Thursday, November 22, 2001

A ‘racial contract’
“New century, new truism: The late Tip O’Neill’s well-worn observation that ‘all politics is local’ no longer rings completely true. As far as New York’s Democrats are concerned, all politics is racial,” Eric Fettmann writes in the New York Post.
“That, at least, is the lesson of Mark Green’s crash-and-burn mayoral campaign. Now, as the gubernatorial race heats up, the other lesson to be learned is that New York Democrats never learn their lesson,” Mr. Fettmann said.
“After two months of political hibernation (he was the lone state politician who refused even to take a stand on whether Mayor Giuliani’s term should be extended), Andrew Cuomo re-emerged this past week in two forms.
“First, he unleashed a broadside against Gov. [George E.] Pataki’s fiscal policies, sending the clear message that the 9/11 attacks won’t insulate the governor from criticism.
“Then, on Friday, the Jewish Week’s Adam Dickter revealed an embarrassing Cuomo gaffe: He was caught on tape on Election Night complaining that the Democratic Party had made a ‘racial contract’ between blacks and Hispanics.
“Nominating [black] opponent Carl McCall ‘would be the second installment in that contract, that racial contract, and that can’t happen,’ said Cuomo.”

Jackson vs. Constitution
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., Illinois Democrat, decries the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, calling it a barrier to electoral reform.
“The fundamental problem with proposals for electoral reform is totally unrelated to November 7, 2000, or September 11, 2001,” Mr. Jackson writes in the Nation.
“Every independent study, congressional hearing and good legislative election-reform proposal I have seen including those from liberals and progressives, which I support and am a co-sponsor is premised on the 10th Amendment. The reason they will fail to solve our fundamental voting problem, even if they succeed legislatively, is because of their underlying ideological assumption that voting is a state function, not a universal human or federal right.
“Therefore, even if Congress passes legislation establishing national standards for voting technologies and procedures, and adequately funds them, no state is under a constitutional obligation to adopt the changes or accept the funds. Based on the 10th Amendment, states can still reject reforms and continue down the current state-centered election path.”
The 10th Amendment, in its entirety, says: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”
Mr. Jackson complained that “federal legislation around electoral reform (or health care, education, housing or equal rights) will always be subject to the limitations of states’ rights, local control and privatization.”
“Some states will voluntarily reform and some will not,” he wrote.

Idiots exposed
“With amazing swiftness and surprising finality, the enemy, once thought tenacious, caved last week. I refer not to the Taliban, but to the chattering classes especially its left-liberal sections,” Andrew Sullivan writes in the Sunday Times of London.
“Never before in the field of human conflict have so many armchair generals been exposed as such idiots in such a short period of time. They will not learn, of course. The Guardian and the BBC will move on with barely a time for taking breath to yet another negativist attack on the naive president and his gung-ho aides. But the sudden turn in the war surely suggests that another reassessment is now due: not simply of the war, but of the style and substance of George W. Bush’s presidency,” said Mr. Sullivan, whose article is reprinted at his Web site (
“Simply put: The success of this war so far is incompatible with the image of the president so beloved of the press corps in America and Britain. Let’s take the now-teetering cliches one by one. First, the notion that Bush is a unilateralist cowboy; that he shoots from the hip and knows nothing about diplomacy. Everything since September 11 shows the contrary.
The second cliche is that Bush is a man essentially controlled by his aides a puppet without his own ideas, agenda or strategy. Again, there is simply nothing empirically to suggest that this is true. A prince-regent controlled by aides tends to be dominated by a senior figure who actually runs the show. In this case, Dick Cheney was the appointed eminence grise. But Cheney has receded from view these past few weeks. And if you look at Bush’s team, you will see that, in fact, it has a variety of wings and interests, each of which can only go to the president for approval.”

Sales-tax holiday
“To talk turkey, the new sales-tax holiday proposed recently by two senators is the best short-term tax stimulus idea I’ve seen in ages,” writes economist Arthur Laffer, whose “supply side” ideas influenced Ronald Reagan and are credited in some quarters for two decades of prosperity.
“While Patty Murray and Olympia Snowe are both politically left of center, their tax proposal is right on the mark. They propose a federally underwritten national sales-tax holiday that would last for 10 days. The resulting burst in activity could give a real boost to our faltering economy,” Mr. Laffer said in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.
“Under the proposal, state and local tax-free shopping would begin sometime after Thanksgiving, a peak holiday-shopping period. States would receive reimbursements from the federal government for all lost revenue.
“From the standpoint of good fiscal policy, temporary tax cuts and tax holidays don’t make a lot of sense or at least not as much as permanent tax cuts or permanent tax holidays. But the current economic circumstances in the U.S. have been precipitated by a one-time series of events, and therefore, can be specifically addressed by a one-time policy response.”

Chambliss apologizes
Rep. Saxby Chambliss, Georgia Republican and candidate for the U.S. Senate, apologized Tuesday for remarks that he said were taken out of context by a Georgia newspaper.
During the meeting in Valdosta, Ga., with emergency responders, Mr. Chambliss was quoted as saying homeland security could be improved by turning loose Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk to “arrest every Muslim that crosses the state line.”
But Mr. Chambliss, through an aide, said the comment, quoted in the Valdosta Daily Times, was not the entire statement, Cox News Service reports.
The congressman, who is chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security and an emerging leader in the war on terrorism, wrote a letter Tuesday to the newspaper saying that a reporter was present for only the last few minutes of the one- to two-hour meeting.
“I commented that in the absence of adequate resources to combat terrorism, some law enforcement officials might inadvertently and mistakenly target innocent civilians based on their ethnicity,” Mr. Chambliss wrote. “My statement should in no way be interpreted as my view of what should happen, nor do I believe that local law enforcement would engage in such activity.”
Mr. Chambliss’ letter continued, “If my remarks were offensive in any way, I apologize.”

Coleman’s prospects
“GOP strategists are becoming increasingly excited about former St. Paul, Minn., Mayor Norm Coleman’s prospects against two-term incumbent Democrat Sen. Paul Wellstone next November,” United Press International reports in its “Capital Comment” column.
“They say that the Nov. 7 election showed some trends that Republicans should find encouraging, including a GOP mayoral win in Minneapolis, where incumbent Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton, one of the few candidates to receive campaign assistance from former Vice President Al Gore this year, was defeated in her bid for third term by R.T. Rybak.”

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