- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 31, 2001

'A tough sell'
Rep. Joseph M. Hoeffel, Pennsylvania Democrat, is trying to rally constituents in his well-to-do suburban Philadelphia district in a bid to keep the Republican-controlled state legislature from making him the odd man out in redistricting.
The state will lose two of its 21 U.S. House seats as the result of population losses in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
"Hoeffel isn't about to go quietly. He's making it his summer project to, as he puts it, 'keep the issue front and center,'" Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Peter Nicholas writes. "Last weekend found him in tattersall shirt and khaki pants, trekking to coffee shops and diners from Jenkintown to Harleysville, meeting constituents and talking about redistricting.
"He is also approaching communities Lower Merion, Norristown, Upper Gwynedd, to name a few in hopes they will pass resolutions supporting a plan that would keep the 13th Congressional District largely intact.
"It is a tough sell."
The legislature, which will redraw the state's congressional map this fall, would ensure the political demise of at least one Democrat if it combined Mr. Hoeffel's district with the district now held by fellow Democratic Rep. Robert A. Borski.

Daschle's behavior
"Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle took a swipe at President Bush the other day for 'isolating' America and 'minimizing' its role in the world. We'll leave Bush foreign policy for another day, but Mr. Daschle's comments are hard to take seriously when you look at his own behavior in the U.S. Senate," the Wall Street Journal says in an editorial.
"From nominations to treaties to legislation, the Daschle Democrats have been handcuffing U.S. global leadership. These facts don't seem to be reported amid the all-Condit-all-the-time Washington coverage, so we thought our readers might like to hear a few of them," the newspaper said, such as Mr. Daschle's refusal so far to give assurances that the Senate will take up a bill to clear the way for Mr. Bush to negotiate free-trade agreements.
"The Daschle Democrats are now tying up the Senate trying to abrogate a core element of NAFTA that allowed Mexican trucks to travel without limits on U.S. highways," the newspaper observed. And John Negroponte, nominated to be ambassador to the United Nations, has yet to get a Senate hearing.
"Mr. Daschle has a warm bedside political manner that makes him seem like the nicest fellow. But his behavior since taking Senate control has been anything but bipartisan, even on foreign policy," the Journal said.

Unusual debate
"Bowing to pressure from organized labor, House Democrats last week permitted two key unions to pitch a controversial plan to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to a private session of the Democratic Caucus," Roll Call reports.
"Plans for the event initially prompted strong concern from some Democrats who considered the invitation to be unprecedented and worried that it would lead other special interests to demand a hearing before the caucus on controversial topics," reporter Ethan Wallison writes.
"Responding to the concerns, caucus Chairman Martin Frost, Texas Democrat, brought in two top environmental groups to counter the unions' arguments, then recast the event as an 'issues forum' for members.
"The result was a highly unusual scene that pitted the Sierra Club and the Alaska Wilderness League against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the International Union of Operating Engineers in an Oxford-style debate that played out before a roomful of Democrats — the vast majority of whom had already made up their minds on ANWR."

Same old story
"A wise observer once said that an impending hanging focuses the mind. Well, having been told by my doctor that I had been near death when I entered the hospital in Virginia had the same effect," conservative activist Paul Weyrich writes.
"However, after serious surgery, I was sick enough that for about three weeks I paid no attention to what was going on. I was not 'on line.' I had television but I didn't watch it. I had a portable radio but I didn't turn it on. Gradually, I began to feel better and I resumed watching the morning and evening news. I tuned to Rush Limbaugh on radio early in the afternoon. Then I resumed reading the Washington papers and finally I am computer-connected once again," Mr. Weyrich said in a commentary at FreeCongress.org.
"But guess what? It is as if I missed nothing during my three weeks of media absentia. The Chandra Levy disappearance and the Congressman [Gary A.] Condit connection was the top story on June 29th when I checked into the emergency room at Fair Oaks Hospital. And it is now the top story as I am now finished with a near month-long stay at Fairfax Hospital and have entered the rehab phase at the Fairfax Nursing Center, which is where I finally got computer connected once again."
Mr. Weyrich added: "It is a wonder that this Republic survives when the people pay scant attention to things that matter but get all wrapped up in the relatively inconsequential. I said a couple of years ago that we had lost the culture war and cited the Senate's refusal to convict Bill Clinton as evidence. Not that we need further evidence, but the fact that Congressman Condit's people insist he will run again in 2002 and the polls suggest, that despite misgivings about his conduct, he would have a good chance of being re-elected tells you all you need to know about the state of morality in these United States."

Saving Meehan
The nine members of the U.S. House from Massachusetts (one seat is vacant because of the death of Democrat Joe Moakley) wrote to leaders of the state legislature last week imploring them not to pit incumbents against each other under redistricting, the Boston Globe reports.
A plan by state House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran would probably leave Rep. Martin T. Meehan out in the cold, although Mr. Meehan could try his chances against fellow Democratic Rep. John F. Tierney.
"Each of us serves on committees that exercise great influence over the economic, regulatory, tax and appropriations fortunes of the Commonwealth," said the congressmen, all Democrats. "Adopting a redistricting plan that preserves and enhances a delegation's influence in federal decision-making is a worthy and important goal of any state's redistricting plan."

Now it can be told
"We want to break our silence. We are two of the fat-cat, special-interest energy lobbyists who met with Vice President Dick Cheney before his energy task force issued its report," Glenn Hamer and Michael Paranzino write in the Los Angeles Times.
"What's more, we met frequently with the task force staff before the report's release. The staff director, Andrew Lundquist, was on our speed dial. We like to say he was the easiest man to reach in Washington. No secretary screened access to him. He often answered his own phone," the men said.
"Now we read that the vice president is fighting to keep secret from Democrats a list of those he met with. And we don't blame him. The fringe-right would throw him out of the Grand Old Party if they knew he was cavorting with the likes of us.
"You see, we are solar-energy lobbyists."

Laura's plea
First lady Laura Bush, in an interview aired yesterday on CNN's "Inside Politics," again called on the media to leave her daughters alone.
"If we never saw their pictures in the paper again, we'd be a lot happier," she told host Judy Woodruff.
Asked if the press "can't help itself," Mrs. Bush replied: "I think it's selling magazines and newspaper articles and television at the expense of my children."

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