- The Washington Times - Monday, December 7, 2009

DEATH MARCH

“Voters are increasingly worried about unemployment, but Democratic leaders in Congress remain obsessed with passing health care reform,” John Fund writes at www.opinionjournal.com.

“Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin was asked recently if a health care bill would pass the Senate by the end of this month. ‘It must,’ he said. ‘We have to finish it.’

“Still, many in the trenches are uneasy about the sprawling, complex bill they privately acknowledge has no bipartisan support, doesn’t seriously tackle soaring costs and will increase insurance premiums. … Public support for the bill averages only 39.2 percent backing in all polls compiled by Pollster.com,” Mr. Fund said.

“But buried in the surveys is an explanation for the Democratic obsession to pass the bill: An overwhelming 76 percent of Democrats back it. ‘They believe the liberal base expects them to deliver and will punish them if they don’t,’ says Democratic pollster Doug Schoen, who worked for Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

“That fear is backed up by a new poll taken for the Daily Kos, the left-wing Web site: 81 percent of self-described Republicans say they are certain or likely to vote in 2010, compared to 65 percent of independent voters and only 56 percent of Democrats. ‘Democrats have simply not been given enough of a reason to come out and vote yet,’ writes liberal blogger David Dayen. ‘The left is waiting for that long-promised “change” they can believe in.’ …

“One Senate Democrat thinks the bill is bad policy. But last month that same senator joined with all of his fellow Democrats to bring the bill to the floor. The party leadership has made it clear that anyone who votes against health care will have a difficult time passing their own bills in the future.

“So the Senate death march continues. Many Democrats have grave misgivings about making the bill a top priority, given the economy. But in the age of bloodthirsty partisan bloggers, they dare not be fully candid. They can only hope their march doesn’t lead them right over the edge of a political cliff next November.”

HUCKABEE’S FUTURE

“A lot of Republicans were surprised [recently] to discover that Maurice Clemmons, the thug who killed four Washington state police officers, had been granted clemency from a long Arkansas prison sentence by leading GOP presidential prospect (and former Arkansas governor) Mike Huckabee,” David J. Sanders writes at www.nationalreview.com.

“As has been widely reported, Huckabee commuted Maurice Clemmons prison sentence in 2000, 10 years after he was given a 108-year term for robbery and other crimes. He also was charged with possessing a handgun on school property.

“The case was quickly dubbed ‘Huckabees Willie Horton,’ after the murderer whose pardon by Michael Dukakis may have cost the former Massachusetts governor the presidency in 1988. Huckabee released a prepared statement via his Web site [on Nov. 29], spreading blame for Maurice Clemmons by claiming that the criminal justice systems in Washington and Arkansas had both failed. Two days later, he tried to limit the damage saying that he ‘accepted full responsibility’ for the clemency, but adding that ‘if the same file were presented to me today, I would have likely made the same decision.’ …

“Arkansas Republican Party officials would not comment on how the weeks news might impact Huckabees future, but one Arkansas GOP political operative who has supported Huckabee in the past said Thursday that ‘anyone with half a brain knows what this means for Huckabees political career - his goose is either cooked or packed in dry ice.’ ”

COOL ON WARMING

“Slowly and mostly unnoticed by the major news media, the air has been going out of the global warming balloon,” Steven F. Hayward writes in the Weekly Standard.

“Global temperatures stopped rising a few years ago, much to the dismay of the climate campaigners. The U.N.’s upcoming Copenhagen conference - which was supposed to yield a binding greenhouse-gas emissions-reduction treaty as a successor to the failed Kyoto Protocol - collapsed weeks in advance and remains on life-support pending Obama’s magical intervention. Cap-and-trade legislation is stalled on Capitol Hill. Recent opinion polls from Gallup, Pew, Rasmussen, ABC/Washington Post, and other pollsters all find a dramatic decline in public belief in human-caused global warming,” Mr. Hayward said.

“The climate campaigners continue to insist this is because they have a ‘communications’ problem, but after Al Gore’s Nobel Prize/Academy Award double play, millions of dollars in paid advertising, and the relentless doom-mongering from the media echo chamber and the political class, this excuse is preposterous. And now the climate campaign is having its Emperor’s New Clothes moment.

“In mid-November, a large cache of e-mails and technical documents from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in Britain were made available on a number of Internet file-servers for download by the public - either the work of a hacker or a leak from a whistleblower on the inside. The e-mails - more than 1,000 of them - reveal a small cabal of scientists who, in the words of MIT’s Michael Schrage, engaged in ‘malice, mischief and Machiavellian maneuverings.’ ”

AT LONG LAST

“Two weeks after the scandal broke, ‘NBC Nightly News’ on Friday night became the first broadcast network morning or evening news program to inform viewers about ‘Climategate,’ but only in the most cursory manner,” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker writes at www.mrc.org.

NBC News correspondent Anne Thompson, “a long-time ally of the environmental left, despaired the e-mails may end up ‘giving politicians from coal and oil-producing states another reason to delay taking action to reduce emissions. The government’s leading scientist told Congress there is no time to lose.’

“Anchor Brian Williams had teased: ‘Climategate, they’re calling it. A new scandal over global warming, and it’s burning up the Internet. Have the books been cooked on climate change?’

“But neither Williams nor Thompson ever again used the ‘Climategate’ term as Thompson’s story assured viewers the threat remains while she saw - not a major scientific scandal - but merely how ‘those who doubt that man-made greenhouse gases are changing the climate say’ the e-mails ‘show climate scientists massaging data and suppressing studies by those who disagree.’ ”

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

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