- The Washington Times - Monday, March 12, 2001

Dumping McAuliffe

The New Republic, in its March 10 issue, calls for the ouster of Terry McAuliffe as chairman of the Democratic Party.
"In 2000, Clinton fatigue hurt the Democrats. In 2001, it's downright destroying them. Some in the media suggest that the endless focus on Pardongate is keeping Bush from getting his tax cut message out. Nonsense it's reminding Americans daily why they voted for him in the first place. Last year, disgust with Bill Clinton led millions who opposed Bush's policies to support him anyway. And this year renewed disgust is doing exactly the same thing," the liberal publication said in an editorial.
"If the Democrats think Marc Rich is just Clinton's problem, they're kidding themselves. Across the industrialized world, from Italy to Japan to Canada to Germany, the 1990s are littered with political parties ravaged by corruption scandals their leaders thought would tar only a few individuals. It's not enough for Democrats to denounce Clinton's pardons; they need to show that it's no longer his party. And there's only one way to do that: dump the apparatchik he placed at the party's head, Terry McAuliffe.
"More than anyone else, McAuliffe personifies Clinton-era sleaze," the magazine said, citing Mr. McAullife's role in highly questionable fund-raising gambits.
If party bigwigs fail to oust Mr. McAuliffe, "the whiff of scandal will follow the party for the next four years, handing the Bush administration a patina of moral superiority it doesn't deserve and a political advantage the country can ill afford," the magazine said.

Out on the sidewalk

The Rev. Jesse Jackson and his followers are all for inclusion, they say, but when Dan Rene, a representative of the National Legal and Policy Center, showed up at Mr. Jackson's Thursday news conference at the Chicago headquarters of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, he was exiled to the sidewalk.
The policy center has filed a complaint with the IRS suggesting the reverend might be using tax-exempt funds for, among other things, his own personal use.
"I'm out here on the sidewalk and I'm freezing," came the dispatch from Mr. Rene last week as Mr. Jackson talked to reporters.
"They wouldn't even let me in to use the bathroom," he told reporter Steve Miller of The Washington Times.
Mr. Rene's mission was a success to some degree. He was interviewed by several media outlets, who have all of a sudden become very interested in Mr. Jackson after a handful of newspapers, including The Washington Times, ran interviews and exposes on the civil rights leader's finances.

And if pigs could fly …

People in Palm Beach County, Fla., who voted for three or more presidential candidates were guilty of voter error, the Palm Beach Post reports, in contrast to those who voted for only two presidential candidates. The latter were innocent victims of the infamous butterfly ballot, the newspaper said.
The newspaper cited "experts" in reporting that Democratic candidate Al Gore would have gained 6,607 votes about 10 times more than needed to win the state and the presidency if only those voters had not been confused by the ballot into voting for Pat Buchanan or some other dark-horse presidential candidate in addition to Mr. Gore.
According to the newspaper's review, 5,330 ballots were thrown out because voters punched chads for Mr. Gore and Mr. Buchanan, whose name appeared just above Mr. Gore's.
Another 2,908 voters punched Mr. Gore's name and Socialist David McReynolds, the candidate whose name appeared just below Mr. Gore's.
Mr. Bush lost 1,631 votes because people selected both Mr. Bush and Mr. Buchanan. Mr. Buchanan's name appeared just below Bush on the ballot.
The two Gore combinations, minus the Bush-Buchanan votes, add up to 6,607 lost votes for Mr. Gore, the newspaper said.
Three-fourths of the 19,000 or so "overvotes" had punches for two candidates, most of which the "experts" said can be attributed to the ballot design. The rest were for three or more candidates, which experts called voter error, not a design problem.
There were 5,062 voters who punched three or more choices for president. Twenty-eight voters selected all 10 presidential candidates.

Bloomberg's answer

Billionaire media mogul Michael R. Bloomberg, who's considering a run for New York City mayor, says it would be "obscene" for him to accept city money for his campaign.
On CNN's "Capital Gang" on Saturday, Mr. Bloomberg, founder and chief executive officer of the Bloomberg financial news service, was asked about an editorial in the New York Times that said it would be an outrage if he ignored New York's public campaign-financing system and used his own wealth.
"I have absolutely no intention of brushing aside the city's campaign-finance reforms … those reforms allow two things," Mr. Bloomberg told pundit Al Hunt.
"You can either take city money and agree to a cap, or you can spend your own and not agree to a cap. For me somebody that's as lucky as I've been to take city money that could go for police and fire and education and health, and to spend it on trying to get a better job, would just be obscene," the tycoon added.
Mr. Bloomberg's personal fortune is estimated to be between $2 billion and $4 billion, according to published reports. Long a self-styled "liberal Democrat," he joined the Republican Party in October. Term limits prohibit the current New York mayor, Republican Rudolph W. Giuliani, from seeking re-election.

Harvard picks Summers

Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers has been chosen to be the next president of Harvard University, school officials said yesterday.
The Harvard Board of Overseers voted in a special session in New York to name the 46-year-old former Harvard economics professor the university's next president, a spokeswoman said.
Mr. Summers served as secretary of the Treasury in the last years of the Clinton administration, taking over for Robert Rubin. He received a doctorate in economics from Harvard in 1982.
He takes over from Harvard President Neil Rudenstine, who will step down in June.
Mr. Summers, who joined the liberal Washington-based Brookings Institution after leaving office in January, was appointed treasury secretary in July 1999, after serving for four years as deputy treasury secretary and two years as undersecretary for international affairs.

Shriver vs. Morella?

Mark Shriver, a Maryland state legislator and member of the Kennedy political family, intends to run for Congress next year against Republican Rep. Constance A. Morella, according to Democratic officials eager to win a House seat long in Republican hands.
These officials say Mr. Shriver soon will file the necessary pre-campaign paperwork and begin fund raising, and already has been in touch with possible campaign consultants.
"I'm looking very, very seriously" at a race, Mr. Shriver said in an interview with Associated Press reporter David Espo. Sounding very much like a candidate, he added that he is working on issues in the current state legislative session that voters "care very deeply about" in the congressional district in Maryland where he lives.
Mr. Shriver is the son of Sargent and Eunice Shriver. His father was President John F. Kennedy's Peace Corps director and the Democratic vice-presidential candidate in 1972. His uncle is Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat.

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