- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 21, 2002

Sending a message
"The Senate's online voting record shows simply that the nomination of Dennis Shedd to a seat on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals was confirmed [Tuesday] night by a 55 to 44 vote. But there was much more to it than that," Byron York writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).
"The 44 votes against Shedd, all Democrats, were the most that Democrats have been able to muster against any Bush judicial nominee who came before the full Senate for a confirmation vote. And in that is a message and a threat to President Bush," Mr. York said.
"Before [Tuesday] night's vote, Democrats worked hard to make sure they could come up with at least 41 votes against Shedd. Doing so would tell the White House that Democrats, even when they become the minority party in January, will still be able to derail any of the president's initiatives. Under the Senate's rules, the minority can filibuster any Senate action, and 60 votes are required to cut off debate. The 44 votes against Shedd, and the party discipline they reflected, showed that Democrats are able and ready to tie up the president's legislation in the coming Senate session.
"'The message was, we can stop anything you want,' says one Republican. 'That was a goal of the Democratic leadership.'"

A McAuliffe foe
"Former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson has quietly begun speaking to influential Democrats in Washington and elsewhere to measure whether to mount a new challenge to Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe when the DNC's executive board meets in February," the anonymous Prowler writes at www.americanprowler.org.
"The New York Times reported last week that Jackson, who squared off against McAuliffe for control of the DNC in 2001, had sent a letter to McAuliffe demanding a meeting of the DNC board where McAuliffe could explain the Democrats' recent defeat.
"Jackson had challenged McAuliffe a year ago on the grounds that the Clinton moneyman was too focused on money, not on building up a grass-roots party and paying attention to the Democratic base. As it turns out, Jackson was probably right. In this election cycle, McAuliffe raised lots of dough and spent lots of dough. But not much was spent on the party's high-profile black candidates, such as New York gubernatorial challenger Carl McCall. Now Jackson has reached out to some politicos who might hold a grudge against McAuliffe, like, say, Al Gore and John Kerry, both of whom stand to lose out in DNC support with McAuliffe controlling many of the party's national operations. At least that is what some DNC insiders think.
"'People like Gore and Kerry see McAuliffe as a Clinton guy, a Gephardt guy, and this concerns them going into the 2004 election cycle,' says a DNC staffer. 'I don't think Terry cares who the presidential candidate is as long as that person is the strongest candidate.'
"Jackson, however, doesn't care about 2004. He cares about beating McAuliffe now. So any support he can muster from the perceived party elites would help him in that regard. If Jackson were to mount a challenge to McAuliffe, insiders say the only way he could win is if McAuliffe lets him.
"'If he sees the DNC chairmanship as a no-win situation, and that he can do more good and have more fun working for one candidate in 2004, then McAuliffe could just let Jackson win,' says the DNC source. 'But I don't see that happening. If Terry has been sincere in what he's been saying the past couple of weeks, he stays and Jackson goes home.'"

Lt. Reed
Ralph Reed, chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, called the Confederate flag a "nonfactor" in the victories of Governor-elect Sonny Perdue and Senator-elect Saxby Chambliss.
Mr. Perdue was elected Georgia's first Republican governor since Reconstruction, and many credited his Nov. 5 victory to voter angst over Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes changing the prominent Confederate emblem in the state flag, reports the Red and Black, a daily newspaper based in Athens, Ga.
"The Democrats would like for us to believe the election was decided on the flag, but that doesn't really explain the Senate race," Mr. Reed said in a Tuesday appearance at the University of Georgia.
While Mr. Perdue won by 103,000 votes, Mr. Chambliss defeated Democratic Sen. Max Cleland by 139,000 votes.
"Democrats mistakenly believe [the flag issue] will discredit the Republican victory," Mr. Reed said.
Mr. Reed has "has been called the architect of Georgia's Republican master plan," but he refused that title.
"I'm just a lieutenant in General Bush's army," he said.

Behind on payments
Rep. William J. Jefferson, Louisiana Democrat and a leading candidate to head the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, "has failed to pay thousands of dollars worth of consulting fees from his unsuccessful gubernatorial bid three years ago," the Hill newspaper reports.
"Consultants declined to discuss Jefferson's outstanding bills on the record for fear of being retaliated against should he take over the committee or angering clients who value confidentiality," reporter Alexander Bolton writes.
"The head of one consulting firm said he tried for a year to persuade Jefferson's campaign to pay his fee before giving up."

Return fire
Greta Van Susteren, host of the Fox News Channel show "On the Record," recently took a shot at her old network, CNN.
"Before we go tonight, there is a controversy brewing in the media. It all relates to a very patriotic note that Roger Ailes, the CEO of this network, sent President Bush within a few days of September 11," the TV host said Tuesday.
"Most of the attack comes from my former network, CNN. In the last two days, CNN has spent much of their airtime attacking Roger Ailes for this note to the president. When I was at CNN, there were complaints because my then-boss Rick Kaplan had a friendship with President Clinton, and there was a suggestion that Rick influenced us in our network content. Rick Kaplan never told me what to say or do on the air, not once.
"Likewise, except to urge me to be fair and balanced, Roger Ailes has never told me what to say or do on this network, not once. Command editorial influence was nonexistent at CNN when I was there, and we don't have it here at Fox. It doesn't work that way.
"Apparently command editorial influence is now a fiction in the minds of CNN management as it now desperately struggles against the overwhelming success of the Fox News Channel. And at a time of their continuously sagging ratings, it looks too much like sour grapes. As our nation faces war, our military is overseas facing unknown consequences, and our homeland is at risk, we all have bigger fish to fry. Shame on you, CNN."

Raines' agenda
"Do the news pages of the New York Times have a point of view about the prospect of war in Iraq?" asks James Taranto in his Best of the Web Today column at www.opinionjournal.com.
"It certainly seems so from reading them, and here's a comment from executive editor Howell Raines that seems to confirm the suspicion that he has an agenda beyond reporting the news: 'If there's an absence of debate in the country, if Congress is not standing up to the administration in an adversarial way, that's a news story,' Raines told an audience in Berkeley, Calif., [on Tuesday].
"Well, Congress has been known to agree with the president. We don't recall the Times faulting the Senate for not 'standing up to the administration in an adversarial way' during President Clinton's impeachment, for example. What Raines seems to be saying is that it's 'news' when Congress agrees with the president on something it's supposed to disagree about."


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