- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Society news

“Three years ago,” Manuel Miranda writes at www.OpinionJournal.com, “Sen. Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah) stood on the floor of the Senate and said: ‘Mr. President, I take the opportunity today to right a wrong. Over the past two years, members of the Federalist Society have been much maligned by some of my Democrat colleagues, no doubt because they see political advantage in doing so.

” ‘The Federalist Society has even been presented as an “evil cabal” of conservative lawyers. Its members have been subjected to questions that remind one of the McCarthy hearings of the early 1950s. Detractors have painted a picture which is surreal, twisted and untrue.’

“Here we go again,” Mr. Miranda said.

“Judge Roberts’ ties with the Federalist Society are not the story. If Judge [John G.] Roberts is not a member, he’s not a member. But the White House should not be in the business of appearing to disassociate itself from its friends. By running to correct media reports last week that Judge Roberts was a member of the Federalist Society, the White House created an issue where none existed.”

Anti-Byrd ads

The National Republican Senatorial Committee will begin airing “a sizable” television advertising campaign against Sen. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, beginning tomorrow.

The spot will mark the first campaign commercials of the 2006 election cycle for either side, Charles Hurt of The Washington Times reports.

Though Mr. Byrd is in his eighth term and won comfortably last time, he has not announced whether he will seek another term and is viewed by Republicans as vulnerable. President Bush won West Virginia by 13 percentage points despite heavy campaigning by Democrats.

Also, a recent poll showed Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, West Virginia Republican, within three percentage points of Mr. Byrd even though she hasn’t announced a campaign.

“The ad will simply state the truth,” said NRSC spokesman Brian Nick, who declined to say how much the committee would spend. “It will highlight the fact that Senator Byrd’s voting record has dramatically changed and calls into question whose values he is espousing in Washington.”

Strategy backfires

“Who says President Bush isn’t brilliant?” Dick Morris writes in the Hill newspaper.

“His maneuver in appointing Judge John Roberts has completely throttled the Democrats in the highest-stakes game of his second term,” Mr. Morris said.

“The key is that Bush has used the Democrats’ opposition to his district and circuit-court judicial appointments against them and made it a ratification of the Roberts candidacy. Simply put, by choosing a judge whom the Democrats confirmed unanimously when he was nominated for the D.C. Circuit Court — and whom they did not filibuster — Bush has made the Democrats impotent.

“The Democrats thought they were preparing for the Supreme Court battle when they hit on their strategy of filibustering Bush’s judicial nominations. … [But] by lending such a high profile to their opposition to Bush’s lower-court appointments, the Democrats have effectively denied themselves the ability to filibuster anyone of whom they have approved in the past.

San Diego runoff

San Diego has seen three mayors hold office this month alone, but it will have to wait until November to elect a fourth, the Associated Press reports.

Council member and surf shop co-owner Donna Frye led a field of 11 candidates in Tuesday’s mayoral election, but fell short of the majority required to avoid a runoff. She will face former Police Chief Jerry Sanders on Nov. 8.

With all precincts reporting in the nonpartisan contest, unofficial returns showed Miss Frye, a 53-year-old Democrat who nearly defeated Mayor Dick Murphy with a write-in campaign last year, ahead with 43 percent of the vote, while Mr. Sanders followed with 27 percent.

Earlier this month, Mr. Murphy resigned just seven months into his term amid a pension-fund scandal that has left City Hall a shambles. Less than 72 hours later, his interim replacement lost the job when convicted of corruption for taking bribes from a strip club owner.

Council member Toni Atkins is serving in the interim.

Another Kerry

Sen. John Kerry’s younger brother is mulling an elected office of his own after serving as his brother’s close political adviser.

Cameron Kerry, a 54-year-old Boston lawyer, plans to seek the Democratic nomination for secretary of state if the incumbent leaves to run for governor.

Mr. Kerry told the Boston Globe that he met with Secretary of State William Galvin on Tuesday. Mr. Galvin, also a Democrat, has said he’s seriously considering a run for governor and expects to make a decision by early fall.

Mr. Kerry said he is establishing a political account and has recruited several of his brother’s top fund-raisers in New England.

“I need to get a head start to level the playing field,” Mr. Kerry said. “I am not an incumbent with a war chest built up over the years.”

Targeting Daley

Local Republicans have offered $10,000 for information leading to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s indictment in the wake of federal corruption charges against dozens of underlings.

“We no longer believe, even remotely, that this guy wasn’t involved in patronage, which is just so pervasive in the city,” Cook County Republican Party spokesman Tom Swiss said yesterday of Mr. Daley.

Speculation has been rife whether Mr. Daley, often proclaimed ” ‘mayor for life’ and much admired by colleagues for his control over the nation’s third-largest city, will seek a sixth term in 2007,” Reuters news agency reports.

The state Republican Party said several party members were incensed at the bounty, calling it an unseemly political stunt.

McCain’s PAC

Sen. John McCain, often mentioned as a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2008, has reactivated his political action committee, known as Straight Talk America.

“He’s inundated with invitations and requests from candidates at all levels of the ballot as well as state and local party committees,” a McCain political adviser, John Weaver, said yesterday.

The committee will help pay for Mr. McCain’s travel when he gives speeches and allow him to contribute to candidates and party committees.

Mr. Weaver said Mr. McCain’s committee was reactivated in mid-July, the Associated Press reports. Mr. McCain originally started the PAC — named after his 2000 campaign bus, the Straight Talk Express — soon after suspending his presidential campaign in March that year.

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

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