- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 12, 2001

Racial profiling

One of the ironies of the impasse between the White House and Civil Rights Commission Chairman Mary Frances Berry over the seating of a Republican member is that nominee Peter Kirsanow is black, John H. McWhorter writes in the Wall Street Journal.

"But for Ms. Berry, he is apparently not black in the sense she would consider authentic," said Mr. McWhorter, a linguistics professor at the University of California and author of "Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America."

"Mr. Kirsanow is a member of the Center for New Black Leadership, a Washington, D.C.-based organization presenting an alternative to the empty histrionics of those that fashion themselves the heirs of Thurgood Marshall and Martin Luther King. Black liberals often deride blacks opposed to the Jesse Jackson 'uplift' model as sellouts too naive or opportunistic to see the cosmic truth in a victim-centered ideology.

"But few of these critics take the opportunity to examine the black conservative program, much less to consider that it squares better with improving the lives of black people than anything Ms. Berry and her ilk have ever proposed."

Condit's 'dare'

Rep. Gary A. Condit calls himself an underdog and dares his political opponents to make an issue of his relationship with missing former intern Chandra Levy, according to an interview published yesterday in the Los Angeles Times.

The California Democrat, who has never expressly acknowledged an affair with Miss Levy, said the furor surrounding her disappearance last summer was a media fabrication and that he would not let "the pundits and talking heads" chase him away from the race.

Mr. Condit, 53, officially started his bid Friday, less than an hour before the deadline for registering his candidacy, telling reporters he believed his long years of service for central California would stand him in good stead in the Democratic primary in March.

Mr. Condit sounded alternately bitter, defiant and deflated as he said he came close to stepping aside rather than fighting to keep his congressional seat, reporter Mark Z. Barabak writes.

"It was not an easy call," Mr. Condit said, adding that he decided it would be best to let the people decide his political fate. "I don't know that I could be comfortable letting the national press, the people in Washington, D.C., the pundits and the talking heads determine my decision."

Condit's decision

"No one ever accused [Democratic] Rep. Gary A. Condit of sensitivity and discernment in his dodging of public accountability over his 'very close' relationship with and the disappearance of Washington intern Chandra Levy," the Los Angeles Times says.

"After all the whispers, articles and broadcast reports, unanswered questions, police searches, the melting of party and poll support, four police and FBI interviews and an ongoing grand jury investigation, the Central Valley Democrat announced he'll seek an eighth term in Congress. What part of 'Don't run' does he not understand?" the newspaper asked in an editorial.

"The congressman submitted the required petition signatures. But Democratic Party leaders, wisely worried about losing a valuable seat in the national struggle for House control, have quietly headed toward the exits, suggesting there will be a crippling drought of primary funds. History does show some re-elections after major scandals., even deadly ones; Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's electoral success after the death of Mary Jo Kopechne is Exhibit A. But the real question is whether Condit should run again. Clearly the answer is: No. Still."

Oklahoma race

State Rep. John Sullivan easily outpaced Oklahoma first lady Cathy Keating in the race to succeed U.S. Rep. Steve Largent, but she received enough of the vote in yesterday's Republican primary to force a runoff election next month.

Former Tulsa school board member Doug Dodd easily won the Democratic primary with 89 percent of the vote. Mr. Largent is resigning to run for governor.

According to the Associated Press, the final unofficial vote totals showed Mr. Sullivan had 46 percent, or 19,018 votes, and Mrs. Keating, wife of Gov. Frank Keating, had 30 percent, or 12,736 votes. Since Mr. Sullivan failed to get more than 50 percent of the vote, he will have to face Mr. Keating in a Jan. 8 runoff. The general election will be held Feb. 12.

A learning experience

"For a labor union that touts its organizing power, it was nothing short of embarrassing. The Massachusetts AFL-CIO last week failed to gather enough signatures to put a proposal to tie the minimum wage to inflation on next year's ballot," the Boston Globe reports.

"The union had already abandoned its plans to place a paid family leave proposal before the voters. Meanwhile, an obscure effort to ban the killing of horses for human consumption appears likely to make it to the voters next fall," the newspaper said.

"AFL-CIO organizers said they cobbled together enough signatures for the minimum wage initiative, but fewer than the requisite 57,100 proved certifiable. 'This was our first experience with ballot initiatives, and it was a real learning experience for us,' said Kathleen A. Casavant, treasurer of the state AFL-CIO."

Mixed signals

"Has anyone noticed the mixed signals coming from the liberal side of America's political spectrum?" James Taranto asks at OpinionJournal.com

"On the one hand, as Sen. Chuck Schumer argues in [yesterdays] Washington Post, the war is supposed to increase the appeal of and need for big government: 'The tectonic plates beneath us are inexorably moving us to larger federal involvement. Surveys show that the American people are willing to cede more authority and dollars to Washington to do such things as tighten borders, make the skies safer and shore up our public health systems. … The "new" New Deal is upon us. The president can either lead the charge or be run over by it.'

"Since September 11 we've heard lots of commentary like this from the left, and while there's no small element of opportunism in it, there is some validity to the basic point. Wartime does call for a more activist government, for the simple reason that national defense is the one governmental function almost everyone can agree is legitimate and necessary," Mr. Taranto said.

"The problem is that at the same time guys like Schumer are singing the praises of big government, other liberals, like his colleague Sen. Pat Leahy, are engaging in hysterical antigovernment rhetoric, warning that the government is running roughshod over civil liberties, 'shredding the Constitution' you know the litany."

Tit for tat

"The president is being asked by the National Right to Work Committee to withdraw the nomination of Dennis Walsh to the National Labor Relations Board," United Press International reports in its "Capital Comment" column.

"The committee says that since Walsh, a Democrat, was paired with a Republican, J. Robert Brame, who withdrew his name from consideration after he became a political hot potato, the Walsh nomination should also be stopped before Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., can rush it to the floor, throwing the partisan alignment on the NLRB out of whack," UPI said.

"All this occurs as the White House and Senator Daschle prepare to come to blows over the nomination of Eugene Scalia as the Labor Department's top lawyer. Republicans claim that Scalia's nomination, which was reported favorably to the full Senate, is being held up by Daschle in retaliation for Scalia's father's vote in the matter of Bush v. Gore but that there are more then 50 votes to confirm him. Scalia's father is Associate Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court."

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