- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 24, 2001

Politics of destruction
"As the Senate considers the nomination of Theodore B. Olson to be U.S. solicitor general, I urge the senators to turn off the personal destruction machine that has become part of our partisan landscape," writes Robert S. Bennett, who served as President Clintons attorney during the Paula Jones sexual harassment suit and other matters.
"Unfortunately, the close election, the Supreme Courts decision in Bush vs. Gore and the evenly decided Senate enhance the possibility that the machine will continue to operate on all cylinders — to the detriment of the American people," Mr. Bennett said in a commentary in the Los Angeles Times.
"I do not know the nature and extent of Olsons relationship with either the American Spectator or the Arkansas Project [to investigate President Clinton], but I do know that Olson is a truth-teller, and you can rely on his explanations.
"Several years ago, when I was the state chair of the American College of Trial Lawyers for the District of Columbia, it was my responsibility to help select for admission to the college the most skilled, dedicated and honest advocates. Tops on my list was Olson, and because of his stellar qualifications and reputation for integrity, he sailed through the selection process — supported by liberals, moderates and conservatives.
"Those who oppose Olson cannot do so on the basis of his qualifications, so they put into play, with little factual basis, questions about his honesty."

A new ideology

William Kristol and David Brooks of the Weekly Standard "have come a long way in the past three years," Franklin Foer writes in the New Republic.
"These days they champion campaign finance reform and environmental protection. They oppose the Bush administrations proposed repeal of the estate tax because, as Brooks puts it, 'We should be concerned with the widening income gap. They attack corporate power with Naderesque ferocity. No one can accuse them of being mere libertarians in Bull Moose garb anymore. National-greatness conservatism, to the surprise of many, has come to mean something. Its a real ideology now. Its just not a conservative one," Mr. Foer said.
National-greatness conservatism, created and touted by Mr. Kristol and Mr. Brooks as a sort of Teddy Roosevelt-style reform movement, was embraced by Arizona Sen. John McCain in his failed bid for the Republican presidential nomination last year.
"If you havent seen much of this heresy in the pages of the Weekly Standard, thats because on domestic policy Kristol and Brooks have become a minority in their own office," Mr. Foer said. "Unable to turn the Standard into a vehicle for their movement, theyve essentially stopped writing about economics and social policy… . Instead, Kristol and [Marshall] Wittmann have started a think tank called the Project for Conservative Reform, run out of the Hudson Institute, with the sole purpose of developing position papers for their movement. And Brooks next book will aim to infuse national-greatness conservatism with some needed marrow."

Judicial Watch suit

Judicial Watch, the legal group that became famous for its lawsuits against the Clinton administration but which in recent months turned its wrath on Republicans, has announced that it will take the Republican Party to court over an event for top party contributors at the vice presidents mansion this week.
The event had no admission fee, but Judicial Watch called it "a prima facie violation of the prohibition of the use of federal property for political fund-raising purposes."
Said Judicial Watch Chairman Larry Klayman: "The Republican fund-raising apparatus is out of control. Their brazen disregard for law and ethics is approaching Clintonian levels. The vice presidents involvement has now pushed this Republican scandal up to a new level. Attorney General John Ashcroft must now appoint a special counsel to investigate the apparent violations of law by high-level administration officials."

Casey vs. Rendell

Organized labor is rallying behind Pennsylvania Auditor General Robert P. Casey Jr. a year before he is expected to take on former Philadelphia Mayor and national party ex-Chairman Edward G. Rendell in the Democratic race for governor.
Twelve unions, with more than 600,000 members, have endorsed Mr. Casey, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
"The states largest union representing government workers — with a long memory of Rendells hard line against city workers nearly a decade ago — climbed aboard the juggernaut Saturday, endorsing Casey unanimously," reporter Thomas Fitzgerald writes.

Modern barbarians

"Democrats are assailing President Bushs answer to the obvious disturbance in our energy supplies: 'The GOP now seems to stand for "gas, oil, and plutonium," they warned last week. Where exactly do Democrats think energy comes from?" William Tucker writes in the New York Post.
"The great Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset identified this mindset in the 1930s: 'The modern barbarian … looks at the highly complex modern society and takes it to be a natural object. People think that fruit appears in the grocery store the same way it grows on trees. They dont perceive the highly complex social network that makes it possible. Nor do they appreciate that networks fragility," Mr. Tucker said.
"Price controls will not generate a single megawatt of electricity. All they will do is shorten supplies, while telling Californians that they no longer have to conserve energy. The result would be a shortage that would make todays blackouts look like a Sunday picnic.
"But dont worry, Gov. Gray Davis and the California Legislature have another arrow in their quiver. Theyre already discussing jail sentences for power company executives who charge prices they deem excessive.
"When the Ayatollah Khomeini brought an Islamic Republic to Iran, he immediately imposed price controls on all goods. Vendors who sold above the prescribed prices had their feet branded with hot irons in the marketplace.
"As you can see, the term 'modern barbarians has not lost its meaning."

Yale vs. Notre Dame

"'The least that can be expected from a university graduate, Harvard President Nathan Pusey once said, is an ability to 'pronounce the name of God without embarrassment. These days, of course, you pronounce the name of God at a high school football game and somebody calls in the Supreme Court. And if you happen to bestow an honorary Yale degree on a sitting Republican president, your students boo and your faculty sign a petition treating it as an act of heresy," the Wall Street Journal observed in an editorial.
"Yet as uncomfortable as Yale might be with George W. Bush, clearly this is a president comfortable with the G-word. It tells much about the state of play in the academy today that Notre Dame would be more receptive to the president of the United States than an Ivy that was alma mater not only to him but to President George Bush Sr. In New Haven Monday, Mr. Bush gamely chose to make light of the uproar, quipping that 'If you graduate from Yale, you get to become president. If you drop out, you get to be vice president.
"But it was in South Bend that Mr. Bush sought to shake down the thunder, using his address to the Notre Dame Class of 2001 to question any welfare system that would deign to treat bodies without first feeding the soul."

No freebies

"I dont give free advice any more. Im a lawyer."
So said Sen. Bob Dole when asked what advice he would give his successor, Majority Leader Trent Lott, who could lose his majority if, as expected, Sen. James M. Jeffords of Vermont abandons the Republican Party.
Mr. Dole was on Capitol Hill yesterday to attend the Leaders Lecture Series featuring former President Gerald Ford.

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