- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Blogberg

When Ralph Z. Hallow of The Washington Times reported that New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was prepared to spend $1 billion for a third-party presidential campaign, bloggers reacted both seriously and sarcastically.

“Polls thus far have shown a third-party Bloomberg bid would draw more Republican votes than Democratic ones,” Garance Franke-Ruta wrote at the liberal blog Tapped (www.prospect.org/weblog). “A Bloomberg entry would raise the specter of an unprecedented all New Yorker race, if Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani win their primaries, as well as the effective obliteration of campaign-finance laws as we know them.”

David Weigel of Reason magazine added that “our campaign-finance laws are already imploding because the two parties’ front-runners are opting out of the public-financing system. A Bloomberg run doesn’t really change that.”

Ace of Spades (ace.mu.nu) remarked: “One billion just to keep the Republicans from having any chance at all of taking the White House? This guy could teach George Soros a thing or two about commitment.”

At Instapundit.com, Glenn Reynolds asked, “What will his slogan be? ‘More nannyish than both major parties put together?’ Or maybe: ‘Making America like Singapore, only more so?’ ”

At NationalReview.com, John Podhoretz was skeptical: “Why can’t Bloomberg win? First, because independents can’t win. Second, because he’s a Jew. Third, because he’s too short. Fourth, because he’s way, way, way too rich. Fifth, because, I mean, come on. Sixth, because, I mean, really.”

“America does not need another rich guy who is clueless about the government running for president,” said Don Surber of the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail, before having second thoughts. “That said, does he need a speechwriter? I could write a few for a million or so bucks.”

Hero on the left

“In late April, the left-wing activist Web site DailyKos asked its readers to evaluate the performance ofSenate Majority Leader Harry Reid,” Byron York writes at www.nationalreview.com.

“Nearly 22,000 so-called Kossacks voted, and the verdict was overwhelming: Almost 90 percent approved of Reid’s work. ‘Sen. Reid, I love you,’ wrote one admirer, asking that Reid write something for DailyKos ‘so we can shower you with mojo & love.’

“At about the same time, The Washington Post’s David Broder, the longtime ‘dean’ of the Washington press corps, issued his own evaluation of Reid’s work. In an uncharacteristically biting column focused on Reid’s comment that the war in Iraq ‘is lost,’ Broder called Reid a ‘continuing embarrassment, thanks to his amateurish performance.’ A ‘long list’ of senators, including some from Reid’s Democratic caucus, Broder said, are ready for the majority leader’s ‘exhibition of ineptitude to end.’

“It would be hard to find more telling examples of the two worlds of Harry Reid. On one hand, the far-flung ‘netroots,’ the loudest and most uncompromising force in Democratic politics today, love their ‘Give ‘em hell Harry.’ On the other, Washington moderates, including some Democrats, are offended by his shoot-from-the-hip, gaffe-a-minute style. And there have been rumblings, not just from Broder, that Reid might be in trouble.

“Is that true? Is Reid’s ‘exhibition of ineptitude’ about to end? Not by a long shot,” Mr. York said.

Dueling timetables

“There is a serious and widening disconnect between the timetables that commanders are using to guide their actions in Iraq and those being demanded by politicians in Washington,” Max Boot writes in the Wall Street Journal.

Gen. David Petraeus and Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, the senior U.S. commanders in Iraq, are quite properly planning for the troop ‘surge’ to extend well into next year. That’s why the Pentagon has alerted 10 combat brigades with some 40,000 soldiers to get ready to deploy in August. They will be needed to replace troops rotating home,” Mr. Boot said.

“Back home, however, politicians are demanding results in the next few months — or else. And not just Democrats. House Minority Leader John A. Boehner has said that if they don’t see progress by the fall, even House Republicans will start demanding a Plan B for Iraq, which would presumably involve pulling troops out, not sending more. That message was reinforced by the group of 11 House Republicans who visited the White House last week.

Crossing the line

Rep. William J. Jefferson’s attorney told federal judges yesterday that last year’s FBI raid on the congressman’s office had grave implications for the independence of the legislative branch, and he asked the court to declare the search unconstitutional, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Jefferson, Louisiana Democrat, has said the Justice Department crossed the line when it raided his office in a bribery investigation. His attorney, Robert P. Trout, argued that point before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Mr. Trout said nearly 19,000 pages of documents and electronic files seized by prosecutors and the FBI are covered by the constitutional principle that the executive branch may not use its law-enforcement powers to infringe on the independence of the legislative branch.

The raid was part of a 16-month international investigation of Mr. Jefferson, who is suspected of accepting $100,000 from a telecommunications businessman, $90,000 of which was later recovered from a freezer in the congressman’s Louisiana home.

Dodd’s ad

Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, in a first for a Democratic presidential candidate, will begin airing a television commercial that criticizes his Democratic rivals for not embracing a plan to cut off money for the war in Iraq.

“I’m fighting for the only responsible measure in Congress that would take away the president’s blank check and set a timetable to bring our troops home,” the Connecticut senator says in the ad. “Unfortunately, my colleagues running for president have not joined me.”

Mr. Dodd’s ad refers to his support for legislation offered by Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin. The bill would stop paying for the war and withdraw virtually all U.S. troops by March 31, 2008.

Until now, candidates have avoided public confrontations with contenders from the same party, emphasizing instead their personal biographies. But Iraq is the leading issue in the campaign, particularly in the Democratic contest.

Mr. Dodd is spending more than $120,000 in the ad campaign, which will air in Iowa, New Hampshire and on national cable TV.

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

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