a commitment to its disenfranchising effects, since Roe mandated policy. The party came to shut down dissent (recall that Robert Casey, the pro-life Pennsylvania governor, was barred from speaking at the Democratic National Convention in 1992) even as it advanced ever more strident defenses of Roe (no ‘warm words’ for pro-lifers).”

Panel shrinkage

New House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis, California Republican, is pushing a proposal to restructure the panel, eliminating three subcommittees.

According to House aides, Republican leaders are generally on board with Mr. Lewis’ proposal, a concept originally suggested by Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Texas Republican.

But the radical effort to streamline the federal appropriations process is not being considered by the corresponding Senate committee, spelling trouble for its potential effect on the House-Senate negotiation process for final appropriations bills, United Press International reports.

New Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran, Mississippi Republican, has indicated that he is not in a rush to make changes to the structure of his panel, setting up a potentially difficult conference situation as some Senate subcommittee chairmen would not have counterparts in the House.

Topping the list of likely subcommittee chairmen who could lose their posts is transportation-treasury subcommittee Chairman Ernest Istook, Oklahoma Republican, who has had a rocky relationship with the House Republican leadership.

Feldt resigns

Gloria Feldt, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, resigned her post unexpectedly yesterday.

“A statement issued by the organization gave no indication of her future plans or the reason for her sudden departure after eight years as PPFA’s president,” United Press International reports.

Karen Pearl, currently the chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Nassau County, N.Y., will step in as interim president, the group said.

Mrs. Feldt joined Planned Parenthood in 1974 and was named the group’s national president in 1996.

Immigrant game

Students at the University of North Texas protested President Bush’s proposed guest-worker program on Wednesday by staging a “Capture the Illegal Immigrant” game on the campus of the school in Denton, about 35 miles north of Dallas.

As part of the game, three members of the Young Conservatives of Texas “walked around campus wearing bright orange T-shirts with the words ‘Illegal Immigrant’ on the front and ‘Catch me if u can’ on the back,” the North Texas Daily reported.

“People were encouraged to find these members and ask them why the organization does not support Bush’s plan. The plan grants amnesty to immigrants with a job or job offer lasting for three years. … Participants who caught the ‘immigrants’ were rewarded with a … candy bar.”

The purpose of the game was “to bring illegal immigration to the forefront of campus debate,” said Michele Connole, a UNT junior and publicity director for Young Conservatives of Texas.

The game provoked heated confrontations with some Hispanic students.

“You shouldn’t make a game of these people who suffer for their families,” said UNT senior Kristy Cisneros. “It’s a mockery.”

Lefty ‘centrists’

“Democratic Sens. Tom Harkin, Carl Levin and Mark Dayton are ‘centrists’?” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker asks at www.mediaresearch.org.

“Writing a midday story Wednesday for The Washington Post Web site, about the Senate’s confirmation of Condoleezza Rice for secretary of state, reporter Charles Babington asserted: ‘Some of the Democrats who opposed Rice were centrists from states in which President Bush won or ran strongly in November, including Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), Mark Dayton (D-Minn.), Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).’

“After National Review Online noted the ridiculous label, the Post dropped it,” Mr. Baker said. “But then it returned in Babington’s piece in the Thursday newspaper, where he referred to Sen. Russ Feingold as one of the Senate’s ‘more centrist or independent members.’ Maybe Babington took his lead from CBS’s Harry Smith, who on Wednesday’s ‘Early Show’ insisted that Dayton is ‘not known as a rabble-rouser or a left-wing infiltrator.’ ”

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

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