- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 20, 2001

The new McCain
"John McCain might have saved my friends and me a lot of time, effort and money. If he had only let me know he was going to be a centrist Democrat in his third U.S. Senate term, I would never have become the Democratic nominee against him in 1998," Ed Ranger writes in a commentary in the Los Angeles Times.
"I thought I was running against a fellow who voted with Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott 95 percent of the time. How was I to know hed been playing possum all that time?" Mr. Ranger said.
"This was a guy with ratings of zero from the American Federation of Teachers and the United States Student Association; 11 percent from moderate environmental groups and the Public Interest Research Group; 5 percent from the National Womens Political Caucus; 14 percent from the AFL-CIO.
"I could go on and on, but my point is not to criticize our newfound friend. Im just trying to remind myself why the heck I spent 12 months, $150,000 of my own money and more than 150,000 miles on the road telling Arizonans what a right-winger McCain was. Perhaps it is a good thing I lost (actually I was trounced). I might have deprived the country of a valuable Democratic leader."
Mr. Ranger added: "Sure, for a Democrat, McCain leaves something to be desired, but for a Republican, I say well done and welcome to the progressive cause. I just wish he had given me a heads up to keep my head down in 1998."

The real problem
"Over the past year Ive been in umpteen debates with economists, politicians, and journalists who keep insisting that the problem with the U.S. economy is weak consumer spending. Theyre plain wrong. The real economic malady is declining investment," writes Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth.
"If you dont believe me, just take a hard look at the data. The venture-capital industry is experiencing a drought. In 2000, financiers provided $87 billion of this risk capital funding for entrepreneurial start-up companies. Preliminary estimates from a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers show that for the first half of 2001, venture-capital funding will be less than $20 billion. The pace of venture-capital funding has plummeted by more than 60 percent in the past 18 months. Its no coincidence that thats almost exactly the same percent decline in the NASDAQ from its high last year of 5000," Mr. Moore said in an opinion piece at nationalreview.com.
"Venture capital is the seed corn for high-tech start-ups. These are the most essential invested funds in our information-age economy because they finance high-risk, but potentially high-payoff enterprises. Most every successful telecommunications, pharmaceutical, software, and semiconductor firm started in the U.S. over the past 20 years was nurtured in its infancy stages by angel investors and venture capitalists.
"Now that funding is vanishing. Entrepreneurs are starved for financing. And this is the real long-term threat to the American economy, not the slight slump in consumer spending that so many of the academic and Wall Street economists keep fretting over."
Mr. Moores prescription? A cut in the capital gains tax.

Berrys words
Ronald Radosh, the former communist who nails his ex-pals in the new book "Commies," says it does not surprise him that Mary Frances Berry, the black chairwoman of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, would be "the main force behind the disgraceful draft report on the so-called racism displayed in the recent Florida election.
"After all, she is the same Mary Frances Berry who wrote, with the late African-American historian John Blassingame, a book titled 'Lost Memory in 1992," which contains some startling remarks about Soviet Communism, Mr. Radosh said in a commentary at frontpagemagazine.com.
Although blacks "shared so many of the economic goals of the Communists that many of them might be described as fellow travelers," they "remained cool to the Communists," Miss Berry and her co-author said. Why? "Subjected to a massive barrage of propaganda from the American news media, few of them knew about [Stalinist] Russias constitutional safeguards for minorities, the extent of the equality of opportunity, or the equal provision of social services to its citizens."
Miss Berry and her co-author also penned these words about black Americans in the last years of the 20th century: "The threat of genocide was real. It was roughly comparable to the threat faced by Jews in the 1930s."

Clintons message
"After months of money-making speeches, golf jaunts, and even a little dieting, former President Clinton is returning to public life," Paul Bedard writes at the U.S. News & World Report Web site (usnews.com).
"His first step is a small one, for the consumption of his fans. Its in the form of a 'thank you note to Clinton staffers as far back as 1992. 'I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank all of you who served on my Presidential campaigns, on my Presidential Inaugural Committees, on my 92-93 Presidential Transition Team, in my administration, and at the Democratic National Committee, for your years of service and steadfast dedication to the goals we set together in 1992, writes Clinton. He goes on to crow about the highlights of his administration and announce a cool new Web site — clintonstaff.com — where Clintonistas can go to keep in touch with the boss and themselves, reports our Suzi Parker.
"The site will be part of the Clinton Presidential Library and is affiliated with the William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation. Best of all, it will post Clintons travel and events schedules so that we in the media can keep an eye on him. And theres a bonus prize: Clinton political adviser and guru James Carville wrote a similar letter, only his was four pages to Clintons two."

Clintons message II
Former President Clinton, working on behalf of People For the American Way, did his part to get Democrats to the polls yesterday in the special U.S. House election in Virginias 4th Congressional District.
"Hello. This is President Bill Clinton. Im calling you today with a very important message about the upcoming election for Congress on Tuesday, June 19," Mr. Clinton said Monday in a recorded get-out-the-vote telephone message aimed at registered Democrats. "Please go to the polls to vote on Tuesday — your vote can make the difference. If you experience any trouble at the polls at all, please call the Election Protection hot line at 1-866-OUR-VOTE. Thats 1-866-687-8683. The Voters Bill of Rights is also available by calling 1-866-OUR VOTE. Thank you and please vote on Tuesday."

Stock sold
Treasury Secretary Paul H. ONeill has sold all his shares in his former employer, aluminum giant Alcoa Inc., the Treasury Department said yesterday, putting an end to an issue that had cast a cloud over his early days in the top economic post.
"In accordance with the time span for divestiture that is established by the Office of Government Ethics regulations … the secretary had until June 22, 2001, to complete the divestiture. The secretarys assets will be invested in diversified investment funds," Treasury said in a brief statement.
The issue of Mr. ONeills Alcoa holdings, valued at around $100 million, had dogged him since he took office in January.
While his immediate predecessors had given up direct control of their stock holdings to avoid potential conflicts of interest, Mr. ONeill initially declined to follow suit. He said he would instead recuse himself from decisions possibly affecting Alcoa and was comfortable with holding on to his shares as long as government ethics lawyers approved.
But critics said the wide-ranging nature of the Treasury post, which deals with matters ranging from international trade to setting tax policy, meant Mr. ONeills holdings of the global conglomerate necessarily posed conflicts of interests.


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