- The Washington Times - Monday, January 20, 2003

Chrysler's insult
A top DaimlerChrysler executive dismisses critics of Jesse Jackson as mere conservatives, who by definition are "myopic."
"Most of [Mr. Jacksons] critics are conservatives; they have a rather myopic view of the world," Frank Fountain, DaimlerChrysler's senior vice president for government affairs, told a reporter at last week's Wall Street Project, which was organized by Mr. Jackson.
Mr. Jackson has been accused of running a "protection" racket in which corporations are given his civil-rights seal of approval in return for funneling money to organizations tied to Mr. Jackson and his associates.
Mr. Fountain, who said Chrysler was contributing an amount "in the six figures" as a gold sponsor of Mr. Jackson's 2003 Wall Street Project, believes criticism of Mr. Jackson is unfair.
"From my fairly close knowledge of [Mr. Jacksons] operations, they are one of integrity and beyond reproach," Mr. Fountain told Marc Morano, a reporter at www.CNSNews.com.
At least one conservative group has demanded an apology from Mr. Fountain and DaimlerChrysler.
"Conservatives have been active in recent weeks defending the right of consumers to drive SUVs; working to open [the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge] to oil drilling; working to end the double-taxation of corporate profits and working for legal reform all positions that are good for America, but which happen to benefit DaimlerChrysler," said Amy Ridenour, president of the National Center for Public Policy Research. "DaimlerChrysler makes large contributions to organizations that oppose all of these positions. That sounds myopic to me."
She added: "When a company goes out of its way to insult all conservatives, it goes too far."
Nightmare scenario
"A strong showing by [the Rev. Al] Sharpton in even a few [presidential] primaries thanks to low voter turnout, for example could lead to nightmarish complications for the eventual Democratic nominee," Garance Franke-Ruta writes in the Feb. 1 issue of the liberal American Prospect.
"[Democratic Leadership Council] Democrats will no doubt demand that the nominee repudiate Sharpton, but the reverend will play any such move as an attack on the party's absolutely essential core of black voters. Allying with Sharpton could alienate white moderates and swing voters, but failing to seek his support will likely lead to a major blowup with Sharpton that could ultimately drive down black support and lead to lingering intraparty divisions," the writer said.
"Republicans, meanwhile, will fan the flames and love it. 'Privately, in his mind, he's perfectly capable of distinguishing between a racial attack and a political attack,' says one liberal political analyst in New York. 'His public MO is not only not to make that distinction but to intentionally blur that distinction. That's where his power comes from.'
"'He's going to hurt everyone,' worries one well-known New York Democratic politician. 'He can have a principled reason for trying to hurt conservative candidates, but remember the history where he goes after liberal candidates also because he can out-liberal them and out-black them.'
"All of this is may come to a head as early as the South Carolina primary on Feb. 3, 2004. With half a dozen Democratic candidates seeking support in a state where 40 percent of the primary voters are black, no one will want to damage his own candidacy by taking on Sharpton. But giving Sharpton a free pass will ultimately hurt the Democratic Party in the 2004 general election and for years to come."
Clearing the way
Rep. Kenny Hulshof, Missouri Republican, has bowed out of next year's race for governor, clearing the way for the state Republican Party to rally behind Secretary of State Matt Blunt, the Kansas City Star reports.
Mr. Hulshof's decision Friday appears to end any possibility that Republicans will face a contentious primary. The party is eager to take on Democratic Gov. Bob Holden, who has struggled at times in his first two years in office, reporter Steve Kraske writes.
Mr. Hulshof, a four-term House member, said he was planning to run for governor until the unexpected death in November of his father, a southeast Missouri farmer.
"My father's death has thrust enormous challenges upon Mom and me," Mr. Hulshof, 43, said in a news release. "We have decided to continue his legacy and actively engage in the business of farming."
Conflict of interest
Historian Douglas Brinkley has a conflict of interest, the New Republic says in its editorial Notebook.
"The handsome, 41-year-old celebrity historian is a man of many hats, having written, co-written, or edited more than a dozen books in the last decade; published articles in the Atlantic, the New Yorker, the New York Times and the Washington Post (among others); and still found the time to appear frequently as a talking head oops, 'presidential historian' on CNN, Fox, MSNBC, and National Public Radio," the magazine says.
"Brinkley's latest project is an authorized biography of Sen. John Kerry's experience in Vietnam, titled 'Tour of Duty' and due out this fall. As the Boston Globe pointed out when the book was announced in November, 'It's a bit of a risk for both parties. Brinkley knows Kerry wants a book that'll make him look good in the 2004 presidential campaign. But Brinkley has a reputation to protect. He's a history professor at the University of New Orleans and director of its Eisenhower Center.'
"For our part, we're less concerned about Brinkley's reputation as an academic historian and more concerned about his ongoing presence as a TV pundit. As recently as Jan. 3, Brinkley appeared on MSNBC's 'Hardball' to enthuse about his new partner-in-biography: 'I do think the Democrats have some key people that are going to emerge, and I think Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts is somebody who, if he can present himself as the Vietnam War hero, somebody with three Purple Hearts, somebody who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and somebody that we would trust with issues of homeland security and foreign affairs. I think he's a very, very strong candidate, if the economy is not doing well.'
"A couple of weeks later, Brinkley was on 'Hardball' again, this time to talk about the difficulties Sen. Joe Lieberman will face in his presidential campaign as the V.P. nominee on a losing ticket in 2000: 'No, it's a very hard dog to hunt, as they say. I think it's a very hard road for Lieberman.' Coming soon to a talk show near you: Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley on why Howard Dean is too lefty, Dick Gephardt is too boring, and John Edwards just doesn't have the experience."
End of the line
"The ominous feeling of drift in American foreign policy at the moment is, we hope, the product of two failed policies inspections in Iraq and appeasement of North Korea coming to the end of the line, in one final whimper," National Review says in an editorial at www.nationalreview.com.
"The time for President Bush to separate his administration from these policies is rapidly approaching, especially in the case of Iraq. If he doesn't, the consequences for America's standing in the world and for his own presidency will be grave," the magazine's editors said.
Please don't go
"President Bush has heard all the murmurings about how some staffers are burned out. That's why he and his top aides have quietly gone around to the most valued staff to ask them to stay, at least through the 2004 election," Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.
"During a brief hallway meeting with Bush, explains one aide, 'He just said, "I hope you plan to hang around." How could I say no?'"


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