- The Washington Times - Monday, December 10, 2001

Chromosome fight
"Cathy Keating, Oklahoma's first lady, is finding it harder to win a congressional seat than many people had expected," John J. Miller and Ramesh Ponnuru write at www.nationalreview.com.
"She's running for the seat that Steve Largent is giving up so that he can run to succeed her husband as governor. She's got far more cash than her two Republican rivals the Oklahoman reported earlier this week that she had raised $820,000, almost twice what they've got combined. But the conventional wisdom is that she won't win a majority in the primary [tomorrow], forcing a run-off in January. The seat is safely Republican, so whoever wins the primary is likely to go to Congress," the writers said.
"Keating's just launched a last-minute ad campaign that suggests that voters should choose her because of her excellent set of X chromosomes. 'It's been 80 years since Oklahoma sent a woman to Congress. After 80 years, isn't it time we elected someone who understands our needs?'
"State Rep. John Sullivan, generally considered her nearest opponent, can't match her on this front: He has only one X chromosome. He does, however, have something she doesn't: a legislative record of cutting taxes and protecting the unborn. He promises to replicate that record in Washington. He deserves to win and if Republican women reject Keating's appeal to identity politics, he just may," the writers said.

Unintended consequences
Pat Robertson's decision to resign last week as president of the Christian Coalition "is not surprising, as the organization has been in decline for some time," Peter Roff writes in an analysis for United Press International.
"What is surprising is the amount of attention Robertson's departure attracted," Mr. Roff said.
"The coalition has, for some time, been a spent political force. It has, in many ways, fallen victim to its own success.
"Robertson's resignation is just 'the culmination of a long decline. [It] formalized what had already been occurring since 1995,' Marshall Wittmann, who once led the group's Capitol Hill lobbying office, told United Press International."
Ironically, opposition to Mr. Robertson and the group he founded ensured its success, Mr. Roff said.
Liberals "raised its profile dramatically by engaging in an aggressive campaign against them, utilizing the media, the political community and the legal community to help them do it. In a perfect demonstration of the law of unintended consequences, the campaign against the coalition only made it more politically viable. Its members found the opposition status they enjoyed to be a source of pride.
"'The energy behind the organization was in its opposition and its insurgency,' Wittmann says."

Jesse and John
"If John Sweeney is right, Osama bin Laden isn't the only one terrorizing ordinary Americans," the Wall Street Journal says in an editorial.
"It turns out that George W. Bush is also 'waging a vicious war on working families.' That, at least, is what the AFL-CIO chief told delegates at their convention [last] week in Las Vegas. Mr. Sweeney was only a warm-up for the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who the next day accused the administration of 'economic terror,' declared Attorney General John Ashcroft a 'threat to democracy' and called for workers to 'go back to the streets.' "
The newspaper added: "Perhaps Mr. Sweeney is turning up the rhetoric precisely because he's afraid his own rank and file may conclude that they rather like Mr. Bush. About 40 percent of them did vote for him last year. Liberal political successes in recent elections have depended on mobilizing a large union and black-voter turnout, and fewer voters bother to turn out when they're not afraid.
"Jesse and John may feel they have to shout ever louder that Mr. Bush is a war criminal at home the more he's perceived as a success abroad. But somehow we doubt America's workers are that gullible."

Buchanan looks back
Pat Buchanan, in an interview with Jake Tapper at www.salon.com, explains what went wrong with his presidential campaign last year.
"After I got the Reform Party nomination, my doctor called me at the convention and told me that I had to go in for surgery right after my convention speech," Mr. Buchanan said.
"So they took out my gallbladder. Then I had to go back a week later. I had an errant gallstone. It took four to five weeks; I was in and out of the hospital. And that was half the campaign. Then I didn't get the money, the $12 million, until late [because of a legal tussle over the federal matching funds due to Reform Party infighting]. And we spent most of that trying to defend our ballot position.
"I guess the short answer is I failed. It certainly didn't work out as we hoped. But having failed, I'm glad we didn't take down Bush with us."
However, Mr. Buchanan said he cost Mr. Bush "four [states], maybe. But I saved him in the fifth!"
Mr. Buchanan, referring to the famous butterfly ballot in Palm Beach County, Fla., that supposedly confused people into voting for him instead of Democratic candidate Al Gore, added: "I've got to get one of those, and get it autographed for posterity."

Hostile tone
"At Wednesday's White House press briefing former UPI reporter Helen Thomas demanded to know what makes President Bush 'think that he has the right to go into a sovereign country and bomb the people?'" the Media Research Center (www.mrc.org) reported.
"As the senior White House correspondent Thomas, now a columnist with Hearst Newspapers, gets the first question when she attends briefings, which isn't very often anymore," the MRC's Brent Baker wrote.
"On December 5, she took advantage of her privileged position to pose this question to Press Secretary Ari Fleischer: 'Ari, what makes the president I'm taking note of his wide-swinging threats in speeches recently. What makes him think that he has the right to go into a sovereign country and bomb the people?'
"Fleischer was baffled by her hostile tone: 'His threats?'
"Thomas: 'Any country. Yes, he's '
"Fleischer: 'Would you like to be more specific?'
"Thomas: 'Does he think he can go beyond Afghanistan or anywhere else?'
"Fleischer responded: 'The president has made it clear to the American people that the United States, in the wake of an attack on our country, will defend itself. And as a result of defending ourselves, you can see what is happening in Afghanistan. The president has said that this is a war against terrorism because terrorists continue to pose a threat to the United States and to others around the world, and that he is involved in phase one of defending this country against terrorists, and he will continue to do so. Major.'
"Thomas, raising her voice to cut off CNN's Major Garrett: 'What gives him the authority to go into other countries and bomb them, which is what he is threatening to do?'
"Fleischer tried again: 'The right as the commander-in-chief to protect and defend the American people.'
"The real wonder is why the White House still provides press credentials to such a political activist," Mr. Baker opined.

Just breakfast
"With much fanfare, President Bush recently inaugurated weekly breakfasts with Senate and House Democratic and Republican leaders," Paul Bedard notes in U.S. News & World Report.
"Insiders say they quickly turned into deal-making sessions on domestic policy and a clearinghouse on the successes in the antiterrorism effort. But when Bush and the House speaker worked on domestic side deals alone, other GOP leaders rebelled. Result: Bush has eliminated the domestic dealing at the breakfasts. 'He's not facilitating or deal making anymore,' we're told."

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