- The Washington Times - Monday, January 29, 2007

Independent Joe

Further establishing his independent credentials, Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman said yesterday that he is open to supporting a Republican for the White House in 2008.

“I’m going to do what most independents and a lot of Democrats and Republicans in America do, which is to take a look at all the candidates, and then in the end, regardless of party, decide who I think will be best for the future of our country,” Mr. Lieberman said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.”

“So I’m open to supporting a Democrat, Republican or even an independent, if there’s a strong one.”

When asked about the candidacies of Democratic Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois, and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, Mr. Lieberman said their opposition to the Iraq war would make it difficult for him to support them.

“The positions that some candidates have taken in Iraq troubles me,” he said. “I agree more often than not with Democrats on domestic policy. I agree more often than not with Republicans on foreign and defense policy.”

Meth ‘myth’ money

Sen. Jeff Bingaman, New Mexico Democrat, issued a press release last week declaring that he was “pleased that nearly a half a million dollars he secured will be used to help educate New Mexico youth on the dangers of methamphetamine.”

The $493,614 grant was an earmark — the kind of congressional pork-barrel spending that Democratic leaders have promised to reform — and the recipient was Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) New Mexico, part of a national drug-legalization advocacy organization whose board of directors includes liberal billionaire George Soros.

On its Web site (www.drugpolicy.org), DPA criticizes “myths” about the prevalence of methamphetamine use, and accuses the popular DARE anti-drug curriculum of “scaremongering.”

“Alarmist media coverage and draconian political responses to the dangers of methamphetamine have been reminiscent of the public reaction to crack cocaine in the 1980s,” the group says, adding that DPA is working “make sure that public concern over methamphetamine does not translate into a new round of ineffective mandatory minimum sentences levied by politicians eager to appear ‘tough on crime.’ ”

In announcing the grant, DPA New Mexico Director Reena Szczepanski said: “The strength of this campaign will be its focus on credible, science-based information, rather than ineffective scare tactics.”

‘800th candidate’

Even Delaware Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. jokes about the Democrats’ crowded White House field for 2008, which he is joining this week.

“I’m the 800th candidate,” Mr. Biden said on ABC’s “This Week.” He plans to make his candidacy official on Wednesday, the Associated Press reports.

“I am absolutely confident, if I get to stand on a stage, sit in the room with all the candidates you mentioned, I’ll do just fine,” Mr. Biden said in a broadcast interview when New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards were specifically cited.

“This is a marathon. If people learn my story, learn my record, I think I can compete. The question is, can I raise the money?”

Still in hot water

The Weather Channel’s top climate specialist, who got into trouble for advocating the decertification of meteorologists with doubts about man-made global warming, is one of the stars of “Everything’s Cool,” a documentary that, according to the film’s Web site (www.everythingscool.org), accuses the U.S. government of “criminal neglect” and blames “right-wing think tanks” for helping to “defeat climate-friendly legislation.”

The political message in the film, which prominently features the Weather Channel’s Heidi Cullen, appears to conflict with the network and Miss Cullen’s recently stated goal of not taking “a political position on global warming,” Marc Morano writes at http://epw.senate.gov. Mr. Morano is an aide to Sen. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican, the former chairman and now ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee.

Miss Cullen is featured in the new documentary as one of the “global warming messengers,” along with many eco-activists and such Hollywood celebrities as Salma Hayek and Jake Gyllenhaal. The film premiered last week at Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

Still movin’ on

Last year, MoveOn.org’s political action committee raised more than $27 million, ranking second (Emily’s List was first) among all PACs, according to Congressional Quarterly’s Political Money Line (www.fecinfo.com).

But even after finishing the election cycle with more than $2 million cash on hand, MoveOn.org keeps raising more. The Berkeley, Calif.-based PAC sent out an e-mail solicitation just after President Bush’s State of the Union address announcing “a huge new plan to get Congress to stop the escalation and bring the troops home.”

In order to “have the resources to keep the pressure on, we’re asking folks to contribute $15 a month. … Can you chip in $15 a month? It’s easy — we bill your credit card each month, and you can cancel any time,” MoveOn.org told its supporters.

“The Democrats are standing up to the president, and there’s growing Republican opposition. But Bush is determined, and stopping him will require real courage from a majority of Congress. It’s not going to happen unless we all support the champions and give the rest of Congress no choice.”

Right women

Pondering the lineup for a panel discussion at National Review’s “conservative summit” featuring Kate O’Beirne, Kathryn Lopez, Michelle Malkin, Laura Ingraham and Mona Charen, TownHall.com blogger Mary Katharine Ham joked: “You know, sometimes when I’m standing around my kitchen in my RNC standard-issue apron baking cookies instead of working, it occurs to me for just one second how oppressed I am, as a conservative woman. I wonder to myself, ‘Why didn’t I join the party of “women’s rights,” where I could express myself and achieve something beyond the perfect pineapple upside-down cake and a couple young’ins?’ …

“If only there were somewhere in this movement for a young woman to find inspiration. Oh well. Back to my cookies.”

After attending the Friday panel at the J.W. Marriott downtown, Miss Ham reported: “The sentiment of all the panelists on Republicans was a tad, ‘Eh, what are we gonna do with ‘em?’ … The general consensus was we’re waiting for another Reagan, and we may be waiting a long while.”

Like old times

Jane Fonda must have rummaged around in her attic before attending Saturday’s anti-war rally on the National Mall. Photos show her wearing a large white button bearing the emblem and name of Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

That group, which included a young John Kerry, was notorious for accusing American servicemen of routinely committing atrocities.

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

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