- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 20, 2002

State of hysteria
Former housing Secretary Andrew M. Cuomo, who is running for governor of New York, found himself under attack this week for speaking to the Furman University Democratic Club.
The problem had nothing to do with the club or the university, but it did have everything to do with where they are located: South Carolina. The NAACP has declared the state out of bounds to liberals and Democrats because the Confederate battle flag flies over a Confederate memorial near the state Capitol.
Mr. Cuomo apparently got wind of his political faux pas Monday when a reporter asked about his schedule, the New York Post reports. Mr. Cuomo, who had been scheduled to stay overnight at the non-union Westin hotel in Greenville, S.C., immediately changed his lodgings to a hotel in North Carolina.
That did not spare Mr. Cuomo from being criticized by his rival for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, state Comptroller Carl McCall, who said: "I would certainly honor the boycott; I wouldn't go."
However, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said it is OK to speak in South Carolina, as long as you don't sleep there.
And Mr. McCall was criticized by Mr. Cuomo's campaign manager, Josh Isay, who suggested that Mr. McCall had corrupted the state's pension fund by investing in several companies that have real estate investments in that dreaded state just south of North Carolina.

Cold as ice
"After three years in office and an easy primary win, [California] Gov. Gray Davis faces a strange problem: More California voters than ever actively dislike him," the Los Angeles Times reports.
"When asked why, in a Times poll last month, voters most often blamed his handling of the power crisis. Beyond performance-related gripes, many said in follow-up interviews, that he seems soulless and ambitious, a tactitian who sees all issues through the lens of political advance," reporter Robin Fields writes.
"'He's as cold as ice,' said John Cohen, a Los Angeles Democrat who voted for Davis in 1998, but is undecided about whether to do so again in November.
"The pragmatic Davis has never pretended to offer much in the way of warm fuzzies.
"Still, heading into the long middle section of his re-election bid, he faces a decision. Should he try to woo the disaffected? Or should he use his resources to target his Republican opponent, Bill Simon Jr., accepting voters' reluctant embrace? Put another way, must Davis be liked to win?"

Strategic advice
Rep. Bill Thomas, California Republican, said there is a clear strategy for Bill Simon to win the California governor's race: Spend lots of money now to define incumbent Democratic Gov. Gray Davis for the electorate.
"I don't believe Republicans can win by running a positive campaign with someone who doesn't have a track record. I think what you have to do is define Davis, so when you do run, people know who you're running against. And you've got to do it early," Mr. Thomas said.
But he said the task won't be easy: "Starting dead even following the primary, our chances are pretty slim. It would take a very creative campaign, and I don't see that coming."
Winning would duplicate the feat of another conservative, Ronald Reagan, who won the Republican primary in much the same way as Mr. Simon before capturing the governorship.
"With all due respect to my friend Bill Simon, I know Bill Simon; he's no Ronald Reagan only because he brings to the race so many potential political liabilities in terms of cheap shots, which Davis is master at," he said.
Still, he said, it's not clear that Richard Riordan, the liberal former mayor of Los Angeles whom Mr. Simon overtook late in the race to win the nomination, would have been a better candidate.
"You can't say that based on the way he died in the final week, and one of the reasons you have primaries is to see if people can perform," he said.

The law of evolution
Two Republican congressmen from Ohio have told their state's Board of Education that federal law requires that its new science standards not "censure debate on controversial issues in science, including Darwin's theory of evolution."
The letter from Reps. John A. Boehner and Steve Chabot was sent to the Ohio board's two top officers after a March 11 public forum in which Darwinists and anti-evolutionists debated whether the federal law had any teeth in the state.
Last fall, Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Republican, introduced an amendment to the education bill saying students should know about scientific controversies regarding evolution. The amendment was included in the bill signed by President Bush.
"The Santorum language is now part of the law," the two congressmen said in the March 15 letter. "The Santorum language clarifies that public school students are entitled to learn that there are differing scientific views on issues such as biological evolution."
Two scientists, in a public session held by the 19-member Board of Education, suggested that, in their view, the Santorum amendment was as illegitimate as creationism or the theory of intelligent design.
Biologist Kenneth Miller used a PowerPoint display and search engine to show board members the word "evolution" was not in the bill, and thus not law. Physics professor Lawrence Krauss similarly questioned its legal status. "It's probably best to call it the Santorum comment," he said.

Hot race in Alabama
"The race for the GOP nod to succeed retiring Alabama U.S. Rep. Sonny Callahan is heating up. Two top Republicans quit statewide bids this week to enter the race to succeed him while a third dropped out of the race," United Press International reports in its Capital Comment column.
"State Sen. Albert Lipscomb, who had been running for agriculture commissioner and Baldwin County District Attorney David Whetstone, who had been running for state attorney general, have entered the field. They join state Rep. Chris Pringle; Tom Young, the former chief of staff to Sen. Richard Shelby, Alabama Republican, and Callahan's former top aide, Jo Bonner, in the race.
"Roofing contractor Jerry Lathan, vice chairman of the state Republican Party, has quit the race, citing family concerns."

Soft-money jackpot
Even as Democrats in the U.S. Senate make a final push to pass a bill that would outlaw the unlimited "soft money" contributions to the national political parties, "one contributor has given several million dollars this year to help build a national Democratic headquarters," the Los Angeles Times reports.
"The gift, when confirmed in federal disclosure reports due to become public next month, will apparently be the largest of the past decade to either of the major national parties," reporter Nick Anderson writes.
"In an interview Monday, Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe declined to name the donor or specify the amount, saying that a report will make the information public soon. No other details about the gift could be independently confirmed."

Point-counterpoint
USA Today, in an editorial yesterday, scoffed at the idea that the campaign-finance bill expected to clear Congress "won't work."
"No reform is perfect, but the bill sharply reduces the opportunities for abuse," the newspaper opined.
Meanwhile, in a front-page story with the headline "Campaign-finance law appears easy to evade," USA Today reporter Jim Drinkard wrote: "Even as the Senate votes this week to send the measure to President Bush, election lawyers and political operatives are probing for ways around it and finding them. Many predict that political dollars will be diverted into channels that are undisclosed and less accountable."


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