- The Washington Times - Friday, February 16, 2001

The Hollywood way

New York Post gossip columnist Liz Smith reports what everyone knows: That being a Republican in Hollywood can be dangerous to your career.
In fact, "we've heard firsthand of what can happen to an actor who is even thought to be a Republican," the columnist writes.
"Sharon Lawrence, of 'NYPD Blue' fame, was in Washington, D.C., for the inauguration, attending the Creative Coalition Ball a nonpartisan advocacy organization of the arts and entertainment community. In the Feb. 5 issue of People, Sharon's photo appeared on the same page as President Bush, his daughters and several prominent Republicans. Since the publication of that photo, Sharon, a lifelong Democrat who worked for Al Gore, has received hate mail, and has been approached on the streets of L.A., irately confronted about 'being a Republican.'
"Most disturbing, in a business meeting the other day, Sharon was chilled when a producer said, with heavy emphasis, 'I have to ask, are you really a Republican?' Considerably shaken, Lawrence tells us, 'If one is even perceived to be a Republican in Hollywood, there can be an excluding reaction and people genuinely resent you!' (The actress' voice quavered a bit in relating her adventures in mistaken identity.)
"So let's set the record straight: Sharon Lawrence is not a Republican. However, we are ashamed of our fellow Yellow Dog Democrats in Tinseltown who would seek to ostracize others perhaps even deprive them of employment because they are members of the Grand Old Party. That's not the American way."

Baby, baby

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who recently admitted to fathering a baby out of wedlock with a subordinate, is now accused of a second marital infidelity.
The National Enquirer, which broke the original story about Mr. Jackson's affair and love child with a Rainbow-PUSH Coalition executive, says he also fooled around with another aide.
"The tabloid claims the married minister showered the 31-year-old woman, now divorced, with cash gifts and arranged for her to get a $12,000 raise during a wage freeze," the New York Post reports.
However, Mr. Jackson and the woman denounced the report, saying it was untrue. A former Rainbow-PUSH Coalition staffer, Jennifer Williams, and another ex-employee told the Enquirer that Mr. Jackson often gave the woman hundreds of dollars in cash.

Censuring Clinton

"Let me revive an idea I first proposed in 1998, to the taunts of my own party: Democrats need to take the lead in censuring Bill Clinton," writes Paul Goldman, former chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party and a member of the Democratic National Committee.
"Specifically, congressional Democrats should censure Mr. Clinton for his pardon of Marc Rich. We need to do this in order to reclaim moral authority, something we once saw as essential to the presidency during the Roosevelt-Truman-Kennedy-King-Johnson era. This era, the high water mark of Democratic presidential politics, was the only period in modern times when the principled idealism of Democratic philosophy had America's enduring trust," Mr. Goldman said in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.
He added: "Let us censure Mr. Clinton even at this late date to regain our party's soul. In so doing, we will censure ourselves as Democrats for not acting sooner. Rush Limbaugh, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, and others will crow. Who cares what they say? Moreover, this is the best way for Democrats to ultimately make them eat crow."

A rabbi's rebuke

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, has criticized American Jewish organizations for not protesting what he called "outrageous" last-minute pardons granted by President Clinton to Jews.
Writing in this week's issues of the New York Jewish Week and Washington Jewish Week, Mr. Yoffie argues that by remaining silent in some cases, and actually supporting the pardons in others, Jewish groups have "undermined our community's moral fabric, jeopardized our political standing, disillusioned our youth, and compromised the sacred values of our tradition. In short, the moral stain of this sordid affair has begun to engulf us."

California possibility

William E. Simon Jr., son of the late U.S. treasury secretary, is considering a run for governor of California, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Mr. Simon, 49, a Republican, "is assembling a campaign team and has committed a six-figure sum to his preliminary effort. He is expected to formally announce his candidacy within a few months," reporter Mark Z. Barabak writes.
Incumbent Gov. Gray Davis, a Democrat, was considered all but invulnerable until the electricity crisis hit the state in recent months. However, Mr. Davis remains a formidable candidate because of a $26 million war chest and because the Republicans have sagged in recent state elections.
Mr. Simon, a political unknown, is a wealthy Los Angeles investment banker who could finance much of his own campaign.

McAuliffe's pep talk

Newly elected Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe delivered a closed-door pep talk yesterday to Senate Democrats.
Mr. McAuliffe said he told them of changes and a commitment at the DNC designed to help Democrats win control of the Senate and House of Representatives in 2002.
"We are already meeting with [congressional Democrats] on a weekly basis, which has never been done before," Mr. McAuliffe said as he exited the Capitol Hill meeting.
"And we are trying to consolidate polling" while also updating election data and moving to make the party more efficient, he told Reuters reporter Thomas Ferraro in a hallway interview.

Bush honors Reagan

President Bush telephoned former first lady Nancy Reagan yesterday to mark the signing of a congressional resolution honoring former President Ronald Reagan's 90th birthday.
"I'm here in the Oval Office, and I'm getting ready to sign a birthday card to the president," Mr. Bush told Mrs. Reagan in a phone call made in front of cameras and reporters.
Mr. Bush, the son of Mr. Reagan's vice president, said the joint resolution from the Senate and House of Representatives expressed "our deep gratitude and admiration for the president," Reuters reports.

Short response

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia briefly defended the court's bitterly divided decision that ended the presidential election last year during a speech Wednesday on constitutional law.
Justice Scalia addressed the ruling during a question-and-answer session after his address to several hundred students, lawyers, professors and judges at Southern Methodist University, the Associated Press reports.
He said the court's ruling in the Florida vote case is grounded in the 14th Amendment's equal-protection guarantee and a constitutional clause giving state legislatures, and not a state court, the power to decide how to choose electors.
He ended the line of questioning by saying: "That's all I have to say about that."

Allbaugh confirmed

Joe Allbaugh, a longtime aide to President Bush, was confirmed by the Senate yesterday to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency, placing him at the helm of the nation's assistance efforts in natural disasters.
The Senate voted 91-0 to confirm Mr. Allbaugh.
FEMA is best known as the agency that provides emergency assistance in the wake of natural disasters. It also administers the National Flood Insurance Program and Project Impact, an effort to develop storm- and flood-resistant communities.

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