- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Targeting Leahy
American Renewal, the legislative-action arm of the Family Research Council, is taking aim at Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who is a leader in the filibuster against judicial nominee Miguel Estrada.
The group began airing a 30-second radio ad yesterday in the senator's home state. Here is the text of the ad, called "Shame":
"In 1998, Pat Leahy said he opposed any filibuster against any judge, even somebody he opposed.
"In 1998, Pat Leahy said the Senate had a duty to give every judicial nominee a vote.
"In 1998, Pat Leahy said allowing a minority of senators to block a vote on a judicial nominee shamed all senators. That was 1998. Today, Pat Leahy is blocking a Senate vote on Miguel Estrada.
"Shame on you, Pat Leahy. Shame."
Zell vs. CBS
Sen. Zell Miller, Georgia Democrat, denounced CBS yesterday for its planned "Beverly Hillbillies" reality show.
It amounts to "bigotry for big bucks," the self-identified hillbilly said on the floor of the Senate, criticizing both the network and its president and chief executive officer, Les Moonves.
"What CBS and CEO Moonves propose to do with this 'cracker comedy' is bigotry, pure and simple," Mr. Miller said, calling himself "a United States senator who happens to be a hillbilly."
The network is searching for a family from the Appalachian region that it would move to a home in Beverly Hills for a year, mimicking the story of the old sitcom with the same premise. But some have said the show exploits a long-standing and offensive stereotype.
"They know the only minority left in this country that you can make fun of and demean and humiliate and put down and hardly anyone will speak up in their defense are hillbillies in particular, and rural people in general," Mr. Miller said. "You can ridicule them with impunity. Can you imagine this kind of program being suggested that would disrespect an African-American family and denigrate a Latino family?"
Streisand vs. Rice
Singer and liberal activist Barbra Streisand rebukes National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in a Feb. 20 posting on Miss Streisand's Web site (www.barbrastreisand.com).
"A few things caught my eye this past weekend," Miss Streisand said, "among them:"
"Condoleezza Rice on 'Meet the Press': Condoleezza Rice wants us to believe that one of the reasons for invading Iraq is to save the poor Iraqi people who are being persecuted by Saddam Hussein. But what about our own soldiers and Iraqi civilians who will be killed in the process?
"Ms. Rice knows the real reason we are invading Iraq right now, she just doesn't want to say it because it doesn't sound quite as noble as saving the Iraqi people. The real reasons are:
"1) OIL: Ms. Rice used to have an oil tanker named after her. And she used to be on the corporate board of Chevron … so she knows the importance Iraq plays in terms of access to oil. And she knows what the oil companies stand to gain if we get rid of Saddam.
"2) DISTRACTION: The war on terrorism has not been as successful as President Bush has stated, and he is feeling pressure to do something, even if that something has nothing to do with actually fighting terrorism. The Bush administration thinks they can fool us into thinking they have the terrorism situation under control by going after Saddam, when all they are doing is exacerbating the problem by creating more outrage against the United States from potential terrorists."
The 'bogey man'
A pet theme of liberals in recent years has been to attribute conservative successes to lavish funding from foundations, J. Gordon Lamb writes at www.frontpagemag.com.
"People For The American Way … have taken this idea to an entirely new level by way of their published report 'Buying a Movement: Right Wing Foundations and American Politics,' which documents with specific figures in order to educate the reader, 'Each year conservative foundations channel millions of dollars into a broad range of conservative political organizations.'"
PFAW "specifically targets the Lynne And Harry Bradley Foundation, the Koch Family Foundations, … the John M. Olin Foundation, the Scaife Foundations … and the Adolph Coors Foundation," Mr. Lamb said.
Those foundations had total assets of $1.3 billion in 2001 and awarded $95 million in grants that year.
Impressive? Perhaps. But left-wing foundations actually are much larger, Mr. Lamb said.
"By contrast, the four largest foundations that consistently fund left-wing agendas are the Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the David And Lucille Packard Foundation and the John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation."
Their total assets in 2001 were $53 billion. And their total grants that year were $2.6 billion.
"But why, given the availability of myth-busting facts, does the left consistently cry 'poor'?" Mr. Lamb asks. "Well, it makes for good press. The image of scary, big-money, far-right foundations makes a good bogey man for their platforms."
A special interest
"Republican governors have been complaining about the liberal tilt of the National Governors Association," Ramesh Ponnuru notes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).
"Two states with Republican governors Texas and Hawaii have withdrawn from the organization. Several other Republican governors have been considering not spending taxpayer money on NGA dues this year. After a few more governors threatened to walk out during this weekend's NGA meeting in Washington, D.C., the new chairman of the organization, Idaho Republican Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, promised to make 'staff changes' to answer the complaints," Mr. Ponnuru said.
"You might conclude, then, that the conservative campaign against the NGA is gathering force and that this weekend was a triumph for it. But you'd be wrong. By accepting Kempthorne's assurances, the conservative governors may have stopped the campaign's progress in its tracks. In a few months, the NGA will be Dirk Kempthorne's NGA. Any Republican governor who withdraws from the organization after that point will be saying that he lacks confidence in Kempthorne's ability to reform the organization or that his reforms have failed. No Republican governor is going to want to say that. The threat of withdrawal was possible when Paul Patton, the Democratic governor of Kentucky, was head of the NGA. It will be less credible in the future.
"Can reform succeed without that leverage? Could it succeed even with it? The fundamental problem with the NGA isn't that it employs liberals on its staff. It is that it makes the governors another interest-group client of the federal government. It exists to demand subsidies (and new federal grants of tax authority over interstate commerce). A few staff changes are not going to make an organization built on that premise start generating conservative results even half the time."
Proud abdication
"In one of the most extraordinary editorials ever published in an American newspaper, the New York Times on Sunday publicly and even proudly abdicated all political, moral, social and journalistic responsibility in the most vital matter now facing the nation," New York Post columnist John Podhoretz writes.
"The supposed newspaper of record took a long and hard look on Sunday at the coming war with Iraq. And after thousands of words, the editorial board finally came out with the following position: We're for war, except when we're against it. And we're against war, except when we're for it.
"Perhaps the Times editors migrated from Midtown to the floating island of Laputa, the land of self-satisfied geniuses in Jonathan Swift's great satire 'Gulliver's Travels.' Swift described the Laputans thus: 'They are very bad reasoners, and vehemently given to opposition unless they happen to be of the right opinion, which is seldom their case.'"


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