- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 29, 2001

Taking your medicine
Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown, who was once governor of California, likens current Gov. Gray Davis handling of the electricity crisis to his own bungling of the medfly crisis.
"Heres an analogy to the medfly crisis," Mr. Brown said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times Douglas Foster. "When I first heard about the medfly, I said, 'Well, its just a few flies, maybe theyll go away. Maybe they wont keep reproducing. And the winter came, and they stopped reproducing. And then, somewhere around February or March, I learned about something called 'spring emergence. As the ground got warmer, the larvae turned into flies and more medflies started appearing. It got out of hand, and ultimately I had to order malathion spraying. It would have been better had I taken forceful action at the first notice of the medfly."
Mr. Foster asked: "Are you saying that the governor missed opportunities to act early, in the same way?"
Mr. Brown replied: "Theres an analogy there. I didnt want to spray because I knew the people in Santa Clara County didnt want to have helicopters spraying malathion over their homes. It didnt sound good. As governor, I wouldnt have wanted to see rate increases either. But sometimes you have to take your medicine early. Its less bitter than if you postpone it."
Mr. Davis served as Mr. Browns chief of staff when the latter Democrat was governor.

Energetic criticism

President Bushs energy plan, already under fire from Democrats and environmentalists, is dismissed by National Review, the conservative magazine, as so much political posturing.
"The hyperbolic attacks on the Bush plan by environmentalists (as an attempt to poison the air and kill the caribou) shouldnt trick conservatives into an exaggerated sense of its merit," the magazine says in an editorial in its current issue, dated June 11.
"The basic thrust of the administrations thinking on energy is sound: a growing economy requires more energy, which in turn entails more production. But the Bush plan itself is a political document, meant to placate corporate interests, environmentalists, and everyone in between, and so is festooned with an embarrassment of subsidies and incentives that will, at best, prove an irrelevance.
"As Jerry Taylor [of the Cato Institute] writes in this issue, the phantom energy crisis is already healing itself. Power plants are being built at a rate that outpaces Dick Cheneys benchmark of one plant a week. Altogether, almost 100,000 new daily megawatts of electrcity capacity are scheduled to be available nationwide by next year. This is twice the amount of electricity that California now uses on an average day. While Cheney has been sitting with his advisers around a White House conference table, investors and entrepreneurs have been digging, building, and refining his energy problem into oblivion. By the time all the Bush plans tax credits have kicked in, there may well be an energy glut. All of this is thanks to the most efficient energy plan known to man: market pricing."

Wrong on both counts

"The buzz in the media after Sen. James Jeffords switch put Democrats in control of the Senate was that President Bush must change his ways. He has to become more moderate. Why? Because only that will prevent more Republican defections and its the presidents one hope for getting his agenda through Congress. This is wrong on both counts," Fred Barnes writes in the Weekly Standard.
"Bush and GOP congressional leaders bent over backwards to accommodate Jeffords and liberal Democrats on education, the senators top priority. Jeffords bolted anyway. On taxes, Bush stuck with his conservative tax cut until nearly the end, when he compromised just enough to assure passage. Jeffords voted with him," Mr. Barnes said.
"The truth about the impact of Jeffords move is that no political earthquake has occurred. The Senate is ideologically unchanged. The swing votes in the Senate, including John McCain, are important, but they already were. Theres no clear path to victory for the Bush agenda, after taxes and education, but that was always true. To pass a patients bill of rights, a prescription-drug benefit, or missile defense, a bipartisan coalition of some sort will be essential.
"Yes, theres one big change with Democrats taking over: judges. Bush will have a harder time getting conservative nominees through a Senate Judiciary Committee run by Patrick Leahy, perhaps the most partisan Democrat on Capitol Hill. One more downbeat side effect: Jeffords announcement overshadowed Bushs tax-cut victory, denying him any political momentum he might have gotten from it."

Incoherent rebel

"Before liberals put James Jeffords on Mount Rushmore, can we please stop and note how hes already betrayed Democrats and his own avowed principles by deciding that his defection wont take effect until after President Bushs wrongheaded tax cut has been signed into law?" syndicated columnist Matthew Miller writes.
"Any traitor (I mean, 'man of conscience) worth his salt shoves the knife in to the hilt — otherwise, whats the point? Machiavellis throughout history have wisely advised that when you move against the king, youd better finish him off," Mr. Miller said.
"Yet Jeffords took pains to make sure his switch wouldnt derail the centerpiece of Bushs agenda, the very agenda that inspired Jeffords move and which Jeffords had the power to stop via his action.
"We are dealing, in other words, with a deeply incoherent rebel. This would be a private matter for Jeffords to sort out with his therapist were not his cowardice in this moment of 'courage so consequential for the country."

The lonely Vermonter

"In the final analysis, [Vermont Sen. James M.] Jeffords was out of step with his party, making his departure appropriate, if politically inconvenient. Those who argue that it was the party out of step with Jeffords, some political analysts are saying, are those who wish the Republicans no good." UPI political analyst Peter Roff writes.
"The conservative, low-tax, minimal-government Republican Party enjoys national parity with the Democrats, something the Northeastern liberal GOP could not achieve. Jeffords is, in that regard, these observers say, out of step with victory. One GOP consultant went so far as to say, 'If the Republicans were doing better in New England, Jeffords would not have been so lonely. Why is it that the people from states where the GOP usually doesnt win think they can tell the rest of us how to run the party and what we all should believe? It doesnt make sense.
"There are those in the GOP who regret the loss of the majority that Jeffords defection brings, but very few, if any, are mourning the loss of the lonely Vermonter," Mr. Roff said.

Last words

Brills Content asked PR pros how they would handle Vice President Richard B. Cheneys heart problems.
"Its inconceivable that [Mr. Cheney] can put in the kind of time were led to believe he is without putting himself at risk," one public relations man, John Scanlon, told the magazine. "My recipe for controlling the situation would be photo-ops, access to his schedule, and a couple of exclusive articles. Hes got to convince people hes fit for the job."
Unfortunately, Mr. Scanlon did not live to see his quote in the magazines June issue, the New York Post reports. He died of a heart attack.

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