- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Buyer's remorse
"A new poll, privately conducted for Republicans in South Dakota, suggests that some GOP voters who crossed party lines to vote for Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson are now feeling 'buyer's remorse,'" Byron York writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).
"Johnson defeated Republican challenger John Thune by 524 votes. During the campaign, Democrats appealed to GOP and independent voters by arguing that a vote for Johnson would be a vote to keep Sen. Tom Daschle as Senate Majority Leader, which would mean more clout for South Dakota in the Senate," Mr. York noted.
"In the end, of course, Democrats lost the Senate and Daschle is set to become minority leader.
"After the election, pollsters retained by the GOP contacted 500 randomly selected people who had voted in the Senate race. The pollsters found that 17 percent of Republicans and independents said they voted for Johnson. To those people, the pollsters asked, 'At the time, the Johnson campaign was saying that a vote for Tim Johnson was a vote to keep Tom Daschle as majority leader in the Senate. Thinking back, how important was the issue of keeping Tom Daschle as majority leader to you was it very, somewhat, not very, or not at all important?'
"Thirty-one percent of the Republicans and independents surveyed said it was a very important factor in their decision to vote for Johnson, and 37 percent said it was somewhat important.
"Then the pollsters asked: 'If you had known that because of what happened in other states that the Democrats would lose control of the Senate and Tom Daschle would no longer be majority leader, would you have still voted for Tim Johnson, or would you have voted for John Thune?'
"The results are another indication of just how close the election was. Ninety-five percent of those surveyed said they still would have voted for Johnson. But 5 percent said they would have voted for Thune had they known Daschle would no longer be majority leader. That would be well over 1,500 voters more than enough to make Thune the winner on Election Day."

Cause for concern
"President Bush [on Monday] tapped CSX railroad exec John Snow to serve as secretary of the Treasury a hot-seat job in these economically difficult times. Is he up to it?" the New York Post asks in an editorial.
"More to the point: Will he be an effective advocate for the president's tax-cut programs as opposed, say, to departing Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill?" the newspaper wondered.
"Snow, to date, has been an enthusiastic backer of Bush's 'pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda.'
"Quite unlike, for instance, the poo-bahs at the New York Times.
"Why's that relevant? Because the first thing that Snow did [Monday] was dump his membership at the Augusta National Golf Club the private club that is home to the Masters golf tournament.
"The club's men-only policy has made it a prime Times target and Snow could expect a lot of grief from Democrats and other Times' acolytes during his confirmation hearings.
"If he's so reluctant to risk offending the Gray Lady on these grounds, whatever will happen when serious business is under discussion?
"It's a cause for concern," the newspaper said.

John 'Vietnam' Kerry
"It's becoming a game: How long into any John Kerry speech, interview, or op-ed before the junior senator from Massachusetts mentions his service in Vietnam?" Peter Beinart writes in the New Republic.
"Last week, on 'Meet the Press,' it took two questions. 'Once you file the papers [for a presidential run] with the [Federal Election Commission], there is no real turning back,' suggested host Tim Russert. 'Well, I mean, I hope not,' replied Kerry, 'but on the other hand, if you find that you know, I can remember in times of war, when you turn around and the troops aren't there behind you.'
"By my count, Kerry mentioned Vietnam nine times during the interview often straining to link his service to unrelated issues," Mr. Beinart observed.

Good manners
Former White House consultant John J. DiIulio said good manners dictated his apology for calling White House aides "Mayberry Machiavellis."
In a letter published Monday in the Philadelphia Daily News, the Democrat said he made a "bozo-brained mistake" sending Esquire magazine a "semi-stream-of-consciousness memo" accusing the Bush administration of basing decisions on re-election concerns, rather than good public policy.
Mr. DiIulio is a University of Pennsylvania professor who led the White House office of faith-based initiatives until August 2001. He said his original apology had been based on conscience and "cultural-parental conditioning" not the accuracy of his initial observations.
Mr. DiIulio said good manners taught to him by his now-deceased father dictated that he apologize.
"He always taught me that when you apologize to people, you apologize 'with no half-smile, with all your heart, and on your knees, or not at all,'" Mr. DiIulio said.

Conspiracy theory
"An international ad campaign exposing what sponsors call 'an attempt by the Bush administration, the Vatican and their allies to overturn a global consensus achieved in 1994 in Cairo on reproductive health and family planning' begins this week," United Press International reports in its Capital Comment column.
"Catholics for a Free Choice, a liberal lay group, is placing ads in major newspapers in Asia, Europe and the U.S. on the opening day of the Fifth Asian and Pacific Population Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, to focus worldwide attention on this strategy," the wire service said.
"The ad's headline 'The Bush administration has picked its next target' appears over a photo of a mother and child from a developing country. The text of the ad explains how the Bush administration is, according to CFC, joining forces with the Vatican and Christian fundamentalists in the United States to 'impose minority religious views on the rest of the world. Women and families in the developing world will pay the price.'"

Pay up, auditors say
President Bush's 2000 presidential campaign should repay the government more than $700,000 in public financing, Federal Election Commission auditors said in a report released yesterday.
Auditors also finished reviewing former Vice President Al Gore's 2000 primary- and general-election campaign committees. They are questioning $426,836 in Mr. Gore's primary-campaign funding and $14,887 in spending by his general-election campaign. The campaign has already repaid some of the money: Auditors say the primary campaign still owes the U.S. Treasury $372,245 and the general election campaign owes $3,262.
The commission will consider the recommendations tomorrow.
Commission audits of the 1996 presidential campaigns initially recommended that Republican Bob Dole return a record $17.7 million to the Treasury and Democratic President Bill Clinton repay $7 million. The commission ultimately reduced those amounts to about $3.7 million still a record for Mr. Dole and $143,000 for Mr. Clinton.

California homebody
California Gov. Gray Davis said yesterday that he will not seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004.
"I'm not running," Mr. Davis told MSNBC's Pat Buchanan and Bill Press during an afternoon appearance to discuss the state's budget woes. Mr. Davis did not rule out a later run, the Associated Press reports.
Mr. Davis was re-elected in November by a slim margin and with many voters disenchanted with his handling of a statewide power crisis. Mr. Davis also is grappling with a two-year budget deficit expected to exceed $21 billion.

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