- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 13, 2001

Pataki's chances
"Pessimism has become pervasive in [New York] Democratic circles over the chances that Carl McCall or Andrew Cuomo can defeat Gov. [George E.] Pataki next year, assuming as most do that the governor seeks a third term," the New York Post's Fredric U. Dicker writes.
"[Michael] Bloomberg's [mayoral] victory and the national economic downturn are expected to make it all the more difficult for McCall and Cuomo to raise badly needed campaign funds," Mr. Dicker said.
"New York City Democrats and their traditional labor allies are at each other's throats, and a large number of defections to Pataki are expected next year.
"Key Democrats also say there's an excellent chance that hospital-workers union leader Dennis Rivera and state AFL-CIO President Denis Hughes will endorse the governor next year.
"And several of the city's best-known Hispanic Democrats can barely conceal their plans to back Pataki next year."

Surprising statistics
"Last week, detailed statistics were released on voting in Florida during the presidential election. The data for the first time include all of the state's precincts, with not just information on race, but on party affiliation," John R. Lott Jr. and James K. Glassman write in the Los Angeles Times.
"At first glance, the numbers confirm the disturbing claims, repeated often this year, that African-American ballots were 'spoiled' that is, not counted because they showed either no vote for president or multiple votes at higher rates than the ballots of other groups," said Mr. Lott and Mr. Glassman, resident fellows at the American Enterprise Institute.
" But if spoiled ballots do indicate disenfranchisement, then the new data show that, by a dramatic margin, the group most victimized in the Florida voting was African-American Republicans.
"We discovered this stunning twist in an extensive analysis of the new data," the writers said.
"The new findings show that African-American Republicans who voted in Florida were in excess of 50 times more likely than the average African-American to have had a ballot declared invalid because it was spoiled."
The writers found another surprising fact: "Among white voters, Republicans were much more likely than Democrats to have spoiled ballots.
"In addition, we found that the overall rate of spoiled ballots was 14 percent higher when the county election supervisor was a Democrat and 31 percent higher when the supervisor was an African-American Democrat," suggesting that any attempt to suppress votes may have been aimed mostly at Florida's 22,270 black Republicans.

Exercise in fantasy
"War: What is it good for? If you're President George W. Bush, it's clearly good for a few helpful headlines. The media finally has released its comprehensive Florida recount, and everywhere the claim is that Bush would have won under virtually all circumstances," John J. Miller and Ramesh Ponnuru write at the National Review Web site (www.nationalreview.com).
"It's hard to believe this is what would have dominated the headlines absent the chastening of September 11. The media also claim that Al Gore would have won under a statewide recount. That's the real news. It almost certainly would have been the lead earlier, because it's the result that supposedly comes closest to capturing the true intent of Florida voters," the writers said.
"Everybody dutifully points out that a statewide recount was never a part of Gore's post-election strategy, and therefore, the ex-vice president would not have triggered it. Yet all this recounting has been an exercise in fantasy from the start. It never has mattered what really happened: Bush won the election, after winning the initial vote count, the machine recount, the late-arriving absentee and overseas ballots added to the machine recount, and the hand recount mandated by the Florida Supreme Court. All this was known before the media started second-guessing everything in a series of 'what if' scenarios."

Racial politics
"Call it the New York paradox: Politically, it's always 1968," Fred Siegel writes in the Weekly Standard.
"Racial tensions, though far lower than they were 30, or even 10, years ago, still define city elections. In Gotham, explains Jim Andrews, the campaign manager for Ruth Messinger's failed 1997 mayoral bid, 'Race isn't just part of politics, it is politics.' Mike Bloomberg is New York's mayor-elect because he did a brilliant job of using the race card against Mark Green, who himself had won the Democratic nomination precisely because of his skill at playing racial politics," said Mr. Siegel, a professor at the Cooper Union for Science and Art in New York and author of "The Future Once Happened Here: New York, D.C., L.A. and the Fate of America's Big Cities."
"Other cities have moved on. In the urban revival of the 1990s, race receded as a political factor elsewhere. Seattle, Houston, Dallas, Denver, San Francisco, and Minneapolis, all of which are less than a third black, elected African-American mayors. In the words of former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, 'Race continues to be an issue in our elections, but not the issue.' This year, city elections pitted black candidates against white in Cincinnati (which recently experienced racial rioting), Minneapolis, Cleveland and Houston (where there was also a Latino candidate). And all of these elections were remarkable for their absence of racial rancor.
"New York was different."

Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, and his one-time rival for office, Republican former Gov. William F. Weld, held a love-in last week when their paths crossed at a dinner in New York, the Boston Globe reports.
Mr. Weld lost to Mr. Kerry in a close race for the U.S. Senate in 1996.
"Pointing out his former Republican opponent to the largely Democratic audience at the League of Conservation Voters, Kerry fondly recalled their post-election pint at McGann's Pub in 1996," reporter Glen Johnson writes.
Said Mr. Kerry: "He's your New Yorker now, but he's a terrific person and a class act, and that's Bill Weld."
Mr. Weld now works for an investment firm in New York City.
Mr. Weld told the Globe later: "Sometimes you're glad to see people before you even recognize them. That's the case with Senator Kerry."
He added: "Standing on the street talking to some friends after the dinner, I said, 'I think Jesse Helms may have done me a favor.' They said, 'We think so, too.'"
Sen. Jesse Helms, North Carolina Republican, used his clout as then-chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee to block Mr. Weld's nomination to be the Clinton administration's ambassador to Mexico.

The Buffalo bill
"North Dakota Democrat Kent Conrad has long posed as a voice of fiscal rectitude. But it seems he's been buffaloing voters," the Wall Street Journal says.
"He's the man most responsible for inserting a $10 million subsidy for bison-meat producers, including such needy souls as billionaire Ted Turner, into the Senate Finance Committee's 'stimulus' bill. The provision is part of a $220 million gift via the Commodity Credit Corp. to buy chickpeas, freestone peaches, and wild blueberries, among other commodities," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"This is the same bill that has $7 billion in special bonds for Amtrak, courtesy of New Jersey Democrat Bob Torricelli, plus higher payments to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to offset excise taxes on rum. If this passes, we're all going to need a rum subsidy."

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