- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Another win for GOP
Republicans hold the majority of state legislative seats for the first time since 1952.
The GOP last week gained 180 seats nationally to overtake the Democrats, 3,663 to 3,645, according to Tim Storey, an analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Twenty-one state legislators belong to other parties, and the 49 members of Nebraska's unicameral legislature are elected on a nonpartisan basis.

Meek and cynical
"Virtually every prominent Democratic leader leaves this campaign politically diminished," Peter Beinart, editor of the New Republic, writes in the magazine's TRB column.
"[Missouri Rep. Richard A.] Gephardt's presidential run looks like a fortuitously timed escape hatch for a man so associated with electoral failure that he might not have won re-election as minority leader had he tried." Mr. Beinart said.
"In retrospect, [Tom] Daschle's last several months as Senate majority leader look disastrous he gave the Democrats no accomplishments to run on and got suckered into a fight over union protections in the homeland security bill, which may have cost Max Cleland his Senate seat in Georgia.
"[Connecticut Sen. Joseph I.] Lieberman actually masterminded that disastrous homeland security fight in which, astonishingly, President Bush stole a Democratic idea and turned it into a political club against its original creators.
"[Sen. John] Edward's inability to carry Erskine Bowles to victory in North Carolina raises questions about political standing in his home state, and, like Gephardt, his run for president looks like a convenient alternative to trying to hold on to his current job.
"For his part, Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe's obsession with building a new, super-high-tech party headquarters and his relative indifference to his party's utter lack of vision on the war on terrorism perfectly embodies the party's fascination with political technique at the expense of political ideas.
"In the weeks leading up to Election Day, top Democrats boasted that they has mastered the science of turnout as if getting people to vote was a logistical challenge that depended little on what people were being asked to vote for.
"These were the leaders of the Democrat Party. They fought this election from the meek and cynical center and that center has not held."
Mr. Beinart added: "The result is that the left, for the first time since the 1980s, has a shot at taking over the party. The defeat of moderate Democrats in swing states and districts inevitably tilts the congressional party toward ideological hard-liners in safe seats.
"Ted Kennedy and John Conyers would have yanked the party left in 1994 had not the Clinton White House moved in the other direction. But now there is no counterweight. And that is what makes the Democratic Party's current predicament so dangerous. The ideological vacuum atop the post-September 11 Democratic Party will inevitably be filled. And, if it is filled by Nancy Pelosi and Dennis Kucinich, the United States will no longer be a 50-50 nation; it will be a 40-60 nation for a generation."

The abortion issue
"Think abortion wasn't a salient issue in the elections last week?" the Weekly Standard asks in its Scrapbook column.
"Most news coverage, and nearly every politician's speech, was silent on the subject throughout the campaign, so you're forgiven for overlooking the phenomenon. Nevertheless, it now seems clear: Abortion was a big deal. Exit polls conducted for Fox News Channel suggest that being pro-life was a key advantage to Senate candidates in several close races," the magazine said.
"For example: In Missouri, where pro-choice incumbent Jean Carnahan was up against pro-life Republican Jim Talent, respondents were offered a range of options and asked to choose the one issue that had mattered most to them while deciding whom to select as senator. A small plurality of Missourians (21 percent) identified the economy as most important, but next on the list (at 17 percent) was abortion. Among these latter voters, the ultimately victorious Talent beat Carnahan by more than 4-to-1 margin.
"Incidentally, NARAL, the nation's leading abortion lobby, lost 18 of its 19 officially designated key elections."

Dean's moneyman
Vermont Gov. Howard Dean signed up a veteran party activist yesterday to help him raise money for his expected run for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Steve Grossman said he supported Mr. Dean at least in part because of Mr. Dean's help during his unsuccessful bid for Massachusetts governor, the Associated Press reports.
"He was very much involved and supportive," said Mr. Grossman, a former chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party. "I've been impressed with his political courage, which I think is in very short supply in America today."
Mr. Dean is retiring as Vermont governor in January and plans an official announcement of his presidential candidacy after that. He is expected to announce the appointment of a campaign manager this month.
Mr. Grossman was national chairman of the party from 1997 to 1999.

Liberal Paul Revere?
Bill Moyers, the old man of liberalism who piles up cash working for the PBS, sounds like a modern-day Paul Revere, shouting, "The conservatives are coming! The conservatives are coming!"
In a commentary published at the PBS Web site (www.pbs.org), Mr. Moyers says that the Bush mandate "includes using the taxing power to transfer wealth from working people to the rich. It includes giving corporations a free hand to eviscerate the environment and control the regulatory agencies meant to hold them accountable. And it includes secrecy on a scale you cannot imagine. Above all, it means judges with a political agenda appointed for life."
He added: "If you liked the Supreme Court that put George W. Bush in the White House, you will swoon over what's coming. And if you like God in government, get ready for the Rapture. These folks don't even mind you referring to the GOP as the party of God. Why else would the new House Majority Leader say that the Almighty is using him to promote 'a biblical worldview' in American politics? So it is a heady time in Washington a heady time for piety, profits, and military power, all joined at the hip by ideology and money."

Clearing the deck
"Indiana Republicans say that they're clearing the deck to make way for a 2004 gubernatorial bid by Mitch Daniels, President Bush's budget director," Margaret Mannix writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.
"Daniels always laughs off questions about his future, but Indy GOP insiders say the buzz is he's expected to run. In fact, they say that another pol eager to run, former Rep. David McIntosh, has pledged to stay out until Daniels makes up his mind."

Memories of Wellstone
The market for secondhand items from Sen. Paul Wellstone's campaign is heating up on EBay.
As of yesterday afternoon, there were more than 60 items for sale, including a program from his memorial service, which had a high bid of more than $30.
Most of the entries were road signs and buttons, with a few oddities such as fund-raising letters and a campaign CD-ROM.
Minutes after Mr. Wellstone died Oct. 25 in a place crash, in the middle of his campaign for a third Senate term, items began to appear on EBay, the Associated Press reported.
As of this week, the phenomenon has also spread to items from the campaign of Norm Coleman, the Republican who was facing Mr. Wellstone and who defeated former Vice President Walter F. Mondale, Mr. Wellstone's replacement on the ballot.

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