- The Washington Times - Monday, December 1, 2003

Bush-phobia

“What is it about George W. Bush that drives the Left utterly mad?” asked the National Review’s Adam Wolfson yesterday. “Liberals have given many justifications for their righteous anger: He ‘stole’ the 2000 election; he’s too Texan, too Christian, just too dumb; he struts and talks like a yokel. Others complain bitterly of his ‘far-right’ policies … of course, there’s the war in Iraq,” Mr. Wolfson writes.

But he also believes there’s something more fundamental at work.

“Almost all modern liberal thought begins with the bedrock assumption that humans are basically good. Within this moral horizon something such as terrorism cannot really exist,” Mr. Wolfson continued.

Yet the president “calls the terrorists ‘killers’ and ‘evildoers,’ and speaks of an ‘axis of evil,’” and his directness is reflected in his foreign policy. None of this sits well with those delicate liberal sensibilities.

“The Left vilifies Bush because he insists on calling a spade a spade, and in so doing threatens to bring down their entire intellectual edifice,” Mr. Wolfson concludes.

Subpoenas sunk

A three-judge federal panel yesterday rejected attempts to force House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and Rep. Joe L. Barton to testify in a lawsuit over Texas’ new congressional districts.

The two Republicans from the state had been issued subpoenas for deposition testimony, letters, e-mails and other materials in a lawsuit that seeks to block the new congressional maps.

The federal panel in Austin, Texas, said that only under exceptional circumstances, such as having unique information in a case, could they be subject to a subpoena, the Associated Press reports.

“The court recognized that allowing political operatives to question their opponents under oath about their political game plan is too ripe for abuse,” DeLay spokesman Stuart Roy said.

Gerry Hebert, a lawyer for congressional Democrats who wants to learn more about the role Mr. DeLay and Mr. Barton had in the redistricting process, tried to put the best face on the decision, which the court could reconsider after the trial begins Dec. 11.

“The court at least recognized that it may be necessary to do so,” he said.

Still, Mr. Hebert lamented: “We had hoped we’d be able to take the testimony from both members.”

Jane, Rose… Hillary

Oh dear. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has earned two undesirable nicknames in various press reports this week by virtue of her Thanksgiving visit to the Middle East: “Hanoi Hillary” and now “Tokyo Hillary.”

The New York Democrat did not get the warm and fuzzy welcome from our troops, noted the American Spectator’s Prowler yesterday.

“In fact so few U.S. military personnel volunteered to meet and sit with her, that military leaders in Baghdad had to designate enlisted personnel and junior officers to spend time with the New York senator.”

“If Clinton was aware of her seemingly unpopularity, she didn’t seem to care. Almost immediately after landing in Iraq, she began bad-mouthing the Bush administration to the military personnel she met, telling them that while America supported the troops, there were questions about the Bush administration’s approach.

“To these men and women over here, it is the same thing,” a U.S. official said. “Her husband didn’t get it and she obviously hasn’t learned.”

The Clinton spot

Democrats continue to filter their campaign experiences through a Clintonian prism.

During a conference call with CNN’s John Mercurio, former Clinton strategist Rahm Emanuel scoped out the burgeoning field of Democratic presidential candidates.

Mr. Emanuel, who backs Wesley Clark, said “other dynamics” will help the retired Army general.

They are complex, indeed.

“[Sen. John] Kerry’s decision to fight an aggressive ‘stop-Dean’ strategy in Iowa, for example, has ‘opened up the Clinton spot’ in New Hampshire, meaning the No. 2 position Kerry now holds, behind Howard Dean, which Clinton took in declaring himself the ‘Comeback Kid.’ Whoever fills that spot, which Emanuel argues Clark is best-equipped to do, will be the story on Jan. 27th, not Dean. Recent polls show Clark with a distant, but solid, third-place showing in the Granite State,” CNN notes.

A study in contrasts

There’s a spiritual element to our political leanings, a Pew Research poll reveals. People who attend religious services regularly vote Republican by a 2-1 ratio. If they never attend church, they are likely to vote Democratic by a 2-1 ratio.

“This relatively new fault line in American life is a major reason the country is politically polarized. And the division over religion and politics is likely to continue or even grow in 2004,” a Philadelphia Inquirer analysis noted yesterday.

The poll also found that churchgoing voters tilt toward President Bush, 63 percent to 37 percent. Those who never attend services lean toward Democrats, 62 percent to 38 percent.

It’s the widest religious gap on record between Republicans and Democrats, according to poll director Andy Kohut, and “the most powerful predictor of party ID and partisan voting intention,” according to Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution.

‘Sparing no expense’

“The Rev. Al Sharpton’s long-shot presidential campaign is sparing no expense when it comes to travel and dining — even though it’s nearly broke.

“Despite having just over $24,000 on hand and owing more than $177,000, Sharpton is touring the country in style, according to the most recently available campaign financial data,” New York Post’s online edition reported yesterday.

“A single July jaunt to the luxury Four Seasons in Los Angeles cost $7,343.27 — more than 5 percent of the total $121,314.60 campaign cash Sharpton raised in the third quarter. …

“Sharpton told The Post he is on a $200-a-day stipend from his campaign for hotel expenditures,” but that many of the “stops coincided with various events sponsored by organizations that will reimburse him later.”

“A campaign source told The Post Sharpton is fond of saying he ‘grew up living with cockroaches, and he doesn’t want to live with them anymore.’

“Sharpton is expected to request public matching funds in which taxpayers match up to $250 per individual contribution to the campaign. …”

Democratic static

Don’t touch that dial: The much ballyhooed liberal radio network is slowly turning up the volume.

After nine months of talking about it, a Democratic investment group is “close to buying radio stations in five major cities,” the New York Times revealed yesterday.

Progress Media predicts it will be on the air “in time to be part of the public dialogue during the presidential campaign season” in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Boston. The format, they say, “strives to be entertaining at all times, but it also strives to be informative, with satire and also news pieces.”

The group has hired former “Daily Show” creator Lizz Winstead and former CNN producer Shelley Lewis. Martin Kaplan, the communication school dean at the University of Southern California and former Walter Mondale speechwriter, is to be the host of an evening talk show.

But the big guns are not quite in place yet.

The company has said it is “pursuing a deal” with comedian Al Franken and is “talking with representatives of comedian Janeane Garofalo.”

Contact Jennifer Harper at [email protected] or 202/636-3085.


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