- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 25, 2000

Hiding their guy

"Leaving aside impeachment, which after all had almost no negative impact on Democratic candidates in the last national elections, it would be hard to think of a more ideal set of circumstances under which to run for president than the ones Gore finds himself in this year," Nicholas Lemann writes in the latest issue of the New Yorker.
"The economy is better than it has ever been. We are at peace. The Democratic Party has shed its McGovernite baggage. Gore's opponent has nowhere near his experience or his stamina or his impressive biography or his disciplined mind. But the people around Gore, and evidently the candidate himself, seem to believe that to present him to the voters as he really is a serious man who at every juncture has pushed himself hard, who cares about doing right, who has developed passion and expertise, who has a sense of the world, who has devoted himself to public life couldn't possibly work," Mr. Lemann observed.
"Instead, the play is to develop a position on each issue that is more popular than George W. Bush's a Social Security position, a prescription-drug position, a budget-surplus position and to out-aggress Bush, work longer hours than he can work, go at him hard, rattle him, and force him into mistakes. The Gore people are hiding their guy, in other words, behind a wall of fine-grained political calculation. Most of what Gore says in public is in relation to Bush, rather than about himself… ."

'The Perfect Storm'

Energy Secretary Bill Richardson was hit by the political equivalent of "The Perfect Storm," which sank his hopes to be Al Gore's vice-presidential nominee, New York Times reporter Lizette Alvarez writes.
In June, "a confluence of events the Washington version of 'The Perfect Storm' swallowed Mr. Richardson whole," the reporter said.
"On the heels of a scandal possibly involving espionage, two computer hard drives containing nuclear secrets went missing at Los Alamos, gasoline prices skyrocketed, and Congress turned on the former House member with a vengeance. In no time, two Republicans, a senator and a House member, called for his resignation."
Mr. Richardson, in an interview, remarked: "Now that I know [the vice presidency] is not going to happen, I can deal with it," but the reporter said he appeared pained and frustrated.

Vermont showdowns

Some Republicans may have signed their political death warrant when they voted earlier this year in support of Vermont's first-in-the-nation law recognizing "civil unions" between same-sex partners, Reuters reports.
More than half the 15 Republicans in the state's House of Representatives who voted for the controversial measure are being challenged in their party's Sept. 12 primary, reporter Kevin Kelley said.
Their support was decisive in the civil union bill's passage by a 76-69 margin in the Vermont House in April.
Three of the Republicans facing opponents within their own ranks are members of the chamber's Judiciary Committee, which wrote the legislation extending marriagelike rights and benefits to same-sex couples.
Thomas Little, the committee's chairman and the bill's floor manager, is among those targeted for defeat by a fellow Republican. Mr. Little, a Shelburne attorney, believes many of his constituents support his stand on civil unions.
"The sense I have is that a sizable portion of Shelburne residents favor some form of recognized union" for homosexual and lesbian partners, Mr. Little said.
One pro-civil-union Republican, meanwhile, has avoided a primary challenge by running as an independent in the November general election.
Richard Mallary, a former speaker of the Vermont House and a former U.S. congressman, took that tack, he said, to allow a broad range of voters in his Brookfield district to pass judgment on his record.
Three-term Rep. John Edwards, a former state trooper representing a district along the Canadian border, has drawn three opponents in the Republican primary, due at least partly to his vote for the bill.

Feinstein far ahead

Republican Rep. Tom Campbell of California has gained no headway in his bid to unseat Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, according to a San Francisco Examiner-KTVU poll showing that one-third of state voters still do not recognize his name.
Campbell campaign officials said they planned to unleash ads this summer that will help the centrist congressman turn the numbers around, Examiner reporter Marsha Ginsburg writes.
The poll, conducted by Del Ali of Research 2000, showed Mrs. Feinstein with a formidable lead of 57 percent to 34 percent.
The Silicon Valley congressman is "the kind of Republican who could win a statewide election, but I don't see a scenario where Campbell could pull off an upset," said Mr. Ali, whose firm conducted the poll July 17 through 19. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
The questions were posed to 827 registered voters who vote regularly in state elections. Republicans and Democrats were divided equally.

Godly motto pushed

Arguing that Americans should embrace their religious heritage, the House yesterday voted to encourage the display of the national motto "In God We Trust" in public buildings.

Sponsoring Rep. Bob Schaffer, Colorado Republican, said the motto "unites us as a people and has made us the greatest country on the planet. We should not run from it. We should endorse it and embrace it."

One lawmaker, Rep. Robert Scott, Virginia Democrat, spoke against the non-binding measure, which passed on a voice vote, the Associated Press reported.

The legislation states that the display and teaching of the motto should be encouraged because "nearly every criminal law on the books can be traced to some religious principle or inspiration." The resolution states the motto "reflects the national sentiment that we are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being."

"It should be engraved into our national conscience," said Rep. Ronnie Shows, Mississippi Democrat, who sponsored a similar bill.

Keyes' rally

Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes plans to speak at a rally in Boston today held by the Parent's Rights Coalition of Massachusetts in support of removing from the state budget $1.5 million for the Governor's Commission for Gay and Lesbian Youth.
The rally at the Massachusetts Statehouse is being held in response to a "Teach-out" sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Education, the Governor's Commission and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Alliance aimed at building more "gay-straight alliances" statewide and expanding homosexual teachings to lower grades.
The Parent's Rights Coalition of Massachusetts complains that the meetings introduce grossly explicit and detailed instruction in homosexual acts to children.

Pointing fingers

"Karen Adler, Hillary Clinton's Jewish affairs adviser and the author of an embarrassing campaign memo that became public last week, isn't exactly warmly regarded by all portions of the city's diverse Jewish community," the New York Post's Fredric U. Dicker writes.
"She's viewed as very pro-Reform Jewish and not so strong with the Orthodox or Conservative communities," a prominent Jewish Democrat told the columnist.
Mr. Dicker added: "Some close to Hillary were even blaming Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, an Orthodox Jew, for orchestrating the memo's leak, supposedly in a move to damage Adler. Those close to Silver adamantly insisted that he had nothing to do with it."

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