- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 31, 2001

Top Bush-basher
"In just five months, Hillary Rodham Clinton has growled her way into the role of top Democrat attack dog when it comes to tearing into President Bush," New York Post reporter Vincent Morris writes.
"New Yorks freshman senator has ripped into Bush on taxes, judges, school construction, school testing, oil drilling, air quality, work-protection rules, abortion and energy," Mr. Morris said.
"She has also railed against the presidents rollback of drinking-water standards, expressed skepticism about his faith-based plan, and scoffed at his missile-defense ideas.
"Her status as the go-to Bush critic was clearest a week ago when senior Senate Democrats invited her to a news conference to bash the Republican who replaced her husband over his budget and tax-cut plan.
"Shoulder to shoulder with four Senate lions, male lawmakers with 12, 18 and 24 years experience, was first-termer Clinton, ranked just 97th in seniority — but No. 1 in name recognition."

Ghosts of Darman

"The GOP has finally put the 1990 'read-my-lips debacle behind it. Taxpayers can trust Republicans again," writes Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth.
"Tax cuts were the crown jewel of the Bush domestic-policy platform. The White House absolutely had to have this win and they got it — notwithstanding several near-death experiences in the Senate. Bravo to Karl Rove, Paul ONeill, Larry Lindsey, Nick Calio, and the whole White House lobbying team that snared this victory for the president and for the country," Mr. Moore said in an opinion piece on the National Review Web site (www.nationalreview.com). "The ghosts of Dick Darman have been put to rest."
Mr. Darman, budget director in the administration of President Bushs father, was blamed by many conservatives for the 1990 tax increase that broke the famous "read my lips, no new taxes" pledge the elder Bush made at the 1988 Republican convention.
Mr. Moore also observed: "McCain is now certifiably McCrazy. John McCain showed his true colors. He actually voted AGAINST final passage of the Bush tax plan. He was one of only two Republicans in all of Congress to do so. Why this act of Jeffordsonian betrayal? Because he proclaimed that the bill favored the rich too much at the expense of lower-income Americans. He co-sponsored a poison-pill amendment with Tom Daschle to gut the Bush tax plan. McCains evil plot was foiled, thankfully, by one vote. Prediction: John McCain will never again seriously contend for the GOP nomination for president."

Drowning their troubles

"Its bad enough that Al Gore waited half a year to thank the thousands of volunteers and employees who worked on his presidential campaign at Capitol City Brewery last week," the Hill newspaper reports.
"But at his official 'Thank You party, the ex-veep didnt even pick up the drink tab for the staffers who worked for Al and Tipper in the past 24 years," the newspapers "Open Secrets of the Hill" column said.
"The hundreds of staffers who showed up were offered beer, wine and alcohol — at high prices — in exchange for their contact information. Tricolor chips, greasy ground beef and spicy cheese, however, were gratis, as were cold buffalo wings and oily quesadillas."

They're back

"With Sen. Jim Jeffords defection from the GOP, Democrats think they can finally offer voters definitive proof that the Republican agenda is bad for America. Jeffords jump to become an independent is being described by Democrats and a few 'moderate (read: liberal) Republicans as a watershed event in American politics: not just one man changing party affiliation, but the end of conservatism," Laura Ingraham writes in USA Today.
"Democrats are willing themselves to forget the past eight years and Clintons prudent penchant for moderation, at least in his political agenda. Jeffords exits stage left, and suddenly they act as if they have a national mandate for a liberal agenda: Raise the minimum wage! Price controls for oil! No energy exploration in Alaska! Prescription drug benefits for seniors!" Miss Ingraham said.
"Grasping to derail the political momentum of conservative ideas, liberal media types like to mock the Bush administration for staffing itself with so many figures of the Republican past. I suppose paleo-libs Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden and Pat Leahy, all new Senate committee chairmen, are figures from the Democrats bright shining future? Like Freddy Krueger, theyre back — as are their long-dead ideas for big-government social spending."

Beltway coup

"Properly understood, the Jeffords defection is a Beltway coup," the Wall Street Journal says, referring to Vermont Sen. James M. Jeffords decision to tilt the Senate balance of power to the Democrats.
"The Democrats identified the weakest member of the Senate GOP, pulled him over to their side with the promise of a non-term-limited committee chairmanship, overturned a large part of the November election and let the Beltway media mop up by blaming the whole transition on the presidents political beliefs, the same ones that got the former governor voted into the White House over an incumbent vice president," the newspaper said in an editorial.
Because real votes "are anathema to liberals," Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle instead will probably spend two years "playing variations on the public politics of the Jeffords defection," depicting Mr. Bush as "dug in" against popular Democratic initiatives.
"What this means is that President Bush himself will have to force an alternative, competing public understanding of issues that are important to him, and to the people who elected him," the newspaper said.
"And make no mistake; the broader public is quite willing to sit still for an alternative to the Beltways conventional explanations for events in American politics. Quite a number of books have been published on the Florida presidential contest, and from what we can see only one of them is on all the best-seller lists: Bill Sammons 'At Any Cost: How Al Gore Tried to Steal the Election."

Nasty Republicans

"Republicans owe defecting Senator James Jeffords a hearty handshake and deep gratitude for exposing the awfulness of their partys conservatives — at least according to the medias twisted take on next weeks scheduled Senate switchover," the Media Research Centers Rich Noyes writes.
"'The message from Jeffords is not a new one, NPRs Nina Totenberg lectured on Saturdays "Inside Washington" roundtable: 'Republicans, when they govern from the right and castigate their moderate members, do so at their peril. Totenberg then compared conservatives to wife-beaters: 'The modern Republican Party and its moderate wing are in a sort of, to use the psychobabble of the era, in an abusive relationship. For viewers who failed to grasp her insult, she explained: 'The conservatives are the abusers."

Secret adviser?

"New York Post gossip columnist Cindy Adams thinks she knows who persuaded Vermont Sen. James M. Jeffords to jump ship from the Republicans.
"So whos the one lone single individual solitary who, theyre saying inside the Beltway, exercised most influence on this guy about whom nobody much cared a lot before? The one who hustled him to switch parties and stick it to the president?" Mrs. Adams writes.
"Guess. Just guess. Youll never guess.
"That sly political dog Bill 'go for the kill Clinton. Our former Maximum Leader who obviously did some maximum boasting about it. In places other than the coffee shops of Chappaqua, where he currently does most of his politicking. He might walk softly these days, but hes carrying a big shtick."

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