Senate Democrats yesterday turned to a Hollywood star to carry their message that drilling for oil in Alaska is not a matter of national security.
Robert Redford, the actor and environmentalist, headlined a Capitol Hill news conference and said he represented “the voice of the people.”
Mr. Redford said the issue has been “pulled into partisan politics” and that the American people deserved to know the facts about drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
“The fashion of the moment is to go ahead and drill,” said Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat.
While on-message with Democrats that drilling should be blocked, Mr. Redford apparently failed to read his party’s talking points. That became clear when he called for “an open and honest debate, which is what the American people deserve.”
Senate Republicans have held weekly press conferences since August pleading, prodding, threatening and demanding that the Democratic leadership allow “an open and honest debate” on the energy issue.
Asked if he agreed with Mr. Redford, Sen. Larry E. Craig, Idaho Republican and a leading advocate of drilling, said, “Absolutely.”
“Establishment-press reporting of Kyoto ‘global warming’ treaty negotiations would embarrass even Bill Murray’s character in the movie ‘Groundhog Day,’” Christopher C. Horner writes at the National Review Web site (www.nationalreview.com).
“They laughably trumpet the same nonachievement, conference after conference,” said Mr. Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and counsel to the Cooler Heads Coalition.
“Consider last week’s front-page, above-the-fold Washington Post story, the introductory paragraph to which read, ‘[M]ore than 160 countries, including Great Britain, Japan and Russia, reached agreement late last night on a groundbreaking climate control treaty setting mandatory targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions’ (‘160 Nations Agree to Warming Pact,’ November 10, 2001).
“Such promotion is absurd given what actually transpired. And of course, it also followed some now also obligatory disparaging of the U.S. stance in the talks at issue, in this case, the ‘Seventh Session of the Conference of the Parties,’ COP-7, in Marrakesh. Does all of this sound familiar?” Mr. Horner asked.
“Consider these headlines: ‘Historic Global Warming Pact Reached’ (Associated Press, Dec. 11, 1997, on the original Kyoto session) and ‘Nations Reach Landmark Global Warming Pact’ (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Dec. 11, 1997); or this summer’s ‘World Agrees on Climate Pact’ (Chicago Tribune, July 24, 2001, on COP-6) and ‘Nations reach a climate accord’ (New York Times, July 25, 2001).”
Mr. Horner said The Post and other establishment press “seem to advocate or fall for the routine charade of ‘groundbreaking agreement.’ Anyone attending these conferences knows that whatever folio can be cobbled at the 11th hour is hailed as a groundbreaking achievement closing the deal, etc., details to be hammered out later. Year in and year out, one negotiating session follows another. One ‘climate agreement’ is reported after another, though all that’s accomplished is a slight narrowing of terms. Given the actual treaty language’s persistent vagaries, any implementable, enforceable ‘agreement’ remains far off.”
Of courts and terrorists
Attorney General John Ashcroft yesterday welcomed President Bush’s decision to try Osama bin Laden and other members of the al Qaeda terrorist network in a military court rather than returning them to the United States to face trial in a federal courtroom.
“The United States is in the state of war, and I think it’s important to give the president of the United States the maximum flexibility consistent with his constitutional authority,” Mr. Ashcroft said during a press conference to announced a restructuring of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Mr. Ashcroft said military commissions have been used throughout history and their constitutionality has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“It’s pretty clear to me that the president is very well within the limits that have been sanctioned by the United States Supreme Court. And foreign terrorists who commit war crimes against the United States, in my judgment, are not entitled to and do not deserve the protections of the American Constitution.”
“Amid all of this good news [out of Afghanistan], it’s worth recalling the hand-wringing of only two weeks ago,” the Wall Street Journal says.
“Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe Biden, who fancies himself a future president, publicly moaned about the road ahead. The allies hinted at a bombing halt. The pundit class turned the Taliban, like the Iraqi tank columns of 1991, into the new Viet Cong. And as ever, there were the Arab masses, destined to rise up and topple our ‘moderate’ American friends,” the newspaper said in an editorial.
“These counsels of timidity will no doubt appear again, perhaps at the first sign of a setback, and certainly when it’s time to turn to Iraq and other terrorist protectors. But they have been wrong so far about Afghanistan, just as they were wrong about Serbia and about Saddam Hussein the first time. The war on terrorism is a long way from over. But the lesson of these early days is that victory is probable, provided that American military power is backed by political resolve.”
Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, criticized by Democrats for her handling of the 2000 presidential election recount, said Tuesday she “felt vindicated” by a news media review of Florida’s disputed ballots.
The media-sponsored review of 175,000 machine-rejected ballots found George W. Bush would have prevailed even if Al Gore had won the partial recounts he sought in court. Mr. Gore wanted recounts of all votes in four predominantly Democratic counties, or a statewide recount of “undervotes,” in which no vote for president could be detected by machine.
Mrs. Harris, a Republican, certified Mr. Bush the winner in Florida by 537 votes, although Mr. Gore continued to contest the election.
“I felt vindicated by knowing I followed the law [from] Day One,” Mrs. Harris said after a speech in Palm Beach to the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association’s annual meeting. “I’m grateful that the study confirmed it.”
Mrs. Harris, who is running for Congress next year, said she has learned to handle the scrutiny and criticism that come with elected office, the Associated Press reports. She told the publishers that the review, released this week, was “important academically and for historic purposes.”
New York Gov. George E. Pataki has an approval rating of 78 percent, and he would handily defeat either of the two Democrats vying for his job, according to a survey released yesterday by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
In fact, the only political figure in the state with a higher approval rating is New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, at 89 percent. Just 8 percent disapproved of Mr. Giuliani’s performance as mayor.
Mr. Pataki has just a 12 percent disapproval rating, the poll showed.
Mr. Pataki, the poll indicated, would beat either Democratic candidate state Comptroller Carl McCall or former U.S. Housing Secretary Andrew M. Cuomo by a margin of more than 2 to 1.
Mr. Cuomo, the son of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, topped Mr. McCall 37 percent to 29 percent, with 30 percent undecided, in a primary race, the poll found.
The survey of 1,207 registered voters was taken Nov. 7 to 12, with a margin of error of 2.8 percent.