- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 17, 2008

Honest John

Mitt Romney’s victory in Michigan is a testament to his remarkable elasticity,” John Podhoretz writes in a blog at www.commentarymagazine. com.

“Having spent two years running as a social conservative, which he is not, he decided a week ago to run as a businessman reformer. It didn’t carry him over the threshold there, but it evidently has in Michigan — where, among other things, the Republican candidate seems to have made wildly un-Republican promises to use the powers of the federal government to restore, through some mystical spell, automotive-industry jobs to the suffering state.” Mr. Podhoretz said.

“Romney may not have won in Michigan so much as McCain lost it. And he lost it because of a characteristic tendency that makes him Romney’s opposite — political rigidity based on a sense of his own personal rectitude.

“Having said jobs in Michigan were not coming back, he went to Michigan and praised efforts to mandate an increase in fuel-mileage standards, which auto executives claim will raise the price of a car fully $6,000 — a job killer, in other words. And he spoke against drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, which is the only realistic way for the United States to increase its own domestic oil supply.

McCain’s line is that he is a straight talker. But there are moments he seems to make a fetish of his own honesty, and asks others to support him solely because of it.”

Obama’s faith

“Since we first drew attention to Barack Obama’s Afrocentric church a full 12 months ago, other media have weighed in. And additional disturbing information has come to light,” Investor’s Business Daily said Tuesday in an editorial.

“At the core of the Democratic front-runner’s faith … is African nativism, which raises political issues of its own,” the newspaper said.

“In 1991, when Obama joined the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, he pledged allegiance to something called the Black Value System, which is a code of non-Biblical ethics written by blacks, for blacks.

“It encourages blacks to group together and separate from the larger American society by pooling their money, patronizing black-only businesses and backing black leaders. Such racial separatism is strangely at odds with the media’s portrayal of Obama as a uniter who reaches across races.

“The code also warns blacks to avoid the white ’entrapment of black middle-classness,’ suggesting that settling for that kind of ‘competitive’ success will rob blacks of their African identity and keep them ‘captive’ to white culture.

“In short, Obama’s ‘unashamedly black’ church preaches the politics of black nationalism. And its dashiki-wearing preacher — who married Obama and his wife and now acts as his personal spiritual adviser — is militantly Afrocentric.”

No to Huck

Fiscal conservatives are stepping up their efforts to deny Mike Huckabee the Republican presidential nomination, reports Stephen Dinan of The Washington Times.

Yesterday, four top fiscal leaders — among them former Republican lawmakers or presidential administration officials themselves — held a press conference in Columbia, S.C., to blast what they see as Mr. Huckabee’s record as a tax-and-spender as Arkansas governor.

The four — former Rep. Pat Toomey of the Club for Growth, Tom Schatz of Citizens Against Government Waste, Donald J. Devine of Conservative Battleline and former Rep. Dick Armey of FreedomWorks — said Mr. Huckabee stands out from the rest of the Republican field in his attacks on corporate chief executive officers and the rest of his economic message.

“The guy comes from the John Edwards wing of the Republican Party,” Mr. Toomey told The Washington Times afterwards.

The Club for Growth ran ads against Mr. Huckabee in Iowa, drawing a strong rebuke from Mr. Huckabee, who won that state’s caucuses anyway. The club also ran ads before Michigan’s primary earlier this week, and Mr. Toomey said those had some effect in holding Mr. Huckabee to his distant third-place finish.

“If you look at the actual results in Iowa, he only got 15 percent of the nonevangelical vote. In New Hampshire, he did worse, and in Michigan last night, he did worse still,” Mr. Toomey said.

Mr. Huckabee’s campaign shot back with a press conference and statement of its own arguing that the Club for Growth is funded in part by backers of presidential rival Mitt Romney, releasing a list of people who have donated to both the Club and the former governor of Massachusetts.

Best of the rest

Sen. Jon Kyl, the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, yesterday offered tepid support for fellow Arizonan John McCain’s bid for president, but said none of the other candidates represents conservatives on all issues.

“I support [Mr. McCain] because he’s a friend. We have worked together for over two decades,” Mr. Kyl said during a meeting with editors and reporters at The Washington Times. “I have some sense of where he would like to go [politically], and certainly, he has made some very courageous positions that could have ended his political career.”

Mr. Kyl, who last month replaced former Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi as Senate Republican whip, added that “this is one of those elections that for a lot of us [Republicans], none of the candidates represent us 100 percent.”

He described himself as “sort of a Ronald Reagan conservative,” adding that, “I don’t think any of these [Republican] candidates quite satisfy what some of us have looked at — and I say that with respect to [Mr. McCain], because it’s clear I disagree with him on a lot of issues.”

New constituency

Democratic Sen. Barack Obama says he won’t just be a president for the American people, but the animals, too.

“What about animal rights?” a woman shouted out during the candidate’s town-hall meeting outside Las Vegas yesterday after he discussed issues that relate more to humans, such as war, health care and the economy.

Mr. Obama responded that he cares about animal rights very much, “not only because I have a 9-year-old and 6-year-old who want a dog.” He said he sponsored a bill in the Illinois state Senate to prevent horse slaughter and has been repeatedly endorsed by the Humane Society, the Associated Press reports.

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