- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 8, 2002

In a bind
"The pol with the greatest conflict today is Democrat Harry Reid, Tom Daschle's majority whip," New York Times columnist William Safire writes.
"He's also chairman of the Senate ethics committee and is receiving a pile of damaging documents about the gift-taking and favor-doing of [New Jersey Democratic Sen.] Robert Torricelli. A prosecutor did not think she could get a conviction. Will the Senate standard now become 'if it ain't illegal, it ain't unethical?'" Mr. Safire asked.
"Reid is in a bind because if he does his ethical duty, New Jersey's voters may toss Torricelli out thereby jeopardizing Democratic control of the Senate and doing Reid out of his powerful post as whip. But do Daschle Democrats really want to run on a platform of 'anything goes?'"

A Republican prayer
"Democrats appear to be toying with an incendiary campaign theme for 2002. They may be gearing up to depict the religious right more generally, the right end of the Republican party as an American analogue to the Taliban. A vote for the Democrats, then, would be a vote for tolerance and freedom of religion, conscience, and choice," Ramesh Ponnuru and John J. Miller write at www.nationalreview.com.
"Howard Fineman reported on this emerging strategy in Newsweek last week, but there have been several hints before now. A number of liberal and centrist intellectuals have previewed the arguments. The much-discussed memo from James Carville, Stanley Greenberg, and Bob Shrum on how Democrats should handle the war claimed that it would increase the appeal of liberal positions on moral issues," Mr. Ponnuru and Mr. Miller said.
"Republicans should be, well, praying that Democrats take up this strategy. It would be a reprise of their mid-1994 attack on religious conservatives, which flopped so badly that it was abandoned before the midterm campaign even began in earnest.
"Nothing could be better calculated to revive the Christian Right than a campaign to demonize conservative Christians as an American Taliban. Going to the polls to vote Republican maybe even joining a Christian Right organization would again be a way of defending an identity and expressing defiance to hostile groups."
Such a campaign against conservative Christians could easily be converted into an attack on "the de facto leader of the Christian right in America," the writers said. That man is President Bush, the most popular and admired person in the country.
"There is also the difficulty that Americans who do not consider themselves Christian conservatives will find a campaign likening them to Osama bin Laden unfair, extreme, and exploitative.
"So the strategy is risky to the point of folly. Our guess is that liberals will try it anyway. They won't be able to help themselves."

Gore's new PAC
Al Gore's newly resurrected political action committee Leadership '02 shows no financial distributions yet, according to the most recent federal filings.
The PAC was led initially by veteran Democratic fund-raiser Lon Johnson, who is now running Michigan Rep. John D. Dingell's re-election campaign. Meanwhile, Fortune magazine reports that "The decision has been made" on Mr. Gore's 2004 candidacy for the presidency. The former vice president's Web site, Al-Gore-2004.org, uses the presidential seal as its wallpaper.

Saving 'Stupid'
Left-wing gadfly Michael Moore's latest book nearly became an ancillary victim of September 11.
The book, "Stupid White Men and Other Excuses for the State of the Nation," was due in bookstores Oct. 2. The book, among other things, calls President Bush's election a "coup" and includes a chapter on race relations called "Kill Whitey."
The book also features "an open letter to George W. Bush, in which Moore asks the president whether he's a functional illiterate, whether he's a felon and whether he is getting the necessary help for his drug and alcohol problem," according to Kera Bolonik of Salon (www.salon.com).
After September 11, however, such anti-Bush rhetoric appeared unpatriotic and tens of thousands of copies of Mr. Moore's book sat in a warehouse while his publisher, HarperCollins, asked the author to make changes. He refused, the publisher would not budge, and so the books kept collecting dust.
Mr. Moore who first gained fame for his satirical 1985 film "Roger and Me" about General Motors Chairman Roger Smith finally was rescued by a librarian.
Ann Sparanese, a librarian in Englewood, N.J., heard of Mr. Moore's plight and mounted an e-mail campaign of librarians nationwide who put pressure on HarperCollins. In the end, the company announced it would publish "Stupid White Men" as written; it is now slated to hit stores in March.
"Librarians see themselves as the guardians of the First Amendment. I love the librarians, and I am grateful for them," Mr. Moore told Salon.

Rubbing it in
The National Republican Congressional Committee, the election arm of the House GOP, sent out an e-mail yesterday to let everyone know that it had collected more in the first six months of 2001 than its Democratic counterpart did the entire year.
"In case you missed it because you had already left for the holiday with the rest of Washington, the [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] announced their 'record-breaking' 2001 fund-raising numbers on Friday, December 21," NRCC Communications Director Steve Schmidt and his deputy, Carl Forti, said.
"The DCCC reported raising 'nearly $34 million' (New York Times, 12/21/01), but did not reveal their cash-on-hand totals or the status of their $4.1 million hard-dollar debt (DCCC June 2001 FEC filing).
"The DCCC's 2001 totals also fell $4.6 million short of the NRCC's fund-raising total for the FIRST SIX MONTHS [emphasis in original] of 2001," the Republicans said, adding the following comparison:
"DCCC January-December 2001 Total Raised $34 million.
"NRCC January-June 2001 Total Raised $38.6 million."
Unlike the Democrats, the National Republican Congressional Committee has yet to reveal its fund-raising totals for the entire year.

Jeb's fund-raiser
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is coming to town tomorrow for a fund-raiser at the Washington Hilton, offering an invitation to his older brother, also known as the president.
"We have extended an invitation, of course, and we would love to have him," said campaign manager Karen Unger. They are asking $500 per person.
The governor has raised about $1.25 million since announcing he would run for a second term, while his most formidable Democratic foe, Janet Reno, has raised around $200,000, mostly from individual donors in her home territory of South Florida and from Washington lawyers. The former attorney general has to win a Sept. 19 primary before getting on the November ballot. The race is expected to require a purse of $25 million for victory.

Oklahoma election
A special general election is scheduled today to name Republican Rep. Steve Largent's replacement for the 1st Congressional District in Oklahoma.
The race pits Democrat Doug Dodd against Republican state Rep. John Sullivan.
Mr. Largent, who won the seat in 1994, decided to resign Feb. 15 to run for governor. Term limits prevent Gov. Frank Keating from seeking a third term.
Republicans have held the 1st Congressional District since 1986. It includes Tulsa County and Tulsa suburbs that jut into Wagoner County to the east.
Registered Republicans outnumber Democrats 161,000 to 133,000 in Tulsa County and there are 36,000 independents. About 10 percent of Democrats turned out for the primary in Tulsa County, compared with 25 percent of Republican voters.

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