- The Washington Times - Friday, September 28, 2001

The new dynamic
"Top Democratic officials say the terrorist attacks have severely hampered their recruitment efforts, particularly for candidates for the Senate, and have upended their entire political game plan for the midterm elections next year," the New York Times reports.
"Beyond Capitol Hill, the aftershocks of the attacks are being felt around the country at all political levels, by Democrats and Republicans alike. The political terrain has shifted so sharply that candidates are reluctant to take on incumbents and in some instances, incumbents are deciding to stay put rather than retire or seek higher office," reporter Richard L. Berke writes.
"Just [Tuesday], John Ballou, a Republican legislator in Kansas, said he would not run for the United States House, saying, 'I believe it is important for all elected federal and state officials to be united.'
"The new dynamic is causing the most consternation for Democrats, who are trying to hang on to if not build on their precarious one-seat advantage in the Senate.
In the past week or so alone, three Democrats who had been viewed as the most formidable prospects in their states and were expected to challenge incumbent senators, decided not run: Dan Glickman, the former agriculture secretary, in Kansas; Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy, retired, in Virginia; and Gov. John Kitzhaber in Oregon.
"To make matters more discouraging for Democrats, Sen. Fred Thompson, a Tennessee Republican who is popular in his state, said he had decided not to retire next year because of the terrorist attacks."
In addition, Pete Peterson, the former congressman and ambassador to Vietnam who was viewed by many as the strongest possible Democratic challenger to Florida Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, has quit the 2002 race and is seeking some national role in the battle against terrorism.

Suspended animation
"Al Gore was supposed to re-emerge in national politics Saturday with a rip-roaring address to Iowa Democrats. For the first time, he would take on President Bush's handling of the environment, the budget and the Social Security 'lockbox,'" USA Today reporter Susan Page writes.
"Now, Gore's speech at the annual Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner in Des Moines will go on as scheduled, but its content has been transformed. Aides say the former vice president will call for national unity and endorse the actions Bush is taking.
His rival in the bitter 2000 presidential race 'is doing an excellent job,' Gore said Saturday in Tennessee.
"The terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, which changed so many things in the USA, put a brewing 2004 presidential race in a state of suspended animation.
It has upended calculations of what is likely to happen in next year's congressional elections and even become a factor in the Virginia governor's race this fall," the reporter said.
In Virginia, "some analysts say Republican Mark Earley has narrowed Democrat Mark Warner's lead with help from a new TV ad. The ad says that, as attorney general, he 'made air safety and security of our families and our schools his top priority.'"

Spin city
"In taking testimony on the post-attack economy from Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, the Senate Finance Committee met behind closed doors Tuesday. The predictable result has been not enlightenment, but confusion," the Wall Street Journal says.
"Did these worthies think the most important item of economic policy is to stop any capital-gains cut, as the New York Times broadcast in its lead headline? Or was the lead that any stimulus ought to be about $100 billion, as the Associated Press reported?
Or did they urge Congress to delay any stimulus until more is known, which is how the Los Angeles Times led its story? Did they agree that any tax cuts should be temporary, as The Washington Post reported, or was that Mr. Rubin's suggestion, as this newspaper's story had it?" the Journal asked in an editorial.
"There's a reason for the historic journalistic hostility toward closed meetings of elected officials. Perhaps this can be carried too far in military hearings, or even in sessions of hard political bargaining.
But on economic policy, it's hard to think of a reason to close testimony, except perhaps to give the politicians ultimately leeway for spin. The next time, let us all hear Mr. Greenspan and Mr. Rubin, and make of them what each of us will."

Business as usual
The permanent campaign can't even keep its paws off the war against terrorism, according to John J. Miller and Ramesh Ponnuru.
"Less than two weeks after the House created a subcommittee on terrorism and homeland defense, the top Democratic member is using her new perch as a fund-raising tool, say some Republicans," the two men write at the National Review Web site (nationalreview.com).
"[Wednesday], California Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman participated in a conference call with members of the New Democrat Network, an organization that describes itself as 'a political venture capital fund' that 'invests' in Democratic candidates."
"An e-mail advertising the event found its way to scores of GOP inboxes on Wednesday, as exasperated Republicans kept forwarding it to one another. 'I can't believe they're doing this already,' said one.
"Harman press secretary Ellia Thompson insists the conference call was not a fund-raiser. 'Not one word about fund-raising was mentioned,' she said. 'It was an informative conference call for technology consultants. They just wanted an update on what's happening. That's not to say they aren't donors, but fund-raising was not the purpose of the call.'
"The e-mail advertising the call, which was open only to financial supporters of the New Democratic Network, reminds recipients that '[c]ontributions to the New Democrat Network are not tax deductible.'"

Just an idea
Gerry Adams, president of Sinn Fein, the "political wing" of the terrorist Irish Republican Army and a frequent visitor to the Clinton White House "proposes to transform a previously scheduled Nov. 1 Sinn Fein fund-raiser here in New York into what's being described as 'a benefit for the families of construction workers killed in the World Trade Center attack,'" New York Post columnist Bob McManus writes.
"Here's an idea," the columnist said. "How about al Qaeda hosting a do for the victims of the 1997 bombing in Omagh, Northern Ireland 28 dismembered men, women and children, and more than 200 wounded, at the hands of the IRA.
"Osama bin Laden could preside."

Clear message
Voters in new areas of Rep. Gary A. Condit's redrawn district think less of the California Democrat than his current constituents do, and a majority thinks he should not run again, according to a poll released yesterday.
The poll, conducted by the Field Institute of San Francisco, found that 46 percent of voters added to California's 18th Congressional District gave Mr. Condit an unfavorable rating, and 64 percent said it would be good if he didn't seek re-election.
Among the district's current voters, 37 percent gave him an unfavorable rating and 51 percent said it would be better if Mr. Condit decides not to run for a seventh term.
The telephone survey, conducted Sept. 7-10, mirrors earlier polls that found most voters approved of the job Mr. Condit has done representing the northern half of the San Joaquin Valley, but they wouldn't vote for him again following the Chandra Levy scandal.
Miss Levy, 24, disappeared in May in Washington. Mr. Condit, who is married, is not a suspect, but told investigators that he was romantically involved with her, a police source has said.

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