Wednesday, January 15, 2003

It’s Chafee’s money

“Every now and then, you find a statement that encapsulates everything or something perfectly. I found one such statement from the mouth of Lincoln Chafee, the [Republican] senator from Rhode Island,” Jay Nordlinger writes in his Impromptus column at

“Here’s what he had to say about the Bush economic program: ‘I can’t see giving away any more of our revenues, which we’re doing in tax cuts.’

Ponder those words: ‘giving away’ (which is socialist-speak for taking less of a person’s income); ‘our revenues’ the very ownership of that money.

“Folks, this is just too perfect. Hang on to it,” Mr. Nordlinger advised.

One-sided coverage

“Kate O’Beirne once spoke words to the effect that given the liberal bias in the press, it’s a wonder Republicans ever win elections. I would add a corollary that given media bias it’s a miracle conservative ideas ever become policy. That was certainly the case with the New York Times and Washington Post coverage of Bush’s tax-cut plan last week,” David Hogberg writes at

“Consider the headlines. The Times ran three stories with the following headlines, ‘Bush’s Bold, and Risky, Economic Plan,’ ‘Plan Gives Most Benefits to Wealthy and Families,’ and ‘States Fear Double Whammy From Tax Plan.’ Five headlines in the Post read: ‘Analysis Finds Little Gain in Tax-Cut Plan,’ ‘Wars Cost May Dwarf Stimulus Effect,’ ‘Deficit Predictions Soar With Bush Stimulus Plan,’ ‘Key GOP Senators Object to Bush Plan,’ and ‘Tech Companies See Bush Plan on Dividends as Troublesome.’ Conservatives didn’t have a very good week among those newspaper readers who don’t go much beyond the headlines,” Mr. Hogberg said.

“In fact, they did rather lousy even among those readers who do. Four of the articles mentioned that most of the tax cuts go toward the wealthy, with three of them spending considerable space on it. By my rough count, either a synonym rich, top 1 percent or variant of the word ‘wealthy’ is used 18 times in those articles. An article in the Times by Edmund L. Andrews states matter of factly: ‘The pattern of benefits are unabashedly skewed in two directions: toward the wealthy and two-parent households with lots of children.’

“One could be forgiven for believing that Bush only cares about families headed by millionaires. Was there acknowledgment that the ‘wealthy’ pay most of the taxes? Sure there was, in the clause of one sentence in a article by Richard W. Stevenson, and a brief paragraph in the report by reporter Andrews.”

Keep the car

“Former Senate Majority Leader [Trent] Lott, the target of a recent series of death threats, will continue to be protected by Senate-sponsored security officers in addition to enjoying car and driver even though he has been ousted from the Senate leadership,” National Journal’s CongressDaily reported yesterday, citing “congressional sources.”

“A protective detail and Senate-issued car are typically reserved for the top five Senate leaders, but Lott was given special treatment by the sergeant at arms. ‘The sergeant at arms has recommended to the leadership that he retain’ the special privileges, said Susan Irby, a spokeswoman for Lott.

“Irby said Lott has received a number of death threats since he said last month that the country would have been better off if voters had elected former Sen. Strom Thurmond, South Carolina Republican, when he ran for president in 1948 on a pro-segregation platform.

“After Lott delivered the remarks at a retirement party for Thurmond, a suspicious package was delivered to his home in Pascagoula, Miss., and protesters have demonstrated outside his Capitol Hill residence, Irby said.

“Sen. Robert Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, last year’s Senate pro tempore, also will continue to enjoy special status, along with a new title, president pro-tem emeritus.”

Hollywood history

“Let’s see: Martin Scorsese’s new movie demeans Lincoln’s efforts to save the nation, mocks the Union Army, sneers at volunteer soldiers, derides native-born New Yorkers, pours scorn on firefighters and police officers and fails to find a single person of quality among all of New York City’s leaders, circa 1863,” the New York Post’s Fredric U. Dicker writes.

“And now Scorsese wants us to believe he’s right when he said last week on BBC radio that President Bush is wrong to take on Iraq for ‘the oil’ and that America allegedly refuses to ‘respect how other people live’?

“I don’t think so,” Mr. Dicker said.

“Scorsese, of course, has inflicted his muddled, interminably long, $100 million ersatz historical spectacle-cum-deconstructive anti-American screed a.k.a. ‘Gangs of New York’ on millions of people around the world during the past few weeks, including untold numbers of foreigners who will get yet another horrid impression of the United States from Hollywood.

“There’s no surprise there, because that, after all, is what regularly flows from Hollywood’s historical storytelling these days: Hard facts and the nuanced contours which inform complex historical events are regularly sacrificed to the leftist shibboleths of the movie industry’s dominant elite.”

Marching for a flag

About 300 supporters of Georgia’s old flag with its big Confederate emblem marched to the state Capitol in Atlanta yesterday to demand that the new governor and legislature hold a statewide vote on bringing the banner back.

The current flag, featuring a tiny image of the Confederate emblem, was adopted in 2001 at the behest of Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes. He was defeated in a re-election bid in the fall, and blamed public anger over the new flag.

On the campaign trail, Mr. Barnes’ successor, Republican Sonny Perdue, criticized Mr. Barnes for changing the flag in two days’ time without public input, and he called for a referendum. Yesterday, he said he supports a nonbinding public referendum, but would leave the details to lawmakers.

At the Capitol, supporters of the old flag held up signs that read “Let Us Vote!” Many wore Confederate uniforms. Three planes flew overhead, carrying signs that read: “SONNY COUNTRY,” “LET US VOTE. YOU PROMISED!” and “BARNES WAS JUST A WARM-UP.”

At his inauguration Monday, Mr. Perdue asked guests not to bring flags, and he did not display the Confederate emblem at his ball. That did not sit well with supporters of the old flag, the Associated Press reports.

Daschle’s book

A first draft of South Dakota Sen. Tom Daschle’s book, “Like No Other Time,” will be submitted to editors in late March for publication in the fall, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Daschle, leader of the Democrats in the Senate, said the book begins with the 2000 presidential election and continues through the September 11 terror attacks, the anthrax scare and “all the corporate governance scandals that occurred and what we did about that.”

The 2000 election left the Senate evenly divided for the first time in the nation’s history. After six years as minority leader, Mr. Daschle took over as Senate majority leader in 2001 when Vermont Sen. James M. Jeffords switched from the Republican Party to independent and tipped the balance of power.

His tenure as majority leader was cut short when Republicans regained control of the Senate in the November elections.

Mr. Daschle said the book, being written with Michael D’Orso, also would cover “all the political things that occurred in ramping up to this [2002] election, then the loss of the Senate, of the majority.”

The 55-year-old lawmaker announced recently that he will not run for president but will seek re-election to the Senate in 2004.

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