- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 30, 2001

Saving the Democrats
Georgia Sen. Zell Miller says that despite harsh criticism from liberals, he will stick with the Democratic Party and try to reform it from within.
Mr. Miller and other centrists have come under fire in the Senates Democratic Caucus, which has shown little tolerance for dissent. And outside the caucus, prominent party members such as James Carville, a strategist in Mr. Millers successful run for governor in 1990, have disowned the Georgian. In fact, Mr. Carville asked Mr. Miller to return a $1,000 donation to his Senate campaign last year. Mr. Miller obliged.
Mr. Miller told New York Times reporter Kevin Sack that in late April and early this month he did consider leaving the party.
"I was hurt and mad at some longtime friends, … who had been so loud and harsh and vehement in their criticism about me doing the tax cut and (voting for attorney general nominee John) Ashcroft," Mr. Miller said.
As for Mr. Carville, "I couldnt imagine him doing anything that would have driven a wedge in our friendship. But when you ask for your money back after youve paid the man hundreds of thousands of dollars over several years, that kind of gets to you."
He added: "I am much more conservative than most of my fellow Democrats, but at the same time I have this thing about trying — this sounds corny — trying to save this party from itself."
As for the Democrats new role as the majority party in the Senate, "I think the real minority in the Senate right now is not so much the Republicans as it is the liberal Democrats," Mr. Miller said, "because they have to have these eight or 12 centrists to do anything."

Turning his back
When Montana Sen. Max Baucus told fellow Finance Committee Democrats about the tax-cut compromise he had worked out with Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the deal met with praise from New Jersey Sen. Robert Torricelli, USA Today reports.
"But then a parade of Democrats lit into Baucus. As the meeting ended, the Montanan approached [South Dakota Senator and Minority Leader Tom] Daschle to talk. Daschle turned his back."

Term-limit confusion
Now that Republicans are set to become the minority in the Senate, they are arguing over what this means for outgoing chairmen who have about 19 months left on the six-year term limit for chairmanships established in 1996.
Some senators think the rule means they can serve up to six years as the ranking (minority) member of a panel and then return to fill the unused portion of the chairmanship, Roll Call reports. Others think the rule means no more than six years total as either chairman or ranking member.
"How the issue is resolved will have a ripple effect throughout the powerful committees in the Senate, potentially replacing some of the most colorful personalities in the chamber with more junior senators and some veterans who have been waiting in the wings for years," reporter Paul Kane writes.
Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, who had been in line to replace Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens as chairman of the Appropriations Committee in 2003, told the newspaper: "Its something the Republican Conference will have to deal with."
Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch said he had "no idea" whether he could remain as top Republican on the Judiciary Committee after 2002.

'Alien' returns
Now that the Democrats are taking control of the Senate, Hillary Rodham Clinton "returns to a position of real power," Peggy Noonan writes.
"You lock the door and she comes in the window, you lock the window and she comes up the floor boards. This is like 'Alien — she lives in Tom Daschles stomach. Just as the music gets soft and the scene winds down you hear the wild 'Eeek! Eeek! and she bursts out of Tom and darts through the room," Mrs. Noonan said in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.
"Mrs. Clinton signaled her new aggression within hours of Mr. Jeffords announcement. When the Senate, on Thursday, overwhelmingly confirmed Viet Dinh and Michael Chertoff as assistant attorneys general, Mrs. Clinton cast the only vote against either man. Were her reasons serious, or spiteful? You decide. Both men were lawyers with the Senate Whitewater Committee.
"All this is a threat to the Republic. But in a narrow sense it is also a gift to the GOP base, to the partys hackocracy, to those Republicans on the street whove never really been comfortable sitting back and just hoping Mr. Bush will do well. They can now jolt awake with the super charge of adrenaline that only Hillary — Eeek! Eeek! — can give them."

Changing standards
The New Republic, in an editorial, notes that Yale University professor Bruce Ackerman said the reason why 171 Yale faculty members opposed giving President Bush an honorary degree was because it came too early in his tenure.
"Luckily for Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy — each of whom was also offered an honorary Yale degree during his first year as president — Ackerman wasnt around back then to raise questions about their qualifications," said the magazine, which also noted that Mr. Ackerman and the faculty raised no objection to the newly minted junior senator from New York speaking on commencement weekend.

The partys over
Elaine and Gerald Schuster have raised barrels of cash for such Democratic Party luminaries as Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry. But the wealthy couple, who were frequent visitors to the White House during the Clinton years, have decided to walk away from the Democrats after the state party sided with a labor union that is trying to organize workers at a Schuster-owned nursing home in Massachusetts, the Boston Globe reports.
The couple has raised millions of dollars for Democratic candidates and also has contributed hundreds of thousands to the national party through "soft money" donations, the newspaper said.
The union had been pressuring the party to intervene against the couple. After state party Chairman Philip Johnston and two other party officials wrote a letter to members of the Democratic State Committee, calling on them to write Mr. Schuster and urge him to settle up with the union, a furious Mrs. Schuster told Mr. Johnston that she was through with the party.
A spokesman for the Schusters said they felt the party had taken the unions side and unfairly hindered negotiations.

Traficants radio gig
Rep. James Traficant, Ohio Democrat, told radio listeners yesterday his federal criminal indictment is an example that "unelected bureaucrats" need to be challenged.
Mr. Traficants scheduled four-day appearance as guest host on WKBN-AM in Youngstown, Ohio, began yesterday. The appearance, which was also telecast on C-SPAN, drew criticism that it could poison the jury pool in Cleveland, where his trial is scheduled in February.
The 60-year-old Mr. Traficant, one of the countrys most colorful congressmen, was indicted by a federal grand jury May 4, on charges that include racketeering, bribery and conspiracy. The charges carry up to 63 years in prison and $2.2 million in fines.
He plans to represent himself in court, though he is not a lawyer.
Mr. Traficant told listeners his case may "serve as a microcosm of a struggle in America, a great struggle. These unelected bureaucrats seem to run things, and I think its time for a challenge. Im afraid, but Im ready to go after them."
The rock song "Eye of the Tiger," from the "Rocky III" movie, was played at station breaks, the Associated Press reports.


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