- The Washington Times - Monday, November 11, 2002

Switching in Georgia
Georgia Republicans expanded their election triumph, taking control of the state Senate after three Democratic senators switched parties.
Last week, the GOP won a U.S. Senate seat, as Republican Rep. Saxby Chambliss defeated incumbent Sen. Max Cleland, and Sonny Perdue beat Gov. Roy Barnes to become Georgia's first Republican governor since Reconstruction. The Republican surge in Georgia also swept from office the Democratic leader in the state Senate and House Speaker Tom Murphy, a Democrat who was the most powerful man in state government.
On Friday, three Democratic state senators Rooney Bowen of Cordele, Don Cheeks of Augusta and Dan Lee of LaGrange all announced their intention to join the Republicans, giving the GOP control of the state Senate by a 29-27 majority, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"We want a functioning, governing coalition of Georgians who want to work together," Mr. Perdue told a crowd in LaGrange, where Mr. Lee announced his switch to the Republicans at a stop on Mr. Perdue's victory tour.

Give 'em Zell
At least one person is not surprised by last week's Republican surge in Georgia
"This is a train that has been coming down the tracks for a long time," Sen. Zell Miller, Georgia Democrat, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Mr. Miller noted that he was re-elected as the state's governor by just 50,000 votes in 1994.
But Mr. Miller blamed last week's election disaster for the Democrats on the party's national leadership, which he said "played right into the hands" of the GOP by challenging President Bush's version of the proposed Department of Homeland Security in the weeks before the election.
"It will go down as one of the major political blunders of our time," Mr. Miller said. "I could not believe what I was seeing and hearing. It was one of the chief reasons for the defeat of some of our best people."
Mr. Miller said that such Democratic leaders as national party Chairman Terry McAuliffe, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and former Vice President Al Gore were political poison in the South.
"It's a heck of a note when you have the chairman, the leader and the titular head of the national party who can't go into the South [to campaign] because they would do more harm than good," Mr. Miller told the Atlanta newspapers in a telephone interview from his home in the mountains near Young Harris, Ga. "We have got to become a national party not just in name, but in fact."

Left-wing jihad
The New York Times editorial page, denouncing mainstream conservatives as extremists, yesterday called on Senate Democrats to use whatever means necessary to maintain control of the federal judiciary.
The newspaper, whose editorials often are far to the left of even most Democrats, suggested that it represents the views of centrists against extremists and racists, including President Bush.
"The biggest fallout from last week's Republican capture of the Senate may be that it will now be harder to block ideologically extreme nominees to the federal courts," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"But contrary to what some conservatives claim, nothing in the election returns suggests that Americans want the courts packed with such judges. Given the new political lineup, Democratic and moderate Republican senators must be more involved in the confirmation process to ensure that Justice Department ideologues do not have a free hand in shaping the federal judiciary for decades to come."
The newspaper said that in the interests of "consultation and consensus," the Bush administration should have all judicial nominees cleared in advance by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat and outgoing chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
The editorial said that many of Mr. Bush's judicial nominees "favor taking away the right to abortion, striking down reasonable environmental regulations and turning back the clock on race."
Democratic senators should form a "mainstream coalition" with like-minded Republicans and "not be afraid to mount a filibuster."
The newspaper added: "With the White House representing the far right in the nominating process, it remains up to the Senate even in its new configuration to represent the rest of the country."

Kerry ready
Sen. John Kerry said yesterday that only objections from his family or political elders would deter him from running for the presidency in 2004.
The Massachusetts Democrat denied reports that he might file a statement of candidacy as early as this week, but he said he believes America needs new leadership.
"On almost every issue in front of this country, including foreign policy, there are a better set of choices," Mr. Kerry said on ABC's "This Week." "We are costing America its reputation in the world today. We're costing American businesses jobs."
Asked what would stop him from running, Mr. Kerry said: "I guess a revolution within my family, certainly, would stop me. Broad dissent from people that I respect who tell me that they think it's a mistake or something."
He said he would consult with colleagues, including the state's senior senator, Democrat Edward M. Kennedy, and his family before making a final decision.

Sharpton's mission
The Rev. Al Sharpton said yesterday he plans to meet with the Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations this week and is urging clergy worldwide to help "avoid bloodshed."
Mr. Sharpton, a black activist who is exploring a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004, said he would meet with Iraq's Mohammed Aldouri today in New York, the Associated Press reports.
"We will not do anything to undermine the United States, but we clearly would like to see some type of reaching out between moral leaders to try and avert this war," Mr. Sharpton said on "Fox News Sunday."
Mr. Sharpton said he and other clergy may visit Iraq to further their message.

Wofford's new job
Former U.S. Sen. Harris Wofford, Pennsylvania Democrat, has joined the faculty of the University of Maryland.
The university announced Thursday that Mr. Wofford "will share with students and faculty his experience in civic volunteerism and political activism through the university's Democracy Collaborative: a consortium of more than 20 international academic centers and citizen engagement organizations."
According to a university press release, Mr. Wofford chairs the national volunteer organization America's Promise and helped found the Peace Corps and Americorps.
His successful 1991 Senate campaign is probably best recalled for its focus on health care reform. His efforts helped place that issue at the center of President Clinton's political agenda and led to Hillary Rodham Clinton's ill-fated plan for universal health insurance.

Gore finds voice
Al Gore had a guest role on the season premiere of the animated science-fiction sitcom "Futurama," supplying the voice of his own preserved head.
"I think I may have a future as a disembodied head," Mr. Gore joked in an interview with the Associated Press on Friday. "I'm not sure that any political calculation would have steered me toward this part, but it was great fun doing it."
"Futurama," which airs Sunday nights on Fox, chronicles the 30th-century life of a hapless time-traveler named Fry, his raunchy robot pal Bender and their cyclopean space pilot Leela. It is the brainchild of "The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening.
Mr. Gore's head is introduced at a global-warming convention as "the inventor of the environment and first emperor of the moon."

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