- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 15, 2002

The ground war
Morton Blackwell, a member of the Republican National Committee from Virginia, fears that some Republican campaign consultants would rather line their own pockets than win elections.
Mr. Blackwell, in a letter to fellow RNC members, asked for help in compiling a "post-election report that accurately describes the successes and failures of the 72 Hour Task Force," which attempts to spend less on advertising and more on getting out the vote in the final three days of the campaign.
Because campaign consultants receive a percentage of advertising dollars they place, Mr. Blackwell worries that they will pay little heed to the battle on the ground.
"Compiling this information is an unpleasant task for me," Mr. Blackwell said in his letter, dated Sept. 25. "Some of my best friends are political consultants. But I think this report is absolutely necessary no matter how the chips fall."
"You and I devote much of our lives to winning elections for our party's candidates. Let's not allow the lure of limitless advertising commissions to continue to corrupt our party's campaigns."

Interesting contrast
"The debate on the Iraq war resolution and the controversy over the replacement of Sen. Robert Torricelli on the New Jersey ballot presented an interesting contrast," Michael Barone writes in U.S. News & World Report.
"Many of the same people who said that the words of New Jersey law should be brushed aside, as they were by the New Jersey Supreme Court, were saying a week later that the United States should be bound by every jot and tittle of international law. Rules don't apply at home, but the United States should be restricted by rules abroad."
The columnist added: "The cost of disobeying rules like the New Jersey election law is probably not too high: a marginal gain for one side in a few political campaigns. The cost of tying down the United States by requiring it to be bound by wispy international rules or the vote of the Security Council would have been much higher. We who thought we were safe under the umbrella of the United States learned otherwise on September 11. This is not the time to indulge an adolescent mistrust of our own country."

The first punch
"Chalk one up for the Bush team. Almost immediately after securing certain support in Congress for its move on Iraq, President Bush was out on the stump busting his hump on the economy and the so-called 'kitchen-table issues' that Democrats seem so desperate to push in the leadup to the November elections," the anonymous Prowler writes at www.americanprowler.org.
"'This has been an awful few weeks for us,' says a Democratic fund-raiser for the Democratic National Committee. 'We're down at least 30 percent from earlier this summer in terms of donations. And our candidates aren't getting the crowds we expected. We're in crisis mode.'
"And now with Bush having seemingly moved on to the domestic issues himself in the month leading up the elections, it appears that Democrats won't have the biggest issue they hoped to run on: the Republicans' seeming uninterest in domestic affairs.
"'That's going to be out of play,' says a House Republican leadership staffer. 'You're going to see the entire Republican leadership moving on the economy. We're not going to let the Democrats pull that bogeyman out to beat us up. We're going to beat them to the punch.'"

Career lowlights
"When New Jersey Democrats recycled Frank Lautenberg following Sen. Bob Torricelli's flameout, they probably thought personal integrity had been put to bed as an issue. Wrong," the New York Post says.
"On Friday, no doubt reading from a script prepared by poll-obsessed Dems like Tom Daschle, Lautenberg backed a resolution giving President Bush the authority to act against Iraq. And, in so doing, he repudiated his own 18-year Senate record on national security issues. Not that it didn't deserve repudiation," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"Among Lautenberg's career lowlights:
"He voted against the Gulf War in 1991, citing the possibility of 'tens of thousands of American casualties.' Actual combat deaths: 148.
"He voted nearly 40 times against a national missile-defense system.
"He was a consistent supporter of cutting defense spending even once stating that he was 'unhappy' that a spending bill didn't include defense cuts.
"During the last few years in the Senate, Lautenberg averaged a 95 percent rating from the Council for a Livable World, a group of far-left physicists with an agenda to 'elect the congressmen and women who support nuclear disarmament' unilaterally, we seem to recall."
The newspaper added: "None of this information should surprise anyone. Lautenberg is clearly a very strong 'old school' anti-defense liberal."

Religious devotion
"President Bush talks openly and proudly about his active spiritual faith. In another, less well known sign of the religious devotion that permeates the administration, some White House staffers have been meeting weekly at hour-long prayer and Bible study sessions," USA Today reporter Judy Keen writes.
"Bush aides organized the sessions before his inauguration. One group meets during the lunch hour on Tuesdays, another on Thursdays. Attendance is voluntary and, although the lessons are Christian in nature, non-Christians are welcome," the reporter said.
"Typically, 25 to 50 of the 1,700 people who work in the White House complex department heads, secretaries and mail clerks attend each session. They meet in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, an ornate building next to the White House that houses the offices of Vice President [Richard B.] Cheney and other administration officials.
"Federal workplace guidelines issued in 1997 permit religious activities, but warn supervisors to ensure that employees do not feel coerced to participate in them."
Foes of religion in the workplace have remained quiet about the White House sessions. That differs markedly from the reception given Attorney General John Ashcroft last year, when it was reported that he holds Bible-study sessions at the Justice Department.

Nobel tantrum
"The only mystery surrounding Jimmy Carter's Nobel Peace Prize is how it could possibly have taken the sanctimonious Norwegians this long to hand out their badly devalued award to the sanctimonious former president," the Weekly Standard says in its Scrapbook column.
"Face it, they were made for each other the president who wanted America to get over its 'inordinate fear of communism' and the Scandinavians who never met a Soviet fellow traveler they didn't want to throw a cocktail reception for and shower with several hundred thousand tax-exempt Swedish crowns," the magazine said.
"The specter that haunts the Nobelists is that the Roman Legions might have known more about the ways of the world ('if you want peace, prepare for war') than the New Seekers ('I'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony'). So to scan the list of prize winners is to witness, in effect, a decades-long tantrum."
Those prize winners include Guatemalan Indian activist Rigoberta Menchu, for what turned out to be a bogus memoir, and world-class terrorist Yasser Arafat, the magazine noted.

It's all about him
Bill Clinton, campaigning Friday in Massachusetts for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Shannon O'Brien, sounded like he hasn't changed much since leaving the White House.
Mr. Clinton told a crowd in Dorchester, Mass., that an O'Brien victory "would be a wonderful way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of my victory in 1992," the Boston Globe reports.


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