- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Simon's checkbook

California Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon says he will open his checkbook to boost his campaign, tapping his personal fortune for television advertising after a series of political missteps.

Mr. Simon, speaking to reporters during a campaign stop in San Francisco on Monday, said he was confident he could defeat Democratic incumbent Gov. Gray Davis in November and denied media speculation that he might drop out of the race, Reuters news agency reports.

But he conceded that he needed to do more to get his message out after weeks of bad publicity that included a $78 million fraud verdict against his family investment firm and embarrassing confusion over his position on homosexual rights.

"I will break open my own checkbook," said Mr. Simon, a multimillionaire philanthropist and the son of former Treasury Secretary William Simon. "We've got to be up on TV, and on radio, to get our message out."

Cronkite's rant

Former CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite, in an appearance on CNN's "Larry King Live," blamed the September 11 attacks on errant U.S. foreign policy and world poverty, the Media Research Center's Brent Baker reports at www.mediaresearch.org.

"Cronkite said he believes 'very definitely that foreign policy could have caused what has happened,' before he asserted that anti-U.S. terrorism is caused by 'this great division between the rich and the poor in the world.' The people of the world 'who don't have adequate housing, don't have adequate hospitalization, don't have adequate medical care, don't have adequate education,' Cronkite warned, 'are not going to live forever in the shadow of the riches that we display constantly.'

"Applying liberal logic which seeks to blame the United States for all the world's ills, Cronkite declared: 'We are suffering from a revolution of the poor and have-nots against the rich and haves, and that's us.'

"In fact, the al Qaeda terrorists were hardly poor and the vast majority of the world's poor do not support terrorism," Mr. Baker observed. "The common elements amongst those targeting the United States is Islamic extremism and nations without respect for individual liberty."

War on metaphors

James Taranto, in his Best of the Web Today column at www.opinionjournal.com, commented on two liberals waging war on a supposed "metaphor":

"On the first anniversary of Sept. 10, 2001, Susan Sontag shows up on the New York Times op-ed page arguing that we're not really at war at all: 'When a president of the United States declares war on cancer or poverty or drugs, we know that "war" is a metaphor. Does anyone think that this war the war that America has declared on terrorism is a metaphor? But it is, and one with powerful consequences.'

"Just inches away, former Enron adviser Paul Krugman makes the identical point: 'Our leaders and much of the media tell us that we're a nation at war. But that was a bad metaphor from the start, and looks worse as time goes by. In both human and economic terms the effects of September 11 itself resembled those not of a military attack but of a natural disaster.'

"This is unbelievably silly. 'Wars' on cancer and drugs are metaphors because they aren't really wars. While one might reasonably complain that the formulation of a war 'on terrorism' ill defines the enemy (though of course events have defined at least three distinct enemies al Qaeda, the Taliban and Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq), there's no question it is an armed conflict a literal war. Krugman is an economist, so language isn't his specialty, although likening a terrorist attack to a 'natural disaster' is a bit much even then. But Sontag is reputed to be a writer of some sort. You'd think she'd know what a metaphor is."

Lead dog

Georgia gubernatorial candidate Sonny Perdue may be the Republicans' best hope in statewide races this fall he is said to be doing better in the polls than Rep. Saxby Chambliss, the party's candidate for the U.S. Senate.

After the primary elections, "the state Republican Party has gone into polling mode," report Tom Baxter and Jim Galloway in their Political Insider column. "We're hearing that the numbers show Sonny Perdue is the lead dog now, not Saxby Chambliss."

"In the governor's race, Democrat Roy Barnes still hovers at or just below the 50 percent mark. Perdue is about 15 points behind.

"In the U.S. Senate race, the gap between Chambliss and Democratic incumbent Max Cleland is wider, and the GOP poll shows Cleland stronger than Barnes.

"This should be good news for Perdue. Big money is necessary, but scarce. Since January, Chambliss has been the state GOP's No. 1 priority. And with the help of President Bush, Chambliss has soaked up much of the cash Barnes hasn't left lying around. A donor having to choose between the two statewide candidates might now pick Perdue as the better bet.

"It also means that Republicans may see the demonization of Barnes as their only chance to help Chambliss. Which means they may put more oomph in the governor's race to drive up Republican turnout for the U.S. Senate contest."

Quack, quack

The ad featured on an Ohio gubernatorial candidate's Web site may be a little more than it's quacked up to be, the Associated Press reports.

Democrat Tim Hagan's campaign received a letter on Monday from an attorney representing AFLAC insurance, complaining that the duck in Mr. Hagan's Internet ad criticizing Republican Gov. Bob Taft looks too much like AFLAC's duck.

The Web site (www.taftquack.com) has been up for two weeks. It features an image of Mr. Taft's head atop the body of a white duck. When the duck speaks, it says "Taft Quack."

AFLAC's ads feature an exasperated white duck that screams the insurer's name when the human characters discussing insurance ignore it.

AFLAC is concerned about trademark and copyright infringement, said Kathelen Spencer, spokeswoman for the Columbus, Ga.-based insurer.

"Our concern and interest is not in the local campaign but in our protection of the AFLAC campaign," the spokeswoman said. "We hopefully can work with the Hagan campaign to resolve this matter. We are sufficiently prepared, if need be, to seek legal redress."

Hagan campaign consultant Gerald Austin said he, too, hoped an agreement could be reached. "We are engaged in good-faith discussions regarding possible changes," Mr. Austin said.

A new Hall of Fame

"The Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, a women's group named for the former playwright, politician and U.S. ambassador to Italy, says they are establishing the 'Outstanding Conservative Women Hall of Fame' in their new Virginia headquarters," United Press International reports in its Capital Comment column.

"Women being honored in the initial class of inductees include defense policy expert and political activist Phyllis Schlafly; former British Prime Minister Lady Margaret Thatcher; Mother Teresa, the nun who cared for the poor and sick in the streets of Calcutta; and Ambassador Luce herself. 'The Hall of Fame,' the group says, 'will serve as a tribute to women whose lives are often dismissed because of their dedicated conservative principles.'"

Reiner's ambitions

Actor-turned-director Rob Reiner, sometimes talked about as a potential candidate for California governor, isn't ruling out a run for office, the Associated Press reports.

"That's a big decision," Mr. Reiner told the Hollywood Reporter in an interview about Proposition 10, the 1998 initiative he supported that boosted the cigarette tax to fund early childhood development programs statewide.

"Right now, I'm focusing on making Prop. 10 a success. I'm starting a film in a few weeks. What's down the road you can't ever say," he said Monday.

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