- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 15, 2001

The real record

The Issues Management Center yesterday disputed complaints from Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and other members of the Kennedy clan about radio ads that include the voice of the late President John F. Kennedy.

"The Issues Management Center's pro-tax-cut ads simply feature President John F. Kennedy in his own voice, proposing in his words 'an across-the-board, top-to-bottom' tax cut. If anyone is trying to rewrite history, put new words in President Kennedy's mouth, and censor American citizens, it is Senator Kennedy," center director Greg Mueller said in a prepared statement.

John Berthoud, president of the National Taxpayers Union, also took issue with the Massachusetts Democrat, pointing out in a 10-point analysis that JFK's tax cut was much larger than the tax cut proposed by President Bush and contrary to Kennedy family claims was directed primarily toward upper-income taxpayers (the top marginal tax rate was cut from 91 percent to 70 percent while the lowest went from 20 percent to 14 percent).

Mr. Berthoud also noted that the Kennedy tax cut (passed in 1964 after Mr. Kennedy's death) led to a large increase in tax revenues, especially from the wealthy. (That's called supply-side economics.)

In fact, Mr. Kennedy's tax-cutting philosophy inspired another supply-sider Ronald Reagan as well as President Bush. And although the Massachusetts senator no longer shares his brother's views on tax relief, he did vote for the 1964 legislation.

'Ersatz Republican'

Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire media tycoon who plans to run for mayor of New York as a Republican, made $337,000 in political contributions between 1990 and 2000, of which 91.5 percent went to Democratic candidates and campaign committees, columnist Deroy Murdock writes in the New York Post.

Mr. Bloomberg gave $80,000 to the Democratic National Committee, $59,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and $100,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the columnist said, citing the Center for Responsive Politics and the Federal Election Commission.

"And, in a touching gesture, Bloomberg gave $1,000 to Jon Corzine's Garden State senatorial acquisition. Billionaires of a feather flock together," Mr. Murdock said.

Mr. Bloomberg is "an ersatz Republican," and "sooner of later, Gotham voters must decide whether they really want a Democratic sugar daddy atop the Republican ticket," Mr. Murdock added.

Captain Outrageous

America can only "pick on little guys" Ted Turner said at a Capitol Hill ceremony last night where he received the "Norman Cousins Global Governance Award" for his support of the United Nations.

The media mogul said he was "sick of the United States bombing developing countries," naming Iraq and Grenada. "Why haven't we bombed the Palestinians? Because all they have is rocks to throw at us."

Mr. Turner said the U.S. military would not bomb "big countries like Russia and China" because they "could bomb back."

Mr. Turner also told the World Federalist Association that President Bush's election was illegitimate, saying "probably the wrong man is president, anyway."

Mr. Turner accused the Bush administration of justifying "its increased military budget buildup" by falsely viewing Russia, China and North Korea as potential enemies. He said: "We did not win the Cold War. It ended pretty much in a stalemate."

Praising the United Nations for its efforts to promote population control, world peace and a cleaner environment, Mr. Turner said that "without the U.N. we wouldn't have made it through the Cold War."

"We owe our very existence to the U.N.," he added.

Learning that a reporter for The Washington Times was covering the event to prepare a profile of him, Mr. Turner told the audience: "On Friday The Washington Times is gonna rip me up."

But the cable TV billionaire known as "the Mouth of the South" for his outspoken opinions added, "somebody's going to kick your butt."

Packing the pork

Accompanied by a live, 1,000-pound Yorkshire hog named Rootie, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) yesterday released its annual "Congressional Pig Book Summary," a 53-page compendium of 433 "pork barrel" spending projects passed by the last Congress.

"There's no good news in this year's 'Pig Book,' unless you are a congressional appropriator," said CAGW President Thomas A. Schatz. "The best place to invest your money last year was in pork-barrel futures."

Included in the book's detailed list of dubious projects is $4.1 million for "shrimp aquaculture research" in five states, including landlocked Arizona; and $900,000 for the South Dakota Intertribal Bison Cooperative, which seeks to restore and preserve bison on tribal lands.

All of these projects had been inserted into budget bills last year at the last minute, thereby avoiding full congressional hearings. Alaska, with $766 of "pork" per person, and Hawaii, with $393, topped the list of states receiving such money for the second year in a row. Both Sen. Ted Stevens, Alaska Republican, and Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, Hawaii Democrat, sit on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, which decides the early fate of these projects.

Special awards for particularly egregious projects went to Sen. Richard C. Shelby, Alabama Republican, for a $1.5 million appropriation to refurbish the statue of Vulcan in his state, and to Mississippi Republicans Sen. Thad Cochran and Rep. Roger Wicker for a $461,000 grant to the Writing/Thinking Institute at their state university.

Exile in Chappaqua

"Clinton's aides ridicule reports that paint him as a yuppie hermit. But the truth is that Clinton has become trapped in a kind of exile in Chappaqua, 40 miles from New York City. He lives in a not-quite-furnished house that visitors say has a sparse supply of food and the kind of mismatched dishware that a college freshman might have," USA Today reporter Bill Nichols writes.

"Clinton's only steady companions in Chappaqua are his dog, Buddy, and a former White House valet who has helped him learn modern skills he never needed to master before: getting cash from an ATM, operating his Palm Pilot, even putting a telephone call on hold," the reporter said.

"Those closest to Clinton wonder whether this man who devoted his adult life to becoming president can find a way to live a normal, happy life at age 54."

Mr. Nichols, noting that Mr. Clinton recently accepted an invitation to a play at a neighboring elementary school, added: "Advisers have become so concerned about what Clinton might say to the media that even permission for this USA Today reporter to attend the school play while Clinton watched last Wednesday became the subject of intense negotiations.

"This reporter was allowed in only after Clinton had arrived and had to leave before Clinton departed so the former president wouldn't be asked any questions."

A new tone in town

The spirit of bipartisanship and human sympathy has brought together conservative Sen. Peter G. Fitzgerald, Illinois Republican, and liberal Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat.

The two had a one-on-one lunch several weeks ago, "but it came to light only Monday in a story in the Rochester [N.Y.] Democrat that cited Fitzgerald as being among a few GOP senators who have started to rally behind a colleague they feel is under siege," Ellen Warren and Terry Armour report in the Chicago Tribune.

"A spokesman for Fitzgerald said he was 'sympathetic' to Clinton after the beating she has taken in the wake of the White House pardon scandal, noting that both senators grew up in suburbs northwest of Chicago."

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