- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 1, 2001

Nader loses a debate
The right of private companies to fund presidential debates that exclude third-party candidates got a big boost yesterday when the Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the system by Ralph Nader.
Mr. Nader, who carried the Green Party banner in 2000, attacked the funding mechanism of debates as part of his assault on a system he considers unfair to candidates other than those from the Democratic or Republican parties. He said the system tolerates "impermissible corporate influence."
Companies underwriting last falls debates included AT&T;, Anheuser-Busch and Sun Microsystems.
The Justice Department urged the court not to interfere in Federal Election Commission rules that do not require including fringe-party candidates but ban debate sponsors from using membership in a specific party as "the sole objective criterion" for choosing debaters. The court did not comment on its refusal to hear Mr. Naders appeal.

Gores return

Those hankering for Al Gore to return to the political stage probably will have to wait a while longer.
"Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, had dinner with Mr. Gore last week and said the former vice president seemed inclined to wait until the fall before speaking out," New York Times reporter Katharine Q. Seelye writes.
Said Mr. McAuliffe: "He still needs time to relax" after last years bruising and extended presidential contest, not to mention 24 years as a congressman, senator or vice president.
However, "Allies fear that Mr. Gores silence is leaving a void in party leadership, and they are watching other presidential aspirants like Senators Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut and John Kerry of Massachusetts try to fill it," the reporter said. "The longer Mr. Gore stays silent, they say, the stronger those rivals become and the harder it is for Mr. Gore to maintain his base."

Rogan changes course

Former Rep. James Rogan, California Republican, has decided to accept a position in the Bush administration rather than run for a possible open seat in the House.
President Bush is expected to name Mr. Rogan, a House impeachment manager during the Bill Clinton sex-and-lies scandal, to be Commerce Department undersecretary for patents and trademarks, Roll Call reports, citing anonymous Republican sources.
Mr. Rogan, who lost his re-election bid last year, has confirmed the offer to join the administration, reporter John Mercurio said.
"And I was raised to believe that when the president of the United States needs someone, the answer is always yes," Mr. Rogan said.
Mr. Rogan had been eyeing the House seat held by Rep. Christopher Cox, California Republican, who is widely believed to be in line for a federal judgeship.
"Aides said Rogan was influenced in part by increasing concern that Cox could face a rough, or at least prolonged, confirmation battle in the evenly divided Senate. Indeed, his two biggest adversaries could be his home-state senators, Democrats Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer," Roll Call said.
"Cox is scheduled to meet this week with Feinstein to discuss his potential nomination. Feinstein has not said publicly how she would react to Coxs nomination, but GOP insiders fear she may join Boxer, who is already working to derail the move."

Into the wilderness

"The Democrats and their allies in the press were able to demonize Newt Gingrich — vetoing his bill to keep the government open and blaming him for closing it, and drumming on ethics charges ultimately found to be groundless," Wall Street Journal Editor Robert L. Bartley writes.
"Theyre trying with President Bush, but had to give up trying to smear him as a dunce or electorally illegitimate. Now its the environment, over an unratifiable Kyoto treaty, endangered species lawsuits even the Clinton administration wanted to limit, arsenic standards deemed excessive by the communities threatened," Mr. Bartley said.
"Its not easy to demonize someone, a genial host might say, who lives in the big house. So at the first-100-day mark, the left seems to be headed not out, but deeper into the wilderness."

Core of the debate

"On 'Fox News Sunday a few weeks ago, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle was twice asked a simple question that he refused to answer: 'What do you think the maximum income tax rate should be for any American? This question is at the core of the debate about the structure of the tax cut, yet very few reporters have asked members of Congress to answer it," writes Richard W. Rahn, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and an adjunct scholar of the Cato Institute.
"George W. Bush has often said that no American should have to pay more than a third of his income in taxes. Public opinion polls have consistently shown that most Americans believe that no one should have to pay more than approximately 25 percent of his income to government," Mr. Rahn said in an article in the Weekly Standard.
"I, for one, would really like to know what each member of Congress thinks is the maximum 'fair tax rate, and the ideal size of government (as a percent of GDP) and why. If a member of Congress cannot answer, how can he or she responsibly vote for any tax or spending bill? This is pretty basic, yet few journalists even try to get us the answers."

Revised history

Andrew Cuomo, the Democrat who served as Bill Clintons housing secretary and is now running for governor of New York (an office once held by his father, Mario), received an editorial spanking last week from the Binghamton Press and Sun Bulletin, the New York Posts Fredric U. Dicker writes.
"Reviewing his April 22 speech to local Democratic activists in which he blamed Pataki for upstates long-stalled economy, the influential regional newspaper declared that Cuomo had 'concocted a revised history of upstate New York," Mr. Dicker said.
"While noting that Cuomos questions about the condition of the upstate economy are valid, the editorial went on to say, 'He should have addressed them to his father.
"'When Pataki took office in 1995, he inherited not just an upstate economy that was in shambles, but a state that was virtually hemorrhaging jobs and industry.
"And, the editorial contended, 'In comparison to Cuomos father, whose contribution to upstates growth consisted largely of prison expansion, Pataki has enthusiastically supported upstate recovery efforts.'
"Ouch!"

Familiar names

"Max Kennedys bid for U.S. Rep. J. Joseph Moakleys seat has picked up support from two key Democratic powerbrokers: former Lt. Gov. Thomas P. ONeill III and former Boston Bar Association chief Thomas E. Dwyer Jr.," the Boston Globe reports.
"A prolific fund-raiser and a certified Friend of Bill, Dwyer last week called Kennedy a 'very sharp guy who would carry the torch well for the older-style, liberal wing of the Democratic Party. ONeill, a lobbyist and son of former House Speaker Thomas P. 'Tip ONeill Jr. and a longtime Kennedy family ally, called supporting Kennedy an 'easy choice."
The newspaper also reported that Max Kennedy, the son of Robert F. Kennedy, had bought a five-bedroom, three-bath Colonial with a formal oak dining room, in-ground swimming pool and detached garage in Mr. Moakleys district. The cost: $552,000.

The odd couple

Talk about your odd coalition. Former special prosecutor Kenneth W. Starr and defense attorney Johnnie Cochran will share a table today in District of Columbia Superior Court to defend three persons accused of illegal entry in connection with an April 13 incident at the Sudanese Embassy.
The individuals handcuffed themselves to the entrance of the diplomatic mission to protest civil war and famines that have claimed 2 million lives since 1983.


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