- The Washington Times - Friday, December 21, 2001

'Mr. Partisan'

The New York Post has dubbed Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle "Mr. Partisan" for the South Dakota Democrat's obstruction of the economic-stimulus bill.

"At a time when the economy is languishing and the nation needs a holiday boost, why is Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle stalling?" the newspaper asked in an editorial yesterday.

President Bush's compromise stimulus plan is supported by such Democratic senators as Louisiana's John B. Breaux, Georgia's Zell Miller and Nebraska's Ben Nelson, the editorial pointed out.

"Daschle refuses to bring any stimulus package to the floor that has fewer than 60 votes in support the number usually needed to break a filibuster or otherwise force a vote.

"Looks like he's just being, well, Tom Daschle Mr. Partisan."


'Depths of inanity'

"The debate over the recession and how to fight it has reached new depths of inanity," observe the editors of National Review.

"Nita Lowey of New York, who runs the House Democrats' campaign committee, declares that we are in 'Bush's recession,' the president having somehow engineered a slowdown within two months of taking office. Hillary Clinton thinks now would be a fine time to delay Bush's tax cuts. Tom Daschle says that he won't let any stimulus pass unless it has the support of two-thirds of Senate Democrats which means that the 17 most liberal senators get a veto," the magazine says in its Dec. 31 issue.

"The president has been reduced to asking for a temporary, targeted tax cut for business investment, and maybe a two-point drop in one of the middle income-tax brackets. Enough. The Democrats are not being serious about stimulating the economy, and Bush might as well say so."


Semper Fi

Mark Brinkley, senior staff writer of the Marine Times, was on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" yesterday, talking about his recent visit with the Marine Corps in Afghanistan. A Chattanooga, Tenn., caller on the cable network's phone line for Democrats accused Mr. Brinkley of being biased in favor of Republicans.

Although the Tennessee caller refused to be specific about the claim, Mr. Brinkley explained: "I would say that most Marines are probably Republicans, however. So I think that you will find that the Marine Corps tends to side with Republicans, they like the Republican thinking. I'm not saying that I'm a Republican, but just with my knowledge of Marines, they like Republicans. They like the way that Republicans vote on military spending. They like the way that Republicans vote on pay raises. They like the push that Republicans made for a powerful military. So I think if I were to speak for the Marines, I would most likely be speaking the Republican message."


'Heroic'?

Conducting sexually explicit workshops with names like "Booty Call" is "difficult, and often heroic, work" deserving of support from American taxpayers, according to Rep. Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat.

The Stop AIDS Project, a San Francisco organization that received nearly $700,000 in federal funding last year, promoted workshops condemned as "obscene" last month in a report from the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

In a letter to HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson, Mrs. Pelosi asks that "potential punitive measures against Stop AIDS Project be set aside," according to the Bay Area Reporter.

"The federal government has a responsibility to support the difficult, and often heroic, work of these organizations. For nearly 20 years, Stop AIDS Project has been an example for HIV educators nationwide," Mrs. Pelosi wrote.

The inspector general's report which found Stop AIDS Project had violated federal guidelines for AIDS-prevention materials "could undermine the work of an effective organization, and inadvertently contribute to the burden of disease and death among gay and bisexual men," she wrote.


Monday morning QBs

A decade after the Persian Gulf war, former President George H.W. Bush still longs for the overthrow of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Asked by ABC's "Good Morning America" if he wanted to see the end of Saddam's rule in Baghdad, the elder Mr. Bush said: "Well, I wanted to see the day long ago, and frankly, thought he would be out of there at the end of the war, as did every other coalition leader.

"But, you know, it's bad that he's still there, absolutely, brutalizing his own people," he added in the interview aired yesterday.

The interview was recorded Tuesday at Mr. Bush's home in Houston, according to Reuters. He stopped short of saying that his son, President George W. Bush, ought to go after the Iraqi leader.

"This is a big question and there are a lot of facets to it," Mr. Bush said. "And it's the president that has this decision, and he doesn't need his father complicating it because of past feelings toward Saddam Hussein."

On ABC, Mr. Bush complained about "the Monday-morning quarterbacks" who criticized him for not sending U.S. troops into Baghdad to topple Saddam.


Tax-cut 'disaster'

A proposal to repeal the corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT) as part of the economic-stimulus plan was "a public relations disaster for Republicans," Kevin A. Hassett and James K. Glassman write in the Wall Street Journal.

"In no sense was the tax cut retroactive," the American Enterprise Institute scholars say, but because of Republican blunders, it was portrayed as just that.

A New York Times columnist described the bill as "huge retroactive tax cuts for big corporations, while Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, accused Republicans of "political profiteering" that was "downright shameful."

That spin got traction because "the administration never bothered to explain the issue to the press and the public," Mr. Hassett and Mr. Glassman write.

House Republicans say that Democrats and a senior Treasury official gave preliminary "a thumbs-up" to AMT repeal. "However, shortly after the [House version of the stimulus] bill was made final, Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill began questioning it in public," and a "high-ranking Bush administration official" told columnist Robert Novak that the tax cut was retroactive.

"Smelling blood, Democrats reneged on their deal to support the House bill and began singing 'retroactive cut' in union."


'Hammer' time

Ed Henry of Roll Call notes that the September 11 attacks "justifiably put a damper on all gossip" including his popular "Heard on the Hill" column "out of respect of all for the victims."

"When President Bush and New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani urged everyone to get back to their normal routines, however, that included gossip columnists," he writes in his year-end column.

Mr. Henry leads his 2001 best-of-gossip list with the "explosive" November story of House Republican aide Diana Davis who told Vanity Fair magazine about her one-night stand with a 29-year-old staffer. The staffer's secret to success? He claimed to know House Majority Whip Tom DeLay.

The Texas Republican's name is synonymous with power on Capitol Hill. Still, Mr. Henry says: "The situation put new meaning into DeLay's longtime nickname, 'The Hammer.'"


•Robert Stacy McCain can be reached at 202/636-3249 or by e-mail at [email protected]

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