- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 6, 2001

Noble: Iconoclast Democratic Ohio Rep. James Traficant Jr., for his heroic defense of voting for Dennis Hastert for House Speaker.

After the vote on Thursday, Mr. Traficant went on CNN's "Crossfire" and gave such a patriotic performance that he managed the nearly impossible feat of silencing Democratic co-host Bill Press.

Mr. Traficant said, "I gave him (Mr. Hastert) what I considered the respect he deserved as a fine speaker," adding, "I think that after the count was totaled, the Democrats should have stood up and asked for an affirmative unanimous vote for Dennis Hastert."

Mr. Traficant continued, "I must give the Republicans credit because they've taken some tough stands and they even whittled down their majority, but they tackled the issues that faced the American people, and I'm going to help them, and I'm going to help anybody in the Congress who's doing the right thing. Period."

According to Mr. Traficant, many Democrats have not done the right thing. "Janet Reno is a traitor. She betrayed us by not appointing an independent counsel on China, our nation is at risk." He added, "Come on, what happened to us? What happened to this country? What about our grandchildren? Will they see a Chinese missile someday? Janet Reno should be investigated for not having appointed (an) independent counsel. My God, Monica Lewinsky has been taken through the mud over a love triangle, but a communist, Red Army general gave money to the chairman of the Democratic National Committee and to Bill Clinton and there's no investigation, Bill? And you say you're proud to be a Democrat?"

Knave: Republican Sen. John McCain for forcing an early confrontation with President-elect George W. Bush over the issue of campaign finance.

Mr. McCain may still be smarting from his ego-bruising primary battle with President-elect George W. Bush, yet he could have allowed his agenda to be secondary to the upcoming battles in the Senate over at least three of Mr. Bush's Cabinet selections.

Instead, Mr. McCain is bulling ahead with his pet crusade, over alleged fears that delays would hurt the possibility of the legislation being enacted. He told reporters, "I believe we have the votes and I believe we have the momentum."

Yet it is more than likely that any bill, however dubious its merits, would reach the floor when brought by someone of Mr. McCain's stature and following. Moreover, Mr. McCain has much to gain by waiting, since Democrats, who favor Mr. McCain's proposal by large margins over their Republican counterparts, may gain control of the Senate by the end of the next election cycle.

However, by kicking sand in Mr. Bush's eyes over an issue he can muscle forward, Mr. McCain continues to impress a still infatuated-media. In offering campaign-finance reform, his motives may be mostly well-intentioned, but his gains will be mostly political.

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