- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 12, 2002

Unspeakable truth

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer "blurted out an uncontrovertible truth" about the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict, New York Times columnist William Safire writes.

"What was the unspeakable truth? Only this: that the intense pressure for a comprehensive settlement brought to bear two years ago by the previous administration (which remained nameless) had led to the diplomatic disaster at Camp David and, in its aftermath, the current violence," Mr. Safire said.

"But that self-evident truth, so widely accepted until recently, is impolitic to recall today. Therefore, a media corps that had just furiously denounced a 'disinformation' scheme planned in the Pentagon demanded an immediate dose of disinformation from the White House. Dutifully, Condoleezza Rice disavowed the truth about the path to war and rebuked the spokesman who had uttered it, thereby mollifying the press, dovish partisans and Gaza terrorists.

"The unspeakable is still printable here, however. Then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak, desperate for a deal that would get him re-elected, made egregious concessions of land that would have endangered Israel. Bill Clinton, eager to wash away memory of his transgressions, pressed Barak for even more concessions to appease Yasser Arafat. That Saudi-sponsored Palestinian, seeing Israel's panicked leader on the run, was thus emboldened to make greater demands. Envisioning total victory, he launched the terror war on civilians.

"That's what happened. No soft, nonpartisan politesse can erase that well-recorded, hard history. Though Clinton's motive was Nobel, his incessant intercession was a gamble that failed spectacularly paving the path to Arafat's war."

Thune's strategy

Rep. John Thune is asking conservative groups and even the campaign wing of Senate Republicans to butt out of his bid for a U.S. Senate seat from South Dakota.

Mr. Thune, the expected Republican nominee for the seat, failed to reach agreement last week with Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson to discourage all ads from outside groups. However, the Republican announced he would abide by the terms of Mr. Johnson's 1996 Clean Campaign Pledge even though the Democrat refuses to re-sign it.

Mr. Thune has pledged to live under the terms of that agreement until the other side violates it. The Thune campaign also planned to air television ads, beginning yesterday, that urge Mr. Johnson to join him in rejecting ads by outsiders.

The Thune campaign, in a prepared statement, said it had contacted the following groups to ask that they stay out of the South Dakota race: Americans for Tax Reform, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Club for Growth, the Family Research Council, the South Dakota Family Policy Council, the United States Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the National Rifle Association and the American Conservative Union.

Circling the wagons

"I know everyone's supposed to be sick of Clinton move on, move on, move on but I will exercise what is still a constitutional right to make a few further comments," Jay Nordlinger writes on the National Review Web site (www.nationalreview.com).

"When [independent counsel Robert W.] Ray released his final report, the Democratic National Committee issued a statement, to wit, 'It's not clear what the purpose of the report is other than to promote Robert Ray's Senate campaign and Monica Lewinsky's HBO special. The release of the report is a nonevent. This investigation started as a political process and it ends as a political process.'

"That's the Democratic party for you. Note that curious word 'nonevent.' The DNC declares an event a 'nonevent' sort of like declaring an inconvenient person a 'nonperson' and, lo, it is! And the DNC's entire understanding of the Lewinsky affair is, 'This investigation started as a political process and it ends as a political process.' This is a party that long ago ceased to think ceased even to be asked, by anyone, to think," Mr. Nordlinger said.

"You could understand why the DNC would be slavish about Clinton when Clinton was in office; but now he's out you would think that the DNC would be relatively free. But they're not. The entire Democratic party cooperated in Clinton's lies and lines. There was no breaking of ranks except, possibly, for Joe Lieberman, good for about three minutes of grandstanding (and then it was back to lockstep). Every so often, I'm asked and I ask myself why I think so little of the Democratic Party; why my opposition to it is so vehement. There are many reasons, which I chronicle, in one way or another, endlessly but one is that party's total circling of the wagons around Clinton, without a breath of dissent, a breath of concern, a breath of, 'Hang on, guys, this isn't right: Are we sure we want this sort of thing to lead our party? Are we sure we want to cooperate in it?'"

Running left

"Concerned that Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is positioning himself for a Senate run against him in 2004, Republican Illinois Sen. Peter Fitzgerald has decided to move left in order to discourage any such move," according to the Prowler column (www.americanprowler.org).

"Fitzgerald, it will be recalled, spent $7 million of his own money to upset Carol Moseley-Braun in 1998. Labeled a conservative, Fitzgerald hasn't been as dependable for conservatives as one might think and, according to a staff member, Fitzgerald is concerned the conservative label will hurt his coming re-election bid. 'That's why you see him laying into the Enron people the way he does,' says the staffer, who didn't add that Fitzgerald is one of the few Republicans openly opposed to new oil drilling in Alaska. 'He's looking to break from the conservative label and make his own way. He's really concerned about Jesse Jr.'

"Fitzgerald's seat would be a natural target for Jackson, who's been talking up a run for the Senate and perhaps the White House further down the road. Illinois' other senator, Democrat Dick Durbin, is running for a second term this year. 'Senator Fitzgerald has two years to re-create himself and ensure re-election,' says the staffer. 'That means running to the left on just about everything but budget stuff. He'll tick off [Senate Minority Leader Trent] Lott and other Republicans, but it's just something he has to do.'"

Too controversial

A student chorus has withdrawn from a Red Cross event in California after the local chapter told the seventh- and eighth-graders that the words "God" and "prayer" are too controversial, the Orange County Register reports.

The Orange County High School of the Arts' 26-member troupe planned to sing a medley of three songs: "America the Beautiful," "Prayer of the Children" and "God Bless the U.S.A."

The Red Cross, an international relief organization, said in a statement issued by the national headquarters that the disagreement had nothing to do with patriotism.

"The dispute centers only on our sensitivity to religious diversity and a preference for a music program that would be inclusive and not offend different populations participating in this event," the statement read.

"We wanted songs representative of all races, all creeds," said Rebecca Long, spokeswoman for the Orange County chapter. "We are not a religious organization. We have to be neutral and impartial in all situations."

Count 'em again

Actor Alec Baldwin raised eyebrows last week when he compared the September 11 terrorist attacks to the 2000 presidential election in Florida, the New York Post reports.

Addressing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, at a luncheon sponsored by the New Yorker magazine, Mr. Baldwin said: "Senator, I want to ask you a question about the other catastrophic event that happened in this country before 9/11 which was the election of 2000."

Mrs. Clinton didn't address Mr. Baldwin's comparison, the Post said, but "spoke of her legislation to reform the country's election system."

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