- The Washington Times - Friday, November 23, 2001

Too close to call
The British newsweekly the Economist, in its latest issue, published the following correction (we're not making this up):
"In the issues of December 16th 2000 to November 10th 2001, we may have given the impression that George Bush had been legally and duly elected president of the United States. We now understand that this may have been incorrect, and that the election result is still too close to call. The Economist apologizes for any inconvenience."

Rude and hostile
Abigail Thernstrom, a Republican member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, says Democratic Chairman Mary Frances Berry exhibited rudeness and hostility the first time they met at a commission hearing.
In an interview with Charlotte Hays, editor of the Women's Quarterly, Mrs. Thernstrom was asked whether she and Miss Berry ever talk.
"No," Mrs. Thernstrom said. "In fact, I was sworn in during the [presidential election] hearings in Tallahassee, and from the first day in Florida she didn't even say hello to me. She didn't say welcome to the commission. And when I tried to introduce myself, she interrupted me. I said I was Abigail Thernstrom, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and co-author of and she stopped me, saying we were not announcing our books. Being rude to Republicans, I suppose, is always justified; they are evil. But she talks all the time about collegiality on the commission, while at the same time calling me, for instance, a liar."
When asked whether the commission's report on Florida's voting was pure demagoguery, Mrs. Thernstrom replied:
"Absolutely. Mary Frances Berry and the majority on the commission were determined to paint George W. Bush as an illegitimate president. And that's what the Florida report was all about. And they clearly wanted to send a message to black voters that Bush is not their president and that the Republican Party is not their party. It's a dangerous message. The commission seems determined to reinforce the belief on the part of too many blacks that they are a separate nation within our nation, outsiders to the American experiment. In fact, precisely the opposite message should be delivered. Blacks are Americans whose families have been here for well over 200 years. They have shaped American culture in a myriad of important and wonderful ways. And the doors of political and economic opportunity are wide open."

Partisan professors
In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's Bush vs. Gore ruling, "members of the legal academy, in their role as public intellectuals, reached a distressing new low in the exercise of scholarly restraint," Peter Berkowtiz and Benjamin Wittes write in the autumn issue of the Wilson Quarterly.
Among those law professors taken to task for rank partisanship: Bruce Ackerman, Suzanna Sherry, Randall Kennedy, Sanford Levinson, Jamin Raskin, Alan Dershowitz, Cass Sunstein and Ronald Dworkin.
Mr. Dworkin and many of his academic cohorts, in their zealotry, tended "to misstate matters of fact and law," said Mr. Berkowitz, who teaches at the George Mason University School of Law, and Mr. Wittes, a member of the editorial page staff of The Washington Post.
"We do not mean to pass judgment on the ultimate correctness of the court's decision," the writers said. "The case, which is complicated and raises a variety of multilayered questions of fact and law and politics, will be debated for years to come. Indeed, our aim is to defend the case's difficulty against those scholars who, sadly, insist that there is virtually nothing to understand about Bush v. Gore that cannot be summed up with the term partisanship. The scholars' hasty accusations of gross politicking may apply with more obvious justice to the accusers themselves than to the court majority whom they convict."

A mistaken theory
"There are a couple of long-standing theories about why America is divided," David Brooks writes in the December issue of the Atlantic.
"One of the main ones holds that the division is along class lines, between the haves and the have-nots. This theory is popular chiefly on the left and can be found in the pages of the American Prospect and other liberal magazines; in news reports by liberal journalists such as Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, of Time; and in books such as 'Middle Class Dreams' (1995), by the Clinton and Gore pollster Stanley Greenberg and 'America's Forgotten Majority: Why the White Working Class Still Matters' (2000), by the demographer Ruy Teixeira and the social scientist Joel Rogers," Mr. Brooks said.
But when Mr. Brooks spent time talking to folks in rural and small-town Franklin County, Pa., the theory did not hold.
"When the locals are asked about their economy, they tell a story very similar to the one that Greenberg, Teixeira, Rogers, and the rest of the wage-stagnation liberals recount," Mr. Brooks said.
"And yet when they are asked about the broader theory, whether there is a class conflict between the educated affluents and the stagnant middles, they stare blankly as if suddenly the interview were being conducted in Aramaic." And when Mr. Brooks rephrased the question, he found that everyone agreed that the country was divided between the haves and the have-nots. But "even people with incomes well below the median thought of themselves as haves."
All this may explain why Al Gore's campaign slogan, "The People vs. the Powerful," failed to win over "the people," although it proved spectacularly appealing in places where "the powerful" live, Mr. Brooks said.

Massachusetts trouble
Massachusetts labor leaders are not content to drive Gerald and Elaine Schuster out of an upcoming big-bucks fund-raiser for the national Democratic Party, the Boston Globe reports. Now they are vowing to drive the wealthy contributors out of the party altogether.
"Massachusetts AFL-CIO and the union representing the workers at Gerald Schuster's nursing home are not backing down from their threat to throw picket lines up around the event. Their condition for calling off the pickets: the party's pledge not to take any more money from the Newton couple," the newspaper said.
"The hard line caught party leaders off guard, particularly after Elaine Schuster last week backed out of the Boston event which features former President Bill Clinton to allow it to go forward. The Schusters have raised millions of dollars for Democrats. No one quite knows what is going to happen now. National Chairman Terence McAuliffe is reportedly livid at the state party for siding with the unions against the Schusters.
"U.S. Sen. John Kerry, a featured guest and friend of the Schusters, says he won't cross a picket line. Clinton too is not the kind of Democrat to cross union lines. 'I am hoping at the end of the day everyone will do the right thing,' said Alan Solomont, a major Democratic Party fund-raiser and Schuster friend."

A patriotic duty
"Since September 11, whenever I've so much as mentioned Bill Clinton even en passant, a torrent of missives has arrived along the lines of, 'Oh, come on, get over it. He's gone, and you right-wing nuts are the only ones who haven't moved on,'" Mark Steyn writes in National Review.
"I have a bit of sympathy for this point of view. When the globetrotting high-end lounge act, making a rare appearance back in the United States, turned up on the streets of Lower Manhattan a couple of days after 9/11, he looked for the first time oddly anachronistic stuck in the day before yesterday, like some Lite-FM disc jockey who doesn't realize the station's switched formats," said Mr. Steyn, who is senior North American columnist for Britain's Telegraph Group.
"Its tempting to leave him there, beached by the tides of history. On the other hand, if we members of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy don't get back to our daily routine of obsessive Clinton-bashing, then the terrorists will have won."


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