- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Mixed message

The Family Research Council yesterday voiced both satisfaction and alarm over comments by President Bush concerning the issue of homosexual “marriage.”

The remarks were made in an interview with Diane Sawyer that aired last night and excerpted yesterday at ABCNews.com.

The president was quoted as saying he supports a constitutional amendment “which would honor marriage between a man and a woman.” He also says, “The position of this administration is that whatever legal arrangements people want to make, they’re allowed to make, so long as it’s embraced by the state or at the state level.”

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement yesterday:

“While I’m encouraged President Bush says he supports a Constitutional amendment honoring marriage between a man and woman, I’m very concerned about his additional comments which seem to suggest the definition of marriage, which predates Western civilization and the United States Constitution, can be redefined at the state level.”

Thune’s first step

Former Rep. John Thune, South Dakota Republican, will not run for his former House seat, which is being vacated by Rep. Bill Janklow, a spokesman said yesterday.

Mr. Thune had been mentioned as a possible candidate since Janklow was convicted of manslaughter last week in a traffic accident. Janklow has announced his resignation from Congress, effective on the day of his sentencing next month.

Mr. Thune has not ruled out challenging Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle next year, said Ryan Nelson, his spokesman. He will wait until after the first of the year to decide whether to run for the Senate. Stephanie Herseth, a Democrat who lost to Mr. Janklow in 2002, intends to run for the House seat again.


“The discovery of Saddam Hussein has revealed, among other things, a liberal foreign policy establishment utterly bereft of ideas,” Lawrence F. Kaplan writes in the Wall Street Journal.

“Responding to news of the capture, a parade of Democratic presidential aspirants and think-tank types took to the airwaves on Sunday to declare that now is the time to, as Howard Dean put it, ‘bring the U.N.’ back to Iraq.

“Never mind that this has been their refrain all along. Never mind, too, that the U.N. fled Iraq over the dying protestations of its representative there, and announced last week that it has no intention of returning any time soon. The war in Iraq has generated a cliche industry, which, even by the standards of such industries, is distinguished by the absence of any relation to the world we happen to inhabit,” said Mr. Kaplan, who is a senior editor at the New Republic and a Hudson Institute fellow.

“Yet its platitudes have become canonical among the technocrats who populate think tanks like the Brookings Institution, moderate Democrats campaigning on the strength of their national security credentials, and the members of the liberal foreign policy establishment who presume to advise them.”

Demented rhetoric

Jay Nordlinger, in his Impromptus column at National Review Online (NationalReview.com), notes some rather intemperate remarks by a Democratic presidential candidate about Halliburton.

“When the story of overcharging for gas arose, Wesley Clark said the following: that the president is ‘more concerned about the success of Halliburton than having a success strategy in Iraq.’

“Now, I’m not naive about politics — I know that rhetoric is excessive in campaigns. But even so, shouldn’t something like this Clark statement be disqualifying? I mean, how is it possible to take seriously a man who says that Bush is ‘more concerned about the success of Halliburton than having a success strategy in Iraq’? That amounts to a charge of treason. It is also demented,” Mr. Nordlinger said.

“Even if you think that Bush is dead-wrong on the war — on the War on Terror in general, and on the Iraq effort in particular — surely you can see that he believes in it … I am continually amazed that people who make statements such as Clark has made can continue on in public life, as though they had done nothing at all.”

A statue for Zell

The Republican leader in the Georgia state Senate wants to erect a monument to Democrat Sen. Zell Miller.

Sen. Bill Stephens, whose legislative district includes Mr. Miller’s hometown of Young Harris, said he was prompted to file the legislation Monday in response to criticism of Georgia’s senior senator, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

The latest came last week, when former President Jimmy Carter joined the Democratic chorus to say that “one of the worst mistakes” former Gov. Roy Barnes made was to appoint Mr. Miller to the Senate after Republican Sen. Paul Coverdell died in July 2000.

Mr. Stephens’ bill would create the Zell Miller Tribute Commission, which would select a design for the statue, find a place for it on the Capitol grounds and raise private funds to build it.

Kentucky nominee

Republicans in Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District have nominated state Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr to run for the U.S. House seat that was vacated by Gov. Ernie Fletcher.

Mrs. Kerr, sister of 1995 Republican gubernatorial nominee Larry Forgy, won the nomination on the second ballot.

Now in her second term, Mrs. Kerr has the backing of U.S. Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell, who has worked aggressively to build the Kentucky Republican Party since winning his own Senate seat in 1984, United Press International reports.

The special election, made necessary by Mr. Fletcher’s election last month as governor, will be held Feb. 17. Democrats are expected to nominate former state Attorney General Ben Chandler, who lost the race for governor, as their candidate.

Democrat response

“The capture of Saddam is great news for Iraq, America, and the Bush re-election bid,” talk-show host David Letterman said Monday on CBS’ “Late Night.”

“The Dems have already come out with this response: ‘On Saturday, United States troops carried out a raid in Tikrit, capturing a bearded, disheveled man whom they insist is Saddam Hussein. [see photo of Saddam] Or is it? Look, kids: Bush arrested Santa [add Santa clothes to Saddam]. Vote Howard Dean in 2004.’”

Ashcroft fine

Attorney General John Ashcroft’s 2000 Senate campaign and his political action committee have agreed to pay a $37,000 fine for campaign-finance violations, the Federal Election Commission said yesterday.

The fine comes as a result of an agreement reached last week by the FEC with Ashcroft 2000 and the Spirit of America PAC, although the campaign and the PAC denied any wrongdoing. The agreement left it to the two organizations on how to divide the fine.

At issue was the campaign’s use of a mailing list developed by the political action committee, with the commission concluding that Ashcroft 2000 received about $110,000 in list-related income, resulting in an excessive contribution to it by the committee. PACs are allowed to give up to $5,000 per election to a federal candidate.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected].

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