- The Washington Times - Friday, October 19, 2001

Difficult choice

In an unusual move, the Washington-based American Conservative Union is sending out memos asking conservative organizations and leaders around the country to support Rep. Bob Barr over Rep. John Linder, even though both men are conservative Republicans from Georgia.

Democrats control the governorship and state legislature in Georgia and so redrew district lines to force the two men into the same district and into an August primary election fight against each other.

"While it is always difficult to choose one conservative over another," ACU Chairman David A. Keene wrote in the memo. "Bob has been a leader for our conservative movement on a national scale at a time when it is sorely needed. He has been a leader for our conservative principles in the halls of Congress, where it is severely lacking."

Mr. Keene added: "Bob Barr has been there for us like perhaps no other."


Lee challenged

The political fallout has begun for the only member of Congress to oppose a resolution granting President Bush authority to use force against terrorists.

Former California Assemblywoman Audie Bock announced Wednesday that she plans to challenge Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee for her Northern California congressional seat in 2002. Miss Bock said it was Mrs. Lee's lone dissent that prompted her decision, the Associated Press reports.

"I think that an elected official at the national level has a responsibility to represent the feelings of that district and to serve the national purpose," said Miss Bock, who once was the nation's highest-ranking Green Party officeholder. "I began to feel that Ms. Lee has not done that."

Miss Bock, now a Democrat, said she thinks Mrs. Lee's decision has made the rest of the country perceive that California's 9th Congressional District which encompasses the historically dovish cities of Oakland and Berkeley does not empathize with the rest of the nation.

Miss Bock began her political career as a Democrat, but left the party in 1993. She won a special legislative election in 1999 to represent the 16th District, becoming the top Green Party officeholder.


Swift to run

Ending months of speculation, Massachusetts acting Gov. Jane Swift said yesterday that she will run for governor next year.

Mrs. Swift the state's first female governor and the first governor in the nation to give birth while in office made the announcement after a send-off ceremony for 100 National Guard troops headed to Fort Dix, N.J., the Associated Press reports.

"It's difficult to be in a rah-rah spirit when you're asking people to make the kind of sacrifice you see here today," she said.

Mrs. Swift, 36, is the only Republican to announce a bid so far. She had been weighing public life with the responsibilities of being the mother of three young children.

She took over the job after Gov. Paul Cellucci left to become U.S. ambassador to Canada.


Targeting O'Neill

National Review, in its Nov. 5 issue, calls for the ouster of Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill.

The administration "lacked a coherent economic message before either the terrorist attacks or the drop in oil prices," the magazine said in an editorial.

"Part of the trouble is that the man who should be its voice on economic matters, Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, is manifestly unsuited to the job. He spent the first months of his tenure trying to improve worker safety and office cleanliness at Treasury when he wasn't trying to get Bush to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions. In congressional testimony, he undercut the administration's pitch for tax cuts. He has been a force within the administration for rebates. Rather than constructive action, all conservatives have gotten from O'Neill is pie-in-the-sky talk about abolishing the corporate income tax," the magazine said.

"When President Bush nominated him, he said O'Neill was 'a steady voice,' someone 'who can calm people's nerves, calm the markets.' Instead, the secretary's most notable effect on the markets has been to roil them with ill-considered remarks about the dollar. One journalist concluded of O'Neill that 'if he can't learn to keep his lips buttoned and continues his gaffe-prone ways, he risks being branded permanently as a buffoon.' And that journalist was one of O'Neill's defenders. At a moment of economic difficulty, we have a Treasury secretary who inspires confidence neither on Wall Street nor in Washington. O'Neill should go."


Leahy's stonewalling

"Senate Republicans are a tower of babblers, so when nearly all of them agree on something it's news. This week they've been riled into a rare burst of unity by Democrat Pat Leahy's unprecedented stonewalling on judges," the Wall Street Journal writes.

"Simply put, the Senate Judiciary chairman is using the war on terrorism as cover to slow roll the confirmation of President Bush's judicial nominees. In normal times, the media might report his delaying tactics and Mr. Bush might make them an issue. But the White House, now in bipartisan war mode, doesn't want to make a fuss over anything outside its anti-terror campaign. Mr. Leahy is exploiting that good will for his own partisan ends," the newspaper said in an editorial.

"There's really no other way to explain that 10 months into this administration Mr. Leahy has confirmed a mere eight of the 60 judicial nominations Mr. Bush has made, including 44 by the August recess. With only weeks to go before Congress goes home for the year, only 14 have even had a hearing. This kind of delay typically occurs only in the final year of a presidency before an election. It's unheard of in first years, when Ronald Reagan had 41 judges confirmed, George H.W. Bush 15, and Bill Clinton 28."


Bizarre labeling

"Those in Pakistan who hate the United States are best described as 'the religious right'? That's the political term MSNBC's Ashleigh Banfield applied in reporting on the strike called to protest Secretary of State Colin Powell's visit," the Media Research Center's Brent Baker writes.

"Just because they may have a more extreme interpretation of the Koran does not put them on the political 'right' and if the media considers dictators like Pakistan's Musharraf to be right-wing, how can those so fundamentally opposed to him also be right-wing?" Mr. Baker asked at the MRC Web site (www.mrc.org).

"At about 10:35 p.m. EDT on Monday night, October 15, Banfield checked in: 'Here in Islamabad, here in Pakistan, it was a national day of strike as called for by the religious right in this country. It was to mark Colin Powell's visit here, but it was also to protest this President, Pervez Musharraf's support of America's foreign policy, vis-a-vis the strikes in Afghanistan. The trouble is not everybody felt the same way as the religious right had hoped they would. Not everybody closed their shops. In some cities closer to the borders with Afghanistan, which have extremely fundamentalist populations, there were widespread strikes. But in other centers there were not, and where that happened, many took to the streets to try to bully those shop owners to close, and in some cases, in many cases, it worked."

"Another example of how to the media anyone on the bad side is labeled as right-wing," Mr. Baker said.


Bad timing

Poor Jeffrey Toobin.

In the face of repeated recounts official and otherwise showing that George W. Bush did indeed win Florida, the die-hard liberal persevered in writing a book that insists Al Gore was robbed of the presidency. And now the 297-page tome arrives in bookstores at precisely the moment when the nation is beyond caring.

However, "Too Close to Call: The 36-Day Battle to Decide the 2000 Election" received a warm review in the New York Times yesterday on page E8.

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