- The Washington Times - Monday, March 4, 2002

Desperation time
"Now, it's official. I don't think it's an accident that the Democrats have launched an attack on the war's direction the day it becomes clear that the recession, even if it existed in the first place, is now history," pundit Andrew Sullivan wrote Friday at his Web site (www.andrewsullivan.com).
"Enron didn't stick; no one cares about the GAO vs. Cheney; [President] Bush has neutralized the education issue. [Senate Majority leader Tom] Daschle figures he has no choice but to risk everything to undermine the war in order to gain some political traction against the president. So far, it's been understated the usual Daschle-like mealy-mouthed worries about future conflicts. But the shift in tactics is real. Liberal opinion leaders are egging the Dems on," Mr. Sullivan said, citing recent columns by pundits Anna Quindlen and "Crazy Bob" Kuttner, as well as a piece in the Washington Monthly.
"Get the picture? The anti-war left is back with a vengeance. And the battle to protect this country has only just begun," Mr. Sullivan said.

By the numbers
"Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle created quite a stir in political circles by suggesting that continued success in the war on terrorism is 'somewhat in doubt.' While Daschle may eventually persuade people to share his view, the public is not with him at the moment," pollster Scott Rasmussen writes at his Web site (www.scottpolls.com).
"Seventy-five percent of Americans say that the U.S. is either very likely or somewhat likely to win the War on Terrorism. Nineteen percent say victory is not very likely and only 4 percent say victory is not at all likely," Mr. Rasmussen said.
"Even among Democrats, Daschle's view is in the minority. Sixty-eight percent of Democrats believe that the U.S. is likely to win the war on terrorism. Just 25 percent say victory is not very likely or not at all likely."
Those results were from a Political Intelligence Briefing survey conducted by Scott Rasmussen Public Opinion Research. The national telephone survey of 1,000 adults was conducted Feb. 27-28. The margin of error was 3 percentage points.
"Daschle was on somewhat firmer ground with the public when he suggested that we must find Osama bin Laden 'or we will have failed,'" Mr. Rasmussen said. "According to a Gallup survey conducted in January, 50 percent of the public agrees with that view. Forty-four percent say victory can be achieved without getting the ringleader.
"However, this appears to be risky territory for Daschle and his party. A CBS/New York Times poll conducted January 21-24 found that 73 percent of Americans believe it is likely we will, in fact, get bin Laden. Just 25 percent disagree. It is unlikely that Daschle will publicly challenge this perspective at this time."
Mr. Rasmussen added: "This is the second time this year that Daschle has taken a position on a major issue that is strongly at odds with public opinion. Earlier, in a major policy address, he claimed that the Bush tax cuts were bad for the economy. Only one-in-five Americans agree with him on that point (including only 28 percent of Democrats)."

Hollings' blather
"Have you heard about the latest outrageous statements by Fritz Hollings, chairman of the Enron-probing Senate Commerce Committee?" the Weekly Standard asks in its Scrapbook column.
"Probably not, because the media blackout of Hollings' excesses continues. First came his comments on February 4, the day Ken Lay took the Fifth before his committee. Hollings said White House budget chief Mitch Daniels, Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, and Securities and Exchange Commission head Harvey Pitt had been on the Enron payroll. Wrong on all counts. He quoted Daniels as insisting Enron 'get' $254 million in the economic stimulus bill. Wrong again. With rare exceptions, not a word of Hollings' novelistic approach to the truth was reported in the mainstream press, including The Washington Post and New York Times," the magazine said.
"Then came outburst number two last week. Hollings said President Clinton had tried to combat Osama bin Laden by shutting down off-shore tax havens. But when George W. Bush became president, the effort ceased, thanks to economic adviser Larry Lindsey, who had served on an Enron advisory panel. The result, according to Hollings: 'You had 9/11.'
"You heard it right. Hollings blamed Bush for the terrorist attacks. Of course, investigators have discovered that off-shore tax havens were not used by bin Laden in financing the attacks. Nor is Hollings' potted history of Clinton's anti-bin Laden efforts anything but science fiction. But don't look for any truth-squadding of Hollings from the media they're too busy going after Republicans."

Listen to Mom
The new 61-cent increase in Connecticut's cigarette tax has Republican Gov. John G. Rowland in trouble with his mother, the Associated Press reports.
Cerie Rowland, a pack-a-day smoker, blasted the tax increase pushed by her son as unfair. "Why pick on us?" she said. "It's absolutely illogical."
Not content to voice her unhappiness to her son, Cerie Rowland is leading a campaign by her eight-member bridge club to fight the tax.
"My mother's been hard at work," the governor said after the legislature approved his plan to raise the cigarette tax from 50 cents per pack to $1.11 per pack as of April 3. "She's got her bridge club e-mailing and writing letters."
Mrs. Rowland, 70, of Waterbury, calls the tax hike "taxation without representation."
What's worse, she said, the tax was not extended to cigars, pipes and other forms of tobacco. The governor is known to enjoy an occasional cigar.
"Cigars should be taxed," Mrs. Rowland said.
Although they are on opposite sides of the smoking issue, the mother and son remain close. The governor did not mention the tax proposal during his recent State of the State speech because his mother was in the audience and he didn't want to offend her.

Man of steel
Senate Majority leader Tom Daschle, in an appearance on "Meet the Press," strongly supported a 40 percent tariff on imported steel.
President Bush has to decide by Wednesday whether to impose tariffs in an effort to protect the ailing American steel industry.
"Well, I strongly support free trade, but when trade isn't free, you've got to have a remedy," the South Dakota Democrat told host Tim Russert. "Taking the action that the president's being asked to do is the only way that I see that we're going to save the steel industry. And I don't think he has any choice, Tim. He's got to do it."
Mr. Russert then pointed out that President Clinton resisted such a move. But Mr. Daschle said that "the circumstances have gotten even worse, and I think the trade barriers have gotten even higher."
Failure to impose the tariff probably means that the steel industry is "something of the past in this country," Mr. Daschle said.

Gore's decision
"Almost-President Al Gore will probably announce his plans for 2004 after the fall elections," Paul Bedard writes in U.S. News & World Report, citing anonymous Gore aides.
"Right now, they add, it looks like he's running. Consider: At a recent fund-raiser, former campaign chief Donna Brazile introduced a college student to Gore with, 'She'll be ready!' Some Democrat execs in Washington, however, think he'd lose again to Bush. One exit strategy for the Demos: Favorite neighbor Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts cleans his clock in New Hampshire."


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