- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 9, 2002

First anniversary
Senate Republicans plan to call attention today to the first anniversary of President Bush nominating federal judicial candidates, many of whom remain unconfirmed by Senate Democrats. And Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott noted that some of them are minorities.
"Eight out of 11 men, women and minorities that were sent up by the president one year ago haven't even had a hearing," Mr. Lott said yesterday. "They've got two women in that group. If Republicans were not moving women, we'd be just pounded about the head and shoulders for not being sensitive to qualified women. I'm not going to talk about numbers; I'm going to talk about human faces these are the people who are not being given fair consideration."
The Mississippi Republican said Democrats should start approving more nominees, now that they defeated the nomination of his friend, Judge Charles W. Pickering Jr. of Mississippi.
"They've already taken a scalp," Mr. Lott said. "They lynched Charles Pickering. They took a swipe at the president and at me. OK, you got your pelt. Now let's go on with it. You've taken your pound of flesh."
Mr. Lott said Southern audiences have reacted strongly to the defeat of Judge Pickering.
"We took it as a shot at the South, and the fact that he was a Christian," he said. "When you're from the South and you're a Christian, you don't like that."

Let George do it
"Many Beltway conservatives are outraged" that George Stephanopoulos appears in line to become the new host of ABC's 'This Week,'" Stephen F. Hayes writes at the Weekly Standard's Web site (www.weeklystandard.com).
"Stephanopoulos, after all, was Bill Clinton's dirty-tricks guy in the 1992 presidential campaign. Last year, he labeled George W. Bush a 'far-right' conservative, and called Bill Bradley and Al Gore 'centrist' Democrats. Though ABC has dispatched him on several reporting trips, these conservatives argue that he still spins for Democrats on 'This Week.' Giving Stephanopoulos this much-coveted platform on Sunday morning is yet another example of liberal media bias.
"They're right on all counts, of course. Still, who cares?" Mr. Hayes said.
"Stephanopoulos is smart. He asks more intelligent questions of 'This Week' guests Democrats and Republicans than both Sam and Cokie. And while those two are working journalists, they're not exactly conservatives.
"The griping about Stephanopoulos obscures the real problem: left-leaning reporters who inject their biases into stories for unsuspecting readers and viewers. The fact that anyone paying even casual attention to politics over the past decade will remember Stephanopoulos as a Clintonite is an advantage. Everything he says will be viewed through that prism.
"The larger question for conservatives is this: Where is your faith in the market? If Stephanopoulos is as bad as conservatives predict he will be, the show's ratings will plummet and he'll be canned as quickly as he was hired.
"So, welcome George. And good luck."

September convention?
"The single most important news item regarding the 2004 presidential race to appear in the Hotline in the past six months came Friday, courtesy of our friends at the CBS News political unit," Chuck Todd writes at www.nationaljournal.com.
"The network was the first to report that the RNC is asking its convention-bid cities to prepare to host for one of the following three weeks: Monday, August 23; Monday, August 30; Monday, September 6.
"Now, holding an August convention is not news, even one in late, late August; it was the idea of a September convention that raised our eyebrows," Mr. Todd said.
"The financial advantage President Bush will have for '04 is already unprecedented no matter when Republicans decide to hold their convention. But delaying the inevitable as long as possible certainly gives them an even bigger potential edge.
"And judging by the collective 'oh, &$&%' reaction of every Democrat with '04 connections we've talked to in the past week, the Republican(s) who came up with this idea should be well compensated. Chalk one up for Karl Rove and the boys."
The presidential nominees will receive about $73 million each in federal funds for the general election, due at the end of their respective conventions, which means that Mr. Bush might not have to spend any of that until after Sept. 6. The Democratic nominee, on the other hand, would get his check on July 23, the last day of the party convention.
"Bush would have 54 days to spend his $73 million, or $1.35 million a day," while "the Democratic nominee would have 103 days to spend the same amount, or $709,000 a day," Mr. Todd said.

Political gunfight
Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, California Republican, is fighting to pass a bill that would allow off-duty and retired police officers to carry their firearms throughout the nation to help stop crime and enhance homeland security.
"This is for law enforcement, for homeland security and for the protection of American citizens," Mr. Cunningham said.
In the Senate, Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, yesterday introduced an identical measure.
Mr. Cunningham said House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Wisconsin Republican, is the "only holdup," as the bill has broad bipartisan support in the House and Senate.
Jeff Lungren, spokesman for Mr. Sensenbrenner, said the chairman, "has a big problem with the bill superseding the gun laws of all 50 states."
He also said if Mr. Sensenbrenner was the "only holdup," the Senate would have passed the bill by now and the president would be campaigning on it.
The measure passed the House once, in 1999, but the Senate has never passed it.
The House bill currently has 255 co-sponsors and the support of more than 80 law enforcement organizations. Mr. Cunningham is circulating a discharge petition to bypass Mr. Sensenbrenner's committee and force House-floor consideration of the measure.

Just an activist
Pundit Andrew Sullivan posted the following item on his Web site (www.andrewsullivan.com) yesterday:
"The New York Times, which has only recently stopped calling Pim Fortuyn an extremist, had the following to say today about the political assassination of a would-be prime minister of Holland: 'Dutch political leaders decided today to go ahead with the general elections next week, even after the killing of Pim Fortuyn, a right-wing politician who had stood a chance to become the country's next prime minister. The police confirmed today that they were holding the assassination suspect, a 32-year-old Dutch environmental activist.'
"Notice how a socially libertarian maverick is 'right-wing' but an ideological assassin is just an 'environmental activist.' Even the Dutch police have described the murderer as an enviro-radical. But extremes, in the Times' p.c. world, only exist on the right. The subtle marginalization of Fortuyn continues, even in death. I would simply ask you to imagine: If this gay man were a liberal and had been killed by a fascist, do you think this story would be treated by the New York Times the same way?"

Bon voyage
Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican, had this reaction yesterday to the news that President Bush wants to send former President Bill Clinton to East Timor, 11,000 miles away, as part of a U.S. delegation to celebrate that nation's independence:
"East Timor? He might want to stay."


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