- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 31, 2002

Observing America

A State Department official tells Inside the Beltway that a delegation from the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) was due to arrive in Washington yesterday.

"They'll be doing meetings before going to Florida yes, Florida as suggested by Russian President [Vladimir] Putin the day after the 2000 fiasco began," the official reveals. "This will be an 'assessment' rather than formal election observation, but the point's the same: America is just like any other Third World country."

The OSCE, headquartered in Vienna, Austria, employs 4,000 staff in 19 missions. They work "on the ground" to facilitate political processes, prevent or settle conflicts, and promote civil society and the rule of law.

Conscience, at least

Democrats are coming under sharp criticism for turning this week's public funeral for Sen. Paul Wellstone into a political revival meeting, with former President Bill Clinton on hand to lead the cheers.

Which makes us wonder: Has Mr. Wellstone rolled over in his grave?

Scott Lauf and George Primbs of the group Citizens Lobby can't help but recall the Wellstone Senate staff member who was so outraged by Mr. Clinton's myriad scandals not to mention his selling the liberal cause down the river that he repeatedly showed up to rally in support of impeaching the president.

"There were at least three events where a Senator Wellstone staffer showed up to help impeach Bill Clinton," Mr. Primbs says. "Even though Scott and [I] are conservatives, we welcomed the help wherever we could get it."

One such anti-Clinton rally took place at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, within view of the White House.

"At least the Wellstone people had a conscience," Mr. Primbs notes.

Fritz frenzy

With Clinton and Friends all around,

The wrecked plane still on the ground,

They ranted and raved,

Daddy's not in the grave,

They partied with the new candidate they found.

John L., Houston, Texas


"Absolutely shameless," reacts political observer Jon Moseley of Arlington, echoing dozens of readers Democrats and Republicans alike who tuned into Tuesday's funeral in Minneapolis for Sen. Paul Wellstone. "It was an obscenity."

"This 'funeral' was so political it would make the Democratic National Convention every four years look nonpartisan," says Mr. Moseley. "Never have I seen such a disgusting display of exploitation. This was a pure campaign commercial for the Democratic Senate candidate, times 1,000. It was a campaign rally."

Almighty bucks

"But we are all but out of funds."

Democratic National Committee Treasurer Andy Tobias, acknowledging just days before Tuesday's national elections that "our candidates may not have the backing they need to pull this out."

Mutual malaise

So can Democrats reclaim Capitol Hill?

After one man's survey of more than a dozen consultants from both major political parties, the best odds anyone would give of a Democratic takeover of the House next week is 1 in 5.

"And that was by a Republican," says Gregory Fossedal, chief investment officer of the Democratic Century Fund in Washington and a former editorial writer for the Wall Street Journal. "Most guesses ranged from zero to one in 10.

"They're all wrong," Mr. Fossedal writes in an op-ed for United Press International. "The chance of an unexpected takeover of the House, or a gain of one or two seats in the Senate, by Democrats, is about one in three. The odds will move to 50-50 if Senator-elect Walter Mondale manages to articulate a reasonable Democratic economic agenda in the coming several days, during which he will have the national spotlight."

Still, Mr. Fossedal observes, by their own private admission neither campaign deserves to win.

"'We don't deserve to win,' a retiring GOP member of the House told me flatly three weeks ago. 'We don't either,' a Democratic Senator later conceded."


"The Democrats complained about Iraq, but offered no real opposition," Mr. Fossedal says. "Neither party has an economic growth plan amidst the largest stock market decline in three generations. Republicans offer 'terrorism risk insurance,' and talk of another relatively small tax cut, the new one to be focused on investors. Democrats scoff at Bush's economics, but have no real counter."

There's much more, but we don't have the space.

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