- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 30, 2002

The brothers Thompson
Just yesterday, the New York Times published a story that emphasized the electoral vulnerability of Wisconsin Gov. Scott McCallum, a Republican who moved into the job when Tommy G. Thompson left for Washington last year to become secretary of health and human services.
So Ed Thompson, Tommy's brother, probably figures his timing is good for a visit to the nation's capital. You see, Ed Thompson is the Libertarian Party's candidate for governor of Wisconsin.
"I'm thinking of offering Tommy the lieutenant governor spot if I get elected in the fall," Ed said in a prepared statement issued by the Libertarian Party.
According to the statement, Ed Thompson will attend his brother's luncheon speech today at the National Press Club. Tomorrow and Thursday, he is scheduled to meet with scholars at the Cato Institute and with Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.
Ed Thompson has served as mayor of Tomah, as well as a boxer, bartender, butcher, prison guard and professional poker player.

Unconventional wisdom
"It is once again time to think the unthinkable. The liberal pundits of the American media and their international fellow travelers are unanimous in their wisdom: It is impossible for Jean-Marie Le Pen to be elected president of France on May 5. That can only mean one thing: Le Pen can win," United Press International foreign affairs analyst Martin Sieff writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).
"Let us clarify. As that stickler for precise usage and meaning Abraham Lincoln would have put it, to say that Le Pen 'can' win is not to say that he 'will.' Nor is it to say that it is probable that he will win. Incumbent President Jacques Chirac may well indeed win a consecutive second term as president of France as literally all commentators have confidently predicted. But a careful study of the voting patterns in the first round of the French presidential election on Sunday, April 21, shows that a Chirac victory is by no means the done deal that everybody has taken for granted," Mr. Sieff said.
"For when you look at the low voter turnout on April 21 and the protest fragmentation of those who did vote, you make two very striking and unexpected discoveries. A lot of those who did vote for protest candidates on the Left [a week ago] last Sunday look much more likely to vote for Le Pen than Chirac next time. And Le Pen stands a good chance of attracting a lot more of the stay-at-home votes from last Sunday than anyone expects as well."

Eyebrow-raising speech
Former Rep. Pete McCloskey, denouncing what he called "the organized pro-Israel lobby," urged Republicans to vote against a House resolution that backs Israel. But the liberal Republican from California did not stop there: He also urged the United States to drop Israel as an ally.
A vote on the House resolution, sponsored by Rep. Tom DeLay, Texas Republican and majority whip, was postponed at the request of the White House, which feared it would upset delicate negotiations in the Middle East.
"I believe the resolution proposed by the House leadership would be a disaster," Mr. McCloskey, who served in the House from 1967 to 1983, said Sunday in remarks here to the Conference of the Council for the National Interest.
"I further believe that it is time the American people recognize that Israel no longer deserves its present special relationship with the United States and that Israel is following a deliberate process of trying to make its enemies our enemies, with an end result which could lead us into an unwinnable war like Vietnam."
Mr. McCloskey referred to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as a "war criminal." He also compared Christian fundamentalists to Muslim fanatics, and America's Afghan allies "to the hated Hessians paid by the British to suppress our own Revolution."

Lieberman issue
White House Counsel Al Gonzales directed more than 100 staff members yesterday to complete a questionnaire on communications between the administration and Enron Corp. in the months leading up to the company's collapse.
The White House undertook the survey at the request of Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat and chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, the Associated Press reports. Mr. Lieberman sought information on White House and certain Cabinet agency action on Enron dating from just before the end of the first Bush administration in 1992.
Mr. Gonzales' questionnaire fell far short of what the 2000 Democratic vice-presidential candidate sought, including names of people who initiated meetings with Enron officials, who was present, the subject matter, dates and a host of other details.
"This is an obvious delaying tactic," Lieberman spokeswoman Leslie Phillips said of the White House action, calling it "unacceptable" to omit two subjects from the questionnaire: national energy policy and presidential appointments.

Missouri battle
Republican Jim Talent holds a narrow lead over Sen. Jean Carnahan, Missouri Democrat, according to a survey conducted by American Viewpoint on behalf of the Talent campaign and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Mr. Talent led Mrs. Carnahan 48 percent to 44 percent, which was within the poll's 4 percent margin of error.
The results were similar to a January survey by the same firm that showed Mr. Talent leading 47 percent to 45 percent.
The most recent poll of 600 registered voters was conducted between April 22-24.

Maine vs. Alaska
Sens. Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins, both Maine Republicans, may pay for voting against oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, according to Washington Whispers.
"Sen. Ted Stevens, Alaska's senior senator and the top Republican on the Appropriations Committee, pledged to ax their pork projects, like the additional Aegis cruiser sought by Maine's Bath Iron Works," Paul Bedard writes in U.S. News & World Report.

Ethical, schmethical
Sen. Orrin G. Hatch is expected to declare his support for a bill that allows cloning for research purposes.
According to Ramesh Ponnuru on National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com), the Utah Republican and longtime pro-life senator "could make the announcement as early as Tuesday."
With the Senate now split 43-43 on a bill to ban cloning, the columnist writes, "Hatch's support would be a big win for the pro-cloning side, especially because it would be a departure from his record. Hatch was the leader of pro-life forces in the Senate at the start of his career there. Now he would be opposing the pro-life movement's top legislative priority for the year."
Mr. Hatch has been going soft on pro-life issues in recent years, Mr. Ponnuru writes.
"Last year, Hatch announced that he supported stem-cell research even though it would destroy embryos taken from IVF clinics. Hatch justified his position by arguing that 'human life begins in the womb, not a petri dish or refrigerator.'"
Mr. Hatch "also notes that cloning embryos (although he refuses to use the term cloning in this connection) offers hope for people suffering from diabetes, spinal-cord injuries, and other diseases. 'It would be terrible to say because of an ethical concept that we can't do anything for you,' Hatch said."

Editorial in disguise
"Can someone see the difference between Patrick Tyler's 'News Analysis' piece in [yesterdays] New York Times and an actual editorial? I sure can't," Andrew Sullivan writes at his Web site, www.andrewsullivan.com.
"Nothing wrong with that (the piece makes its points well), but maybe the Times should simply say more clearly that it is putting editorials on the front page to accompany news stories. On the Web site front page, the description of the piece even has an imperative tense: 'The Bush administration must now get the Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table, where expectations for U.S. pressure remain high.' The drift toward didacticism disguised as 'analysis' accelerates."

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