- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 27, 2001

Clinton's failure
"The weekly strategy meetings at the White House throughout 1995 and 1996 featured an escalating drumbeat of advice to President Clinton to take decisive steps to crack down on terrorism," former Clinton adviser Dick Morris writes.
"The polls gave these ideas a green light. But Clinton hesitated and failed to act, always finding a reason why some other concern was more important," Mr. Morris said in a column in the New York Post.
"Repeatedly, the president was urged to use the motor-vehicle laws to identify illegal aliens and possible terrorists to finger them for deportation.
"Had the president adopted this common-sense approach, Mohammed Atta would have been thrown out of the country and barred from re-entry after he was found driving without a valid license by Florida police, three months before September 11."
Instead, Mr. Clinton rejected the idea after the Justice Department warned of a backlash from Hispanic activists and after the Immigration and Naturalization Service reported that it was already hopelessly bogged down in deportation cases, the columnist said.
Mr. Clinton also used a loophole to declaw an anti-terrorism law that would have imposed sanctions on American and foreign companies and banks that provided aid or loans to the Iranian oil industry. His decision to back down on sanctions resulted from European pressure, Mr. Morris said.
"The administrative convenience of the INS and relations with Western Europe were more important [to Mr. Clinton] than striking at terror-sponsoring nations," the columnist said.

Clinton's excuse
"Remember when Bill Clinton had a proud presidential legacy?" James Taranto writes in his "Best of the Web Today" column at OpinionJournal.com.
"We never really believed this, but it was once possible for Clinton partisans at least to argue it with a straight face. After September 11, though, Clinton's foreign-policy failures loom much larger than his domestic-policy successes, such as they are," Mr. Taranto said.
"But Clinton's presidential aides, speaking through Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen, are putting forth an excuse for Clinton's failure to fight terror more aggressively. He was 'distracted,' you see," by the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy that made Monica Lewinsky a household name… .
"There are a few problems with this analysis. First, if Clinton was so distracted, how is it that he was able to achieve all those wonderful domestic-policy triumphs?" Mr. Taranto asks.
"Second, Clinton's few military moves against terrorism came at times when the pressure from Monicagate was at its greatest."

Get ready to rumble
"The Pennsylvania governor's race is shaping up to be one of the most expensive campaigns in America next year, a contest in which the candidates could spend a record-breaking $40 million," the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
"'I think making a good showing early helps send a message that you're going to have a strong campaign,' said Robert M. Feldman, finance chairman for state Auditor General Robert P. Casey Jr.
"Casey and former Philadelphia Mayor Edward G. Rendell could raise and spend a combined $18 million to $21 million in their Democratic primary battle, according to party estimates.
"State Attorney General Mike Fisher and state Treasurer Barbara Hafer, lined up to compete in the Republican primary, might spend a total of $6 million to $7 million if their race goes down to the wire, GOP analysts say.
"The May primaries will be only the beginning of a race that will draw national attention because both parties will want to hold the governor's office heading into the 2004 presidential election."

Hatch hopes for 100
"Now that Congress has adjourned for the year, we are seeing the result of the Senate Democrats' systematic and calculated effort to confirm the absolute minimum number of President Bush's judicial nominees," Utah Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, writes in the Wall Street Journal.
"Here is what the Senate Democrats want the American public to believe: They have done everything that can be expected because the Senate has confirmed as many judges during President Bush's first year in office as it did in President Clinton's first year. What they are not saying is that the Senate has also ignored, on purpose, more judicial nominees than in any president's first year in modern history," Mr. Hatch said.
The senator added: "Despite the unfortunate decisions made this year, I believe there is room for hope for 2002. If the Senate Democratic leadership sticks to its results-oriented zeal, it will make sure to confirm as many judges in President Bush's second year as it did in President Clinton's second year. The Senate confirmed 100 of President Clinton's judicial nominees in 1994.
"The American people should join me in expecting the Senate Democrats to do the same for President Bush in fact, I think we should take this year's systematic and calculated performance as a pledge that the Senate will confirm at least 100 of President Bush's judicial nominees next year."

Risky business
"When congressional reapportionment began across the country a year ago, top Republicans spoke in terms of a bonanza. They would pick up at least 10 seats, they predicted, reflecting the growing population in the party's strongholds in the South and West," Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Larry Eichel writes.
"These new seats would all but assure the GOP of retaining control of the House of Representatives in the 2002 elections and provide a bit of a cushion for the years beyond.
"Except that it hasn't been working out that way," Mr. Eichel said, calling the redistricting process "largely a wash" for the political parties. And that, he said, is why key Republicans in Washington are pressuring the GOP leaders who control the Pennsylvania legislature to draw a state congressional map that would give Republicans a 13-6 advantage instead of a 12-7 edge.
However, that is "risky business when you consider that Pennsylvania has more registered Democrats than Republicans," the columnist said. "Get too cute and you turn safe Republican districts into battlegrounds."

Baseball on his mind
"In the midst of a war half a world away, and a battle at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue over an economic-stimulus package, what was on President Bush's mind the other day? The Boston Red Sox," the Boston Globe reports in its "Political Capital" column.
"'Hey, Ma-a-hty,' the president called to Rep. Martin T. Meehan as he visited with congressional Democrats on Capitol Hill. 'How about O'Donnell?' He must mean Kirk O'Donnell, Meehan said to himself, thinking Bush was referring to the late presidential adviser from Boston. 'Joe O'Donnell,' said the president, referring to the Bostonian who was one of the bidders to buy the Red Sox. 'He's got a good bid. You should help him out.'
"Alas, O'Donnell lost out to a group led by Florida Marlins owner John Henry, but the comment by Bush, the former managing partner of the Texas Rangers, left an impression on Meehan. 'Here he is in the middle of the war and he was still paying attention to who was the owner of the Boston Red Sox,' said the Lowell Democrat. 'It shows what a big baseball fan he is.'


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