- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 7, 2002

Debt of gratitude
"Perhaps California conservatives owe Richard Riordan a debt of gratitude: In seeking to destroy a real Republican Party in the state, Riordan managed to save it. He spent the better part of his campaign baiting traditional Republicans, leaving Bill Simon with an enormous opening to exploit," George Neumayr writes at www.americanprowler.org, referring to Mr. Simon's stunning victory Tuesday in the Republican gubernatorial primary.
"Usually country club Republicans advance their 'inclusive' left-wing agenda with a measure of respect for the party's base. Not Riordan. He made it plain from the start that his big circus tent would cover everyone except conservatives," said Mr. Neumayr, a frequent contributor to the California Political Review and a recent media fellow at the Hoover Institution.
"Riordan took great glee in driving traditional Republicans into Simon's arms. He allowed himself endless gibes at the expense of the party faithful. How appropriate it is that this great expert on 'winning' and 'electability' couldn't even win a primary against a political rookie.
"Gerry Parsky, the White House's man in California, may need one of the stewardesses on his private Gulfstream jet to hand him a towel. Egg covers his face. His attempt to foist a de facto liberal Democrat on California Republicans backfired comically, leaving him with no credibility in the state party.
"Parsky views the conservatives who sustain the party with the same level of contempt as Riordan. The White House should pull the plug on Parsky's elitist meddling in the party and replace him with a real Republican."

Still here
Actor Alec Baldwin showed up in Florida's capital yesterday to criticize Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, but the left-wing Democrat found himself defending his decision to stay in the United States even though a Republican resides in the White House.
"He had promised he would leave the country if my brother got elected," the governor said during a stop in Orlando. "Well, he's back, I guess. We'll welcome him to Tallahassee."
However, Mr. Baldwin denied saying he would leave the country if George W. Bush was elected, the Associated Press reports.
"I never made that statement, but you can tell Governor Bush to rest assured that I'm not going to leave the country, because we have to get him out of office and we have to get his brother out of office in 2004. We're not resting until we get that done," Mr. Baldwin said.
Mr. Baldwin's denial may come as a surprise to his now-former-wife Kim Basinger, who said at the time that her husband was serious and she might have to move to Europe with him.
Lt. Gov. Frank Brogan got in on the discussion, saying: "I haven't seen any of Alec Baldwin's work myself. I understand he's mildly talented."

Gephardt and Daschle
House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt came to the defense yesterday of his fellow Democrat and potential 2004 presidential rival Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle over Mr. Daschle's criticism of the administration's conduct of the war against terrorism.
"Tom Daschle is, in my view, the most reasonable person you could ever meet," Mr. Gephardt told reporters with Mr. Daschle at his side. "He's knowledgeable, he's experienced, and he's a patriot. And he wants this to succeed. And he should and always, I think, will offer constructive suggestions for how to make this work better."
Mr. Daschle came under fire last week for saying the expansion of the war lacked a clear direction and that U.S. efforts will be a failure if American forces do not find Osama bin Laden.

He can't let go
The editorial-page tirade of American University history professor Allan Lichtman in Tuesday's Baltimore Sun ("Race was big factor in ballot rejection") was interestingly timed.
In it, he attacks the two members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights who dared question his data for the panel's infamous "Florida report," which asserted that George W. Bush's 2000 election victory in the closely contested state was due to a "pattern and practice of injustice" and discrimination against black voters.
Mr. Lichtman was the numbers cruncher for the Florida report, but when two dissenting commissioners asked for Mr. Lichtman's data, he said he didn't have it.
Flash forward eight months, and the commission has weathered attacks from all sides, including (gasp) The Washington Post. So as the commission heads into the budget process seeking a 66 percent boost in its annual appropriation, Mr. Lichtman's column appears in the Sun.

'Nasty contest'
"The surprise announcement by Rep. Sonny Callahan, Alabama Republican, that he will not seek re-election has already sparked a nasty contest to replace him," United Press International reports in its "Capital Comment" column.
"Tom Young, chief of staff to Sen. Richard Shelby, Alabama Republican, has announced his candidacy and Shelby's endorsement. Jo Bonner, Callahan's chief of staff, is also telling people he will make the race. And Mike Dow, the conservative Democrat who is mayor of Mobile, is also reportedly looking at the race. It is unclear, however, whether Dow would run as a Democrat or a Republican in this district that, under the old lines, George Bush won with 60 percent of the vote."

Forced out
The assistant secretary of the Army resigned under pressure yesterday after he criticized the Bush administration's proposed spending cuts for Army Corps of Engineers water projects, members of Congress told the Associated Press.
The Defense Department issued a brief statement saying Mike Parker, a former U.S. representative from Mississippi, had resigned.
"The department appreciates Mr. Parker's contributions and wishes him the best in his future endeavors," the Pentagon statement said, not saying why Mr. Parker left.
"Apparently, he was asked to resign," said Rep. Roger Wicker, Mississippi Republican, a member of the House Appropriations energy and water development subcommittee. It oversees the Corps budget.
Sen. Kent Conrad, North Dakota Democrat and chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, also said Mr. Parker had been dismissed.
Howard Marlowe, a lawyer and lobbyist on waterway issues, said Mr. Parker was given a choice around noon yesterday of resigning or being fired and was told he had 30 minutes to decide. He then resigned, according to Mr. Marlowe and congressional officials.
Mr. Parker, 52, was a Mississippi congressman from 1989 to 1998, when he resigned to run an unsuccessful campaign for governor. He switched to the Republican Party in 1995.

Anti-war impulses
"What the U.S. public really needs to know is whether we are watching the early signs of Democrats heading back into their post-Vietnam anti-war mode," the Wall Street Journal says, referring to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle's recent suggestion that the Bush administration may be going too far in the war on terror.
"Their anti-anti-communist positioning kept them out of the presidency for most of a generation. Only after the Cold War ended, and foreign policy became less important, did the voters feel safe enough to trust the White House to a Democrat," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"Bill Clinton kept telling us he had cured the Democrats of that impulse, and for a while after September 11 it looked like he had. But those isolationist, anti-war impulses die hard. And more and more, we see signs that the hearts of many Democrats may not really be in the war. If that's true, they should have the courage of their convictions and tell us what they're against. By all means, let's have a real war debate. All the way to November."

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