- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 7, 2006

New leader

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, Texas Republican, will take over the reins of the House conservative caucus, known as the Republican Study Committee, the group decided yesterday.

Mr. Hensarling, who has led the RSC’s budget and spending task force, beat outKansas Rep. Todd Tiahrt. Mr. Hensarling will succeed Indiana Rep. Mike Pence.

The RSC is made up of more than 110 fiscally and socially conservative Republicans, and Mr. Pence said Mr. Hensarling will do well.

“Over the past two years, Jeb has been at the center of every battle where House conservatives made a difference for fiscal discipline and reform. Jeb Hensarling is the right man to lead House conservatives in the 110th Congress,” Mr. Pence said.

Conservatives believe Republicans strayed from their basic principles, and the RSC will play a key role in putting the GOP back on course.

“I have complete confidence that Jeb Hensarling will advance our conservative principles and help retake a majority in 2008,” said Rep. Tom Feeney, Florida Republican.

Martinez foes

The group English First said yesterday that it will seek to defeat the nomination of Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida for the post of Republican National Committee general chairman.

The 165 voting members of the Republican National Committee are expected to consider the Martinez nomination on Jan. 20.

“Senator Martinez is wrong on official English and wrong on amnesty for illegal aliens,” said Jim Boulet Jr., executive director of English First.

Mr. Boulet added: “During the 2006 election, Democratic candidates used a Senate immigration bill backed by Martinez to defeat Republican senators in states like Missouri and Virginia. Should Martinez win the RNC post, reporters will encourage him to do nothing but argue with his fellow Republicans about immigration and language issues.”

English First has set up a Web site, www.stopmartinez.com, to allow opponents of Mr. Martinez to contact RNC committee members from their state.

April debate

Less than five months from today, South Carolina may host the first debate of the 2008 presidential cycle, said Democratic Party Chairman Joe Erwin.

Mr. Erwin said the debate — which would feature Democratic candidates — would be tied to the April 27 Jefferson-Jackson Dinner and the state party convention the next day. He said he’s begun informal talks with television networks that might be interested in carrying the debate nine months before South Carolina’s first-in-the-South presidential primary on Jan. 29, 2008, the Associated Press reports.

South Carolina Republicans have already announced that they’ve set May 15 for a Republican candidates’ debate.

Hillary’s voters

“Now that Hillary has dropped the coy pretense of indecision that she used to justify her re-election to a Senate seat she no longer wants and has told friends that she plans to run for president, two questions present themselves: Can she win? And what kind of a president would she be?” Dick Morris writes in the Hill newspaper.

“She definitely can win … and probably will. She is uniquely able to expand the electorate to bring in millions of women, mostly single, who will vote overwhelmingly for a female Democrat. The feminization of poverty, long decried by the left, will finally lead unmarried women to show up at the polling place and vote their short-term economic interest and vindicate their gender bias.

“In 2000, only 19 million single women voted. By 2004, their turnout rose to 27 million. With Hillary in the race, the single-female vote will probably go up to its proper ratio of the adult population — 33 million votes,” Mr. Morris said.

“Can white men outvote single women? Despite the intensity with which white men tend to oppose Hillary, they can’t vote twice.”

‘Non’ over Mumia

The House passed a resolution yesterday denouncing a French city for naming a street in honor of convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Associated Press reports.

“We must stand together as one and send a strong message to the world that cop killers deserve to be punished, not to be celebrated,” said Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick, a Philadelphia-area Republican congressman who authored the resolution.

The 368-31 vote came a few days shy of the 25th anniversary of the shooting of Daniel Faulkner, a 25-year-old officer shot after he pulled over Abu-Jamal’s brother on Dec. 9, 1981. Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther, was convicted in 1982 and sentenced to death.

Abu-Jamal has become a cause celebre among Hollywood activists, foreign politicians and death-penalty opponents worldwide. All 31 House members who voted “no” are Democrats, as are all eight members who voted “present.”

In April, a street in St. Denis, a northern suburb of Paris, was named after Abu-Jamal. The resolution asks the French government to step in to change the street name if St. Denis opted not to. The vote was symbolic since the Senate is not expected to take up the measure before Congress adjourns this week.

Criticizing Carter

A longtime aide to Jimmy Carter has resigned from the Carter Center think tank, calling the former president’s new book on Israel and the Arabs one-sided and filled with errors.

Kenneth Stein, the Carter Center’s first executive director and founder of its Middle East program, sent a letter that bluntly criticized the book to Mr. Carter and others.

Mr. Stein wrote that the book, “Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid,” was replete with factual errors, material copied from other sources and “simply invented segments,” according to an excerpt of the letter published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Deanna Congileo, Mr. Carter’s spokeswoman, said the former president stands by the book.

Mr. Stein is also director of the Institute for the Study of Modern Israel at Emory University, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Carter issued a brief statement saying that Mr. Stein had not been actively involved with the center for more than 12 years and was not involved with the new book. Mr. Carter did not directly address Mr. Stein’s criticisms.

Mormon agenda?

“A few weeks ago, outgoing Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney spoke at the American Spectator’s annual dinner,” Lisa DePasquale writes in Human Events Online (www.humanevents.com). “His speech hit all the right marks — patriotism, national security and self-deprecation that was actually funny. I thought he was going to close with ‘And that’s why I’m asking for your vote.’ If there was a ballot box on each table, we probably would have given it to him. …

“The mainstream media set the agenda and by default people think the issues they see on magazine covers and on the evening news are the most important. When Time magazine asks, ‘Can a Mormon be President?’ it puts the issue center stage, implying that a person’s religion can hinder his presidency.

“In its cover story on Barack Obama, they didn’t ask ‘Can a Former Muslim be President?’ Or in the case of Sen. Harry Reid, ‘Can a Mormon be Majority Leader?’ The way the left celebrated after the election, you’d think Reid will be running the country. Apparently, his Mormon beliefs won’t hinder their agenda.”

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

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