- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 9, 1999

Buchanan conundrum

Pat Buchanan’s decision to run for president as a Reform Party candidate has raised doubts as to whether he will receive the hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer funds he was entitled to as a Republican contender, the Associated Press reports.
The issue is before the Federal Election Commission, which is expected to reach a decision this month, in time to tell the Treasury Department how much money to distribute after the first of the year to candidates accepting federal matching funds.
Buchanan campaign officials said they expect to get the same amount of money they would have gotten had he remained a Republican, but FEC officials and election-law experts say they don’t know what the six-member commission will decide.
“It’s not a slam dunk,” said election lawyer Kenneth Gross. “The bottom line is that the regulations simply did not contemplate this situation and there’s no clear answer.”
Mr. Buchanan qualified for the matching funds by raising $5,000 in 20 different states in contributions of no more than $250 but as a Republican.
Now that he’s seeking the Reform Party nomination, the question is whether he is still eligible for matching funds, or if he must repeat the qualification process.
And if he must requalify for matching funds, can his previous contributors donate again? Many already have given the maximum $1,000 to his defunct GOP campaign.

Over the cliff

“President Clinton has been a real stand-up guy on free trade until last week,” New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman writes.
“I know in an an election year he has to tip his hat to the AFL-CIO. But we can’t afford the full-body kowtow. Mr. Clinton effectively kidnapped the Democratic Party seven years ago, moved it into the Republican economic agenda including free trade, NAFTA and the WTO for China while holding onto much of the Democrats’ social agenda,” Mr. Friedman said.
“But his tacit ally in this was Newt Gingrich. As long as the evil Newt’ was out there with his extreme agenda, Mr. Clinton was able to hold the Democrats behind him. But what you saw in Seattle is what the activist base of the Democratic Party looks like without the fear of Newt. It is a wildly diverse coalition that, without strong leadership from the top of the Democratic Party, could really pull it over a cliff on free trade.”

McCain denies sellout

Republican presidential hopeful John McCain said yesterday that donations from telecommunications executives did not affect a bill he introduced that would strip the Federal Communication Commission of its power to approve telecom mergers.
“The position that I took was long before I received the contributions. That’s a fact,” said the Arizona senator, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees the communications industry. “I did not take the position as a result of those contributions. It’s simply not true.”
Reports in The Washington Times and other media have noted Mr. McCain’s ties to AT&T.;
Within two weeks of Mr. McCain introducing the legislation on May 26, 10 AT&T; executives had made maximum $1,000 contributions each to Mr. McCain’s presidential campaign.
Campaign spokesman Howard Opinsky last night produced a Jan. 18 article from Broadcasting & Cable showing that Mr. McCain was promoting a draft bill to curb FCC authority then.
He said Mr. McCain has backed and opposed telecom industry positions and no donations ever were tied to a legislative act.

Smith to run again

New Hampshire Sen. Robert C. Smith, who changed his party affiliation from Republican to independent and back again during an abortive run for president this year, says he will run for re-election in 2002.
Mr. Smith made the announcement at his Manchester headquarters Tuesday, the Associated Press reports.
The conservative senator, who barely beat Democrat Dick Swett to secure a second term in 1996, said he has heard of no potential challengers.
“My plan is to seek re-election,” Mr. Smith said. “I think I’ve done an outstanding job.”

King of the race baiters

Stuart Taylor, in a column in the National Journal, says efforts by liberal Democrats “to smear and stereotype their adversaries as racists have become so routine as to seem unremarkable, and so common as to suggest a strategy of spreading fear and loathing among black voters.”
And Vice President Al Gore “has become a leader of the race-baiting pack,” Mr. Stuart said.
“Again and again over the past two years, he has likened critics of affirmative action to hunters in a duck blind.’
“It went like this in his July 16, 1998, speech to the NAACP convention in Atlanta:
” I’ve heard the critics of affirmative action. I’ve heard those who say we have a colorblind society. They use their colorblind the way the duck hunters use a duck blind: They hide behind it and hope the ducks won’t notice.’
“Gore is clearly suggesting that advocates of a colorblind Constitution are closet racists. But that’s not all. Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby’s analysis is perceptive, if a bit hyperbolic: Hunters use a duck blind to kill ducks. What can Gore be saying? That affirmative action’s critics want to kill blacks? Does he really mean to imply something so foul? It is precisely what he means to imply.’ “
Mr. Jacoby noted that one paragraph after denouncing those “who now call for the end of policies to promote racial equality” Mr. Gore’s euphemism for racial preferences the vice president demanded to know their reaction to “that heinous crime” in Jasper, Texas, and to a 1997 crime in Virginia, where a black man “was doused with gasoline, burned alive, and decapitated by two white men.”

Clinton’s choice

President Clinton, during his press conference yesterday, was asked who he would nominate as “Man of the Century.”
“Well, this century produced a lot of great men and women, but as an American, I would have to choose Franklin Roosevelt …” Mr. Clinton replied, citing FDR’s leadership during the Depression and World War II, as well establishing Social Security and unemployment insurance.
Time magazine soon will choose a “Man of the Century,” and it is widely thought that the magazine will name Roosevelt.

Political epithet

Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Bradley, in an interview with USA Today political columnist Walter Shapiro, compares Vice President Al Gore to an obscure former president.
“Asked about Gore’s recently expressed goal of eliminating the $5 trillion national debt by 2015, Bradley likened the vice president’s approach to that of 19th-century President Grover Cleveland,” Mr. Shapiro writes.
“What troubled Bradley was Cleveland’s adherence to the gold standard, and the effect it had on contracting the domestic economy in order to artificially place value on the gold.’
“Grover Cleveland is not normally used as a political epithet. But Bradley had his history correct in conjuring up Cleveland as the epitome of a stubborn, economically conservative Democratic president.

Tax debate

Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation is sending its tax-reform debate tour to New Hampshire.
Rep. John E. Sununu, New Hampshire Republican, and Rep. John Linder, Georgia Republican, will go to the town of Bedford on Dec. 16 to debate the merits of a flat tax vs. a national sales tax. Mr. Sununu will champion the former; Mr. Linder will argue for the latter.
House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas and Rep. W.J. “Billy” Tauzin, Louisiana Republican, have been Scrap the Code tour champions since 1997, participating in debates in 34 cities nationwide. They will continue to be part of the organization’s Scrap the Code team.

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