- The Washington Times - Monday, February 24, 2003

Gephardt's tax stance
Rep. Richard A. Gephardt, who last year declined to call for a repeal of the Bush tax cuts, is now making such a repeal the centerpiece of his presidential campaign.
The Missouri Democrat, in an appearance yesterday on NBC's "Meet the Press," said it would be futile to try to roll back the tax cuts while Mr. Bush is in office.
"But now I'm running for president, and I'm saying, in the first week that I'm president, I'll go to the Congress and ask them to get rid of most of his tax cuts and put in place tax incentives for small business, big business, individual business to cover all of their employees with health care insurance," Mr. Gephardt said.
"It'll stimulate the economy. … It'll put money in workers' pockets. It'll help business be able to hire new employees. It'll get this economy moving again. It'll solve a 50-year problem that we've not been able to solve in this country."
Kucinich's flip-flop
Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, who last week abandoned his pro-life position on abortion just in time to run for president, squirmed to explain himself yesterday.
Tim Russert, host of NBC's "Meet the Press," asked the Ohio Democrat: "If you were to change so quickly on the issue of abortion, a moral issue, why shouldn't people question whether you may change your views on Iraq for political expediency?"
Mr. Kucinich replied: "Well, first of all, Tim, I didn't change on a dime. Last year, in the last Congress, there were votes where I expressed my concern about the direction that this debate has been going."
Mr. Kucinich said his current stance "reflected years of thinking."
He added that he had never supported a constitutional amendment to overturn Roe v. Wade. "So the position I'm taking now is an expansion, it's not a reversal. It's not an attempt to, at the beginning of a presidential campaign, just flip. I made the decision long before I even thought about running for president."
Liberal radio
"Listening to liberals do talk radio can be a weird, out-of-culture experience, like seeing Pat Boone going through his heavy-metal phase or a helmet-clad Michael Dukakis cruising by in a tank," the Wall Street Journal's Taste page says in an editorial.
"But this time, they say, they are serious. A new company, AnShell Media, has been formed; $10 million in capital pledged; and comedian Al Franken put forward as the Great Progressive Hope.
"Even liberals admit that it's an awkward dance. Anyone remember Mario Cuomo or Jim Hightower, failed hosts who also went into radio bearing the mantle of the left's answer to Rush Limbaugh? Recently Phil Donahue asked on his sinking MSNBC television show what it was about liberals that made them so bad at the talk format. To anyone who witnessed Mr. Donahue's subsequent pained interview of Dennis Miller over Mr. Miller's support for the war with Iraq, the answer is obvious: The show came off like a 'Saturday Night Live' skit, with Mr. Miller playing the straight man to Mr. Donahue playing a hand-wringing liberal parody of … well … Phil Donahue.
"It doesn't help that, like most liberal initiatives, this one seems to have been hatched in Washington. As the newspapers reported, the new liberal network is being backed by Democratic supporters of Bill Clinton and Al Gore and was jump-started at a recent meeting in Washington with Democratic politicos who included New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.
"Now, that may be a good strategy if the goal is to discredit a Republican judicial nominee or squeeze financial contributions from Buddhist temples. But as Alan Colmes the liberal half of Fox TV's 'Hannity & Colmes' and a radio host himself noted on air the other night, a network that starts off by leaving the impression that its hosts will be mouthpieces for the Democratic National Committee hasn't done them any favors."
Repeated denigration
"Many of us, I know, are sickened by the repeated denigration of the Eastern European states that have supported the U.S. in this confrontation [with Iraq]," Jay Nordlinger writes in his Impromptus column at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).
"A prominent left-wing journalist, as Mark Steyn pointed out, described the former Iron Curtain countries as nations 'you can buy on e-bay.' And Mark Shields of CNN said, sarcastically, 'Everyone's feeling better. Albania signed on.'
"This struck a nerve with me, as I was in Albania in September. I had never been to that country before. (Few of us Westerners have.) I met with many intellectuals and journalists. I met men who had been in prison for years, because they had dared to dissent from the brutal totalitarian regime that was ruling them. I was terribly moved by their expressions of support for America and by their gratitude for the American role in opposing Soviet Communism. One intellectual told me that some other Europeans sneered at Albania as 'the Israel of the Balkans.' I said he ought to consider that an enormous honor.
"I have an Albanian flag the double-headed eagle 'flying' in my office right now. And I am thrilled by the support and the heart of such people, for they know more than people in Paris about tyranny, freedom, and appeasement. In a way, I regard the support of Eastern Europeans as more desirable than the support of comfortable Westerners," Mr. Nordlinger said.
"Mark Shields smirked, 'Everyone's feeling better. Albania signed on.' Well, I am."
More talk, please
The New York Times, in a mammoth editorial yesterday (it covered an entire two columns), called for more talk on what to do about Saddam Hussein.
"The debate over Iraq has exhausted everybody. Many people now think an American invasion is inevitable; many more are desperate just to get whatever happens over. There's noting less satisfying than calling for still more discussion," the newspaper said.
"But that's right where this page is. More discussion is the only road that will get the world to the right outcome concerted effort by a wide coalition of nations to force Saddam Hussein to give up his weapons of mass destruction. We need another debate. Another struggle to make this the United Nations' leadership moment."
The newspaper added: "Right now, things don't look promising for those of us who believe this is a war worth waging, but only with broad international support."
Crew of naifs
"It's hang-your-head-in-shame day for a whole crew of naifs who simply could not face the possibility that Palestinian terrorists were being organized, funded and controlled from a tenured perch at a Florida university," New York Post columnist John Podhoretz wrote Friday.
"Those naifs include editors and writers at The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Miami Herald, Time, Newsweek and Salon.com. They preferred to believe, against all reason and all evidence, that the U.S. government was simply obsessed with tormenting a perfectly nice if overly hysterical Palestinian professor and his family," Mr. Podhoretz said, referring to the arrest Thursday of University of South Florida professor Sami Al Arian.

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