- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 11, 2001

Disappointed Daschle
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle is one disappointed dude, according to a report in Roll Call.
"Amid all the ups and downs of politics and the rhetorical bombast of Washington, where lawmakers often verbally eviscerate their opponents for sport, Daschle has been consistent in his disappointment," reporter Ben Pershing writes.
"On Nov. 28, he said he was 'disappointed' with the White House's 'negative reaction' to his plans on supplemental spending.
"At a press conference the next day, Daschle was 'disappointed' that the stimulus issue had become so 'partisan' so much so that he used the term twice in the same answer.
"Similarly saddening to Daschle was a statement by White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey, who suggested that Daschle was moving a railroad retirement bill at the behest of the AFL-CIO.
"'I think that rhetoric is way off base, and I'm disappointed that people are using it,' Daschle told NBC's Tim Russert on Dec. 2.
"In the past year Daschle has also been 'disappointed' by the appropriations schedule, the lack of progress on a patients' bill of rights ('and, frankly, saddened' as well as 'dismayed, really'), the media's coverage of the stem-cell research debate, criticism of Democrats' stance on Mexican truck safety, the White House position on the Kyoto treaty, the report of the Social Security Commission, the scope of the tax rebate, and the 'millionaires' amendment to campaign finance reform."

Provocative reporting
"The Chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights refuses to seat a new member appointed by President Bush, bizarrely claiming the term of a sitting commissioner has not expired when under any normal reading of the law it has. Yet both the New York Times and Washington Post last week put the burden for escalating the problem onto the Bush administration," the Media Research Center reports.
"New York Times reporter Katharine Q. Seelye began a December 6 story: 'The White House set up a confrontation with the United States Civil Rights Commission today, declaring a vacancy on the commission and appointing its own candidate even though the commission chairwoman said a vacancy did not exist.'
"In the Washington Post the next day, Hanna Rosin led her December 7 story: 'White House officials provoked a confrontation with the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights by suddenly swearing in President Bush's new appointee late last night over adamant objections from the commission's chairwoman.'"

Adults wanted
"Will some adult Democrats please inform Mary Frances Berry, head of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, that last year's election is over and George W. Bush is president? Maybe then she will do her job and seat Peter Kirsanow, Mr. Bush's choice for the commission's vacant slot," the Wall Street Journal says.
"Instead, Mr. Kirsanow had to suffer the ignominy of trying to participate in the commission's proceedings Friday while Ms. Berry blithely pretended he doesn't exist. A 'member of the audience' may not address the commission, she intoned, when Republican Commissioner Jennifer Braceras asked that he be allowed to present his credentials," the newspaper noted in an editorial.
"We fully understand that Mr. Bush's election must have been a shock for Ms. Berry, who has spent the past 20 years diligently using this 'bipartisan' body to advance the political and social agenda of the most partisan liberals. …
"The results of election 2000, however, were too much for the chairman to bear. In August the commission drafted an unsubstantiated report charging that black voters were discriminated against in Florida and that Mr. Bush's victory was due to a 'pattern and practice of injustice'
"The Civil Rights Commission was created to promote racial coexistence, but Ms. Berry has turned it into a partisan tool of racial division. Her decision to fight the White House in court over Mr. Kirsanow's appointment is nothing more than a last-ditch effort to stir up more racial animus. Mr. Bush would do the country a favor by dismissing her, but then Ms. Berry would travel the country claiming to be a racial martyr. This is one case in which Democrats should police their own."

Keen instincts
"Triumph doesn't look like too strong a word to describe not only the progress of the military campaign in Afghanistan, but the way President Bush has managed the politics of it at home and abroad," Ronald Brownstein writes in the Los Angeles Times.
"The key to Bush's success may be that he has simultaneously expressed and restrained America's outrage. He's shown unwavering determination to exact revenge against Al Qaeda and prevent future terrorist attacks. But he's resisted pressure to precipitously widen the war (say to Iraq) or expose U.S. troops to greater risks in the hope of quicker results in Afghanistan," Mr. Brownstein said.
"The administration hasn't been as sure-footed on the domestic issues related to the war: Attorney General John Ashcroft, though mostly solid on substance, has been needlessly divisive in accusing his critics of aiding the enemy. But in conducting the war itself, Bush has shown keener instincts; he's been resolute, not rash. While Bush has displayed the anger virtually all Americans feel over September 11, he doesn't appear to be letting that rage shape his decisions. In the process, he has satisfied most hawks without frightening most doves, which helps explain a job approval rating that's still approaching 90 percent and the virtual disappearance of grumbling about the war from governments abroad."

McCall gains
Democratic voters in New York think Andrew Cuomo has a better chance of beating Republican Gov. George E. Pataki next year than state comptroller H. Carl McCall does, according to a statewide poll published yesterday.
But the poll also found Mr. McCall gaining in the race for the Democratic nomination, the Associated Press reports.
The Marist Institute for Public Opinion found that 43 percent of Democrats believe Mr. Cuomo, the former federal housing secretary and son of former Gov. Mario Cuomo, has the best chance of ousting Mr. Pataki. Thirty-two percent said Mr. McCall has a better chance.
Mr. Cuomo and Mr. McCall, set to meet in a Sept. 10 primary, hope to challenge Mr. Pataki's expected bid for a third term next year. Recent polls have shown Mr. Pataki well ahead of both candidates.
Forty-one percent of Democrats said Mr. Cuomo was their choice for the nomination to face Mr. Pataki, while 37 percent favored Mr. McCall. That is within the poll's 5.5 percentage-point margin of error. Twenty-two percent of Democrats said they were undecided.
A February poll from the Poughkeepsie-based Marist pollsters had Mr. Cuomo leading Mr. McCall, 45 percent to 25 percent.

A new foe for Lee
Audie Bock, the former California assemblywoman who decided to challenge U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee after the California Democrat became the only member of Congress to oppose the use of force against those responsible for the September 11 terrorist attacks, has withdrawn from the race in favor of Democratic Central Committee member Kevin Greene.
Miss Bock said she decided to back Mr. Greene, who had been involved in the Bock campaign, because Miss Lee was trying to turn the campaign into a "smear Audie Bock" effort.
Miss Bock, in a prepared statement, said she had "come to the conclusion that it is time for me to pass the torch to carry on the challenge against Barbara Lee. While I am proud of my success in changing her pattern of behavior specifically the silencing of her America-bashing a new face with impeccable credentials and my full support is ready to take over the effort to become a new and effective member of Congress for Alameda County."

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