- The Washington Times - Monday, January 7, 2002

Declaration of war
Sen. Don Nickles, Oklahoma Republican, says Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle "was almost declaring war on the president on the domestic front" in his economic speech Friday.
The South Dakota Democrat "says I'll support you internationally, but on the domestic agenda I'm going to fight you every way I can," Mr. Nickles observed in an appearance yesterday on CNN's "Late Edition."
Mr. Nickles, who is assistant minority leader, added: "He's acting like he has 65 votes in the Senate, like LBJ did he doesn't have 65 votes; he has 50 votes and like he is going to be an equal counterpart to the president in trying to thwart his domestic agenda."

Mr. Bully Pulpit
"As President Bush approaches his one-year anniversary, aides are dropping the inaugural address-inspired comparison to old faithful William McKinley and his era of prosperity in favor of Mr. Bully Pulpit himself, Theodore Roosevelt," Paul Bedard writes in U.S. News & World Report.
"'It's amazing,' says a top aide, 'that the McKinley model for the Bush presidency has now shifted to TR.' It's got to shock even Bush. Aides recalled his inaugural talk about how big issues had been settled and how now was the time to handle the smaller ones, with compassion and character. At the time, top aide Karl Rove pointed to McKinley as the model. What's changed? Look only at September 11," Mr. Bedard said.
"'This is not a presidency about small things anymore,' says another Bush aide. 'The war and everything it touches, even domestically, are huge. What hasn't changed is the moral rhetoric, which people get.' Of course, Bush isn't a scholar or author like TR, but even his biographer Edmund Morris agrees that they're a lot alike: In a private White House staff lecture, Morris favorably compared Bush's traits, like 'energy and magnetism,' to the last youthful prez to open a new century."

Ferociously partisan
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle "slams business tax relief as 'corporate give-aways' in one breath and in the next, he sanctimoniously decries savage corporate layoffs," writes economist Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth.
"One moment Mr. Daschle is on the Senate floor pleading for the most expensive farm bill in U.S. history, the next he screams that George W. Bush is squandering the budget surplus. He is endowed with a Clintonesque talent for refusing to allow the observable truth to ruin a good story," Mr. Moore said in a column at www.nationalreview.com.
"It gets worse. There was no economic-stimulus bill in the last days of 2001 because Daschle rejected any tax-reduction measure that would have actually created jobs and wealth. There was no energy plan to allow the U.S. to drill in Alaska and to become more energy self-sufficient because Daschle refused to bring the president's plan up for a vote. Of course, the biggest beneficiaries of Daschle's gridlocking maneuvers are the oil ministers of the Middle East. We might as well be writing checks directly to the agents of terrorism.
"Daschle always speaks soothingly in TV interviews of the need for bipartisanship in Washington. But his actions belie a ferociously partisan agenda that is single-mindedly meant to destroy George W. Bush. If the cost of bringing down the president is to torpedo the U.S. economy and to keep workers unemployed, that is a price the nation's leading Democrat is evidently willing to pay."

Embracing Lieberman
Sen. John B. Breaux, Louisiana Democrat, says he believes Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, would be a stronger presidential candidate in 2004 than former Vice President Al Gore.
Interviewed Saturday on CNN's "Novak, Hunt & Shields," Mr. Breaux was asked by pundit Al Hunt "which one or two potential [Democratic] candidates might be able to carry Louisiana or might have a chance."
"I think Joe Lieberman could," said Mr. Breaux. "I think his moderate, mainstream, middle-of-the-road philosophy is acceptable to Louisiana. And I think that any candidate on the Democratic side that can appeal to the moderate middle, as well as the traditional base of the party, is going to do well in the South.
"I think, if they don't do that, they're not going to do well in the South; they're not going to do well around the rest of the country as well," the senator added.
Asked if Mr. Gore could do that, Mr. Breaux said, "Al could. I think it would be a little more difficult. I think Joe Lieberman actually would have a better shot."
Mr. Lieberman was the Democratic nominee for vice president in the 2000 presidential election, and Mr. Gore was at the top of the ticket.

Ventura's letter
As the petition to bring campaign finance reform to the House floor gains signatures, Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura has written a letter to four members of his state congressional delegation urging them to sign on.
"Minnesotans expect that their elected officials have the courage to vote this important legislation either up or down and not to hide from having to take a tough vote on this issue," wrote Mr. Ventura, the colorful governor who was elected as a member of the Reform Party in 1998 but has since left to join the Independence Party.
Finance-reform backers are tantalizingly close to forcing a vote on their bill in the House. The bill was up for a vote in July, but reform advocates objected to the rules of debate constructed by the Republican leadership, and by voting against the rules they sent the bill back to committee.
Republican leaders said they would not bring the bill back up again, so the bill's backers started the petition drive. The petition has 214 signatures with another one promised, and it needs 218 signatures a majority of the House to force another vote.
Four members of Minnesota's delegation already have signed the petition, and Mr. Ventura sent his letter to the other four Reps. Gil Gutknecht and Mark Kennedy, both Republicans, and Reps. Martin Olav Sabo and Collin C. Peterson, both Democrats.
Mr. Sabo is a particularly enticing candidate for reform backers, since he signed similar discharge petitions to force votes on the bill in 1998 and 1999, and voted for the bill both years.
Mr. Peterson signed the petition in 1998, but neither he nor Mr. Gutknecht voted for the bill in 1998 or 1999. Mr. Kennedy is a first-term lawmaker, so he has not had a chance to act.

Getting close
Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, expressed optimism yesterday that his campaign finance bill will be voted on in the House.
A discharge petition is believed to be just three signatures shy of the 218 needed to force a House vote.
"I'm confident that [a vote on the bill] will happen," Mr. McCain said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "And it's long overdue. And I regret the fact that the Speaker of the House did not allow an immediate vote at the time that it was appropriate to do so, and I'm sorry that that didn't happen."

Vanishing gap
"'This is the first war in which polls have shown American women to be as supportive of the hostilities as men.' That's according to liberal pollster Celinda Lake in this razor-sharp piece in [Thursdays] Washington Post," pundit Andrew Sullivan writes at his Web site, www.andrewsullivan.com.
"Most people have seen this war as a testosterone affair, as it surely is, in part. But the liberation of women living under Islamo-fascism, as well as the president's poignant embrace of women missionaries taken hostage by the Taliban, have made inroads in the gender gap," Mr. Sullivan said.
"Bush's clear defense of innocent American Muslims, his humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan, his wife's public support for Afghan women all these have helped erase the president's biggest political liability. This is big news. And the economy may be perking up as well. If I were a Democrat, I'd be worried right now."

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