- The Washington Times - Monday, June 10, 2002

Republican forever
Sen. Richard C. Shelby is not having any flirtations with the Democrats a notion first reported by the online news site American Prowler and repeated here last Friday.
"Rest assured, I would never consider leaving the Republican Party," Mr. Shelby told us Friday afternoon. "I am at home here. My only regret is that I didn't become a Republican sooner, when President Reagan first approached me in 1981."
The Alabama Republican was originally elected as a Democrat in 1987 and went Republican seven years later.
But rumors were afoot last week that Mr. Shelby was "fed up with Bush and Republican bungling in the Senate," according to a Democratic leadership staff member, who told Prowler scribes that Mr. Shelby had already met with the other side.
Meanwhile, others credited the rumor to the work of Democratic mischief-makers bent on irking Republicans pining for a GOP return come November and savoring the tough re-election battles of Democrats Sens. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, Tim Johnson of South Dakota and Jean Carnahan of Missouri.
Mr. Shelby established two GOP political action committees and raised $3 million for President Bush in 2000, a Shelby aide said "the most money raised at an Alabama fund-raiser in history."

Left and right
Conservatives and liberals have markedly different news tastes, with conservatives emerging as the more politically-inclined news hounds, according to an "Audience Ideology Profile," part of a sizable new media study released yesterday from the Pew Research Center.
For example, more than twice as many conservatives read political magazines than do liberals (52 percent to 23 percent). The same is true of call-in radio shows (46 percent to 18 percent.)
Meanwhile, 72 percent of conservatives listen to Rush Limbaugh, as opposed to 6 percent of liberals. Another 67 percent of conservatives listen to religious radio, compared with 6 percent of liberals. While 56 percent of the conservative audience favor Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor," only 5 percent of liberals tune in.
Fox is the channel of choice among 46 percent of the conservatives, according to the Pew survey. But 32 percent of centrists also said they watched Fox, along with 18 percent of the liberals. Fox, in fact, is viewed by more people compared with CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, local news and nightly network news, according to the survey.
Conservatives also take in more National Public Radio, PBS' "News Hour," CNN's "Larry King Live," late night and daytime talk shows and even more Jerry Springer and Oprah Winfrey than their liberal counterparts.
But the liberals do beat the conservatives in one arena. According to Pew, 45 percent of the liberals read "literary magazines," as opposed to 20 percent of the conservatives.

Who's who
Heavens, lawmakers and journalists alike will be on hand for "intimate fund-raisers" on Wednesday night. "Ever wonder how a senator lives?" asks the Women's Campaign Fund, the nation's oldest political committee supporting pro-choice women candidates.
Interested parties can pay $250 to nibble at one of nine simultaneous suppers. Hosts include Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer of California and John Edwards of North Carolina, and political adviser Anthony Podesta, among others.
But on to the dinner guests.
Among them: Democratic Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Joseph R. Biden of Delaware and Jon Corzine of New Jersey; House Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi of California plus Democratic Reps. Nancy Johnson of Connecticut and New York's Louise Slaughter and Carolyn McCarthy; California's Jane Harman, Hilda Solis, Zoe Lofgren, Loretta Sanchez and Diane Watson; and Mel Watt of North Carolina.
Journalists include Harvard University's Marvin Kalb, Eleanor Clift of Newsweek, Helen Thomas of Hearst Newspapers, author Kitty Kelley, PBS' Bonnie Erbe and WTOP's Mark Plotkin.
Three Republicans will be there for the repast: Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Rep. Connie Morella of Maryland and Rep. Jim Greenwood of Pennsylvania.

The spell of WJC
Former President William Jefferson Clinton spent the weekend at a plush manor home, and it wasn't in Chappequa.
Mr. Clinton was in the English countryside, sequestered out in picturesque Buckinghamshire with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and several of his Cabinet ministers, to "knock around ideas about the future for the center-left," according to the British Broadcasting Corp.
"As talking shops go, it is the very cream of the crop," the BBC observed. "Guests will get down to pondering the big issue how to fight back against the gains of the right-wing in Europe and the U.S."
Indeed, the logistics of the weekend sound Clintonian in scope. The Policy Network think-tank and the prime minister's pollster Philip Gould organized things each with "picture perfect" New Labor credentials. And they are very big Friends-of-Bill.
"Mr. Clinton is a hero for many in New Labor the man who led the way in taking on an apparently rampant right-wing in the U.S.," the BBC explained.
"Mr. Blair and his followers watched his success closely, offered their assistance and copied his tactics. But now, after the apparently unelectable George W. Bush got elected as Mr. Clinton's successor in the White House amid right-wing gains in Europe, Mr. Blair and his allies recognize the need to think again."

The spell of W
The Lone Star State has not quite gotten over President George W. Bush.
Some 12,000 Texas Republicans convened in Dallas over the weekend to promote "Team Bush" those statewide candidates who came into their own during President Bush's tenure as governor.
Trouble is, the Bush cachet is missing.
"When he's not here to represent the Texas Republican Party, they are very much on their own," Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson told the Houston Chronicle.
"The people who are the face of the Republican Party now are not unattractive, but they are not attractive in the same sense that Bush was," he said.
The Texas GOP will press on without him, however.
"It was in a great part due to his communicating when he was running for governor that people came to embrace Republicans, even beyond George W. Bush, and they've come to trust Republicans in office," state Republican chairman Susan Weddington said. "So that gives us a strong place to start from."
Some are ready to fly solo, even one politician who "rode Bush coattails" to become lieutenant governor in 1998.
"George Bush is popular in Texas. To some degree, this election will be about principles and philosophies he shares, he agrees with," said Gov. Rick Perry. "But the election will be decided by ideas, vision, the message that is articulated by the candidates."

'Void,' not paralysis
Losing Karen Hughes, President Bush's closest confidante and adviser, will leave a void in the White House, chief of staff Andrew Card said yesterday.
Mr. Card, however, said her departure this summer will not be the paralyzing blow he seemed to have predicted in a magazine interview published last week.
Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," Mr. Card did not deny the veracity of the quotes in Esquire.
"Karen leaving does create a void," Mr. Card said. "But there's not a doubt in my mind that we can't serve the president well" without her.
In the story, Mr. Card's demeanor was described as grim six days after Mrs. Hughes last month announced her decision to return with her family to Texas.
"The whole balance of the place, the balance of what has worked up until now for George Bush is gone, simply gone," Mr. Card was quoted as saying. "My biggest concern? That the president will lose confidence in the White House staff, because without her, we'll no longer be able to provide the president with what he needs, what he demands."


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