- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 13, 2001

Help for a Kennedy
"Alarmed by sagging poll numbers for Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy [of Rhode Island], one of the Democratic Party's brightest stars and most prolific fund-raisers, House Democratic leaders have helped steer nearly $90 million in federal projects to his district," the Hill newspaper reports.
"The wide array of government handouts for Kennedy's district includes: $8.3 million for the development of the Deerfield Park and Smithfield Senior Center; $5.6 million for highway and transportation improvement structures; $4 million for a life sciences building at Brown University; and $150,000 for the Trinity Repertory Company's Theater," reporter Alexander Bolton writes.
"Kennedy listed these and other projects in a four-page flier recently mailed to constituents at public expense."
Rangel's decision
Rep. Charles B. Rangel tried so hard to defeat trade promotion authority for President Bush that the New York Democrat "ended up doing the trade bidding of Jesse Helms," the Wall Street Journal says.
Because only 21 Democrats were willing to risk the wrath of party leaders and the AFL-CIO, the GOP was forced to cut deals with the few Republicans opposed to free trade, the newspaper observed in an editorial.
And that meant "the regional protectionists, in particular the textile caucus led by Jim DeMint and Robin Hayes of South and North Carolina.
In return for passing the bill, they exacted precisely the textile concessions that Mr. Helms had been seeking for months, the same concessions he had been holding Treasury nomination hostages to obtain," the newspaper said.
"The changes which have to do with what fabric African exporters can use on goods they sell to the U.S. go a long way to undermining the benefits contained in Mr. Rangel's cherished (and worthy) Africa trade bill. They'll also raise prices for Mr. Rangel's Harlem constituents. They're terrible as policy, but the only thing worse would have been for the entire trade bill to fail.
"A day after the vote, Mr. Rangel tried to spin the debacle by denouncing Republicans for making a 'deal with the devil.' But all he had to do was provide one or two more Democratic votes in favor and GOP leaders would never have had to make that deal. We wrote last week that Mr. Rangel had to choose between Africa and the AFL-CIO, and he certainly did."

Bonehead prophets
"Experts are usually careful not to make forecasts that can be quickly proved wrong. But catching up on back issues of the New York Review of Books, I came across an exception to that rule, an article titled 'Afghanistan: The Moving Target' by the foreign policy writer William Pfaff. This short piece now stands as a nearly comprehensive catalog of the pessimistic cliches that dominated public discussion of the war just six weeks ago," Jacob Weisburg writes at slate.msn.com.
"The war in Afghanistan was going badly, Pfaff wrote, because you can't win a war with airpower against an enemy that digs in, as in Vietnam in a country without high-value targets. In the author's view, the Pentagon was doing everything wrong, causing massive civilian casualties and a humanitarian catastrophe because of its unwillingness to put American ground forces at risk. President Bush was unwilling to admit his mistakes. The Northern Alliance wouldn't move against the Taliban; there was no Pashtun opposition in the south; Ramadan was coming; Osama Bin Laden would never be found; and it wouldn't matter if he were found, because terrorism is a hydra-headed monster.
"What this suggests to me is a new noun, pfaff, for warrantless doom-saying about American military and foreign policy. Through the early weeks of the war, the papers and the networks were full of it. Another sorry example was R.W. Apple's front-page news analysis piece in the New York Times of Oct. 31. Headlined 'Afghanistan as Vietnam,' it painted a similar picture of looming debacle, exactly three days and two weeks into the conflict. 'Like an unwelcome specter from an unhappy past, the ominous word 'quagmire' has begun to haunt conversations among government officials and students of foreign policy, both here and abroad,' Apple wrote."
Mr. Weisburg added: "Two weeks later, when the signs of progress were plentiful and the war was going more smoothly than many predicted, Apple wrote another analysis deriding 'the naysayers and the what-iffers,' 'the armchair Clausewitzes,' and 'the pessimistic prophets' who once thought the war was going badly. Wonder who he could have been thinking about."

By the numbers
The American public continues to strongly support President Bush's job performance, but it has some reservations about how the administration is combating terrorism, according to a poll released Tuesday.
The CBS-New York Times poll of 1,052 adults, taken Dec. 7-10, found:
The president's job approval rating was 86 percent.
Half said they don't know enough about the effects on civil liberties of new enforcement proposals to know if they support them or not.
People were evenly split on whether they worry more that the government won't enact strong anti-terror measures or will threaten civil rights.
Given a choice, half said they preferred using criminal courts to try terror suspects, while four in 10 said military tribunals.
Two-thirds said the government should not have the right to hold secret trials.
Three-fourths supported detaining people indefinitely and taking away attorney-client privacy for terror suspects.
By a 2-to-1 margin, people opposed allowing the government to monitor phone calls and e-mail of ordinary Americans to fight terrorism. People were about evenly split on this question soon after the attacks.
Four in five, or 82 percent, thought Congress should have a role in making such judicial changes.

Conservative's 'reward'
"Conservative activist Paul Weyrich is unhappy with [Virginias] Rep. Tom Davis, chairman of the House Republican campaign committee," United Press International reports in its Capital Comment column.
"Earlier this week, the NRCC released a list of potential targets for the 2002 election cycle that included Texas Democrat Ralph Hall, one of the most conservative members in the House of either party. Weyrich says he is intent on organizing a Conservatives for Ralph Hall organization to fight for the re-election of his close friend, who chairs the board of directors of Weyrich's Free Congress Foundation. 'Plenty of Republicans regularly defect on key votes,' Weyrich said. 'But it is Hall who is there time and time again for the conservative side. His reward is to find the NRCC gunning for him.'"
Another deadbeat
"Al Sharpton pretends to a position of stature in the Democratic Party. He may even run for president," the New York Post observes.
"But before he begins blowing hard about city, state and national budgetary matters, maybe he might want to give a thought to paying his own bills," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"The Millennium Hotel New York has filed suit against Rev. Al and his National Action Network over more than $25,000 left outstanding from a Sharpton-sponsored event nearly two years ago.
"According to the lawsuit, Sharpton & Co. rented the hotel's theater for their 'Invitational Summit on Multicultural Markets and Media' in the process racking up tens of thousands of dollars in room, food and drink charges.
"Sharpton reportedly 'gave his word' that the bill would be paid by June 2000.
"To date, no dice."

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