- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 14, 2002

Thune forgoes recount

Rep. John Thune, South Dakota Republican, said yesterday he will not seek a recount in his U.S. Senate race against Democratic incumbent Tim Johnson, who won by 524 votes.

The margin, set in the official state canvass Tuesday, was well within the 0.25 percent margin that entitles the loser to a recount. However, Mr. Thune told reporters it was in the best interest of the state for him to accept the results.

Mr. Thune said last week he would not call for a recount unless there was evidence of major irregularities or the official vote changed significantly from the unofficial tally, which had given Mr. Johnson a 527-vote edge.

He said yesterday he believes there were some irregularities, but that resolution of them would not change the outcome, the Associated Press reports.

Secretary of State Joyce Hazeltine said it was nearly impossible that a recount would change the result. Three counties had slight discrepancies, but they amounted to fewer than 100 votes, she said.

Perfect qualifications

California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, favored to become the next Democratic leader in the House, is exactly the right person to move her party leftward, Pete du Pont writes at www.opinionjournal.com.

"What is the Pelosi program? It is opposition to American military intervention (she voted against the 1991 Gulf War and authorizing the use of force against Iraq this year), support for higher taxes (she voted for the Clinton tax increases and against the Bush tax cut); opposition to free trade (she voted against giving the president 'fast track' negotiating authority).

"She is against the death penalty, against school choice of any kind (even for poor children in unsafe schools) and against expanded personal health insurance (medical savings accounts). She also voted against the welfare-reform bill that President Clinton signed into law, which freed more than 7 million people from dependence," Mr. du Pont said.

"She voted for partial-birth abortion, in which a living baby is killed as it emerges from the birth canal. The ACLU gave her a 93 percent rating last year, People for the American Way, 94 percent. Her Americans for Democratic Action rating was 100 percent and her lifetime American Conservative Union voting record is 2 percent. Now that is far left.

"[Outgoing House Democratic leader Richard A.] Gephardt and [Senate Democratic leader] Tom Daschle were against the Bush tax cut, but when asked if they would repeal it, they always hedged. Ms. Pelosi would say 'Yes! Yes! That is what the Democratic Party is for higher taxes!'"

Populist preppies

Democrats sometimes denounce Republicans as the party of wealth and privilege, and point to the "Bush dynasty" as an example.

But Web pundit Andrew Sullivan observes that the leading candidates for House minority leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California and Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr. of Tennessee "are essentially scions of well-established political dynasties."

One reader of www.andrewsullivan.com pointed out:

"Pelosi's father was a congressman for a decade, then mayor of Baltimore for a dozen years while she was growing up. Her brother later was elected mayor of Baltimore. She graduated from Trinity College in Washington, D.C., which was established as a finishing school for Catholic girls. Ford's father, Harold Ford Sr., was elected to Congress from Memphis in 1974 and the youngster spent most of his time in Washington. He attended the tony St. Albans prep school on the grounds of the Episcopal National Cathedral, then went on to the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan Law School. He took over his father's seat when the elder decided not to seek re-election."

Mr. Sullivan says: "Not exactly a populist alternative, eh?"

Joe's blame game

"Before we drop the topic of Democratic excuse-making, I wonder if you heard Senator Joe Lieberman's Tuesday remarks to the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee about Enron?" David Frum writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com.)

"I'll spare you a long read: According to Lieberman, the villain in the Enron debacle was not a cunning gang of crooks, nor the California Legislature for reforming their electricity market in a way that maximized the legislators' short-term political popularity while irresponsibly leaving their state vulnerable to market manipulation. No, the villain is the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which failed to detect a criminal plan that also deceived the most astute investors on Wall Street.

"Lieberman's complaint against FERC might seem utterly beside the point. But it's very on point indeed he is making one last valiant post-election try to blame the Enron mess and the California blackouts on the Bush administration and its appointees. Oddly enough, however, he omits to mention that the FERC decisions that most offend him mostly took place between 1997 and January 2001."

The book club

There not only will be a book about Sen. John Kerry published in time for the 2004 Democratic presidential primaries, it will be written by historian Douglas Brinkley.

"'Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War,' due next fall from Viking Press, will examine Kerry's service in Vietnam, his subsequent anti-war activities and the effect of Vietnam on his political career," USA Today reports.

"Kerry kept journals during and after the war. He has turned them over to Brinkley with photographs and letters home to his mother," reporter Jill Lawrence said.

Mr. Brinkley told the newspaper: "I'm telling a story about America and Vietnam. It's not a campaign book or a political biography."

A number of potential Democratic presidential candidates have books coming out:

•Al Gore and wife Tipper have just produced "Joined at the Heart," about families they have known, as well as "The Spirit of Families," an album of photographs.

•Connecticut Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman and wife Hadassah have written "An Amazing Adventure: Joe and Hadassah's Personal Notes on the 2000 Campaign," due out in January.

•South Dakota Sen. Tom Daschle's book about the 107th Congress including September 11, the anthrax attacks and Vermont Sen. James M. Jeffords' party switch that made Mr. Daschle the majority leader is scheduled to come out at the end of next year.

•North Carolina Sen. John Edwards is writing about how, as a trial lawyer, he helped injured children and others win huge damage awards. That book is due out sometime next year.

Alabama standoff

Some folks in Alabama are growing tired of the standoff between Democratic Gov. Donald Siegelman and Republican Rep. Bob Riley.

The official tally shows Mr. Riley leading by 3,115 votes out of 1.3 million cast, but Mr. Siegelman is demanding a statewide recount and complaining about the accuracy of the optical scanners used to read ballots. Since Election Day, each man has acted as if he is Alabama's next governor.

Mr. Riley took the lead on election night when Baldwin County officials reduced Mr. Siegelman's total from the early, unofficial returns by nearly 7,000 votes, saying a computer glitch had overstated his numbers a point supported by an Associated Press analysis of the vote-total numbers from Baldwin County.

The Birmingham News, Alabama's largest newspaper, wants a quick resolution.

"If the governor believes he was shorted votes in Baldwin County, he should pursue a court order to unseal the ballots there and get a machine recount. Otherwise, Siegelman should start practicing his concession speech," the newspaper said in an editorial.

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