- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 20, 2002

Daschle's frustration

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle yesterday sounded as if the consuming task of fund raising might discourage him from pursuing the presidency in 2004.

Asked if he had finished reading "Master of the Senate," a book about former Senate Majority Leader and President Lyndon Johnson, Mr. Daschle said he was struck by how little of the 1,200-page book is devoted to fund raising.

"That is so disconcerting," the South Dakota Democrat said. "As I think of my own political future, one of the concerns I have is, where does this all go, you know, and how much time do you want to spend? I spend just part of almost every day fund raising over at one of my political offices."

Asked if the demands of fund raising were weighing against a run for president, Mr. Daschle demurred.

"I don't want anybody to read anything into that one way or the other. I'm just commenting that it's a frustrating part," he said. "I mean, if I stay in the Senate, you could argue that it's even a bigger part than if you were going to do something nationally."

Torricelli's numbers

Sen. Robert Torricelli, New Jersey Democrat, could be vulnerable in November because of a rise in voter disapproval after a highly publicized federal corruption case, a poll suggested yesterday.

Mr. Torricelli, who chaired the Democratic National Senatorial Committee during the 2000 election, led Republican challenger Douglas Forrester 44 percent to 36 percent in a Quinnipiac University poll conducted a week after New Jersey's June 4 primary election. Twenty percent of voters were undecided.

Quinnipiac researchers were most surprised by poll data suggesting for the first time this year that the number of voters with negative views of Mr. Torricelli is higher than the number who favor his bid for a second term in the Senate.

The poll showed 37 percent of voters with negative opinions about the Democratic incumbent, while 35 percent viewed him favorably and 28 percent were undecided, Reuters reports.

Ventura's mistake

"He came, he saw and apparently he was conquered. We're referring to Jesse Ventura, the former Navy SEAL, professional wrestler and political insurgent who [Tuesday] announced that he won't run for a second term as Minnesota governor this November," the Wall Street Journal said in an editorial.

"'I'm kind of like Che Guevara,' he explained. 'I lead the revolution, but at some point I turn it over to someone else.'

"Alas, there's too little of his revolution left. Mr. Ventura swept to victory in 1998 as the non-political outsider, the Reform Party candidate promising to 'veto any new taxes and any increase in existing taxes.' And while he stuck to that pledge, he remained popular, returning to voters tax rebates known as 'Jesse checks.' He surrounded himself with New Democratic advisers and for a while the national media advertised him as the vanguard of a new radical middle in American politics," the Journal writes.

"But the center didn't hold. Faced with recent budget deficits, Mr. Ventura reverted to politics as usual and proposed a variety of tax increases, which were rejected by both Democrats and Republicans in the legislature. His popularity sagged and he would have had a struggle winning a second term, notwithstanding his claim that he would have won.

"We will miss him nonetheless, and not just as great copy. Anyone who is despised by the likes of Garrison Keillor can't be all bad. He was willing to serve his state and to endure the slings and arrows of outrageous reporters. For all of his bombast and eccentricity, Mr. Ventura represented the kind of non-career politician the country needs more of."

Boeing's salute

"The Boeing Corporation evidently has little use for the Republican Party," the Prowler column says at www.americanprowler.org.

"[Tuesday] night, Linda Daschle, who works as a lobbyist for Boeing, was one of the hosts of a 'Boeing Salutes the Senate Democratic Caucus' in a Washington, D.C., theater. Mrs. Daschle makes a point of telling reporters that, to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest, she limits her lobbying efforts on behalf of the airplane manufacturer and defense contractor exclusively to the House side of Congress. But she was front and center with her Senate majority leader hubby on Tuesday night," the column said.

"Boeing has no plans for a similar Republican event, in part, one Democratic Senate leadership aide says, because word on the Hill has it that the firm's Washington lobbyists (not including Mrs. D.) advised against it. 'It wasn't seen as necessary,' says the leadership source. 'On the Senate side, we're the ones they have to deal with first, not the Republicans. It would be a slap in our face.'"

Boeing isn't above slapping some faces, though. Not only were Republicans not invited, but the media were barred from the event, too.

More of the same

"Ted Turner is still a moron," Stephen F. Hayes writes at the Weekly Standard's Web site (www.weeklystandard.com).

"In the event there was any doubt about this proposition, Turner generously offered more evidence in an interview published [Tuesday] in the Guardian. The offending passage: 'Aren't the Israelis and the Palestinians both terrorizing each other? The Palestinians are fighting with human suicide bombers, that's all they have. The Israelis they've got one of the most powerful military machines in the world. The Palestinians have nothing. So who are the terrorists? I would make a case that both sides are involved in terrorism.'

"The outrage came quickly. The Israeli government called him 'stupid.' Tom DeLay ripped Turner, saying his 'twisted attempt to justify terrorism against Israel by establishing moral equivalence descends to new depths.' Even CNN, the network Turner founded, hastily issued a statement pointing out that he 'has no operational or editorial oversight of CNN,' and that his 'views are his own and they definitely do not reflect the views of CNN in any way.'

"Blah, blah, blah. Reports of Turner's idiocy have become so frequent that they're arguably not even newsworthy, in a man-bites-dog sense. They're tiresome, really. Like shark-attack stories. Or Darryl Strawberry-arrest stories."

Young and the voteless

The voter-turnout rate for young Americans dropped by 13 percentage points in the three decades since 18-year-olds were first eligible to vote, according to a new study by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE).

Only 42 percent of people aged 18 to 24 said they voted in 2000, down from 55 percent in 1972.

The study also found that young Hispanics are far less likely to vote than other young adults, with only 30 percent of eligible Hispanic youth voting in 2000, compared to 42 percent of whites and blacks. And young college graduates are more than three times as likely to vote as young Americans who haven't finished high school 69 percent versus 21 percent.

Change of mind

"The California Organization of Police and Sheriffs, a potent political force in the Golden State, has endorsed Republican Bill Simon for governor, citing an increase in the state's crime rate and decreased funding for law enforcement under current governor Gray Davis, a Democrat," United Press International reports in its Capital Comment column.

"In 1998, COPS endorsed Davis for governor over the Republican candidate, then-state Attorney General Dan Lundgren," the wire service noted.

"The endorsement letter COPS sent to its membership explains the switch, saying, "Four years ago, we supported Gray Davis, but upon careful review of his record, we have become totally disenchanted with him and his policies. We feel Gray Davis has shown a lack of leadership."

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