- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 26, 2002

Crying wolf
"California Sen. Barbara Boxer was promising reporters a hot scoop last Friday about Enron's relationship with the Bush administration, only to end up looking like the girl who cried wolf," according to the Prowler column at www.americanprowler.org.
"For several days, Boxer and her staff had been promising Hill reporters documents from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that would have documented meetings and contacts between FERC members and Enron from August 2000 through June 2001," the column said.
"'They said the documents would show that those contacts spiked after the Clinton administration left office,' says one reporter covering Capitol Hill. 'They thought it was going to be a smoking gun, and really oversold it.'
"In fact, the meeting logs indicated almost the exact opposite of what Boxer had been selling. While Enron meetings did continue with the Bush administration, Clinton-appointed staff and commissioners were wined and dined much more heavily before the Bush people came in. And even then, it appears the FERC actions were aboveboard. 'When they went out with lobbyists, the FERC folks picked up their part of the bill,' says the reporter."

Corzine's 'subsidies'
"We admire men who pull themselves up from their bootstraps," the Wall Street Journal says.
"That includes former Goldman Sachs head Jon Corzine, who made so much money with clever investments that he could spend $65 million to buy a New Jersey Senate seat," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"Mr. Corzine's investment strategy has been on our minds, given his latest Enron-inspired proposal to restrict employees from investing more than 20 percent of their 401(k) money in a single stock. Just for fun, we went back to the senator's financial disclosure records for 2000. Imagine our surprise to learn that the majority of Mr. Corzine's publicly traded assets were sunk into just one stock Goldman Sachs.
"In other words, Mr. Corzine wouldn't be as rich as Robert Rubin if he'd had to follow the financial rules he now wants to impose on everyone else. He might not even be a senator. Which is just one of the reasons to be skeptical of his and other proposals to make it even harder to save for retirement. Another reason is the argument, made by Mr. Corzine, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and others, that they have the right to order the rest of us around because our 401(k) benefits are a government 'subsidy.'
"This claim could sure stand some parsing. Their logic seems to be that since 401(k) contributions are made with pre-tax dollars, and those dollars can also build up tax free over time, they constitute an act of federal charity. But what Mr. Corzine is really saying is that the government owns all of your income: Whatever it generously decides not to tax is a 'subsidy.' And because your paycheck is, therefore, a gift from politicians, they have the right to tell you what to invest in."

Daschle's future
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle insists he has not made up his mind on whether to seek the presidency in 2004. But remarks he made last week to a South Dakota newspaper continue to echo in the corridors of Washington.
The South Dakota Democrat was quoted Wednesday in the Black Hills Pioneer as saying he was considering a run for president in 2004, but was "concerned about keeping a majority in the Senate."
During a visit Friday to Sioux Falls, Mr. Daschle sought to clarify the quote, saying a run for the White House is merely one of the three options "that I need to think about, not that I am thinking about it, but that I intend to think about."
That apparently did not do the trick, so later that same day, Mr. Daschle issued the following statement: "I have consistently said there are three options for me in the future: running for re-election, retiring, or running for national office. I have made no decision and will make no decision until after the November 2002 midterm elections. My priorities continue to be expanding the Senate majority in 2002 and being the best senator I can be for the people of South Dakota."
However, Mr. Daschle's statement came too late to prevent Sen. Kent Conrad, North Dakota Democrat, from jumping on the Daschle-for-president bandwagon.
"I endorse him today," Mr. Conrad said Thursday. "He is the best. Tom Daschle is a remarkable leader. He's got Midwestern common sense and honesty. I think it's exactly the kind of leadership that would be good for the country."
Mr. Conrad added that Mr. Daschle's statement to the South Dakota newspaper shows that he has taken "a very serious step" toward declaring his candidacy for president.

Red meat
Democratic Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe fed red meat to an audience of loyal Democrats in Broward County, Fla., the St. Petersburg Times reports.
Mr. McAuliffe took aim at both President Bush and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is up for re-election this fall.
"There must be something in the home cooking Barbara was whipping up. Because George and Jeb seem to be following the same recipe: fiscal mismanagement, broken promises, allegiance to special interests and neglect of the people's interest," Mr. McAuliffe said Saturday at the Broward County Democrats' annual Jefferson-Jackson Day fund-raiser.
Later, he insisted that George W. Bush really did not win the presidential election of 2000.
"The Republicans keep saying it's time for us to get over what happened here in November of 2000. Easy to say when your vote has been counted and your voice has been heard. Easy to say when you've benefited from a travesty in which the votes of five Supreme Court justices trumped the votes of 51 million Americans," Mr. McAuliffe said.
He joked that Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris has decided not to run for Congress after all. "Given her record of impartiality, they're going to make her an Olympic figure skating judge," he shouted to roars from the crowd.

Clinton's struggle
"Beyond going to parties and not writing his memoirs, [Bill] Clinton's principal activity in his post-presidential year has been giving speeches," Byron York writes in National Review.
"Since September 11, one of Clinton's stock presentations has been the 'struggle for the soul of the 21st century' speech, a rambling, 6,000-word meditation on the origins of terrorism and Clinton's efforts to fight it. Clinton has delivered the speech at major universities across the country at Harvard, Yale, and Georgetown as well as to trade groups and at fund-raisers," Mr. York said.
"For all its length and scope, the one thing the speech does not do is give a comprehensive account of the Clinton administration's response to international terrorism. One finds only brief and insubstantial references to the first World Trade Center bombing and the attacks on U.S. embassies in Africa; there is no mention at all of the bombings of the Khobar Towers military barracks or the USS Cole.
"Instead, the speech has moments of cringe-making self-centeredness, as when Clinton says of the victims of September 11, 'The people who perished represent not only the best of America, but the best of the world I worked hard for eight years to build.' It has moments of classically Clintonian self-promotion, as when he says, 'In the years that I served as president, we worked very hard to improve our defenses and to bring terrorists to justice in the hope a day like September 11 would never come.' And it has moments of late-night, dorm-room philosophizing, as when Clinton says, 'This is a big fight for the soul of the 21st century about three things: What is the nature of truth? What is the value of life? What is the content of community?' Some of it sounds appealing particularly the upbeat, we-can-lick-this-thing-if-we-all-work-together conclusion but it ultimately never really says how to do anything."


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