- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 5, 2001

A matter of trust
"There was a time — and it wasnt long ago — when leaders of my party understood both the policy and political value of cutting taxes," writes Sen. Zell Miller, the Georgia Democrat who outraged party liberals by supporting President Bushs tax cut.
"The Kennedy-Johnson tax bill in 1964 cut all tax brackets, including the top tax bracket. It was passed by an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress as part of an aggressive agenda that, within a year, included the creation of Medicare — the most significant health-care initiative in American history," Mr. Miller said in an op-ed piece in the New York Times.
"And how did opponents attack the Kennedy-Johnson proposal? As fiscally irresponsible because it didnt pay off the debt. As a quick fix. And who was attacking these tax cuts back then? Republicans!
"It was a political fiasco. The Republicans would not gain control of either the House or the Senate for a generation and not until they had reversed their partys position on cutting taxes."
In last years presidential election, Southerners showed that they "did not trust the national party with their money," Mr. Miller said, adding: "We Democrats can have an aggressive agenda for America. But we need to remember that talking about an agenda is quite different from getting it done. For us to get it done, the people we serve have to trust us. And right now not enough of them do, especially in the South."

Lack of tolerance

"My love affair with the [Anti-Defamation League] began almost 25 years ago. It has just ended with a curt note from the board president advising me that I havent shown a sufficient 'demonstration of commitment to the ADL to warrant retention on the executive committee or the regional board. How did it come to this?" Carl Pearlston writes at Jewishworldreview.com.
"I had been nominated to the board by a judge with whom I had worked during the heady civil rights years, and then to the executive committee by the head of the Speakers Bureau, for which I was very active. Not that the romance had not been rocky. I had always known that my conservative Republican political views were barely tolerated by my overwhelmingly liberal colleagues, and I was tempted to keep them to myself.
"We were nominally a nonpartisan organization, but our meetings frequently felt uncomfortably like those of a Democratic Party club, in which it was assumed that all shared a common liberal or 'progressive political worldview and none could, or wanted to, hear a differing viewpoint," Mr. Pearlston said.
"Our positions were usually those of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party on issues like abortion, school choice, teacher pay, bilingual education, affirmative action, the homosexual agenda, gun control. When I expressed my views on some of these matters in various letters and articles, in which I was not identified as an ADL board member, I was rebuked in a stern letter from our president advising that I had publicly taken positions contrary to ADL policy, which was not permitted.
"This was much like the old Leninist doctrine of 'democratic centralism, in which debate is allowed only before a policy is adopted, and no dissent is tolerated thereafter. It seems odd that an organization which boastfully espouses and teaches 'tolerance and 'diversity will not tolerate a bit of dissent and diverse viewpoint in its own lay leadership."

Simon to run

Investment banker William E. Simon Jr., the son of a former U.S. Treasury secretary, will seek the Republican nomination for governor of California next year, aides said yesterday.
Mr. Simon, 50, began an exploratory campaign for governor in February and decided over the weekend to run, the Associated Press reports.
"Were going to proceed with the campaign with a formal announcement later this year," said Jeff Flint, a spokesman for Mr. Simon.
Mr. Simon is the son of the late William Simon, who was Treasury secretary in the Nixon and Ford administrations. He was a federal prosecutor in New York from 1985 to 1988.
Mr. Simon joins Secretary of State Bill Jones as candidates for the Republican nomination. Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan is considering a campaign. Democratic Gov. Gray Davis is expected to seek re-election.

Down with polls

"Contemporary polls tell us almost nothing worthwhile about the policy choices facing the nation," Robert Weissberg writes in a policy analysis for the Cato Institute called "Why Policymakers Should Ignore Public Opinion Polls."
"Even if we were to believe that America is a nation of philosopher kings, and that every poll is perfectly executed, this heretical judgment still stands. How many polls eliciting public generosity for innumerable worthy causes actually present respondents with a final bill? Every spending choice is independent of any other, a situation at odds with any known political reality. The term 'tradeoff has apparently been banished from the pollsters vocabulary," said Mr. Weissberg, a political science professor at the University of Illinois.
He added: "No Congressional Budget Office annoys benevolent interviewees by announcing huge deficits should their gluttony continue. Nor, for that matter, are the lucky respondents in any way obligated to balance their good-heartedness with statutory fiscal limits. The questionnaire thus serves as a credit card with no limits, no interest, no payments until the year 3000; best of all, ones credit application cannot be declined."

Watts seeks answers

Democrats arent the only ones demanding answers from the oil and energy companies. Rep. J.C. Watts Jr. of Oklahoma, chairman of the House Republican Conference, asked two key committees yesterday for hearings to "get answers" on the high cost of energy.
"Hearings in the House on mergers, pricing and supply will shed light on the impact this has on consumers," Mr. Watts said in a statement.
"The volatility of energy prices can wreak havoc on our economy. We must get answers straight from the source if we are to avoid a long-term energy crisis nationwide."
Mr. Watts, former oil and gas commissioner in Oklahoma, has asked the House Resources Committee and Energy and Commerce Committee to hold hearings.
Asked by CNN if the high prices are the result of gouging by oil companies, Mr. Watts said, "I suspect thats not the case."
He noted that a Federal Trade Commission report issued March 29 said mergers had no effect on last summers gas-price spike.
A spokeswoman for the Resources Committee says it held a series of hearings on the energy situation this year, and that the high cost is linked to low supplies.


Expensive seats

"Tickets to Major League Baseballs 72nd All-Star Game, set for Seattles Safeco Field on July 10, are fetching anywhere from $425 to $1,500 apiece, according to the Seattle Times. But those with even deeper pockets, and a political bent, can shell out $10,000 to the Democratic Governors Association for a seat in a skybox with Democratic Gov. Gary Locke of Washington," National Journal reports.
"Along with great views of the game, contributors rate a reception the night before and a policy discussion (whoopee) on game day," the magazine said.

Gun-law suit

An anti-gun group filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington yesterday against Attorney General John Ashcroft, arguing that he is illegally delaying regulations on background checks for weapons purchases.
The regulation would require that records from background checks be kept for 90 days after a handgun purchase is attempted. Justice Department spokeswoman Susan Dryden said the delays are allowing a thorough review of the regulation.
"They are trying to sneak under the radar screen and avoid the public scrutiny that would come if they were to do this up front," Violence Policy Center litigation director Mathew Nosanchuk told the Associated Press.


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