- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 17, 2001

Courting Catholics
George W. Bush "has courted the Catholic vote more doggedly than any modern president, explicitly and often eloquently placing 'compassionate conservatism within the context of the Catholic tradition of aiding the underprivileged and protecting the sanctity of life," Ryan Lizza writes in the New Republic.
"The president makes a point of meeting with local bishops wherever he travels, but especially on visits to swing states. He has made Catholic leaders fixtures at White House events, and his political staff holds a weekly conference call with conservative Catholics. The reason for all this attention? Bush advisers have concluded that what they call the 'religiously active Catholic vote was the key to W.s narrow victory in November. And they believe it could bring him a landslide in 2004," Mr. Lizza said.
The article said that strategy paid off in 2000, when moral issues turned out to be more important than economics.
"On Election Day 2000, exit polls showed that 65 percent of voters thought the country was on the 'right track. According to political science models, this economic contentment should have presaged a decisive victory by Al Gore. But alas for Gore and for political science last years election was not a function of the economy, stupid. In those same exit polls, 57 percent of voters described the 'moral climate of the country as 'seriously off on the wrong track.
"Of those voters, Bush won two-thirds; Gore, meanwhile, won 70 percent of the smaller group that was content with the countrys moral course. This schism over values is one indication of the most striking demographic division of last years electorate. More than by age, income, race, or gender, the electorate was split in half by religion or, more precisely, by religiosity. About two-thirds of voters who say they never attend religious services chose Gore, while a nearly identical percentage of voters who frequently attend services picked Bush. As John Kenneth White, a professor at Catholic University who is writing a book on the values divide puts it, 'The more you attend church, the more likely you are to vote Republican."

The party oddball

"Lincoln Chafee was 11 years old when his dad took him to the 1964 Republican convention. There, the New England lad discovered a new side of the Republican Party: the conservative Barry Goldwater delegates who booed New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller off the stage," Wall Street Journal reporter Shailagh Murray writes.
"'The fervency, remembers Mr. Chafee, a proud moderate like his father, the late Sen. John Chafee. 'Id never seen anything like it.
"The gap remains just as great today but suddenly it matters a lot more in a Senate that is split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans. Mr. Chafee is now the junior senator from Rhode Island, and his opposition to President Bushs tax cut has been decisive in forcing the Senate to scale it back by almost half a trillion dollars," the reporter said.
"Those Goldwater delegates and their successors now form the Republican Party's mainstream and they arent happy. Since the tax vote, they have inundated the junior Rhode Island senator with a torrent of phone calls. 'Are you an idiot, or are you a Democrat, one unidentified caller shouts.
"Mr. Chafee takes the heat in stride. He insists he is still a Republican at heart. But if he is the party oddball, he is the oddball with the leverage to make or break Mr. Bushs legislative agenda."
A new poll in the predominantly Democratic state gives Mr. Chafee a 57 percent approval rating 20 points higher than Mr. Bush.

Yale and George W.

"Robert Rubin (L.L.B., 64) will be there. So will Tom Wolfe (Ph.D., 57), Anita Hill (J.D., 80), Wendy Wasserstein (M.F.A., 76), and Garry Trudeau (70). But, unfortunately, it seems that George W. Bush (68), Yales most influential alumnus, has decided not to show up at his alma maters invitation-only 300th birthday party next weekend," Jane Mayer writes in the New Yorker.
"This apparent snub has been keenly felt in the qudrangles of New Haven. Yale officials had hoped that the president might accept an invitation to speak at the universitys tercentennial Alumni Leadership Convocation, a weekend of lectures, panel discussions, and parties, to be attended by a thousand or so of the schools most prominent graduates. But it looks as though he has found better things to do. Instead, the presidents father, George H.W. Bush (48), the former president, will be one of the events featured speakers.
"Inevitably, there has been some concern that Yale may be more excited about George W. Bush than George W. Bush is about Yale. According to one alumnus, Yales president, Richard Levin, said the school had extended numerous invitations to George W. to come up to Yale for various events, and that Bush had accepted none of them. ('Ive got an ace in the hole, Mr. Levin supposedly joked at the time. 'Weve got his daughter a reference to the presidents daughter Barbara, who is now a freshman at Yale.)"

Rogan ready

Former Rep. James Rogan of California, a Republican impeachment manager who lost his seat in November, has sent top aides to Orange County to set up a campaign headquarters in the event that Republican Rep. Christopher Cox is nominated for a federal judgeship, Roll Call reports.
"Rogan is hardly the only Republican aiming to take Coxs spot. Businessman Mark Chapin Johnson has already transferred $1.5 million into a campaign account and hired an attorney and treasurer for his anticipated run. A moderate on social issues who has irked some conservative activists in the district, Johnson has retained Sacramento-based McNally Temple Associates Inc. as a campaign consultant," reporter John Mercurio writes.
"The Republican maneuvering intensified last week even as Cox downplayed rumors that he would soon vacate his House seat to take a federal judgeship. Speaking Thursday in Orange County, Cox noted that President Bush, aware of the GOPs slim majority in Congress, has studiously avoided plucking members for federal posts."
However, the district is considered reliably Republican, although that could change with redistricting in 2002. But a special election this year would take place in the present boundaries.

Cleland starts early

"Heres your problem. Youre a Democratic senator from an increasingly Republican state a state in which George W. Bush won 55 percent of the vote to Al Gores 43 percent. The other senator from your state is the only Democrat in the Senate to support Bushs full $1.6 trillion tax-cut proposal. It was a popular move back home, where people like tax cuts. And now you are facing re-election. What do you do?" Byron York asks at nationalreview.com.
"Start early and run hard. Georgia Max Cleland is one of 13 Senate Democrats who will face voters in 2002, and he the first to officially kick off his campaign. 'I didnt want any doubt in anybodys mind, Cleland told the Associated Press of his decision to start running more than a year and a half before Election Day. 'I want to serve again. Im ready to rock and roll.
"But so are Republicans, who sense that they might be able to pick up Clelands seat and break out of their 50-50 misery in the Senate. 'Theres no question that Max is vulnerable, says Chuck Clay, chairman of the Georgia Republican Party. 'To win, youve got to be able to paint his voting record as being out of step with Georgia.
"But Republicans have a problem of their own: They dont have a candidate to challenge Cleland. At the moment, it seems most likely that the challenger will come from Georgias House delegation; the names that are mentioned most frequently are Saxby Chabliss, Jack Kingston, and Bob Barr."


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