- The Washington Times - Monday, November 12, 2001

Imperious Leahy
Sen. Patrick J. Leahy has had "a rough transition from Senator Mellow to Mr. Chairman," Michael Crowley writes in the New Republic, referring to the Vermont Democrat's leadership of the Judiciary Committee.
"Leahy has found himself under near-constant assault from Republicans who say he plays vindictive games with their judicial nominees. The attorney general has suggested that he endangered the public by trying to stall and water down anti-terrorism legislation. Even fellow Democrats claim he has been imperious, hypersensitive, and a pain to work with. Indeed, Leahy is fast becoming one of the most resented members of the Senate. And this isolation from his Democratic colleagues as well as his Republican antagonists is starting to undermine the political causes about which he cares so much," Mr. Crowley said.
Republican senators "insist Leahy has made the process unusually personal. According to a Senate Republican aide, after Idaho Republican Larry Craig criticized Leahy in the media, Leahy told him that one of his home-state judges would have to wait until next year for a hearing. The aide also says Leahy warned Charles Grassley of Iowa that if he signed a letter of grievance circulating among Republican Judiciary Committee members, his judges' scheduled hearings would be canceled (aides to the senators didn't respond, and a Leahy staffer says he doesn't know anything about the charges.)
"Meanwhile, Colorado's two GOP senators, Wayne Allard and Ben Nighthorse Campbell, told Roll Call last month that Leahy implied their support for a GOP filibuster protesting stalled nominations would affect the fate of their judges. (A Leahy aide told me that anyone familiar with the senator's dry wit would understand that he was kidding.) As a result, Leahy has become the subject of profane denunciations by Republican senators during their weekly policy lunches, according to one attendee. Adds a top Republican aide, 'They are taking his actions personally because it seems to be the way he operates.'
"Such accusations would be easier to dismiss as partisan sniping if members of Leahy's own party weren't grousing as well," especially California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Mr. Crowley said.

The 'D' in CDC
Why is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) using taxpayer-funded resources to send partisan attacks on Republican senators across the country by e-mail?
That's what Rep. Dave Weldon, Florida Republican, is asking about an Oct. 30 message on the CDC's Prevention News Update e-mail list.
The CDC e-mail included an editorial from The Washington Post castigating "a group of willful Republican senators" for what it called a "planned assault on the District's fiscal year 2002 budget."
The Post editorial was critical of "a Republican-led attempt to stop the District from spending its own money on needle exchange and domestic partnership programs."
"The e-mail is a blatantly partisan attack on Republicans," Dr. Weldon said in a letter to CDC Director Jeffrey P. Koplan. "This is a misuse of taxpayer money. There is absolutely no value in sending out the [Post editorial] at taxpayer expense."
Dr. Weldon, a physician who treated AIDS patients in Florida before he was elected to Congress in 1994, concludes the CDC employees responsible for the e-mail "either lack proper supervision or they have too much time on their hands," and suggests: "Perhaps these employees could be redirected to spend more time on our efforts to combat bioterrorism."
As of last week, Dr. Weldon, chairman of the Government Reform Committee's subcommittee on civil service, had not yet received a reply to his Oct. 31 letter.

Not by Thanksgiving
Rep. Roy Blunt, Missouri Republican, was asked on CNN if President Bush's decision to put more National Guard troops at airports is a sign he does not expect Congress to pass aviation security legislation by Thanksgiving.
"I think it's a sign that, no matter what we did, it wouldn't be in place by Thanksgiving," said Mr. Blunt, the president's point man in the House on the airline safety issue.
"You know, it was a false part of the argument that whatever we did on the House floor or on the Senate floor might make travel safer by Thanksgiving or even Christmas," Mr. Blunt said, adding:
"No matter what direction we go, we're talking about a huge change in the way we deal with airport security. Everybody wants federal rules and regulations, federal supervision for the first time ever. This wasn't going to happen in two or three weeks."
Asked when a new system could be operational, the Missouri Republican was not definitive. "Hopefully, by sometime after the first of next year, we'll see a substantial new plan in place at airports around America."

Out of line
Radical-turned-conservative David Horowitz was astounded by Bill Clinton's comments last week in a speech at Georgetown University.
"Equating slavery and the plight of the American Indian to today's war is unconscionable and out of line," Mr. Horowitz said in a news release from his Center for the Study of Popular Culture.
"The problem for Bill Clinton is that he has no sense of decorum. Historically, former presidents fade into the background for at least several years after their term has ended. By speaking out at this time, Clinton is undermining President Bush's effort to win the war on terrorism.
"In my opinion, Clinton is trying to divert attention from his own failed efforts and responses to the worldwide terrorist network that now threatens civilization. Clinton's tepid response to the first World Trade Center bombing and to our U.S. embassies bombing as well as to the USS Cole encouraged [Osama] bin Laden and his thugs to be even bolder.
"History will record that no one was watching the store when Bill Clinton and his band of foreign policy amateurs were in charge. His speech at Georgetown University again points out his anti-American sentiments. He sold us out to the Chinese for campaign contributions and now in his twisted view of the world, is attempting to blame the sins of the past of this country, particularly slavery, for the position we find ourselves in today."
Mr. Horowitz added: "Perhaps Mr. Clinton should go back and read the history books and he will find out that America fought a civil war to end slavery. Playing the race card at a time when our country has been attacked and is engaged in war is irresponsible, playing loose with the facts and gives aid and comfort to our enemies."

A bonding exercise
"The issues on the table terrorism, nuclear weapons, and missile defense couldn't be more important. But President Bush has another reason for welcoming Vladimir Putin to Washington and to his Texas ranch this week: the buddy factor," Paul Bedard writes in U.S. News & World Report.
"It's clear from public meetings that the two leaders get along well. But in private, Bush talks about his Russian counterpart like a long-lost friend. Friends and advisers say Bush expected Putin to be recalcitrant and slippery, in keeping with his reputation as a former KGB operative. Instead, Bush has been disarmed by Putin's collegiality and candor. Bush calls Putin a 'bottom-line leader.' Says a senior U.S. official: 'Their relationship is very warm.'
"But the prez could go too far," Mr. Bedard said. "He's eager to show off his ranch, and the question is whether Bush will invite Putin to chop cedar, which infests the property, as a bonding exercise. Bush finds it relaxing, but friends and aides who have helped are less enthusiastic about such hard labor. Chopping cedar could be the biggest test yet of East-West relations in the Bush-Putin era."


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