- The Washington Times - Monday, March 20, 2000

The Sharpton issue

New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, responding to a question on "Fox News Sunday," expressed amazement at how the media have ignored or played down the fact that leading Democrats have cozied up to black activist Al Sharpton.
"It seems to me that Democratic presidential candidates embracing Al Sharpton is certainly as serious, if not more serious, than George W. Bush's situation with regard to Bob Jones University," Mr. Giuliani said.
"If you want someone who has a history of anti-Semitism, intolerance, racial hatred being fomented, you can't get much worse than Al Sharpton. And, I mean, the whole issue with Bob Jones University with some of the history of the place and some of the issues with regard to Catholicism and other things.
"Somehow, if a Republican goes to Bob Jones University and even apologizes for it, that becomes a four-week issue in the media. And if Al Gore and Bill Bradley use Al Sharpton to ask the first question at their debate a few weeks ago, that's no issue at all. Although his history of intolerance is at least as bad, if not worse, than the Bob Jones University."

Program shot down

"On the heels of the shootout between the National Rifle Association and President Clinton over who's grandstanding more on school and gun-safety issues comes this: The administration is refusing to fund a Secret Service program to help educators and local cops identify potential school killers," Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.
"Treasury bosses this year nixed the plan in favor of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms law-enforcement initiatives, despite Clinton's claims that prevention programs are also essential. James Johnson, Treasury undersecretary for enforcement, conceded to a House panel that it wasn't the best move because, by the time shooters are cuffed, 'we've already lost.'
"Not funded: the Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center, which studies school shootings to profile the behavior of likely killers. 'This really ticks me off,' says Rep. Jim Kolbe, Arizona Republican. 'The president talks about the need [for prevention programs] … and yet we don't find it in the budget.' Kolbe, a key appropriator, tells Whispers he and Democratic partners will find funds. 'This is a priority because it can prevent violence.' "

Ford's prescription

Former President Gerald R. Ford, urging peace talks within the Republican Party, suggests that Arizona Sen. John McCain would probably accept the vice presidential nomination if Texas Gov. George W. Bush asks nicely.
Mr. McCain repeatedly has said he would not want to be vice president.
"If the Republicans are going to win, Bush and McCain have to get together. And I'm an optimist. I think they will," Mr. Ford said in a taped interview aired yesterday on ABC's "This Week." "And I can be very frank with my Republican friends: Unless they move back into the middle, and have a big-tent philosophy, they'll continue to lose the White House."
Mr. Ford said that Mr. McCain, by attracting new, largely independent and less-conservative voters to primaries, "did a great favor to the Republican Party." In prescribing "reconciliation and a good, strong partnership," Mr. Ford said Mr. Bush and Mr. McCain must realize "that politics is a tough, tough arena. And you don't hold grudges if you want to win the big ticket."
Additionally, he said: "Bush has to be magnanimous. He has to modify some of his views in order to accommodate the views of McCain."
As for the running-mate question, Mr. Ford said: "I suspect that if Governor Bush asked him on a patriotic, Republican request, Senator McCain would probably say yes."

Down the Hatch

"It's time someone had a heart-to-heart political chat with Senator Orrin Hatch. Our first choice for the job is presidential candidate Orrin Hatch," the Wall Street Journal said.
"Only weeks ago, on the campaign trail in Iowa, the Utah Republican taped a scorching half-hour TV ad expressing his outrage at the Clinton administration's many legal and ethical evasions. But back chairing the Judiciary Committee … the same man forgot all that unpleasantness and whisked through two liberal judicial nominees, including one who had signed off on the wrist-slap plea bargain for John Huang," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"Will the real Orrin please stand up?"

The taxing truth

"Senator Connie Mack, chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, had a mischievous idea during the primaries: Since Al Gore was bragging about having voted against Ronald Reagan's 1981 tax cut, why not try to figure out where we would be if it hadn't passed?" Ramesh Ponnuru and John J. Miller write on the National Review Web site (www.nationalreview.com).
"He asked the Joint Committee on Taxation to calculate how much more Americans would pay in taxes if the 1980 rate structure still applied. And since tax brackets were not indexed for inflation prior to 1981 producing the phenomenon of 'bracket creep' as inflation pushed people into higher tax brackets even though they weren't really doing any better he stipulated that those 1980 rates apply at the same levels of income they did back then, with no inflation adjustment.
"The result: If the 1980 tax code still applied, individual income-tax liabilities would be twice as high as they are. (This assumes what is surely not the case: that incomes would be the same as they are under the present tax code. They would doubtless be lower.)
"Single people making more than $41,500 in taxable income would be paying a 70 percent tax rate on any raise they earned; ditto for couples making more than $60,000. People making between $40,000 and $50,000 would see the federal government take 26 percent of their income, as opposed to the 18 percent they currently lose."

Good riddance?

With jabs at former Reform Party figures Jesse Ventura and Donald Trump, presidential candidate Pat Buchanan told about 40 supporters on Saturday he feels good about his standing with Delaware's 280 or so Reform Party voters.
"We're making sure we have got a strong cadre," he said. "I think we've got a good core group here."
Mr. Buchanan's appearance in Christiana, Del., coincided with the election of a new state party chairman, William A. Shields, the Associated Press reports. The outgoing chairman left after Mr. Ventura, the Minnesota governor, left the Reform Party.
Addressing recent turmoil in the party, Mr. Buchanan said: "Jesse Ventura left the party saying 'I'm leaving because this is a dysfunctional party.' Well, he left, and now it's functioning just fine. And the great Donald Trump is departing. We lost a great statesman there."
Looking ahead to the Reform Party's national convention Aug. 15 in Long Beach, Calif., Mr. Buchanan said: "The Reform Party's becoming more cohesive, more unified, more directed. By the time we get out to Long Beach, it's going to be a united, small, energized party, ready to go into this general election."

Frenchman in a lather

Jack Lang, president of the French parliament's foreign affairs committee, says Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush is guilty of "legalized murder."
"I hope I never have to shake the hand of Mister Bush Junior, the governor of Texas, because I regard him as the perpetrator of of legalized murders," Mr. Lang told the France 2 television channel yesterday.
"He condemns to the gallows innocent men who did not have the means to defend themselves," Mr. Lang added.
The former socialist culture minister visited the United States last month to seek mercy for Odell Barnes, a black American sentenced to death in Texas and subsequently executed, Agence France-Presse reports.

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