- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 4, 2001

A rebuke for Leahy
The entire Republican side of the Senate Judiciary Committee has scolded the Democratic chairman, Vermont Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, for using what they called "misleading" statistics to defend a "disgraceful" effort to block President Bush's judicial nominees.
The nine Republican senators Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, Jon Kyl of Arizona, Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, Sam Brownback of Kansas, Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, Mike DeWine of Ohio, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and Jeff Sessions of Alabama rebuked Mr. Leahy in a joint letter to the Wall Street Journal published yesterday.
Mr. Leahy had defended the pace of judicial confirmations in a letter published in the Journal on Nov. 13.
"In his letter, Sen. Leahy tries to use statistics and numbers to create the illusion that his committee is moving at a pace 'faster' than the last two administrations on Senate judiciary nominees, but his arguments are misleading," the Republican senators said.
"In fact, the first Bush administration saw 15 of its 24 first-year nominees confirmed by the Senate a 62 percent confirmation rate. Similarly, in his first year, President Clinton had 27 of his 47 nominees confirmed a 57 percent pace. Today, with the Senate nearing completion of its business for the year, the current President Bush has had only 18 of his 64 nominees confirmed by the Senate or just 28 percent."
Even most pre-August nominations have been blocked, which the senators described as "downright disgraceful."
"The fact that many nominees have not been confirmed is not an accident. Liberal Democrats simply don't want judges seated on the federal courts with whom they disagree. There is no other explanation for the Judiciary Committee's failure to hold a hearing on more than two-thirds of the first 11 people nominated by the president back in early May! Yet the Judiciary Committee stalls, even though the American Bar Association has rated a number of them 'well-qualified' to serve on the federal bench."

Morally neutral?
The slogan of the New York Times is "All the News That's Fit to Print," but the lead "news story" in yesterday's business section had to raise eyebrows across the country. The story, by reporter Jim Rutenberg, said the Fox News Channel had crossed the journalistic line by openly suggesting there is a moral difference between the United States and terrorists such as Osama bin Laden.
The headline on the story: "Fox Portrays a War of Good and Evil, and Many Applaud."
"Ever since the terrorist attacks on September 11, the network has become a sort of headquarters for viewers who want their news served up with extra patriotic fervor. In the process, Fox has pushed television news where it has never gone before: to unabashed and vehement support of a war effort, carried in tough-guy declarations often expressing thirst for revenge," the reporter said.
"So far, the journalistic legacy of this war would seem to be a debate over what role journalism should play at a time of war. The Fox News Channel is the incarnation of a school of thought that the morally neutral practice of journalism is now inappropriate," the reporter added.
David Westin, who heads the news division at ABC, told the newspaper that, unlike Fox, his network would maintain its neutrality at all times. Mr. Westin appeared to be echoing earlier remarks that he would not pass moral judgment on the terrorist attack on the Pentagon. (Mr. Westin later apologized for that, saying he had been misunderstood).
Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes defended what the Times reporter described as a pro-American ideology and what other critics have denounced as a "conservative" viewpoint.
"What we say is terrorists, terrorism, is evil, and America doesn't engage in it, and these guys do. Yet, suddenly, our competition has discovered 'fair and balanced,' but only when it's radical terrorism versus the United States."

Help from his friends
"Former Rep. Jim Talent has a full fund-raising agenda set for this month, including visits by Labor Secretary Elaine Chao and vice presidential counselor Mary Matalin in his bid to unseat freshman [Democratic] Sen. Jean Carnahan next year," Roll Call reports.
"Chao will travel to Kansas City to raise money for [the Republican] Talent on Dec. 5, one day after Matalin holds an event kicking off a 'Women for Talent' group in St. Louis. Later in the day, Matalin will head to Columbia, Mo., to collect donations for the Talent campaign," reporter John Mercurio writes.
"The events with Matalin and Chao are the latest in a string of high-profile fund-raisers aimed at helping Talent stockpile cash for his race against Carnahan next year." Former President George Bush and Sens. Larry Craig, Idaho Republican, and Don Nickles, Oklahoma Republican, have also raised money for Mr. Talent.

Exploiting uncertainty
"Democrats, unbowed by President Bush's 87 percent job-approval ratings, figure they can win congressional elections next year by blaming the current economic recession on the president and scaring senior citizens into believing that he plans to snatch their Social Security checks from them," Richard Benedetto writes at www.usatoday.com.
"Democrats already are predicting they will win back control of the House and expand their majority in the Senate next year. The strategy, which began unfolding this past week, hinges on separating Bush's handling of the war on terrorism, which Democrats mostly consider a success, from his management of domestic issues, which they largely deem a failure, and driving a wedge between them," Mr. Benedetto said.
"It was a blueprint followed in 1992 when another Bush was in the White House and the economy was in recession. Fresh off a victory in the Persian Gulf War, the elder Bush was hammered by Democratic challenger Bill Clinton for inadequately responding to domestic needs.
"It worked then, and Democrats are hoping it will work again next year. They have taken polls, which show that while the public supports Bush's handling of the war, many are increasingly concerned about the recession. It is this uncertainty they hope to exploit."

Racicot, go home?
"Marc Racicot, the former governor of Montana, is said to be the White House's favored candidate for chairman of the Republican National Committee," John J. Miller and Ramesh Ponnuru write at www.nationalreview.com.
"Gov. Racicot would probably do just fine in that position; he was tough and effective during the Florida recount wrangling of last November and December," the writers said.
"But Racicot could do more good for his party as a candidate for Senate. Democrat Max Baucus is up for re-election next year, and Racicot would be heavily favored to beat him if he ran. The race could determine whether Tom Daschle stays on as majority leader and Pat Leahy as chairman of the Judiciary Committee. The party chairman's job is to help increase the number of Republican officeholders by, for example, talking people like Racicot into running. Racicot should eliminate the middleman. Congressional Republicans may need operational support, but what they really need are reinforcements."

Crackpot policies
Economist Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth, thinks the Republican stimulus plan is "barely acceptable." But you should hear what he has to say about the Democratic stimulus plan.
"The Democrats have essentially adopted the Japanese model of economic recovery throw tens of billions of dollars year after year into inane public works projects, and then watch the economy tank," Mr. Moore writes in the Weekly Standard.
"Japan has increased its government sector spending and national debt twice as fast as any other industrialized nation over the past decade, and its economy is now wallowing in its eleventh year of depression. This is the model for the United States? What crackpot policies could possibly come next from the Democrats? An Argentinian-style call to devalue the U.S. currency?"

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