- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 3, 2002

Rich irony
"Here's the good news, if you're a congressional Democrat flogging your party's issue du jour," Byron York writes at the National Review Web site (www.nationalreview.com).
"The latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, released Monday, asked the following question: 'Do you think big business does or does not have too much influence over the decisions made by the Bush administration?' Sixty-three percent of those polled answered yes, while 32 percent said no numbers sure to warm the hearts of Tom Daschle and Dick Gephardt," Mr. York said.
"But here's the bad news, if you're a congressional Democrat flogging your party's issue du jour. The Gallup pollsters then asked, 'Do you think big business does or does not have too much influence over the decisions made by the Democrats in Congress?' Sixty-four percent of those surveyed answered yes, while 28 percent said no.
"That's surely not what Daschle and Gephardt wanted to hear. And there is more. When the pollsters asked, 'Do you think George W. Bush is more interested in protecting the interests of ordinary Americans or protecting the interests of large corporations?' 53 percent of those polled said ordinary Americans, while 41 percent said large corporations. When they asked the same question about Democrats in Congress, 55 percent said ordinary Americans, while 36 percent said large corporations. Which means that on a key Democratic image point that Bush cares more about the rich than the Regular Joe the president scores as well as Daschle and Gephardt and their congressional colleagues. And the poll was taken between June 28 and 30, at the height of WorldCom coverage and after months of Democratic attempts to tarnish the administration over Enron."
Mr. York noted that congressional Republicans do not fare as well on the favoring-big-business question, but that respondents nevertheless gave the Republicans a 2 percent 46 percent to 44 percent lead when asked which party's House candidate they would vote for if the election were held today.

Dunn backs Pryce
Rep. Jennifer Dunn, Washington Republican, has thrown her support to Rep. Deborah Pryce of Ohio in the race to replace Rep. J.C. Watts Jr. of Oklahoma as House Republican Conference chairman.
"I have always believed that the Republican Party would be wise to elect a woman to a top leadership post," Mrs. Dunn said in a statement. "It is imperative that the individual elected to fill this leadership role represent the diversity in values, ideals and backgrounds that is the heart of the Republican Party today."
She said Mrs. Pryce "best meets" the qualifications needed for the job. Conference chairman is the party's fourth-highest post and is responsible for delivering the party's message on various issues.
Mrs. Pryce is vice chairman of the conference and a member of the Rules Committee. Three other Republicans have announced their intention to run for the job: Reps. J.D. Hayworth of Arizona, Jim Ryun of Kansas and six-termer John T. Doolittle of California. Mr. Doolittle serves on the House Appropriations, Budget and Administration committees and is a deputy whip.
Mr. Watts, the lone black Republican in Congress, on Monday announced his intention to retire at the end of this year. House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas also is retiring.

Greens get burned
"Fires continue to roar through the West, aided by drought and allegedly in some cases by arson. But as the damage stretches into a million acres and billions of dollars, other culprits are coming in focus especially the high-powered environmental groups that have dominated U.S. forest policy for at least a decade," the Wall Street Journal says.
"What the fires have exposed is just how extreme even today's 'mainstream' environmental activists have become. Once upon a time the Sierra Club and Wilderness Society were concerned with the wise human stewardship of natural resources and wilderness. But in recent decades, a view has taken hold among these groups that often sees human beings as the scourge of pristine Mother Earth," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"This no-humans philosophy lies behind the Big Green litigation and lobbying that opposed the very thinning and road-building that would clean up forests to protect them from fire. The result is that this fire year is now shaping up as the worst on record: Some 2.7 million acres have already burned, nearly three times the average acreage."
The newspaper added, "All of this has put the leading environmental groups, accustomed to a free media ride, on the defensive for the first time in decades."

Caught on tape
In an aside that was caught on tape, New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg suggested during a news conference that police have weapons substantial enough "to blow away the press."
He made the remark Monday as the mayor and police officials outlined the city's security plans for July Fourth. Mr. Bloomberg and police Commissioner Ray Kelly were fielding questions about heavily armed police counterterrorism teams that have been patrolling "key locations" for about a month.
Mr. Kelly demurred when a reporter asked for specifics on the weapons. After another reporter pressed the issue, asking if officers are more heavily armed than in the past, Mr. Bloomberg muttered, "Big enough to blow away the press," which was followed by quiet chuckles.
Mr. Kelly paused and answered the reporter, saying, "These are weapons that have been in our inventory for a while."
The public-address system at the news conference did not pick up Mr. Bloomberg's comment, but it was discovered on tapes recorded by several reporters, the Associated Press reports.

Secession opposed
Although a majority of San Fernando Valley residents back a proposal to split off from Los Angeles, more voters overall in the nation's second-largest city oppose secession, according to a poll released yesterday.
The poll by the Los Angeles Times showed that if a vote on secession scheduled for November were held now, it would lose on a citywide basis by 47 percent to 38 percent.
But the poll also showed that a majority of the 1.3 million residents in the 222-square-mile San Fernando Valley favored breaking off from Los Angeles, which would create the sixth-largest city in America.
The Valley's mainly middle-class residents, who account for about a third of the city's population, favor secession 52 percent to 37 percent, the poll showed.
The entire city of Los Angeles must approve the secession measures under the rules set out in the voter initiative.

Dueling polls
"A flurry of polling in the Arkansas Senate race last week produced widely varying numbers, leaving pollsters scrambling to defend their methodology and the two campaigns rushing to spin the results in their favor," Roll Call reports.
"Three polls two taken for Democrats and one for Republicans were released last week," reporter Chris Cillizza writes.
"Not surprisingly, the Democratic surveys showed Arkansas Attorney General Mark Pryor with 3-point (45 percent to 42 percent) and 6-point (47 percent to 41 percent) leads, while the Republican poll put Sen. Tim Hutchinson ahead 51 percent to 43 percent."

Laura's popularity
Almost 70 percent of Americans approve of Laura Bush's role as first lady, and one in five name her as the ideal role model for the position, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.
Mrs. Bush's 69 percent approval rating was up from 58 percent a year ago, Scripps Howard News Service reports.
In the same poll, President Bush had a 70 percent job-approval rating.

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