- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 4, 2002

'Our fight'
"Israel's fight against terrorism is our fight," a group of mainly conservative intellectuals declared yesterday in an open letter to President Bush.
Issued under the auspices of the nonprofit Project for the New American Century, the letter declares "it can no longer be the policy of the United States to urge, much less to pressure, Israel to continue negotiating with [Palestinian leader Yasser] Arafat, any more than we would be willing to be pressured to negotiate with Osama bin Laden or Mullah Omar."
Saying that the "Palestinian Authority acts as a cog in the machine of Middle East terrorism," the letter says: "For reasons both moral and strategic, we need to stand with Israel in its fight against terrorism."
The letter also urges Mr. Bush "to accelerate plans for removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq."
The letter is signed by such conservative heavyweights as former Education Secretary William J. Bennett, Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, former presidential candidate Gary Bauer, former CIA Director R. James Woolsey, Commentary magazine editor-at-large Norman Podhoretz, former Assistant Secretary of Defense and columnist Frank J. Gaffney Jr., National Review editor Rich Lowry, and Policy Review editor Tod Lindberg, who is the former editorial-page editor of The Washington Times. Another signatory is Martin Peretz, publisher of the liberal New Republic magazine and a mentor to Al Gore.

'Scare message'
It is "not surprising" that Democrats are "AWOL on the issue debate," says Paul Beckner of Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE).
"The last big liberal idea was Hillary-care," he says. "The two accomplishments of the Clinton presidency, NAFTA and welfare reform, were both watered-down versions of conservative initiatives. "
"In short, the liberals have become intellectually bankrupt and they know it. So, watch out."
Watch out, that is, for a midterm-election campaign based on scaring senior citizens "with false and misleading information about Social Security."
On the CSE Web site (www.cse.org), Mr. Beckner predicts the Democrats' "scare message" will feature three claims:
"Conservatives broke the Social Security lockbox, took money out, and gave it to the rich in tax cuts."
"Conservatives looked the other way while their friends, the top executives at Enron, looted the company and destroyed the life savings employees had accumulated in their 401(k)s."
"Now conservatives want to do the same to you with their scheme to privatize Social Security."
This message could work, Mr. Beckner says: "Without an effective strategy that educates key segments of the population about real Social Security reform, we should expect the liberal strategy to work again in many tight, battleground elections this fall."

Clobbered by cloning
The National Right to Life Committee launched a radio ad in South Dakota yesterday urging listeners to tell that state's senators including Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to support a ban on cloning human embryos.
The House has passed such a ban, and identical legislation sponsored by Sens. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican, and Mary L. Landrieu, Louisiana Democrat, is pending before the Senate.
Mr. Daschle would like the Senate to debate the issue sometime before the end of May, Daschle spokeswoman Molly Rowley told The Washington Times. Miss Rowley said the Daschle camp has not heard the ad yet.
The NRLC ad, which began running in five cities, including Rapid City and Sioux Falls, features a man and a woman discussing the issue. The man notes that the House-passed bill is supported by the president, so the "only obstacle" to its passage is the Senate.
The man also says South Dakota's two Democratic senators Mr. Daschle and Tim Johnson indicated they may vote for a competing bill. Mr. Johnson is running for re-election in November. One competing bill has been introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat.
The woman in the ad says this would "allow human embryo farms to open for profit." The ad urges listeners to call the senators' offices in support of the Brownback-Landrieu bill.
An NRLC press release yesterday said the Feinstein bill would allow "mass cloning of human embryos for use in lethal experiments or as medical commodities."
Miss Rowley said Mr. Daschle has not endorsed any specific legislation on the issue. She said he supports a ban on so-called "reproductive" cloning which is aimed at creating a human infant but is reluctant to close the door on so-called "therapeutic" cloning, which uses the cloning procedure to create embryos for medical research. Mr. Daschle is working with a bipartisan group of senators to come up with a proposal.
Mr. Johnson's spokesman, Bob Martin, said the senator has not signed on to any particular proposal, but supports a ban on reproductive human cloning. He has not taken a position on therapeutic cloning, Mr. Martin said.

Finger in the wind
"One of the things I liked about George W. Bush when he started running was his scorn for polling," says New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.
Campaigning in 2000, Mr. Bush "expressed, again and again, his contempt for the way the Clinton White House went dialing for opinions before deciding what to do."
But now the Bush administration, Miss Dowd observes, "is giving the Clinton White House a run for its polling money. [Bush adviser] Karl Rove devours polls as rapaciously as Dick Morris.
"As [Clinton adviser] George Stephanopoulos wrote Mr. Morris lived by a '60 percent' rule: If 6 out of 10 Americans were in favor of something, Bill Clinton had to be, too."
Miss Dowd cites an article by Washington Monthly writer Joshua Green, who found that "Bush's principal pollsters received $346,000 in direct payments in 2001." Estimating the costs of other polling operations, Mr. Green says the total White House opinion poll bill is "closer to $1 million" a year.

Family affair
New York Gov. George E. Pataki has named his own daughter to head his "grass-roots" re-election effort.
Emily Pataki, 23, will be chairman of the People for Pataki committee, the New York Post's Kenneth Lovett reports.
"A little while back, my father took me aside and said, 'I think I have a role for you this time around. I want you on board.'"
Miss Pataki quit a job at Bloomberg Television to work for her father's campaign. The Republican governor seems determined to protect his reputation as a fiscal conservative: His daughter will be paid the equivalent of a $25,000 annual salary.

Jesse and Yasser
"Things could always get worse in the Middle East," according to New York Post columnist Rod Dreher. "For example, the Palestinians and the Israelis could take up Jesse Jackson on his offer to step in and mediate their war."
Writing on National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com), Mr. Dreher says "Jackson's offer to insert himself into the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is so outrageous as to beggar belief," because Mr. Jackson has a "love affair" with Yasser Arafat that dates back to 1979.
"In August of 1979, [President Jimmy] Carter sacked Andrew Young, his ambassador to the United Nations, after the black former mayor of Atlanta met privately with the Palestine Liberation Organization's man at the U.N. Jackson, a friend of Young's, publicly insinuated that Jews brought down Young, and complained that Jews were false friends of blacks.
"A month later, Jackson announced he would go to Beirut to meet with Arafat, who was living in exile there."
During that visit paid for by Arab donors Mr. Jackson publicly kissed Mr. Arafat, whom he called "my friend and the friend of justice and humanity."
This, Mr. Dreher observes, is the "man who offers himself as a peacemaker between the Israelis and the Palestinians."

Robert Stacy McCain can be reached at 202/636-3249 or [email protected]

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