- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 6, 2002

Political suicide
"Eight months before Tennessee chooses its next governor, the two chief contenders are trying to clear the same hurdle: convincing voters they can steer the state through a lagging economy without raising taxes," the Wall Street Journal reports.
"Former Nashville Mayor Phil Bredesen, the leading Democrat, preaches tighter management. 'If we want to remain a low-tax state,' he says, 'we're going to have to have some discipline.' U.S. Rep. Van Hilleary, the top Republican candidate, shrugs off an estimated $350 million state budget gap as a 'short-term revenue problem,' insisting it can be repaired with revised spending and the economy's eventual return to health," reporter Will Pinkston writes.
"Neither candidate is talking about taxes even though outgoing Republican Gov. Don Sundquist and legislators have been engaged in a nearly three-year donnybrook over whether to establish a personal-income tax or raise the sales tax again.
"Across the country, it is a familiar scene as gubernatorial candidates in at least 16 states find themselves caught in an uncomfortable squeeze: They are being pressured to offer solutions to the worst budget shortfalls in a decade, but fear political suicide if they suggest taxes may be even part of the answer."

Meaningful chasm
"Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle is an intelligent man, a very astute politician and a very partisan Democrat," New York Post columnist John Podhoretz writes.
"He possesses a quality of thoughtfulness that has helped make him both the most powerful Democrat in Washington and a leading candidate for his party's 2004 presidential nomination. What he says should always be taken seriously because he speaks with care and prudence," Mr. Podhoretz said.
"One can therefore assume that when Daschle decided last week to offer a very muted criticism of President Bush's efforts in the war on terrorism, he was not speaking off the cuff or hysterically or irrationally. By answering questions about the war in a skeptical and pessimistic way, America's most important Democrat chose deliberately to open the first meaningful chasm between his party and the president on the war since September 11."
Mr. Podhoretz added: "Daschle may believe that the more skeptical news coverage of the war in the past month has penetrated into the American consciousness and has therefore given him and other Democrats an opportunity to chip away at a president who has been all but unassailable for six months.
"But does the Democratic Party really want to play this role when it comes to terrorism? If its leading politicians become naysayers and skeptics, that will open up the party to legitimate charges that its antiwar and pacifist legacy dating back to the 1960s is just too strong to be overcome."

Janklow seeks seat
South Dakota Gov. William J. Janklow announced yesterday that he will run for the state's only House seat.
Mr. Janklow, the state's longest serving governor, will face former Sen. Larry Pressler and four others in the Republican primary June 4.
The incumbent, Republican Rep. John Thune, has his sights on a high-stakes Senate race against Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson that could help determine which party controls the Senate.
"South Dakota gets one person in the House of Representatives," Mr. Janklow said. "That one from South Dakota has to be able to battle with 40-plus from California. It has to be someone who can get along in Washington."
The winner of the June primary will face the Democratic nominee Nov. 5. Among the Democrats expected to run: the state treasurer, a former Federal Emergency Management Agency official, and the granddaughter of a former governor, the Associated Press reports.

Intolerance at UNC
Five black professors say they will boycott a daylong visit to the University of North Carolina law school today by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, the Raleigh News & Observer reports.
Charles Daye, Marilyn Yarbrough, John Calmore, Adrienne Davis and Kevin Haynes, the five black professors on the 33-member law school faculty, sent a nine-paragraph letter to their colleagues saying, in effect, they could not tolerate a black man who dared to hold opinions that differed from theirs.
"For many people who hold legitimate expectations for racial equality and social justice, Justice Thomas personifies the cruel irony of the fireboat burning and sinking," the professors wrote in their Feb. 28 letter. "For some certainly, for us his visit adds insult to injury."
Justice Thomas is scheduled to have breakfast with a student organization, coffee and lunch with faculty members, and to attend several classes and an afternoon question-and-answer session at the Chapel Hill campus.
The five faculty members appeared to have difficulty articulating their disagreements with Justice Thomas, offering vague charges of supposed racial betrayal while mentioning only one specific issue racial preferences.
"He not only engages in acts that harm other African-Americans like himself, but also gives aid, comfort, and racial legitimacy to acts and doctrines of others that harm African-Americans unlike himself that is, those who have not yet reaped the benefits of civil rights laws, including affirmative action, and who have not yet received the benefits of the white-conservative sponsorships that now empower him," the letter says.

Double standard
"The three broadcast networks' evening newscasts the ones that shrugged their shoulders over Whitewater because it was a complicated business story with a lot of numbers have pumped out 198 Enron stories since Jan. 9 without any evident boredom," the Media Research Center reports at www.mrc.org.
"Enron's bankruptcy seems actually to excite reporters like CBS' Bob Schieffer who champion it as a parable about money and politics," MRC analyst Rich Noyes writes.
"'Reformers say embarrassment over the nearly $6 million that Enron has lavished on Congress may be what it finally takes to force [campaign finance] reform,' Schieffer exulted on the February 13 'CBS Evening News,' inadvertently explaining his network's above-average focus on Enron (71 stories on 'Evening News,' 10 percent more than 'World News Tonight's' 64 and 'NBC Nightly News' 63).
"But even as they use the plight of Enron shareholders to lecture about the corrupting nature of campaign dollars, the networks have shown a double standard. While trumpeting the GOP's ties to the bankrupt energy firm, the Big Three have been muted about the benefits Enron bestowed upon former President Bill Clinton and the assistance the company received during his eight years. Indeed, only six of those 198 stories (3 percent) hinted at Clinton's Enron connection, even as the evidence builds," Mr. Noyes said.

South Dakota summit
The Republican and Democratic contenders for a U.S. Senate seat from South Dakota have set the ground rules for talks today on eliminating third-party ads in the hotly contested contest.
Republican Rep. John Thune is challenging Democratic incumbent Tim Johnson for the Senate seat.
"The two campaigns have agreed that the meeting will be open to all members of the South Dakota press, but limited to South Dakota press or their stringers in Washington, D.C.," the Thune campaign said yesterday in a prepared statement. "The Thune campaign had requested that the two candidates sit down alone with no staff or media present for the first portion of the meeting, but the Johnson campaign refused that request."

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