Andrew Young, a former Democratic congressman, mayor of Atlanta and ambassador to the United Nations, urges his party to put away partisanship and pass President Bush’s faith-based initiative.
“I believe that Democrats can support in good conscience the provisions proposed. We all know that Al Gore endorsed charitable choice, as did George W. Bush, during the presidential campaign. In addition, the House has voted eight times on charitable-choice provisions that would allow faith-based organizations to apply for various government grants. Fifty-two Democratic members voted for at least six of the eight provisions, and 20 voted for all eight. In fact, charitable choice was passed in 1996 under a Democratic administration with bipartisan support,” Mr. Young said in a commentary in the Wall Street Journal.
“Then, there were none of the alarmist reactions from various quarters that have accompanied the introduction of this year’s legislation, which extends federal funding beyond support for faith-based anti-poverty programs into such areas as juvenile justice and drug treatment. Are such reactions based on the fact that this year’s bill was introduced by a Republican, rather than a Democratic, administration?”
Mr. Young, chairman of Goodworks International and co-founder of the nonprofit group Faith and the City, added: “I am concerned that the Democrats in Congress, especially those who opposed the initiative even though they supported previous versions of it, now risk the perception that they are practicing partisan politics at the expense of the needy.”
Sen. John Edwards, North Carolina Democrat and a trial lawyer, was treated as a conquering hero when he attended the convention of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America last week in Montreal.
“I make no apologies for what I spent my life doing,” Mr. Edwards told his fellow trial lawyers in the convention’s opening speech. “I am proud of what I did: Leveling the playing field. For 20 years, I fought for the rights and dignity of ordinary people, just like everyone in this room. For the rest of my life, I wear it as a badge of honor.”
At the end of Mr. Edwards’ speech, a lawyer at the back of the room shouted, “Edwards for president,” according to Bob Van Voris of the National Law Journal, writing at law.com.
Mr. Van Voris added: “Edwards was clearly the trial lawyers’ favorite son. He sponsored, with Sens. Ted Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, and John McCain, Arizona Republican, the version of the patients’ bill of rights that passed the Senate. (The House has not yet considered the legislation.) And Edwards’ recent appointment to the Judiciary Committee means he will have a hand in deciding who gets to sit on federal courts.”
Massachusetts Rep. Martin T. Meehan announced yesterday he will seek re-election to Congress this year instead of running for governor.
Mr. Meehan, who has been leading a field of potential Democratic gubernatorial candidates in recent polls, made the announcement in his hometown of Lowell, the Associated Press reports.
“Today, I’m putting personal aspirations aside,” Mr. Meehan said.
Mr. Meehan, who represents the state’s 5th District, had been publicly weighing a run for governor for several months. Five other Democrats also have considered running.
The incumbent, Republican acting Gov. Jane Swift, has not indicated yet whether she will run for a full term. She rose to the office from the lieutenant governor post when Gov. Paul Cellucci was named ambassador to Canada.
Mr. Meehan had been under pressure to make a quick decision since state House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran announced a redistricting plan earlier this month that would wipe out Mr. Meehan’s current district.
The proposal would pit Mr. Meehan against fellow Democratic incumbent Rep. John F. Tierney.
Mr. Finneran, himself a Democrat, had left open the possibility of redrawing his proposed map if Mr. Meehan decided to run for his congressional seat again.
Mr. Finneran’s proposal is only the first step. The state Senate must come up with its version of a new map based on the 2000 U.S. Census. Then the House and Senate must agree on a compromise before sending the map to Mrs. Swift.
Target on his back
“Meet Gerald A. Reynolds — man with a target on his back,” New York Post columnist Robert A. George writes.
“President Bush will this week formally nominate Reynolds to be assistant secretary of education for civil rights. It’s already the latest battle in the confirmation wars,” Mr. George said.
“Jerry Reynolds (a friend of this writer for nearly six years) is smart, principled and tenacious — an excellent choice for the job. Which is why he’s facing a rough few weeks.”
Having worked for the conservative Center for New Black Leadership and the Center for Equal Opportunity, which opposes racial preferences, Mr. Reynolds arouses the wrath of liberals, who “aren’t stressing the views he has expressed (which are reasonably popular), but statements he hasn’t made,” Mr. George said.
“Both USA Today and the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Web site have run recent articles suggesting Reynolds would work to abolish Clinton-era regulations that force colleges to equalize spending on their male and female sports programs.” These Title IX regulations in some cases have led to equality by subtraction — men’s programs were eliminated.
“Regardless, in his public testimony (including before the U.S. Civil Rights Commission) and written articles, Reynolds has never discussed Title IX. Are his opponents just trying to avoid fighting him over racial preferences?” Mr. George asks.
First lady Laura Bush yesterday denied British tabloid reports that one of her twin daughters had worn jeans when she met Britain’s Queen Elizabeth for lunch last week at Buckingham Palace.
“She did not wear jeans. I think that maybe we should use other sources but the tabloids,” said Mrs. Bush from Rome, where she was accompanying her husband on a European tour.
“She wore a dress, of course, to meet the queen,” she added in an interview with NBC’s “Today” show.
British tabloid papers reported last week that Barbara Bush, 19, had worn jeans and a denim jacket when she accompanied her parents to the palace for lunch with Queen Elizabeth, her husband, Prince Philip, and their son, Prince Andrew.
Mrs. Bush said it had been a “thrill” for the Bush family to go to Buckingham Palace for lunch with the Royals, Reuters reports.
“The Queen and Prince Philip were very generous with their time and very nice to invite us and to invite our daughter as well,” said the first lady.
“Even as House Democratic leaders deny that they lurched too far to the left, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee held a fund-raiser on Saturday with actress and activist Jane Fonda as the special guest,” Roll Call reports.
“The Atlanta fund-raiser featured House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, Missouri Democrat, and DCCC Chairwoman Nita Lowey of New York as well as Georgia Democratic Reps. John Lewis, Sanford Bishop and Cynthia McKinney,” Ed Henry writes in his “Heard on the Hill” column.
Steve Schmidt, National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman, told the columnist that the decision to use Miss Fonda to raise money “represents the Democrats’ fundamental problem: an inability to appeal to middle-of-the-road voters.”