- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 28, 2002

Landrieu's quandary
"With the black vote key to the re-election prospects of Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, her campaign is mulling whether or not to bring Bill Clinton down for Saturday's Bayou Classic football game between historically black Grambling State University and Southern University," the anonymous Prowler writes at www.americanprowler.org.
"Landrieu plans to attend the event, and the two would most likely make a joint appearance," the columnist said.
"The decision to bring in Clinton may prove to be a decisive move. A new Southern Media and Opinion Research poll showed Landrieu with a 16-point lead over Republican state Elections Commissioner Suzanne Haik Terrell. In that survey, Landrieu garnered a little over 80 percent of the black vote. Her campaign believes she needs to pull in better than 90 percent to ensure victory.
"'A Clinton appearance down here in the black community could be huge,' says a state Democratic operative. 'We just don't know what it would do for us elsewhere in the state. Our hunch is that it would hurt us badly.'
"To that end, the state party is doing a quick poll to see what a Clinton appearance with Landrieu would do to her numbers, particularly in rural Bayou country, where the politics even Democratic politics tends to run conservative.
"As with all things Clinton, the state party would pick up travel expenses for the weekend in the Big Easy."

Nervous breakdown
Democrats are having a nervous breakdown needlessly," Fred Barnes writes at the Weekly Standard's Web site (www.weeklystandard.com).
"Sure, they lost the 2002 election badly, but it wasn't a catastrophic defeat. They lost for a simple reason: Voters caught on that they weren't serious about the war on terrorism, including regime change in Iraq. So the one thing Democrats need to do is adopt a tough position on fighting terrorists. Then they'll be competitive again. And this, oddly enough, will allow them to play up the domestic issues that favor them over Republicans," Mr. Barnes said.
"Sad to say, since the November 5 election, Democrats have been going in the wrong direction, trivializing or otherwise dissing the security issue. They've accused Bush of putting Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction on the national agenda solely to help Republicans in the election. They've insisted the homeland security issue was exploited unfairly, chiefly to question the patriotism of Democratic candidates such as Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia. And ex-Vice President Al Gore has attacked President Bush for supposed massive violations of civil liberties by jailing suspected terrorists without formal charges.
"All this leaves Democrats as vulnerable as ever on the overriding issue of our time, security."

Capture the flag
Black groups say they would be reluctant to pursue an economic boycott against Georgia if the state considers returning to the Confederate-themed flag it discarded last year.
"No one wants to see economic reprisals take place. That's really an impractical solution. Everything can be negotiated," Martin Luther King III, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Mr. King "has asked for a sit-down" meeting with Republican Gov.-elect Sonny Perdue to discuss the issue, the Atlanta papers report.
Mr. Perdue campaigned on a promise of allowing Georgians to vote on the flag, which Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes facing boycott threats from the NAACP and other black groups pressured the state legislature to change last year.
In addition to the SCLC and the NAACP, Georgia also faces threats from the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The NCAA "refuses to allow championship competitions to take place in Southern states where the Confederate symbol is prominently displayed," including Mississippi and South Carolina, the Atlanta papers report.
The Division I Women's Final Four tournament is scheduled next April in Atlanta, and the city is scheduled to host the men's Final Four in 2007.
"The moratorium still stands," said Natalie Sutkowski, a spokeswoman for the NCAA.
Mr. King said a flag referendum alone would not be enough to trigger an SCLC boycott of Georgia. "But if we were to go backward and bring the former flag back up, that would be enough for us to act," he said.

Gen. Clark's future
"The Democrats don't appear to have an outstanding presidential candidate for 2004 but they may have an excellent choice for veep: Retired General Wesley Clark," John J. Miller writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).
"The 57-year-old former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe has tried to downplay his partisan loyalties, but the facts suggest he harbors Democratic political ambitions. Earlier this month, the Arkansas native met with Democratic moneymen in the Park Avenue offices of venture capitalist Alan Patricof supposedly to discuss a possible White House bid. In October, he visited New Hampshire to endorse Democratic candidate Katrina Swett in her unsuccessful effort to unseat GOP Rep. Charles Bass. He also traveled to Georgia to endorse Democratic Sen. Max Cleland, who lost to Republican congressman Saxby Chambliss," Mr. Miller said.
"'I haven't raised any political money, and I haven't got any plans, and I have no intent at this time to do anything like that,' said Clark on a recent CNN appearance meant to quell mounting speculation about his political aims.
"That's not the sort of statement one would describe as 'Shermanesque,' as in General William Tecumseh Sherman's famous response to a movement intending to draft him for a Republican presidential campaign: 'If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve.'
"A draft movement for Clark may not get off the ground the retired general would be a severe underdog in the Democratic primaries. The liberal party hasn't nominated a general for president since Sherman's day, when it picked Winfield Scott Hancock, a loser in 1880. What's more, if Joe Lieberman runs, he and Clark would threaten to split the moderate wing of the party, which may have to commit itself to a single candidate if it wants to control the nomination.
"Yet Clark might be just what the Democrats need for the general election: a military man to take on a wartime president. There's only one way to put him on the ticket without making him survive the primaries, and that's to give him the vice-presidential nomination. He would add immediate gravitas to the ticket, possibly serving as a kind of Dick Cheney to a figure like John Edwards."

Hand of friendship
The largest state employees union in Pennsylvania worked hard to defeat Ed Rendell in the Democratic gubernatorial primary and then in the general election. But now that Mr. Rendell is governor-elect, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Workers is saying: Please don't lay off our members.
In a recent letter to Mr. Rendell, the labor union "suggested that the new administration could save $259 million by slashing the management workforce and restricting overtime," the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
The union "now pledges in the letter to work with the new governor as a partner in efforts to streamline government," reporter Thomas Fitzgerald writes.

On a scale of 1 to 10, Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura's administration gave itself an overall score of just under 7 on accomplishing its goals, the Associated Press reports.
Mr. Ventura said Monday he was pleased with his administration's success on such issues as tax reform, light-rail transit, tourism promotion, affordable housing and trade development. Among the disappointments: "reforming politics as usual."

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