- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 2, 2002

Bryant vs. Alexander
Rep. Ed Bryant, Tennessee Republican, traveled his state yesterday to officially kick off his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Fred Thompson.
Mr. Bryant is competing against another Republican former Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander.
Mr. Thompson announced March 8 he would not seek another term in the Senate.
The next day, Mr. Bryant announced his intention to run for the seat. But yesterday, Mr. Bryant did a whirlwind tour of the state to make things official. Starting in Tennessee's tri-city area of Johnson City, Bristol and Kingsport, he then headed to Knoxville, Chattanooga, Nashville, Franklin and Jackson, ending in Memphis.
Mr. Bryant cast himself as the real conservative in comparison to Mr. Alexander.
"Tennessee is a conservative state and it needs conservative representation in the Senate … that is proven and consistent," Mr. Bryant said yesterday. "Now is not the time to replace our senator with one who carries a national reputation of not being conservative and one who has demonstrated himself as being indecisive on the important issues."
Mr. Alexander's spokesman, Kevin Phillips, said Mr. Bryant, "is simply scratching to find a difference in places there isn't one." Mr. Phillips said the campaign "is a choice between two conservatives."
"The important difference is that Governor Alexander is the more experienced and effective conservative," he said.
Rep. Bob Clement is running for the seat on the Democratic side.

Rough month
"March was not a good month for Dario Herrera, the golden boy of Nevada's Democratic Party, whose bid for an open House seat appears to have hit a snag," Roll Call reports.
"Herrera, who locked up early support from party leaders in his bid for Nevada's new 3rd District, had planned to spend the month discussing President Bush's unpopular plan to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, a topic he hoped would tarnish his GOP rival, state Sen. Jon Porter," reporter John Mercurio writes.
"Instead, Herrera, the chairman of the Clark County Commission, has been forced to withdraw from his $42,000-a-year consulting contract with the Las Vegas Housing Authority, which critics say he obtained improperly. The authority's executive director, Frederick Brown, awarded him the contract without advising the housing board.
"While the FBI declined to investigate board complaints about the contract, another mini-scandal was already brewing. Critics charged that Herrera violated state law by voting on county billboard regulations that benefited his wife's company.
"A state ethics commission has cleared Herrera of any wrongdoing in the case.
"Still, some Democrats are worried."

Justifiable end run
"President Bush made a recess appointment Friday of Gerald A. Reynolds as assistant secretary of education for civil rights, a justifiable end run around a Senate that refused even to give him a confirmation vote. The sighs of relief will be audible throughout American academia," the Wall Street Journal says.
"This moderate black conservative attorney and civic leader takes over an agency that was hijacked during the Clinton years by zealots who threatened any college or university that failed to conform to their notions of gender and racial equity. Mr. Reynolds, by contrast, is firmly opposed to racial preferences and double standards in college admissions," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"This is why he ran into opposition from those who enforce life on the liberal plantation. The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, People for the American Way and the National Women's Law Center characterized Mr. Reynolds as an enemy of civil rights and of humanity at large which is to say they did their usual."

Malignant Naderism
"Those energy lobbyists are a lame bunch," David Brooks writes at www.weeklystandard.com.
"They are lavishly funded by the oil industry. They get to work in fancy institutes and have open dining at the Palm. And look at how little influence they actually have on the Bush energy plan. Here's the biggest piece of legislation of the decade for them. And do they have any significant impact on it? No!" Mr. Brooks wrote.
"I realize the press is full of stories about how the lobbyists practically wrote the bill. But don't be a lazy reporter. Be a real human being and read the substance of what they managed to put into the legislation: a provision saying that if an environmental measure is enacted, then the agency enacting it should assess whether the measure will disrupt the energy supply and if it does, it should come up with recommendations for alternative ways to get the energy.
"That's it! That's what all the media hyperventilating is about. An Energy Impact Statement. This is: A) a tiny, little idea, B) a pretty sensible one, and C) apparently already written into law and merely reiterated here. The lobbyists hold all those lunches and make all those campaign donations, and this is all they get! They owe a big apology to their corporate masters.
"But of course the media will never make this case, because if a legislative story isn't about malevolent corporate influence upon the political process, then it doesn't exist. Most political reporters care passionately about campaign donations and their alleged corruption, and care not a bit about the actual substance of legislation, which is boring and only of interest to wonks.
"They've been infected with malignant Naderism. None dare call it bias."

Cherishing Gore
"The Democrats' [Al] Gore problem is a simple one: Despite winning a bare majority of the popular vote, he was a dreadful [presidential] candidate in 2000, who somehow managed to turn eight years of peace and prosperity into an electoral burden," Joe Klein writes at the Internet magazine Slate (www.slate.com).
"He is a smug, stubborn, and aloof human being. He will clutter the race in 2004, suck money from other candidates, force some interesting possibilities from the field, run another awkward, tired faux-populist campaign and, if nominated, he will lose, more decisively this time, to George W. Bush. This critique seems reasonable enough in many of its particulars, but not in its conclusion that life would be a lot simpler if Gore would just go away. Quite the contrary, Democrats should nurture his ambition and cherish his ineptitude," Mr. Klein said.
"Professional politicians hate messy primaries. The received wisdom is that a candidate who has to fight for the nomination is inevitably weakened. A brawl entertains the press, but it divides the party and wastes lots of money, which then has to be re-raised for the general election. All of which is true, but incomplete: A good scrap can toughen a nominee, as the McCain challenge helped prepare George W. Bush for the general election in 2000. Any Democrat who defeats Gore in the 2004 primaries will gain stature and notoriety as a result (and he or she will need all the stature he or she can get, facing an incumbent president in November).
"Given Gore's performance last time, he certainly looms as a convenient straw man."

Losing their heads
"Aides traveling with Vice President Dick Cheney were offered an opportunity to witness several beheadings while touring through Saudi Arabia," according to the Prowler column (www.americanprowler.com).
"Cheney nixed those invitations, telling his people that it would be unseemly for Americans to attend such brutal executions. 'He thought the press would use our presence at, or interest in, the executions as fodder back home,' says one staffer on the trip.
"But while Cheney's people apparently found other things to do with what little downtime they had, that didn't stop reporters traveling with them from making their way to the beheadings and spectating."

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