- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 12, 2006

Joe, Ted and Chuck

“Let’s cause some senators distress,” Peggy Noonan writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“The great thing about Joe Biden during the Alito hearings, the reason he is, to me, actually endearing, is that as he speaks, as he goes on and on and spins his long statements, hypotheticals, and free associations — as he demonstrates yet again, as he did in the Roberts hearings and even the Thomas hearings, that he is incapable of staying on the river of a thought, and is constantly lured down tributaries from which he can never quite work his way back — you can see him batting the little paddles of his mind against the weeds, trying desperately to return to the river but not remembering where it is, or where it was going. I love him. He’s human, like a garrulous uncle after a drink,” Miss Noonan said.

“In this, in the hearings, he is unlike Ted Kennedy in that he doesn’t seem driven by some obscure malice — Uh, I, uh, cannot, uh, remembuh why I hate you, Judge Alito, but there, uh, must be a good reason and I will, um, damn well find it. When he peers over his glasses at Judge Alito he is like an old woman who’s unfortunately senile and quite sure the teapot on the stove is plotting against her. Mr. Biden is also unlike Chuck Schumer in that he doesn’t ask questions with an air of, With this one I’m going to trap you and leave you flailing like a bug in a bug zapper — we’re going to hear your last little crackling buzz any minute now!

“But what interests me most is Judge Alito, and his ability to just sit there and listen. To show nothing, like a stunned ox, or, as Sen. Dianne Feinstein put it on CNN, like a person with clear judicial demeanor.”

Downhill ride

“Since 1969, when his presidential hopes drowned alongside Mary Jo Kopechne, it has always been a pathetic peculiarity of modern American politics to watch Sen. [Edward M.] Kennedy indignantly lecture others about ethics and morality — especially on the occasions when he has simultaneously engaged in distorting records and smearing reputations,” Tom Bevan writes at www.realclearpolitics.com.

“But things have changed considerably since the days of [Robert H.] Bork. Democrats have lost 10 seats in the Senate since 1987, going from a 55-seat majority to a 45-seat minority. Conservatives now enjoy much more media parity today as well, making the campaign to defeat a nominee based on distortions much more difficult. And, generally speaking, a slightly more conservative public seems less inclined to buy into the same sort of dire, apocalyptic rhetoric Democrats have used successfully in the past to demonize Republican judicial nominees,” Mr. Bevan said.

“Nobody has felt, or suffered, the weight of changes in the electoral landscape and the resulting shift in the power structure in Washington, D.C., over the last 25 years more than Kennedy. He came to Washington in November 1962 as the brother of a sitting president and an attorney general and as the member of a party that controlled 66 seats in the Senate and had an 83-seat majority in the House of Representatives. It was the height of both his family’s and his party’s power, and it has been more or less a downhill ride ever since.”

Sleeping media

Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center, accuses the media of allowing Senate Democrats “to publicly commit character assassination” against former members of a Princeton alumni group.

“On Wednesday, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee harshly criticized nominee Alito because he once belonged to a college group that they falsely claimed was racist and anti-women,” Mr. Bozell said yesterday.

“The questioning was so intense Mrs. Alito broke into tears and had to leave the room because of the unfounded character attacks. And did the media set the record straight on the Princeton alumni group? No. Did the media interview the many former members, female and minority, for their views on the group? No.

“The media are allowing the Democrats to publicly commit character assassination and make a mockery of the confirmation process. The media have yet to report the true nature of the group, Concerned Alumni of Princeton (CAP), to which Alito belonged. As a matter of fact, ABC News adopted as fact the dishonest, liberal Democratic allegations about the supposedly bigoted agenda of CAP. World News Tonight anchor Elizabeth Vargas referred to Alito’s ‘membership in a controversial group opposed to women and minorities at his college.’ Yet, CAP has had as editors of its publication Laura Ingraham, a woman, and Dinesh D’Souza, a scholar at the Hoover Institution and a native of India.

Mr. Bozell added: “The media are failing to perform their duty of exposing the distortions being propagated by Democrats, which are ludicrous and unfounded.”

Robertson’s regret

Religious broadcaster the Rev. Pat Robertson has expressed regret that he attributed Israeli leader Ariel Sharon’s recent stroke to God’s wrath over ceding part of the Promised Land to Palestinians.

Mr. Robertson, in a letter hand-delivered to Mr. Sharon’s son Omri on Wednesday, said the press had ignored his expressions of regard for Mr. Sharon during the same broadcast in which he made the remarks.

“Regrettably, few, if any, of these heartfelt sentiments were carried by the news media in America or by the news media in Israel. However, I ask your forgiveness and the forgiveness of the people of Israel for remarks I made at the time concerning the writing of the holy prophet Joel and his view of the inviolate nature of the land of Israel,” Mr. Robertson said.

Israeli officials announced Wednesday that the nation had suspended contact with Mr. Robertson.

Spitzer’s rival

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who made some powerful enemies with his crackdown on Wall Street abuses and is now running for governor, faces a strong challenge from a fellow Democrat bankrolled by one of Mr. Spitzer’s fiercest corporate foes.

Mr. Spitzer has at least $12 million in his ever-growing war chest, national stature from his attacks on corporations and a commanding lead in the polls. But that may not stop Tom Suozzi, a brash Long Island politician, from getting into the race, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Suozzi, the Nassau County executive, has the hugely influential backing of billionaire Home Depot founder Ken Langone, a Long Islander who has tangled with Mr. Spitzer on Wall Street and has vowed to spend “as much money as I can” to help knock off the two-term attorney general.

Mr. Suozzi has yet to officially declare his candidacy, but news reports said he planned to announce an exploratory committee today.

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

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