- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 23, 2001

Hillary targets Scalia

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the New York Democrat who has voted "No" on more Bush nominees than any of her 99 colleagues, is determined to defeat Eugene Scalia, son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

"Clinton, Sen. Ted Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, and other leading Democrats plan to attack Scalia when he testifies at his confirmation hearing before the Senate's [Health, Education, Labor and Pensions] Committee on Sept. 20," New York Post reporter Vincent Morris writes.

President Bush nominated Mr. Scalia to be the top lawyer at the Labor Department. He has served as a speechwriter for conservative author and former Cabinet member William Bennett, as well as assistant to Reagan-era Attorney General William Barr.


Shaheen ready

Democratic Gov. Jeanne Shaheen filed papers yesterday to create an exploratory committee for an anticipated run for the U.S. Senate.

"I'm taking a close look at this race because I share the concerns I've heard from so many people in New Hampshire," Mrs. Shaheen said in a statement.

The seat is now held by Republican Robert C. Smith, who is seeking re-election in 2002.

"Democrats, independents and Republicans all have told me that they want a U.S. senator who will be a champion for them in Washington and take action on the real problems they face," Mrs. Shaheen said.

For months, Mrs. Shaheen has been widely expected to make the step.


First Amendment foe

Rep. Henry A. Waxman made his reputation by stalking tobacco companies and Republicans. Now the California Democrat has bigger game in his sights: the national news media.

"The congressman apparently thinks Congress should have authority to review the decisions of news organizations," USA Today said yesterday in an editorial. "He is demanding that NBC News turn over tapes that purportedly show how its inaccurate projections of the presidential outcome in Florida were made.

"Unless Waxman backs down from a Sept. 4 deadline [to issue a subpoena], a chilling precedent could be set. If politicians can snoop into news-making decisions, they can use that power to avoid accountability by discouraging independent reporting. That's why the nation's Founders guaranteed a free press along with free speech, free association and religious freedom in the Constitution's First Amendment," the newspaper said.

"So far, that hasn't stopped Waxman from demanding that NBC turn over copies of an in-house tape rumored to show NBC's head boss, General Electric Chairman Jack Welch, intervening in the network's decision to call the election for George W. Bush."

Mr. Waxman, in a response published by the newspaper, said NBC must turn over the tape because its president, at a congressional hearing, had said he was willing to do so (but has since changed his mind). He also suggested that because NBC is owned by a corporation with other financial interests, the network must bow to the government.


What Condit wrought

"When Republicans lost four House seats from California last year, a few Washington, D.C., Republicans told us to look at the bright side: Having hit rock bottom, they couldn't lose many more seats from redistricting," John J. Miller, Ramesh Ponnuru and Ben Domenech write at nationalreview.com.

"Dan Walters reports in the Sacramento Bee that California's House members have struck a deal that bears out those Republicans' hopes. If the California legislature enacts the district map to which they have agreed, Democrats would probably gain one seat, but the Republicans would not lose any. (California's getting a new one because its population has grown.)," the writers said.

"When Gary Condit's district was safely Democratic, Democrats could contemplate moving some Democrats from it to the neighboring Republican district represented by Richard Pombo. But circumstances have forced them to shore up Condit's seat by adding Democrats to it. In general, Democrats had to make a trade-off. They could have sought a map that gave them an opening in more seats — but only by making existing seats less safe. They opted for incumbent protection.

"The map, concludes Walters, 'may doom Democratic hopes of retaking control of the House next year.'"


Bono gets engaged

Here's what Rep. Mary Bono did on her summer vacation — she got engaged to Wyoming businessman Glenn Baxley.

The California Republican and Mr. Baxley became engaged to be married last week during a vacation in Wyoming, said her spokesman, Rusty Payne.

"Obviously, she's very happy and very excited," Mr. Payne said.

The couple, who met through mutual friends in Palm Springs, Calif., plan a November wedding. She is the widow of former Rep. Sonny Bono and is serving her third term.


Gore's prospects

Democratic power brokers "aren't smiling at the thought of a Gore comeback," Time magazine reports.

"While most say publicly that it's too early to discuss the idea, in private many of them are dead set against a Gore-Bush rematch," reporter Tamala M. Edwards writes.

"'Al Gore is a wonderful human being, but he should not run again,' says the state chairman of a crucial Democratic donor state. 'Donors tell me they dread the call from his people, and I tell them to be candid. This is a message he's going to hear from a number of people.'

"Top Democratic strategists and fund-raisers blame Gore's loss not on the Florida recount or the Supreme Court but on Gore himself his lame performance, inept campaign and stubborn mishandling of Bill Clinton. But those close to Gore still defend his distance from the scandal-plagued president, and say they hope these next four years further separate the two in the public mind. One source close to Clinton says the former president would support Gore, 'but that presupposes Gore asks and I don't think he'll bring himself around to it.'"


End of debate

Pundit Andrew Sullivan finds little "free thinking" in the liberal haven of Provincetown, Mass.

"Tell anyone here — literally anyone — that you supported Bush, and they look at you as if you just confessed to murdering your five kids in a bathtub. (Actually, P'towners have more sympathy for child-killers)," Mr. Sullivan writes in "The Breakfast Table" column at slate.com

"I was at a dinner party earlier this summer, and we began to discuss Bush's environmental policies. One woman at the table simply refused to discuss it. She said that the notion that Bush had any environmental policy was 'ridiculous.' End of debate.

"I've been reading the Boston Globe here a little. It was bad enough a few years ago, but now it's pure propaganda. It's like reading the news as written by Terry McAuliffe. The most you can expect from political discussion is a recitation of Bushisms — and that's it. They even think they're being hilariously funny.

"I don't think rednecks in rural Alabama are more closed-minded than some of these folks. And they certainly don't want their ideas examined or engaged. Why bother when you're basking in the warm moral approval of all your peers?"


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