- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Ending the debate

President Bush’s choice of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court should eventually end the debate about his intelligence,” Peter A. Brownwrites in the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel.

“Democrats, who have long questioned his intellect, now must hope their rhetoric matches reality, and he isn’t smart enough to judge how she’ll rule once on the bench,” Mr. Brown said.

“Conversely, his supporters must take the pick on faith — trusting that she won’t be this Bush’s David Souter, whom the president’s father named to the court and turned out to be among its more liberal members.”

The CBS prism

“All three broadcast network evening newscasts on Monday focused attention on the disappointment expressed by conservatives at President Bush’s nomination of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court, but the ‘CBS Evening News’ went the furthest in reporting the selection through a liberal prism,” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker writes at www.mediaresearch.org.

“Anchor Bob Schieffer employed ‘rights’ language which put the liberal position in a positive light: ‘Social conservatives wanted someone who is on the record against gay rights and abortion rights. Many liberals wanted someone who is for abortion rights.’

John Roberts put the most negative hue on Miers’ connection to Bush as he asserted that ‘Miers’ ties to President Bush are too close for some people on the left and right. What looks like, they say, to be the very embodiment of cronyism.’

“To back that up, Roberts ran a clip from CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen. Unlike ABC’s Terry Moran and NBC’s Pete Williams, Roberts failed to point out (as did Gloria Borger in a subsequent piece) how Miers gave a $1,000 to the Al Gore campaign in 1988, but Roberts, using phraseology favorable to abortion backers, stressed her position on abortion: ‘We do know as head of the Texas bar, she fought against support for abortion rights and she was a patron of a Texas anti-abortion group. Friends say she is very religious.’”

Schumer’s silence

“While the media focus on [former] House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s alleged skirting of campaign laws to get Republicans elected, former Education Secretary Bill Bennett’s alleged racially insensitive hypothetical regarding blacks, crime and abortion, and Sen. Bill Frist’s recent sale of stock, a real crime against a black politician has been committed in virtual silence,” Investors Business Daily says in an editorial.

Sen. Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York, is chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), and it’s his job to get Democrats elected in hopes of wresting Senate control from the GOP. Michael Steele is lieutenant governor of Maryland, and the DSCC, and along with most everyone else, expects Steele to run for the open seat of retiring Sen. Paul Sarbanes,” the newspaper said.

“Steele, an African American, is a rising star in a Republican Party regularly accused of racial insensitivity if not outright racism, a party that thought so highly of him and his political future that it chose him to be the deputy permanent chairman of the 2004 Republican Convention. …

“Apparently nothing frightens the DSCC more than an articulate and charismatic black American who also happens to be a Reagan conservative. How else to explain the behavior of two of Schumer’s campaign committee members — research director Katie Barge and junior staffer Lauren Weiner — who dug for dirt using Steele’s Social Security number, reportedly culled from court records, to fraudulently and illegally obtain his credit report?

“Columnist Michelle Malkin has reported that as of Sept. 30, according to Steele staffers, Schumer, who is a longtime crusader against identity theft and denies any knowledge of the scheme, had offered no apology for the invasion of Steele’s privacy by people in his employ or given any hint as to what they were after or why they did it. …

“Can you imagine the media firestorm if staffers for, say, Frist had used Barack Obama’s Social Security number to fraudulently obtain his credit report looking for stuff to derail his Senate campaign? Frist would have been before a media firing squad faster than you can say Bill Bennett.”

No guns allowed

The Phoenix Fire Department’s Urban Search and Rescue team has been suspended by a federal agency, the Associated Press reports, because it brought armed police officers for protection on hurricane-relief missions.

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon called the decision by the Federal Emergency Management Agency “stunning, unbelievable, bewildering and outrageous.” City officials are threatening to refuse deployments in the future or pull out of the federal agency altogether unless FEMA changes its rules to let teams bring their own security, even if that means police with guns.

Phoenix’s team included four police officers who were deputized as U.S. marshals when they participated in relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. The team was credited with plucking more than 400 Katrina survivors from rooftops and freeway overpasses in flooded sections of New Orleans.

“We have an obligation to provide the safest environment as we can,” said Assistant Fire Chief Bob Khan, adding that his department doubts the federal agency can manage working conditions, security and communications.

FEMA relies on 28 elite teams like the Phoenix group to perform specialized rescue operations immediately after terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

Taming Sin City

Evangelist Franklin Graham told an audience that Hurricane Katrina could lead to a spiritual rebirth of what he called a sinful New Orleans.

“There’s been satanic worship. There’s been sexual perversion,” Mr. Graham said Monday in an appearance at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. “God is going to use that storm to bring revival. God has a plan. God has a purpose.”

Mr. Graham’s comments, reported by the News & Advance of Lynchburg, were made at Thomas Road Baptist Church’s Super Conference 2005 at Liberty. Both the church and the university were founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell.

“The good news is that God loves sinners. Jesus Christ is coming back, and he’s alive,” said Mr. Graham, son and designated successor of the Rev. Billy Graham.

Mr. Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse organization has about 500 volunteers helping put new roofs on houses and cleaning mud and debris out of homes in Mississippi and Louisiana, the Associated Press reports.

‘Dumb’ remark

Former CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite, in an appearance Friday on CNN’s “Larry King Live,” said Americans are too dumb to vote for the right candidates.

“We’re an ignorant nation right now,” Mr. Cronkite said.

“We’re not really capable, I do not think the majority of our people, of making the decisions that have to be made at election time and particularly in the selection of their legislatures and their Congress and the presidency, of course.”

Mr. Cronkite added: “I don’t think we’re bright enough to do the job that would preserve our democracy, our republic. I think we’re in serious danger.”

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

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