- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Kucinich's heresy
"Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Ohio Democrat, is a staunch left-liberal who has never given up on the 1960s vision of politics. He's chairman of the House Progressive Caucus. His pet issue is the establishment of a federal 'Department of Peace,'" Sean Higgins notes at www.americanprowler.org.
"He's a fiery speaker, too. Earlier this year, he gave a stem-winder called 'A Prayer for America.' In it, he lashed out at the White House for the war in Afghanistan and the USA Patriot Act. He said the Bush Administration had revoked the U.S. Constitution," Mr. Higgins writes.
"His righteous rhetoric was exactly the tonic liberals were looking for in the wake of [September 11]. Many began calling him the new moral leader of the left. A few even spoke of a presidential campaign. But those dreams came crashing to earth, recently thanks to Nation columnist Katha Pollitt. Kucinich cannot lead the left, she pointed out: He's opposed to abortion.
"It's true. 'He absolutely believes in the sanctity of life and that life begins at conception,' his press secretary, Kathie Scarrah, nervously told me.
"This stance must have come as a shock to many liberals. How could a serious progressive oppose abortion?
"But Kucinich, whose political career began in 1969, is less a freak than a simple throwback. As amazing as it may seem today, there were once many liberals who opposed abortion.
"Today, there remain some prominent liberals who are opposed to abortion, but you can count them on the fingers of one hand: In addition to Kucinich, there's former Democratic House Whip David Bonior, columnists Mark Shields and Nat Hentoff. They oppose abortion on ethical grounds. Yet they aren't very vocal about it. Presumably, they want to avoid fights with their fellow left-wingers."
Mr. Higgins added: "Pundits tend to view the right's pro-life politics as an albatross weighing it down. If it would only give up its obsession with the fetus, they say, the right could attract more moderate voters. Rarely do those pundits ask the inverse: Does the left's strident support of abortion turn off people who would otherwise support liberal politics? How many activists and leaders like Kucinich has that stance cost them?"

Mueller's stamp
"Why did FBI Director Robert Mueller desperately stamp 'classified' on last week's memo to him from the Minneapolis agent and counsel Coleen Rowley?" New York Times columnist William Safire asks.
"Answer: Because he is protecting the bureau's crats who ignored warnings from the field before September 11, and because he is trying to cover his own posterior for misleading the public and failing to inform the president in the eight months since," Mr. Safire said.
"In an example of gutsy newsmagazine journalism, Time reports this week on 'The Bombshell Memo: How the FBI Blew the Case.' The entire 6,000-word memo from the field agent who dared to blow the whistle edited presumably for national security and libel can be found on the Web site," www.time.com.
Mr. Safire added: "I was struck by deja vu in her account of headquarters' dismissal of the warning from French intelligence about the suspect detained in Minneapolis. Higher-ups told the field agents that maybe it was another Zacarias Moussaoui just as the spooks at CIA told reporters that the Arab photographed meeting an Iraqi spymaster in Prague was another man with the name of Mohamed Atta."

Power to the people
"Bob Shrum may be the most influential strategist in the Democratic Party," the New Republic observes in its editorial Notebook.
"His particular brand of economic populism formed the basis for Al Gore's 'People Versus the Powerful' rhetoric in the 2000 campaign. And he's been shopping the approach around to any number of the 2004 Democratic presidential hopefuls. In addition to Gore, Shrum has longstanding ties to Dick Gephardt and John Kerry, and he's currently whispering in the ear of John Edwards. But before any of these contenders sign up Shrum for the People Versus the Powerful Reunion Tour, we encourage them to check out Shrum's most recent handiwork: the Democratic gubernatorial primary campaign of Bob Casey Jr. in Pennsylvania, which was decided [last] Tuesday" the magazine said.
"If ever a state or an election was tailor-made for Shrum-style populism, it's a Democratic primary in Pennsylvania. The state has one of the largest populations of working-class voters in the country. It has more old people than any state but Florida. And because it was a primary, only Democrats went to the polls. Add to this the fact that Casey, the son of the late popular Governor Bob Casey Sr., enjoyed tremendous name recognition and had no trouble raising money more than $14 million, in fact.
"Unfortunately, Casey also ran a model Shrumian campaign, railing against the 'insiders' and 'big interests' and pandering obsessively to labor. The result? He lost by 12 percentage points to former Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell, who put forward a more socially liberal, less economically populist message.
"Analysts who've tried to pinpoint what cost Casey the race focus on a late barrage of nasty TV ads aired by the Casey campaign ads that apparently backfired by depressing turnout in the southwestern part of the state, an area in which Casey was hoping to rack up a big margin. The media consultant behind those ads? A Washington firm called Shrum, Devine & Donilon."

Clinton and Huckabee
"For former President Clinton, having a friendly visit with critic and GOP Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is about as attractive as offering former prosecutor Kenneth Starr a cigar," Paul Bedard writes in U.S. News & World Report.
"But the duo have shocked the Little Rock establishment to team up on a joint project: raising money to finish rehabbing the governor's mansion," Mr. Bedard said.
"The offer came during a tour of the old place, the pet cemetery, and the attic. Clinton stayed so long that Huckabee and his wife, Janet, wondered if he'd ever leave. They're glad he didn't. Because, the first lady says, before leaving, 'He made the comment he was impressed.' She asked: 'Does that mean you would be willing to help?' With a grin, he answered, 'Absolutely!' He even suggested a date. The result is a July 23 reunion of five former governors to raise money for new rugs and furniture.
"But proving that no Clinton deed goes unpunished, some state Dems say they're miffed. The beef: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jimmie Lou Fisher has been begging for a Clinton fund-raiser, but so far no dice."

Freepers go Vegas
The Freepers grass-roots conservatives who get together online at www.freerepublic.com have announced their first national conference and awards dinner Aug. 17 in Las Vegas.
"Friva Las Vegas," as the event has been named, will feature Free Republic founder Jim Robinson, as well as Chuck Muth, executive director of the American Conservative Union, and Rich Galen, who writes the "Mullings" conservative Internet column.
The national conference will be the first face-to-face meeting for many of the activists. Most of the Freepers communicate on the Free Republic message board using pseudonyms. They occasionally gather for protests known as "Freeps," such as the "Get out of Cheney's house" demonstrations outside the vice-presidential residence during the 2000 Florida election dispute.
Sponsored in conjunction with the Leadership Institute which has trained more than 30,000 conservative activists since 1979 Friva Las Vegas will be held at the Treasure Island Resort.


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