- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Doom and Democrats
When Georgia voters dumped Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes on Nov. 5, many attributed his defeat to the governor's role last year in stripping the state flag of its large Confederate emblem. Mr. Barnes himself blamed his defeat on "white, rural" voters.
They may be white and rural, but they're not racist, says state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond.
"If it was an anti-Democrat, racist vote, then no way could I survive," said Mr. Thurmond, a black Democrat who was re-elected by a margin of more than 100,000 vote about the size of the margin by which Republican Sonny Perdue defeated Mr. Barnes. "People went beyond that somehow, to their credit."
Mr. Thurmond said he was hopeful Georgia Democrats could rebuild their coalition of black voters and white voters. "We can't become an all-black party. That would spell political doom," he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor, who will become the state's top-ranking Democrat next year, is begging Republicans not to change the flag back. Such a change would be "hopelessly divisive," he said. "We need to leave this flag issue alone."
Apparently, when Democrats changed the flag, that wasn't "divisive" at all.

Clinton's legacy
"This month's election was the first one since 1990 that was not, in some sense, a referendum on Bill Clinton," James Traub writes in the New York Times Magazine.
"The president who drove Democrats and Republicans almost equally crazy, though not necessarily at the same time and about the same things, is now, at last, history, as he was not quite after the 2000 presidential election. The man who defined the '90s as Reagan did the '80s seems to have left a much less lasting imprint on his party than Reagan did.
"There are several obvious reasons 'Clintonism' did not survive Clinton as 'Reaganism' survived Reagan. One is simply that Clinton left office a disgraced figure, while Reagan left as a hugely poplular one, at least inside his own party.
Mr. Traub added: "The necessary debate has already started. The 'San Francisco Democrat' Nancy Pelosi a moniker Republicans love to repeat has replaced Richard Gephardt as minority leader in the House. But during the few days that her candidacy was contested, Harold E. Ford Jr., a moderate from Tennessee, was quoted as saying, 'If you believe that the same old tired, failed politics of the Democratic caucus is a direction we ought to travel, then clearly Nancy's your choice.'
"Since Ford was thinking of the same tired, failed politics that Clinton himself allegedly put to rest, it is safe to say that whatever process of political rethinking the Democrats have been engaged in at least since the mid-'80s is a long way from over, and perhaps also that the national drift to the Republican Party that began in the 1970s has not yet run its course. Bill Clinton himself may be history, but the Democrats still need to debate the lessons of his presidency."

Simply appalling
"I bring you an appalling thing from the New York Times," Jay Nordlinger writes in his Impromptus column at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).
"On November 16, reporter Lizette Alvarez wrote in an article a news article, mind you 'It was on [the Homeland Security Department] issue, more than on any other, that Republicans battered both Mrs. Carnahan and Mr. Cleland, accusing them unjustly, the defeated senators say of being unpatriotic for failing to support the president in his war on terrorism.'
"That sentence takes some eye rubbing, doesn't it? 'Mrs. Carnahan,' of course, is the defeated senator Jean in Missouri; and 'Mr. Cleland' is the defeated senator Max in Georgia. Lizette Alvarez says flat-out that the GOP accused those candidates of being unpatriotic. The senators deny the justice of it but Alvarez states as a fact, in a news article in our paper of record, that the Republicans accused them of lacking patriotism," Mr. Nordlinger observed.
"And how about 'the president in his war on terrorism' his war on terrorism? It's just a personal thing, mind you nothing more serious, or world-historic, than that. This is, of course, Maureen Dowd's position: but she, at least, is an (acknowledged) opinion columnist."

Inaugural barbecue
South Carolina's governor-elect says he is canceling the traditional inaugural ball in favor of a barbecue.
Former U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, a Republican known in Congress for a frugal style that included sleeping on an office futon, said his Jan. 15 event would cut costs and involve more average South Carolinians than past inaugural parties, the Associated Press reports.
"The unfortunate part of a lot of inaugurals around the country is that they've become synonymous with martinis and cigars and lobbyists," Mr. Sanford said. "What we wanted to signal was a real openness in this administration to all South Carolinians."
After the formal swearing in, Mr. Sanford said he will go to the Governor's Mansion in Columbia with his wife and four young sons to shake hands with South Carolinians "wherever they may come from, for as long as they're there."
The inaugural barbecue will be held at the Watermelon Shed at the State Farmers Market, said John Rainey, chairman of the Inaugural Committee.
Beach music and barbecue will be offered, although there was no word on whether the sauce would be mustard-, vinegar- or tomato-based.

No sale
"Al Gore is said by associates to be surprised that his newest books on family aren't selling well," the anonymous Prowler writes at www.americanprowler.org.
"The pair of books co-written with wife Tipper Gore (one of them is a coffee-table book intended to serve as companion to the 'heavier' tome) are apparently headed toward the remainder bin as bookstores move more popular and potential Christmas gift fare into the line of sight of customers.
"'We aren't selling any," says a sales associate for Borders Books in Bethesda. 'And we thought given that this is kind of a political book and that it's by Gore that it would sell in this area.'
"It hasn't worked out that way. The audiences at Gore's book signings have been skimpy, and worse, those that do come to hear him haven't been buying the books. In San Francisco, Gore's appearances were met by crowds of people apparently rounded up by his former Northern California presidential campaign staff. 'We were invited to come and cheer him on,' says a former volunteer. 'We were chanting, "Gore in 2004," and he loved it. But I wasn't going to buy the book.'
"The Gore books haven't yet cracked the New York Times best-seller list after more than three weeks in stores, an indication that it won't make the list. 'They tried getting [the Sunday New York Times Book Review] to list it as a book in the "Bear in Mind" section, so at least it would make the page where the best-seller list is placed, but we couldn't even get that,' says a former Gore aide. 'It's another indication the public isn't buying Gore as a serious candidate in 2004.'
"The Prowler won't go so far. We see it as an indication that the American public is still in recovery from 'Earth in the Balance.'"

One-sided coverage
"ABC, CBS and NBC acted more like advocates for liberal environmental activists than dispassionate journalists on Friday night when it came to informing viewers about the EPA decision to adjust enforcement of clean-air rules for power plants," the Media Research Center reports at www.mediaresearch.org.
"'The rollback of clean-air rules is a bonanza for hundreds of the nation's oldest and dirtiest power plants,' declared CBS' Bob Orr. ABC's Barry Serafin portrayed it all as a political payback to industry: 'The Republican Party collected $11 million from electric companies. The energy industry gave the Bush campaign almost $3 million.' Only [the Fox News Channel] conveyed why the current rules discourage clean-air improvements."


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