- The Washington Times - Monday, March 5, 2001

Nader's message

Democrats continue to ostracize Ralph Nader, blaming his Green Party presidential candidacy for keeping Al Gore out of the White House, but Mr. Nader intends to have the last laugh.

He "is mapping new mischief with the potential to gladden the hearts of Republicans everywhere," Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Dick Polman writes.

"He is working with the Greens to run as many as 80 candidates in the 2002 congressional elections twice the number that ran in 2000. If he succeeds, Nader could drain liberal votes from Democrats in tight races, and severely impede the Democratic effort to wrest the House of Representatives away from the GOP," the reporter said.

"He is not coy about his motives. Just as he ran for president to punish Gore and the Democrats for allegedly betraying their progressive traditions and currying favor with global corporate power, now he wants to knock off congressional Democrats who have committed the same sins. As he put it, 'The Democrats are going to have to lose more elections. They didn't get the message last time.' "

Hillary's war-room idea

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, apparently thinks Hill Democrats should emulate the White House as run by the Clintons.

"You know, Democrats are really lost on Capitol Hill right now. They don't have a leader, they're not used to not having the White House," ABC News commentator George Stephanopoulos, a former Clinton aide, said yesterday on "This Week."

"I even heard this week that Mrs. Clinton was trying to assert herself Senator Clinton, excuse me up on Capitol Hill. She said, 'Listen' she went to Senator Tom Daschle and said, 'We need a war room here to start to respond to the Republicans.' Exactly what she did in the campaign. Exactly what she did in the White House. But you find out that a freshman senator isn't as powerful as a first lady. Daschle's response was, essentially, 'Thanks, but no thanks.' "

Just a few more days

Gloria Borger, writing in U.S. News & World Report, says this is a true story:

"The day before inauguration, Hugh Rodham happily mooching off taxpayers rent free and well fed upstairs at the White House was having a tough time getting all his boxes packed. So the first brother-in-law went to an usher with a request: I'm not sure I can get out of here by tomorrow. Do you think I can stay a few more days?

"Was he kidding? Or did he think the Bushes wouldn't notice?" the columnist asked.

"The White House thought otherwise, and Rodham left town."

Max, Zell and Tom

"Politics is about to get more interesting, in the Chinese-curse sense of that word, for Georgia Sen. Max Cleland," Wall Street Journal columnist Paul Gigot writes.

"He's a freshman Democrat running for re-election next year in a state President Bush carried by 12 percent. His more popular Georgia colleague, Democrat Zell Miller, has already co-sponsored Mr. Bush's tax cut and called his Tuesday night speech a 'home run.' Mr. Bush also just happened to choose Atlanta [Thursday] to stump for his plan," Mr. Gigot noted.

"Yet Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle calls the Bush tax cut 'irresponsible,' a sop to the wealthy and 'deeply unfair' and that was in a speech pledging to find 'common ground'!

"Poor Mr. Cleland is caught between Tom and Zell, between his liberal base and his own re-election chances. He can vote with Messrs. Bush and Miller, and take the tax issue off the table in 2002. Or he can sign on with the national Democrats and risk his seat. Guess who usually wins those calls?

"One hint is that Mr. Cleland has begun to advertise all of the tax cuts he's supported in the past. And about this year, he now says, 'I think we can work something out.' A handful of other Senate Democrats are moving the same way.

"Democrats are learning what it's like not to have the bully pulpit. The other team gets to use Air Force One to schmooze your own troops and dominate the hometown media. And the other team leader sets the terms of debate. At least on taxes, where the Senate only requires 51 votes for passage, Mr. Daschle is getting rolled."

'Don' Giuliani

New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani traded trousers for tights and stepped out in public in high-heeled shoes all in the interest of charity at the annual Inner Circle show, a spoof on city politics staged by the press corps.

Reporters danced, sang and parodied everything from the mayor's race to the Clinton pardon scandals in their skit, titled "Full Frontal Rud-ity."

Among the guests was Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who endured the references to her husband's pardons, the Associated Press reports.

Then the mayor took the stage with an elaborately produced rebuttal, featuring a cigar-smoking "Don Giuliani" at the city's helm in a takeoff of "The Godfather" that included appearances by actors Tony Sirico and Robert Iler, cast members from his favorite show, "The Sopranos."

"What is a don? What is his role?" the mayor crooned. "To keep this town in my control."

Mr. Giuliani's appearance in tights and heels, for a kick line dance with the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes, wasn't his first in women's wear. In several past Inner Circle shows, the mayor sported a blond wig and a dress to portray "Rudia."

Under a local term-limits law, Mr. Giuliani must step down as mayor at the end of this year. A skit about the four men running to succeed him featured a parody of the song "Fame," with the line "Lame! We're gonna run forever!"

Coats to Germany?

Former Republican Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana has accepted an offer from President Bush to become U.S. ambassador to Germany, a newspaper reported yesterday.

The Indianapolis Star quoted Mr. Coats as saying that he had been asked by Mr. Bush to accept the post that is one of the country's top diplomatic appointments and had done so.

There was no immediate comment from the White House.

"I am honored to be asked, but it is the president who officially nominates and the Senate that confirms. Neither have happened yet," he said.

Weeks ago, news leaks suggested that Mr. Coats was Mr. Bush's top choice to become defense secretary. But he was passed over in favor of Donald H. Rumsfeld, a former Pentagon chief who is now serving his second term in that position.

Mr. Coats, 57, served on the Armed Services and Intelligence committees when he was in the Senate. He left that body in 1998 and has since been a lobbyist for one of Washington's top law firms.

Landmark event

"George Bush's budget speech on Tuesday night was a landmark event in American politics," New York Post columnist John Podhoretz writes.

"It wasn't remarkable for its rhetoric or substance; the president was only giving voice to ideas he had been thumping for two years and that GOP policy-makers had been working on for two decades. But politically it represented the emergence of the Republican Party from the conservative counterculture," Mr. Podhoretz said.

"Gone was the stark choice posed to the American people by past Republicans best (or worst) summarized by then-Republican National Committee Chairman Rich Bond's statement during the 1992 convention that 'we are America. Those other people are not America.' Translation: Republicans good, Democrats bad. Conservatives good, liberals bad."

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