- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 25, 2003

Koch backs Bush

Ed Koch, the Democratic former mayor of New York, has endorsed President Bush.

“I intend to vote for President George W. Bush in the next election, because in my view, he is best able to wage the war against international terrorism,” Mr. Koch said in a commentary for Bloomberg radio.

“There is no greater threat to the United States than that posed by al Qaeda and similar groups. President Bush has confronted that threat head on,” Mr. Koch said.

“After 9/11, the president announced the Bush Doctrine, which in my opinion rivals in importance the Monroe Doctrine, which barred foreign imperialism in the Western Hemisphere, and the Truman Doctrine, which sought to contain Communism around the world.

“The Bush Doctrine, simply stated by the president before a joint session of Congress, is ‘We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.’ The President has applied that doctrine in Afghanistan and Iraq and has put other countries on notice that he will do so elsewhere, if necessary.”

Mr. Koch said he does not agree with Mr. Bush on any major domestic issue, but that terrorism overshadows everything else in American politics today.

“I do not believe the major contenders for the presidential nomination in the Democratic primaries have the stomach to confront the terrorist scourge comparable to President Bush,” he said. “This is especially true of the current Democratic front-runner, Howard Dean, whose stated reason for entering the race is his opposition to the war.”

Economic indicator

“We’ve found over the years that one sure-fire economic indicator is the rhetoric of a president’s opponents,” the Wall Street Journal says.

“When they stop insisting that, say, tax cuts will never work and start complaining that the recovery is a false prosperity that will never last, you know that the good times have arrived,” the newspaper said in an editorial.

“Democratic front-runner Howard Dean made that strategic political turn a few weeks back, and a good thing for him, too: [Tuesday] the Commerce Department confirmed that the economy grew at an annual rate of 8.2 percent in the third quarter. That’s the best growth spurt in nearly 20 years.

“All signs suggest that fourth-quarter growth will also be fast, if not quite so furious, and the economists monitored by Blue Chip Economic Indicators are predicting 4.4 percent growth for 2004. …

“Especially this year, as we give thanks for our renewed prosperity, it helps to remember that none of this was foreordained. Only last summer Mr. Dean and his fellow Democrats were suggesting President Bush’s economic policies would never work. And some economists who shall remain nameless here — in the spirit of the season — were also telling us to expect a long gloom. These same folks are all still saying that the tax cuts must be repealed.”

Honoring 25 lawmakers

Conservatives will honor the 25 Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives who voted against the recent Medicare entitlement expansion as part of the Conservative Political Action Conference’s Ronald Reagan Banquet on Jan. 23.

CPAC, the nation’s oldest and largest annual gathering of conservatives, will be held Jan. 22-24 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington.

“These 25 courageous representatives stood for principle in the face of intense pressure and arm-twisting,” said American Conservative Union Chairman David A. Keene. “Their collective willingness to adhere to limited-government conservatism — our Founders’ conservatism — is a message that will stir and energize the more than 4,000 conservative grass-roots activists expected to attend the conference.”

CPAC is a project of the American Conservative Union Foundation, in association with Young America’s Foundation and Human Events. The conference is co-sponsored by more than 70 of the nation’s leading conservative organizations.

Clark’s comeback

“As 2003 ends with [Howard] Dean unchallenged as ‘Democrat of the Year,’ the political guessing game is about which presidential contender will shoot out of the pack early next year to take on the role of principal challenger,” USA Today columnist Walter Shapiro writes.

“Judging from the interplay of rumor and rumination that defines Democratic politics at this moment of uncertainty, [Wesley] Clark is benefiting from a long second look as the leading anti-Dean option,” Mr. Shapiro said.

“The former NATO commander had impetuously entered the race with news-magazine-cover fanfare in September, then stumbled badly from his lack of political experience and his inability to answer simple questions like whether he would have voted for the 2002 Iraq resolution. So it was probably inevitable that he’d make a comeback. It is an unalterable truth of presidential politics that the story line is never fixed, and yesterday’s chump is often tomorrow’s champion.

“Yet after spending two days watching Clark in South Carolina, site of a potentially pivotal primary on Feb. 3, I came away with the sense that the general is too similar to Dean to serve as his antithesis. Yes, the two men have widely divergent resumes: Dean the blue-blood doctor who became a successful five-term governor of rustic Vermont and Clark the career Army man who directed the successful war in Kosovo. But more than any other Democrats running, both are blessed with preternatural self-confidence and a refusal to trim their outspoken positions on Iraq even after the capture of Saddam.”

Somebody’s lying

“Consider the ‘you’re a liar’ clash between the Old Democrat poll front-runner Wesley Clark, and the emerging Dean party’s hero,” New York Times columnist William Safire writes.

“Clark claims that [Howard] Dean offered him the vice presidential nomination: ‘It was dangled out there … offered as much as it could have been.’ Dean denies it flatly: ‘I did not and have not offered anyone the vice presidency.’ Clark, egged on by his Clinton handlers, imputes a dishonorable motive to Dean: ‘Why is he squirming? Because maybe he’s done the same for a lot of other people.’

“One of these men is not telling the truth,” Mr. Safire said. “Most voters would say that one of these boldfaced names is a baldfaced liar, though charitable souls would call it a misunderstanding.”

A swinging convention

Organizers of the Republican National Convention, to be held in New York City next summer, are thinking about having President Bush make his nomination-acceptance speech at Yankee Stadium, the New York Post reports.

The convention will be held from Aug. 30 through Sept. 2 at Madison Square Garden, which holds up to 19,500 people. Yankee Stadium can seat 55,000.

There has also been speculation that Mr. Bush may deliver his address at Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, or elsewhere, reporter Kenneth Lovett writes.

However, there could be a problem: Mr. Bush’s speech is planned for prime time on Sept. 2 — the same time as the Yankees are scheduled to play the Cleveland Indians at Yankee Stadium.

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

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