- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 31, 2002


"Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill doesn't get much respect. Sometimes not even from us," the Wall Street Journal says.

"But this Sunday he showed why of all the anguished Beltway yearning for the return of Clinton-era financier Robert Rubin is so misguided," the newspaper said in an editorial.

"Appearing on 'Meet the Press,' Mr. O'Neill was asked about Mr. Rubin's recent proposal to reassure investors by reducing their after-tax income. 'He says that the 10-year, $1.5 trillion [Bush] tax cut is a much bigger threat to the economy than the corporate scandals,' Tim Russert asked. 'Do you agree?'

"Mr. O'Neill said he disagreed because Mr. Rubin is saying 'that we should raise taxes on the American people. It doesn't seem like a brilliant idea to me to raise taxes right now, Tim.'

"Mr. Russert: 'He's saying postpone the tax cut.'

"Mr. O'Neill: 'No, he's not. He's saying raise the taxes, Tim. I'm sorry. You know where he said it from? He said it from Singapore while his company was losing $50 billion worth of market capitalization.' In pro wrestling, they call that a smackdown.

"The Treasury secretary was referring to Citigroup, where Mr. Rubin is now a big wheel and which is busy trying to explain that it didn't help Enron deceive investors. But Mr. O'Neill has a more serious economic point. Now amid jittery financial markets would be the worst time to raise taxes, which is Mr. Rubin's household remedy."

Misleading statements

"Sunday's Washington Post carried a front-page story by Mike Allen and Juliet Eilperin on the House passage of trade-promotion authority, which President Bush had requested. They write, 'The Republican-controlled House had refused similar entreaties from former president Bill Clinton.' That sentence is technically true," Ramesh Ponnuru writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

"The implication, that more Republicans supported trade-promotion authority for Bush than supported it for Clinton, is also true: It's harder to turn down a president of your own party than one of the opposite party.

"But the overall impression is completely misleading. Republicans were more supportive of trade-promotion authority for Clinton than his fellow Democrats were. Most Republicans supported it, and most Democrats opposed it. If Republicans had truly 'controlled' the House on the trade issue, Clinton's entreaty would have been heeded," Mr. Ponnuru said.

"The same day's Post carried another true-but-misleading comment, this one in the Style section. There, Richard Leiby was writing about the controversy over University of South Florida professor Sami Al-Arian. He wrote that it has 'become the most prominent academic-freedom case since the late 1960s, when California Gov. Ronald Reagan sacked philosophy professor Angela Davis from UCLA, calling her a communist.' That Reagan!

"Perhaps it bears noting that Angela Davis ran for vice president twice on the Communist Party USA ticket, in 1980 and 1984."

'Apocalyptic sophistry'

"The Washington Post's David Broder is outraged that President George Bush would withhold U.S. taxpayer dollars from the pro-abortion United Nations Population Fund," George Neumayr notes at www.americanprowler.org.

"Depriving the group of the $34 million U.S. contribution Clinton used to toss at it is 'deadly politics,' Broder says, which will 'cost uncounted women and children their lives.'

"Unborn children don't appear on Broder's index of suffering. If they did, he wouldn't be able to dismiss Bush's decision so smugly. The burden is on Broder, not Bush, to explain why U.S. taxpayers should subsidize a United Nations group that works with Chinese Communists who coerce women into having abortions and sterilizations. Bush's decision in fact shows a respect for women and children that only liberal elitists like Broder could find baffling," Mr. Neumayr said.

"In a fit of apocalyptic sophistry, Broder suggests that Bush's decision will 'translate to 2 million more unwanted pregnancies, 800,000 more abortions, 4,700 more dead mothers and 77,000 more deaths among children under 5.' What's the proof for this? The United Nations Population Fund says so."

Down slightly

President Bush's approval rating is down slightly in two new polls, but he remains quite popular by historical standards.

A CNN-USA Today poll, conducted by the Gallup organization, found that 66 percent of Americans think Mr. Bush is doing a good job leading the country.

Seventy percent think Mr. Bush is a strong leader, and 69 percent consider him an honest and trustworthy person. Sixty percent consider him capable of solving the country's most pressing crises, the survey found.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll found 69 percent of those surveyed were satisfied with the job Mr. Bush was doing.

The number fell slightly from the 72 percent approval he earned two weeks earlier.

New chairman

"The search for a new chairman for the Illinois Republican Party has come to an end," United Press International reports in its Capital Comment column.

"On Friday, the state central committee unanimously approved the selection of businessman Gary MacDougal as the party's new leader. Highly regarded in business and political circles, MacDougal has a reputation for being squeaky clean, something party elders feel is required as the Republicans try to dig out from under a corruption scandal that has tainted the administration of retiring Gov. George Ryan," the wire service said.

"MacDougal, who has run several companies and served on the board of such corporate powerhouses as UPS, has long been politically active. A senior official in the 1988 Bush presidential campaign, he was on the short list to become secretary of health and human services, ultimately losing out to Atlanta's Dr. Louis Sullivan. GOP insiders hope MacDougal, with his 'Mr. Clean' image, will be just what is needed to remind voters that in Illinois political corruption is a bipartisan issue."

Kean joins Forrester

Former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean will become chairman of Republican Doug Forrester's campaign against Sen. Robert G. Torricelli, New Jersey Democrat.

The Forrester campaign announced the Kean chairmanship yesterday. Mr. Forrester was a midlevel manager in the administration of Mr. Kean, a two-term governor in the 1980s. Mr. Forrester won the New Jersey Republican primary in June.

"Governor Kean will be a tremendous asset to this campaign," Mr. Forrester said in a statement.

Mr. Torricelli has faced ethics questions about his dealings with former supporter David Chang.

Freedom Corps

President Bush debuted a new Web site and public service advertising campaign for the USA Freedom Corps, which yesterday marked six months since its founding.

The corps was created to boost volunteerism.

The PSA campaign, titled "Everyone Can Do Something," consists of television and radio ads in English and Spanish, as well as print ads and Web banners. The campaign features the president and celebrities, including New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera, actress Angie Harmon and former U.S. Sens. Bob Dole and John Glenn.

The Web site, at www.usafreedomcorps.gov, features the USA Freedom Corps Volunteer Network, which the Bush administration described as the largest clearinghouse of volunteer opportunities ever created.

A search engine finds volunteer opportunities with nonprofit groups, faith-based organizations and government agencies anywhere in the country, and even abroad.

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