- The Washington Times - Friday, August 23, 2002

Toeing the line

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Texas Democrat and chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, expressed outrage over the defeat of Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney in Tuesday's Democratic primary.

"To have non-African-Americans from around the country putting millions into a race to unseat one of our leaders for expressing her right of free speech is definitely a problem," Mrs. Johnson told the New York Times, referring to Jewish campaign contributions to former state Judge Denise Majette.

However, Mrs. Johnson said Mrs. Majette would be welcomed into the Congressional Black Caucus as long as she ignores her friends and supporters and votes the way Mrs. Johnson and the rest of her black colleagues suggest.

"If she comes here willing to work with us and is not skewed by the agenda of her supporters, of course we work with her," Mrs. Johnson said.

Ragin' Cajun

James Carville became so frustrated by a CNN "Crossfire" guest on live television Tuesday night that he resorted to blasphemy to express his devotion to religious tolerance.

Mr. Carville's harsh words came during a discussion with guests Jean Abinader, managing director of the Arab American Institute, and Sandy Rios of Concerned Women of America of what students should learn about the September 11 attacks.

Mr. Carville cited evangelist Franklin Graham's condemnation of a strain of Islam as "a very evil and wicked religion." He then asked Mrs. Rios: "Do you agree with this fundamentalist Christian?"

"Yes, I do," she replied, and asked the Democratic campaign strategist: "James, why does that offend you so much? They killed 3,000 people."

According to the CNN transcript, Mr. Carville's reply was: "(Unintelligible) people in these mosques in these countries that are praying, that are working, that are good Americans, that pay taxes here. They're not evil people. They're good people. And for you to suggest that and Franklin Graham to suggest that is just wrong, [blasphemous oath in God's name], it is wrong."

Mrs. Rios: James, you're dripping.

Mr. Carville: I'm not dripping.

Mrs. Rios: You're drooling.

Mr. Carville: I don't think you ought to tell these good people that's what it is. It irritates the hell out of me.

Mrs. Rios: Well, I'm sorry to irritate you. The truth is hard to take.

Mr. Carville: They're not evil people. There are good Muslims in this country.

Mrs. Rios: No, he didn't say that. Of course, he did not say

Mr. Carville: Well, yes, he said it's an evil and wicked religion.

Mrs. Rios: The religion that teaches killing the infidels is wicked.

Mr. Carville: He didn't say that.

Mrs. Rios: He did say that.

Miss Abinader: Excuse me. Obviously, let me go back to my Christian roots. I went through 16 years of Catholic school, 12 of which I had to take some kind of form of catechism. We read the Old Testament and New Testament. And if you read

Tucker Carlson: That really was an amazing outburst. If we can just stop and appreciate that for a minute.

Sigh of relief

"It was supposed to be the summer of stockholder discontent with Democrats crowing about a sharp political shift in their favor but instead, Republicans are heaving a big sigh of relief," the New York Post's Deborah Orin writes.

"The stock market has been edging up. Greedy CEO fraudsters are getting perp-walked. The first charges just hit Enron. President Bush's economic 'forum' got panned by the pundits, but was a hit in the heartland," Miss Orin said.

"And Democrats had to stop howling for the head of Securities and Exchange Commission chief Harvey Pitt when his Aug. 14 deadline to have CEOs certify their companies' numbers proved a hit with investors.

"In fact, some Republican lawmakers who had the jitters when they went off on summer break now claim that, yes, 'it's the economy, stupid' but it's backfiring against Dems.

"'The Democrats jumped too soon. They moved so quickly to politicize the economy that it blew up in their faces people can see through it, that they were badmouthing the economy for political gain,' says Rep. Pete King," New York Republican.

The real economy

"'It's still the economy, stupid.' That's the barb coming out of the Democratic Party in the lead up to November's elections," George Washington University professor Henry R. Nau writes in the Wall Street Journal.

"Recently, Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe did his best James Carville impersonation when he bad-mouthed the Bush administration for 'mismanaging the economy,' and said that it has 'cynically made 9/11 the cornerstone of the Republican 2002 election strategy.'

"Perhaps Mr. McAuliffe has forgotten the loss this nation suffered last September and that we are still at war. As much as the Democratic leadership would like voters to believe it, this is not 1992 but that election does hold some valuable lessons. Bill Clinton defeated the previous Bush administration by a mere 43 percent of the vote on the misleading slogan, 'It's the economy, stupid.' But it wasn't the economy. In fact, the economy grew in 1992 by 3 percent. Yet the attack hounds succeeded in obliterating this reality. Will they do it again in 2002?" asked Mr. Nau, who served in the Ford and Reagan administrations.

"In the first half of 2002, the economy grew at an annual rate of 3 percent. Yet according to Democratic partisans, the sky is falling in. What are the realities? George W. Bush anticipated the current economic slowdown long before his opponents did. The Clinton-Gore pack was still howling about the new economy and the elixir of budget surpluses and the high dollar, when the stock market collapsed in spring 2000 and the economy followed in early 2001. Meanwhile, candidate and then President Bush was offering a bold stimulus package for the sagging economy."

Centrists triumph

Politically centrist blacks were responsible for Georgia Rep. Cynthia A. McKinney's defeat in Tuesday's Democratic primary, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

Reporter Ben Smith cited Curtis Rush, a black contractor who voted for former state Judge Denise Majette, as typical of centrist blacks who were fed up with Mrs. McKinney.

"She's highly accessible. She's as close as your phone is. But I think she doesn't fully understand her constituency at this point," Mr. Rush said, referring to Mrs. McKinney's well-publicized affinity toward Arab groups critical of U.S. policy. "I was really annoyed by that letter to the Saudi prince. That did not represent me."

Mrs. Majette's stunning victory in the 4th Congressional District Democratic primary seemed to confirm the emergence of centrist, middle-class and affluent blacks as an independent political base, the reporter said. Mrs. Majette won a convincing 58 percent of the vote.

But Mrs. Majette carried predominantly black precincts despite a full-court press by the traditional black political machine of preachers and politicians to deliver the election to Mrs. McKinney.

No Sharon visit

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has postponed a trip to the United States set for next month, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Sharon was to visit Florida on Sept. 9, the day before a primary election for the Democratic candidate for governor. Some Democrats said Mr. Sharon's presence would give a boost to incumbent Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, although the Israeli government had insisted the visit would include meetings with Democrats.

David Douek, a spokesman for the Israeli consulate in Los Angeles, said Florida politics had nothing to do with the decision to delay the trip. Mr. Sharon was also scheduled to visit California.

"His agenda is too full and he felt that he had to attend to matters of state in Israel," Mr. Douek said, adding that there are no immediate rescheduling plans.

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