- The Washington Times - Monday, November 18, 2002

Mississippi fuming
Mississippi Democratic Chairman Rickie Cole is not happy about California Rep. Nancy Pelosi's election to be the House Democrats' new minority leader.
Mr. Cole told Donald Lambro of The Washington Times that "Mrs. Pelosi's brand of politics will not fare well in my part of the country." And he isn't the only Democratic state chairman who thinks "she is too liberal," he said.
"I've already talked to a few of my colleagues who would have preferred to have a different person" in the Democratic leadership post, he said in a telephone interview Friday.
Mr. Cole, who at 36 is the second-youngest Democratic state chairman in the country, said: "If I were in Congress, I would have voted for [Tennessee Rep] Harold E. Ford Jr.," a party centrist who opposed Mrs. Pelosi for the post.
"If we are going to be the party of the future, it's time for us to do some generational transitioning," he said. "Look at the Gallup poll where 54 percent of all Democrats think we need to be more moderate in our policies."

Moving left
House Democrats are not the only ones on Capitol Hill who appear to be moving left. A number of Senate Democrats have banded together to promote that old-time party religion.
"In the Senate, 20 Democrats who are distressed about the election met privately on Wednesday to form a group that Sen. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois said would push the party to be more assertive on traditionally Democratic issues, starting with the objection of many Democrats to President Bush's tax cut," the New York Times reports.
"That move, combined with the unhappiness across the party's left about how the Democrats fought this losing campaign, could foreshadow an ideological battle with moderates, who have largely controlled the party since [Bill] Clinton's election in 1992," reporter Adam Nagourney writes.

Liberal instincts
"It's no surprise that [the next House Democratic leader Nancy] Pelosi is working so hard to dispel the notion that she's a liberal," Michael Crowley writes in the New Republic.
"Already, Republicans are painting her as a combination of Maxine Waters and Barbra Streisand. That's unfair: Pelosi isn't a wild-eyed ideologue; she's just a fairly typical member of the House Democratic caucus. And that's exactly the problem. The caucus was already to the left of the country as a whole even before Nov. 5. And now many of its members have decided that the lesson of last week's election disaster is that the party wasn't liberal enough," Mr. Crowley said.
"Pelosi may say her liberalism isn't her defining feature. But it's a big part of why she's about to get promoted. As Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan recently put it, 'I don't think anybody's going to become the next minority leader of the Democrats that wants to go along with [George W.] Bush on the war.'
"In other words, Pelosi was chosen in part because she's not expected to challenge the liberal instincts of the House Democratic caucus. Which is a pity. Because, unless someone saves the House Democrats from themselves, they could be looking at a long time in the minority."

The judicial debate
The Senate on Friday approved the nomination of Michael W. McConnell to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and is expected to spend today debating the nomination of District Judge Dennis Shedd to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Mr. McConnell's nomination was approved late Friday by unanimous consent. The Senate will spend this afternoon debating Judge Shedd's nomination and then vote on a motion to limit debate and force an eventual final vote.
The two men were nominated by President Bush on May 9, 2001, and were approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
Mr. McConnell is a law professor at the University of Utah and has argued 11 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, winning nine of them.
Some Democrats and liberal interest groups have criticized him as too conservative, but Ranking Senate Judiciary Committee Republican Orrin G. Hatch of Utah on Friday called Mr. McConnell "a leading appellate litigator, a leading constitutional scholar, a recognized expert in church and state law, a respected writer and teacher, and a true gentleman."
There is more opposition to Judge Shedd's nomination. Democrats say he is too conservative, has a poor record on civil rights issues and rarely favors those who claim employment discrimination. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People opposes the Shedd nomination.

Worried about Al
Almost half the members of the Democratic National Committee think that Al Gore should forgo a run for the presidency in 2004.
The Los Angeles Times poll of members of the DNC showed significant support for a run by Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts as well as dark-horse bids by Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina.
Only 35 percent of the committee members thought that Mr. Gore, the former vice president and Democratic presidential candidate in 2000, should attempt a third White House run compared with 48 percent who said he should not. Seventeen percent were undecided.
When the Democrats were asked to list their No. 1 choice for a presidential candidate, 19 percent favored Mr. Gore, 18 percent backed Mr. Kerry, 13 percent selected Mr. Edwards and 10 percent named Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri, who stepped down as the party's leader in the House after losses in the midterm elections.
Most members also thought President Clinton should limit his campaign appearances for other candidates in 2004.
The newspaper contacted 312 of 388 DNC members by telephone Nov. 7-8. The margin of error was two percentage points.

A rookie 'Porker'
Citizens Against Government Waste has named interim Sen. Dean Barkley, Minnesota independent, as "Porker of the Month" for November.
Mr. Barkley was Gov. Jesse Ventura's choice to replace the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, Minnesota Democrat, during the lame-duck Senate session that continues this week.
"When someone comes to Congress for a limited term, with no desire for re-election, no hopes of climbing the power ladder and no ties to party politics or special interest lobbies, we have a higher than usual hope that such a fresh face think Jimmy Stewart's Mr. Smith will be an independent voice for taxpayers and good government," CAGW said.
"Thus, imagine our dismay upon hearing interim Sen. Dean Barkley's priority for his limited term in Congress is to get more transportation projects for his home state. Ugh," the nonprofit organization said.
"For arriving in Washington and immediately contracting Potomac Spending Fever, CAGW awards Dean Barkley its Porker of the Month Award for November 2002," the group announced.

Chess moves
Bobby Fischer, the eccentric chess prodigy who dueled Soviet grandmasters and won a world title in 1972, was investigated by FBI agents who suspected his mother was a communist spy, according to the bureau's records.
FBI files obtained by the Philadelphia Inquirer under the Freedom of Information Act show that the government watched the Fischer family for three decades, and at one point feared that Soviet agents had tried to recruit Mr. Fischer himself.
The bureau ultimately concluded that his mother, Regina Fischer, was not a spy, but only after years of researching her history, reading her mail, studying her canceled checks and questioning her neighbors.
"They made it hard for her to keep a job," said her son-in-law, Russell Targ, a physicist in Palo Alto, Calif.
Informants at the tournament said Mr. Fischer behaved badly and at one point called his mother to complain, "It's no good here."
Mr. Fischer became a Cold War hero when he beat a Russian, Boris Spassky, for the world title in 1972.


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