- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Brute force

While the so-called mainstream media depicted the Bush administration as mindlessly bowing to "special-interest groups" in cutting off cash to the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, writer J. Bottum tells a different story in the Weekly Standard this week.

On Sunday, the New York Times editorial page and David Broder, columnist for The Washington Post, dismissed Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's assertion that, "Regardless of the modest size of UNFPA's budget in China or any benefits its programs provide, UNFPA's support of, and involvement in, China's population-planning activities allows the Chinese government to implement more effectively its program of coercive abortion."

However, Mr. Bottum writes: "The UNFPA is not an admirable bureaucracy that just slipped up on China. Amidst all the hyperventilating about the supposed indecency of the United States, very little attention was paid to the damning report issued last week by the Peruvian government about UNFPA's collaboration in the ruthless and racially motivated sterilization of 300,000 rural and Indian women in Peru during the 1990s. Begun by President Alberto Fujimori with special legislation when he assumed dictatorial powers, the program officially registered UNFPA as its 'Technical Secretary' for organizing what it called 'ligation festivals.'

"Indeed, the UNFPA's record through the years shows an institutionalized bias in favor of brute-force measures. Though official UNFPA policy prohibits the promotion of abortion, over 17 percent of the fund's annual spending is passed through to nongovernmental organizations that have no such restriction. Such organizations, the former director of UNFPA, Nafis Sadik, has explained admiringly, 'are willing to take risks that governments certainly won't, even U.N. organizations won't, but [national governments and the U.N.] can finance.' As all parties to this debate well understand, the UNFPA is part of an interlocking directorate of national and international organizations devoted to abortion, contraception and sterilization."

Marching orders

The New York Times, in an editorial on Sunday, called on Secretary of State Colin L. Powell to "throw a tantrum or two" to win his way over such "sharks" as the vice president and the secretary of defense, among others.

The latest reason for the liberal newspaper's ire was the Bush administration's decision to cut off U.S. financing for the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, although it also cited "issues ranging from North Korea to Iran to strategies for renewing Mideast peace negotiations."

"Mr. Powell has been bested on a number of important issues in recent months by more conservative and ideological figures in the Bush administration," the newspaper said. "Like the good soldier and loyal adviser that he is, Mr. Powell has swallowed the defeats, defended the party line and turned to the next crisis. The administration, and the nation, would be better served if Mr. Powell's views prevailed more often. The time has come when he should not be so accommodating. He might even throw a tantrum or two.

"The sharks circling around Mr. Powell include Vice President Dick Cheney; Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz; and the White House political director, Karl Rove. Mr. Rove is especially eager to bend policy to placate the Republican right."

The newspaper seemed to suggest that Mr. Powell might do better if he would occasionally threaten to resign.

'Culture gap'

In an analysis of the Democratic Party's political health, Al From, chief executive officer of the Democratic Leadership Council, and pollster Mark Penn gave a sobering assessment yesterday of where the party stood with the voters, with a little more than three months to go before the elections.

"We've got to expand our base. We can't win with the Democrats we have now. We have to win moderates as well as liberals," Mr. From said in a slide-show presentation for the more than 700 Democrats who attended the two-day meeting of the DLC in New York, reports Donald Lambro of The Washington Times.

"We can come down hard on corporate abuses, but we still have to be about growing the economy. We also have to close the culture gap. We can't lose everybody who owns a gun," Mr. From added.

Mr. Penn said voters were primarily concerned with economic security and their future retirement assets. He also said the Republicans had improved their position with voters in some key areas, while Democrats still had problems to address.

Nearly 60 percent of voters "do not think Republicans want to starve the government," while 51 percent say that "Democrats want to raise taxes," he said.

As for the corporate-accounting scandals and whom the voters blame, "75 percent say the problems are corporate greed," while only one-fourth said that "it's about lack of government oversight," he said.

A harsh charge

In a remarkably vitriolic column, David Broder of The Washington Post accuses the Bush administration of killing women and children in order to placate opponents of abortion.

Mr. Broder dismissed the administration's contention that the United Nations Fund for Population Activities' "support of, and involvement in, China's population-planning activities allows the Chinese government to implement more effectively its program of coercive abortion." The administration cut off U.S. funding, which Mr. Broder said "will cost uncounted women and children their lives."

The columnist said: "Every administration makes certain compromises in policy and appointments to satisfy important political constituencies. But most administrations draw the line at compromises that cost lives. The Bush administration has crossed that line not accidentally, but deliberately."

Mr. Broder scoffed at the notion that the administration acted on principle. Instead, he attributed the administration's decision to "special-interest pleading."

Hillary and Schumer

"Hillary Rodham Clinton 'hit the ceiling' last week over fellow Sen. Chuck Schumer's endorsement of Carl McCall for governor" of New York, writes Fredric U. Dicker of the New York Post, citing "key Democratic Party insiders."

"Sen. Clinton, in fact, 'blew her top' over Schumer's highly publicized action, seeing it as a 'cynical effort' to curry favor with African-American voters at her expense, according to a senior New York Democrat who said he had firsthand knowledge of the situation.

"'Hillary thought it was appropriate to remain neutral in this primary, and she's made that very clear,' added a second prominent Democrat.

"'She knows what Schumer is doing: trying to build himself up at her expense with the black political establishment, which has lined up behind McCall.'

"Clinton also viewed Schumer's endorsement of McCall last week as a betrayal of his private promise to her and several other prominent Democrats not to make a gubernatorial endorsement until just before the Sept. 10 primary, according to a third source.

"And she was described as 'doubly furious' that Schumer announced for McCall just hours before a Democratic 'unity' dinner, which was supposed to bring McCall and Democratic rival Andrew Cuomo along with many of their supporters together," Mr. Dicker wrote.

Cruise control

"Hill leaders are considering putting government spending on cruise control and quitting in September to campaign," Terence Samuel writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.

"Insiders say the move is the result of panic about having to vote on controversial spending hikes just weeks before facing voters. Under the plan, few appropriation bills would go to the House or Senate floors before the election. Instead, members would keep spending at current levels. Then, after the election, a lame-duck Congress would do the heavy lifting."

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