- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 22, 2002

'Indefensible'
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman has condemned a fellow Connecticut Democrat for referring to Republican Gov. John G. Rowland as a "snake" and the "prince of darkness."
One-time gubernatorial candidate and liberal activist Ned Coll made the comments during an invocation at last month's state Democratic convention.
Mr. Lieberman, who had been challenged by state and national Republicans to distance himself from Mr. Coll's remarks, responded with a brief statement yesterday in which he condemned them as "offensive and indefensible statements," the Associated Press reports.
"Such vicious personal attacks have no place in our political discourse, let alone in a religious invocation," Mr. Lieberman said.

Sharon and Florida
Democratic Party officials in Florida are going crazy over the announcement that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will appear in South Florida with Republican Gov. Jeb Bush on Sept. 9 the day before Democratic voters decide who will be Mr. Bush's opponent in November.
Democratic leaders in Florida obviously fear that the Israeli leader's appearance with Mr. Bush will help the governor draw Jewish votes in November.
"It is happening because Jeb Bush has a brother who is president and they are trying to shore him up," Florida Democratic Chairman Bob Poe told New York Times reporter Adam Nagourney. "There's been more stuff that has happened in Florida to help Jeb Bush, and this is just one more thing, right before the election. Fortunately, I think people are going to see right through this."
The White House denied any involvement in Mr. Sharon's plans, as did a spokesman for the Florida governor. Israeli officials also denied any political intent.
Al Cardenas, the Republican state chairman, laughed when told of Mr. Poe's remarks. "Talk about whining," he said. "It's irresponsible to be making wide-eyed statements like that without knowing the facts."

Squelching speech
"It's a good thing George Washington got his political start in 18th century Virginia," Pete du Pont writes at www.opinionjournal.com.
"If he lived in Vermont today, he'd find his campaign expenditures illegal. That's because in 1997 the state passed Act 64 limiting the amount a candidate for a seat in the state's lower house can spend to 70 cents per registered voter," Mr. du Pont said.
"Perhaps the Green Mountain boys didn't realize that 240 years earlier, Washington spent about $2.20 (in current dollars) per eligible voter to win a seat in the House of Burgesses. Perhaps this fact also escaped the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled Act 64 constitutional recently.
"Act 64 doesn't stop with the lower house. Limits vary per office a candidate is running for, but they're all very low and will require strict regulation and enforcement. Candidates for governor will be limited to spending about $300,000. For lieutenant governor, candidates can spend about $100,000 or 23 cents per voter. For state senate the limit will be about $4,000 or 10 cents per voter.
"This law is expansive, so a few things should've jumped out at the court, like the First Amendment, the unanimous 1976 U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring campaign spending limits unconstitutional (Buckley v. Valeo) and common sense.
"The First Amendment is very clear about the constitutional right to free speech: 'Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.' So was the Supreme Court in Buckley: 'The First Amendment denies government the power to determine that speech to promote one's political views is wasteful, excessive, or unwise.'"

Throw 'em a curve
"In the late summer of 1994, I found myself in the Rose Garden with the president of the United States and two other reporters part of a Clinton schmoozefest offensive," Jeff Greenfield writes at the Internet magazine Slate (www.slate.msn.com).
"As the gathering ended, I abandoned my journalistic purity to offer a suggestion about the just-launched Major League Baseball strike." Mr. Greenfield said.
"'You know, you might want to look at the Taft-Hartley Act,' I said, referring to the 1947 law that gives the president the power to halt some strikes for up to 80 days. 'Doesn't this strike affect the national health and safety?'
"Failing to notice the tongue in my cheek my own tongue, to be sure Clinton looked at me as if I had taken complete leave of my senses. Coincidence or not, that was the last time I was invited to any private, semiprivate, or public event with the president. But now that another baseball strike looms as a distinct possibility, I wonder whether the current president might want to take a serious look at the idea. A new baseball strike would pose a distinct threat to the president's political health and safety. Clearly, the last one did," Mr. Greenfield said, noting the Republican landslide of 1994 that was attributed to "angry white males."
"So, Mr. President, let me temporarily abandon my journalistic virginity once again and offer this counsel: Your predecessor scoffed at my suggestion, and he endured six years of an opposition-controlled Congress and an impeachment as well. Your own father lost the White House in large measure because the voters saw him as too passive in the face of challenges. Besides in a time when the wealthy are under such suspicion, what better way to prove your populist credentials than to arbitrate a conflict that would permit you to assail, with fine impartiality, millionaires on one side and billionaires on the other? If it weren't for the egregious mixing of metaphors, I'd say this one is a slam-dunk."

Forget the economy
"What will be the political impact of the sluggish economy on the 2002 elections? None," Dick Morris writes in the New York Post.
"As Bush polishes his economic image and Democrats lie in wait to hang the blame for rising unemployment around his neck, both parties are confusing the elections of 1992 with those of 2002," he said.
"In 1992, the economy was the key issue in Bush's defeat. (Although, even then, it was more Ross Perot's role in siphoning off 19 percent of the vote that likely crippled the incumbent Republican.) But we have learned a lot, as a nation, since then.
"In the past 10 years, politics and economics have gotten divorced from one another. Voters have come to understand that the basic economic decisions in Washington are made by Alan Greenspan, not by George W. Bush. Throughout the world, it is global bankers, economists and bureaucrats who set the economic framework for the markets, not presidents, prime ministers or chancellors. Economics, for 100 years the decisive factor in whether politicians live or die, has lost its hold on the political process.
"Why did Al Gore lose despite a good economy? Why is Bush popular despite a bad one? Because it's not the economy, stupid. Its social or security issues like education, health care, the environment, immigration, crime and now, of course, terrorism which control electoral outcomes."

Forrester's lead
Another poll shows Doug Forrester, Republican candidate for a U.S. Senate seat from New Jersey, with a double-digit lead over Democratic incumbent Robert G. Torricelli.
The survey commissioned by WABC-TV in New York, taken between Aug. 17 and 19, found Mr. Forrester ahead of Mr. Torricelli, 48 percent to 37 percent. An earlier poll done for KYW-TV in Philadelphia showed the margin at 13 percentage points, 48 percent to 35 percent.
The Forrester campaign said its internal polling put the margin at 12 percentage points, 47 percent to 35 percent.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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