- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 13, 2002

Making a left
When he first ran for the governor's office in 1994, George Pataki was "a conservative's dream come true, embracing the legacy of Ronald Reagan," writes Noam Scheiber in the New Republic.
An eager Mr. Pataki promised to slash government spending, cut taxes and supported both the death penalty and welfare reform at the time.
In the past four years, Mr. Pataki has reinvented himself to suit a Democratic haven, wooing New Yorkers with education spending and university construction projects plus a pricey prescription-drug program. He has come out in favor of homosexual rights and gun control and proposed repealing Rockefeller-era drug laws.
"Pataki's leftward thrust is really two strategies in one. The first is to cut deals with traditionally Democratic unions, whose leaders will endorse and whose members will vote for whichever politician satisfies their demands for higher wages and benefits," Mr. Scheiber writes.
The second strategy "is to appeal to liberal New York City voters by recasting himself as a social progressive," and primed for a New York Independence Party nomination.
"For the national GOP, the real conundrum isn't a Pataki loss which might be a cautionary tale of the dangers of betraying conservative principle," the author writes. "It's a Pataki win which could convince a whole breed of Northeastern Republicans that the path to continued survival is old-fashioned liberalism."

Wrangling and tangling
Come July 15, conservative scion Patrick J. Buchanan and liberal point man Bill Press will attack each other once again but not on CNN.
The "Crossfire" alums have signed on with MSNBC and face a formidable task: the new political wrangle will stretch for two hours each afternoon an eternity of airtime.
Undaunted, Mr. Buchanan has a new print project, prompted by the belief that "traditional conservatism has pretty much disappeared from Washington D.C.," he said.
With London-based journalist Taki Theodoracopoulos, he'll take on the Weekly Standard and National Review with the American Conservative, a new magazine set to debut in mid-September with a circulation of about 12,000.
"We're for control of American borders, preservation of American sovereignty and preservation of traditional values," Mr. Buchanan told the New York Post. "We probably won't be getting too many ads from the Gay Pride parade."

'Big old hound dog'
The New York Post reported yesterday that the relationship between former President Bill Clinton and Lisa Belzberg "appears to be over."
If we do the math, that means that Mr. Clinton and the pretty blonde socialite lasted seven weeks.
Tabloid rumors of a romance between the two appeared around April 23, claiming the pair met at a Christmas party last year. Mr. Clinton behaved like "a big old hound dog" and later, trysts reportedly took place in midafternoons on the 24th floor of New York's chichi Hudson Hotel.
Press reports quoted Mr. Clinton musing about Mrs. Belzberg, who was estranged from her husband, Seagram heir Matthew Bronfman: "She married a guy worth $6 million, but she still likes to flirt with me."

Time limits
Key senators could not reach an agreement yesterday on how to structure floor debate on competing human-cloning bills, making it unlikely the issue will come up this week, as had been expected.
Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican, has a measure to ban the cloning of human embryos. A competing bill by Sens. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican and Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, would ban the implantation of a cloned human embryo into a uterus, but would let human embryos be cloned to extract stem cells for medical research.
Late yesterday, Senate Majority Whip Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, proposed that both bills be brought to the Senate floor for debate tomorrow and Monday and then there would be two cloture votes Tuesday to close down debate on the bills and proceed to final votes.
But Mr. Brownback wanted to be able to offer four amendments to the competing bill. Mr. Reid did not agree, so Mr. Brownback objected and the unanimous consent deal fell apart.
Mr. Brownback has been considering scaling back his bill by making his ban on the cloning of human embryos effective for only two years.
"It's an idea we're shopping around," he said yesterday.
Some senators said this was a sign that a permanent ban on human cloning does not have enough support to avoid a filibuster and pass the Senate.
"I think it doesn't have the votes," said John B. Breaux, Louisiana Democrat.

Reality check
A Harris poll of 2,000 Americans released yesterday finds that 84 percent say they are very proud to be an American and 90 percent feel proud when they hear the "The Star-Spangled Banner."
The American flag, the Statue of Liberty and "The Star-Spangled Banner" were ranked as the top three symbols of the United States, followed by the bald eagle, the White House, "God Bless America," President Bush, "America the Beautiful," Washington, D.C., the English language, the Capitol Building, McDonald's, the Empire State Building, the Grand Canyon and cowboys.
Hamburgers, apple pie and hot dogs rank as the top "typically American foods," while the top three components of the American dream were living in freedom, being financially secure and democracy.

A push for the Pledge
A Vietnam vet hopes to ensure that California's schoolchildren will say the Pledge of Allegiance daily. State Sen. William Knight, a Republican from Palmdale, has sponsored a bill that requires teachers to lead students in the pledge first thing in the morning just like in the good old days.
"I think it's a travesty that some students in our public education system don't know the Pledge of Allegiance," Mr. Knight said. "We used to say it every day in my school."
Mr. Knight, 73, thinks it's more important now for children to say the pledge than ever. But his bill has lost some of its edge: The American Civil Liberties Union opposed it, claiming teachers would face unfair consequences or harassment for refusing to participate.
An amended version, which passed the Senate and is on its way to the Assembly, allows teachers to opt out of leading the pledge and requires schools to notify students and teachers of their rights to remain seated while others recite the pledge.
"We wanted to make sure that the constitutional right not to participate was explicitly provided for in the statute," ACLU spokesman Francisco Lobaco said.

Sheen stumps
Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe welcomed celebrity stumper Martin Sheen with extremely wide arms yesterday. The actor from NBC's "West Wing" was in town to campaign for Maryland Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who is running for governor.
Mr. Sheen told CNN yesterday he would also head down to Georgia to give Sen. Max Cleland a boost. But he couldn't wait to get back to down to Florida and ride around in Janet Reno's red pickup truck in her quest for Florida governorship.
The man who is not a president but plays one on TV won't run for office himself, however.
"There is no President Bartlett," he said. "That's a fantasy. I'm an actor. I'm not running for anything. I am walking with the noble women with Janet and Kathleen. Women will save the world."



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