Monday, February 19, 2001

Stunned silence

Pundit Gloria Borger, citing anonymous sources, says Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton suffered an awkward moment recently during a closed-door “message meeting” for Democratic senators.

“We should say, ‘What we don’t want is Reaganomics; we want Clintonomics,’ ” the New York Democrat advised her party colleagues.

The reaction: stunned silence.

“The new senator realized her blooper,” the columnist writes in U.S. News & World Report. “Democrats don’t want to laud Clinton; they want to forget him. ‘What could she say?’ says one ex-aide. ‘I think my husband’s an idiot, too?’ “

Party pooper

Whatever complaints Democrats make in public about Bill Clinton’s pardon of fugitive billionaire Marc Rich, it cannot match their private comments, Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Dick Polman writes.

“When the Rich pardon was mentioned [in Los Angeles] last week in conversations at an AFL-CIO meeting, Democrats rolled their eyes,” Mr. Polman said.

“They speculated on Clinton’s psychological makeup (‘Whenever he’s doing well, it’s like he almost feels the need to do something negative’) and likened him to The Thing That Wouldn’t Leave, a John Belushi character on ‘Saturday Night Live’ who parked himself on people’s sofas and ate everything in sight.”

‘A remarkable man’

In what will come as a shock to liberals and conservatives alike, former Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile compares Clarence Thomas favorably to Jesse Jackson.

Miss Brazile told Evan Gahr of the American Spectator Online ( that she considers Justice Thomas to be a “role model for black Americans” just “like Jesse Jackson, Tiger Woods and Thurgood Marshall.”

Miss Brazile called Justice Thomas a “remarkable man with a great [life] story.” She said he is a modern-day “Booker T. Washington because he speaks to old-fashioned values.”

She added: “I admire him as a human being and thinker.”

Miss Brazile, in the interview Wednesday, emphasized that she disagreed with Justice Thomas on some issues and knew nothing of his Tuesday night speech at the American Enterprise Institute.

In that speech, Justice Thomas urged conservatives to “Be not afraid” to speak out for what they believe. It remains to be seen whether the black civil rights establishment, which has all but declared Justice Thomas a nonperson, will demand that Miss Brazile recant her heresy.

Shell game

“California’s politicians have embarked on a course unparalleled in the history of any state government,” Al Checchi, a businessman who was a Democratic candidate for governor in 1998, writes in the Los Angeles Times.

“In a few short months, with a minimum of reflection, the state’s leaders have propelled California from electric utility regulator to lender to short-term electricity purchaser ($10 billion in bonds). They are negotiating to move the state into electricity transmission (up to $6 billion) and outright power generation (unknown billions). It reminds me of the song about the lady who accidentally swallowed a fly and, in search of relief, proceeded up the food chain until she swallowed a horse (‘She died, of course’),” Mr. Checchi said.

He added: “California politicians and bureaucrats cannot reasonably expect to purchase, finance, transmit or generate electricity more efficiently than their private-sector counterparts.

“The recent spectacle of our politicians playing investment bankers and attempting to negotiate with seasoned power company executives and Wall Street financial institutions illustrates this. Imagine the interest group pressures, pork-barrel budgeting and log-rolling when they try to build and operate power plants.

“We seem to be involved in an elaborate shell game conjured up by our elected officials but designed to conceal one fact: Irrespective of the bluster or the protestations to the contrary, we Californians, like all the rest of our countrymen, will end up paying for every penny of the cost of every kilowatt of electricity that we consume. We will pay now, or we will pay later, either as consumers or taxpayers, but we will pay.”

War of words

The Spanish Civil War has broken out again this time in Concord, N.H.

A plaque honoring the dozen New Hampshire men who fought with generally pro-communist forces against fascism in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s was installed last week in the Statehouse’s Hall of Flags but it was taken down hours later. A hearing on the plaque is scheduled for tomorrow.

Backers of the $1,500 plaque, which the legislature commissioned last year, said the veterans should be honored for their courage and prescience, the Associated Press reports.

“They were fighting fascism before it was cool,” said state Sen. Burt Cohen, 50, who sponsored the plaque. He said many who survived the Spanish war went on to fight the same enemies in World War II.

Legislative leaders ordered the plaque taken down, and anti-plaque protesters showed up at a ceremony originally meant to be an unveiling.

Critics said the fighters defied U.S. law at a time when travel to Spain was banned, subverted its foreign policy and in many cases were communists.


In a move timed to coincide with today’s Presidents Day holiday, a new political group is urging Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and more than 100 other women governors, lawmakers and business leaders to consider a run for the White House in 2004, Reuters reports.

American Women Presidents, formed in March 2000 to fight for getting a woman elected president, said a woman candidate had a real chance of being elected in 2004 after years of mostly symbolic campaigns.

“Now women have the opportunity to run for the presidency and win!” the group’s president, Mosemarie Boyd, said in a press release issued Saturday. “And now is the time to start planning for a successful campaign in 2004.”

American Women Presidents drew headlines in August when it offered former White House intern Monica Lewinsky a job as its corporate vice president and then withdrew the offer under pressure from various women’s groups.

In a letter to the former first lady, the group urged the New York Democrat to reconsider her stated intention not to run for the White House in 2004.

The group also sent a letter to Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, who has publicly discussed a possible presidential bid, although not against fellow Republican George W. Bush.

Like medieval lords

“Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle [on Thursday] officially kicked off the Beltway campaign to retain most of the surplus in Washington,” the Wall Street Journal notes.

“Sen. Daschle, with Dick Gephardt riding shotgun, denounced the Bush tax cut as a ‘risky gamble’ that would give an ‘unfair share’ to the rich, blah, blah, blah. This tiresome formula is being trundled out again because it has worked in the past,” the newspaper said in an editorial.

“The Democrats would dribble out $900 billion of tax cuts over 10 years, which is a little like medieval lords tossing coins from horseback. They then plan to use a third of the $5.6 trillion surplus all of this is tax revenue for ‘debt reduction’ and ‘Social Security reforms,’ whatever that means, and another third for new spending, whose meaning is quite clear: Congress has your money and will never give it back.”

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