- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 10, 2001

McCain does it again

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, teamed up with House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt, Missouri Democrat, to complain about what the two men referred to as the "disenfranchisement" of black voters and others in the last election.

The term "disenfranchisement" has been used by the most-partisan Democrats to suggest that Republicans somehow conspired to prevent blacks and other likely Democratic voters from having their votes counted in Florida. All the evidence shows that no one was "disenfranchised," but some people spoiled their ballots by, for example, voting for more than one presidential candidate.

"The 2000 election vividly displayed the cracks in the foundation of our election process," Mr. McCain and Mr. Gephardt said in an op-ed piece in USA Today. "Antiquated voting machines, nullified ballots and access barriers were national problems, but the disenfranchisement of African-Americans, language minorities, the disabled and the elderly was disproportionately high.

"This is an embarrassment to our democracy. How can we credibly send election monitors abroad if we don't have a credible election process worth modeling? How can we credibly encourage our youth to vote if they believe their votes will not be counted?"

A surreal scene

"How ironic was this? Senate Democratic leaders declared their intention to boot photographers and periodical reporters out of their Capitol work space on the eve of Independence Day, the holiday celebrating American liberties, including freedom of the press," Roll Call says.

"On the Friday before the Fourth of July recess, the new Democratic majority decided to arbitrarily crack down on the media in a surreal scene that resembled Moscow more than Washington," the Capitol Hill newspaper said in an editorial.

"Photographers and periodical reporters were ordered to vacate their third-floor offices by the following Monday morning. The two galleries were told to merge with the Daily Press Gallery and the Radio & Television Gallery, both of which are already overflowing with correspondents. After howls of protest, Democrats backed off the immediate eviction, but insisted that the journalists have to find new space by August."

The newspaper, which is one of the 220 news organizations facing eviction, added: "It's stunning that this is happening under the watch of Daschle, who is very accessible to the media. All we hear from his colleagues is what a good listener he is. How could he have originally let this plan move forward without first consulting the press, rather than dictating how it will go?"

A no-good conservative

"Here's today's political diversity quiz: When is an Hispanic-American not really Hispanic?

"Answer: When he's one of President Bush's potential nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court," the Wall Street Journal says.

"We're referring to 39-year-old Miguel Estrada, who immigrated from Honduras at age 17, taught himself English, graduated from Harvard Law, argued cases before the Supreme Court as a deputy in the U.S. Solicitor General's office and is now a private attorney. Mr. Bush has nominated him for a seat on the prestigious D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals," the newspaper said in an editorial.

"This sounds like an American success story to us. But to some Hispanic liberals, ideology is thicker than skin pigment. You see, Mr. Estrada is a judicial conservative, which means he's the wrong kind of diversity hire."

Juan Figueroa, president of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, has denounced Mr. Estrada as one of those no-good conservative Hispanics. He made his complaint in a letter to Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat and chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

The Journal editorial page phoned Mr. Figueroa, who told them that Mr. Estrada is a member of the conservative Federalist Society and "I don't think Latinos have been generally known to be conservative."

The Journal commented: "So there it is. The only real Latino is a liberal Latino."

10 candidates

Democratic Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe predicts that 10 Democrats will run for president in 2004.

"I think that's good for the party," Mr. McAuliffe says in the July issue of the Delta Shuttle Sheet.

He named the following in order: Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, Connecticut Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, "maybe" Al Gore, House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota, Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes, Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack and California Gov. Gray Davis.

That adds up to nine, but Mr. McAuliffe said he hopes a woman enters the field. However, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton "has told me she will definitely not run in 2004," Mr. McAuliffe said, adding that only a Democratic woman could hope to win the presidency.

As for the political future of Mrs. Clinton's husband, "I can unequivocally tell you that Bill Clinton will never again run for office," he said.

Too cocky

"It is Democrats, not Republicans, on the national level who are saying" Sen. Paul Wellstone, Minnesota Democrat, "is in trouble," the Sioux Falls, S.D., Argus Leader reports.

President Bush succeeded in talking St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman, a Republican, into running against Mr. Wellstone next year, and Democrats fear he will be a strong candidate.

The reason that Democrats are critical "is they see Wellstone's staff as too cocky, overconfident about re-election," the newspaper said.

Losing support

"Gary Condit's safe and supportive congressional district has turned frosty and skeptical with reports that he admitted having an affair with a missing 24-year-old government intern," USA Today reporter John Ritter writes in a dispatch from Modesto, Calif.

"Across the district Sunday, some of them were calling for Condit's resignation. Many expressed doubt that he can survive politically in a district that had routinely returned him to Washington with more than 65 percent of the vote."

Idol of West Virginia

"Getting a once-in-a-century award is quite an honor indeed. U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd recently accepted the award as West Virginian of the 20th Century in a ceremony at the West Virginia House chamber, where he began his political career 54 years ago," State Legislatures magazine reports.

"He even remembered the desk he sat at while he served two terms as a state delegate. Members of the Legislature joined the governor in honoring the senator with resolutions and proclamations. Byrd has held more U.S. Senate leadership positions than any other senator. No doubt his state legislative experience helped," said the magazine, which is published by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Hat trick

"I cannot be the only one to have been nauseated by the sight of the two Bushes, pere and fils, careening about on a golf cart wearing matching baseball caps, emblazoned with the numbers '41' and '43,'" pundit Andrew Sullivan writes at andrewsullivan.com.

"That picture must have appeared in countless papers across the country, as well as television. Did [New York Times editorial-page editor] Howell Raines coordinate the shoot? Nothing could be better used to depict the Bushes as smug, aristocratic, out of touch, and callow. The self-congratulation of it all is the first truly irritating moment of this presidency. And some Bushies wonder why their man seems to growing numbers of Americans as 'out of touch' with their lives. Gee, I wonder why."

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