- The Washington Times - Monday, January 6, 2003

Class warriors
Two Democratic presidential candidates yesterday blasted President Bush's unannounced economic plan, dismissing it as a scheme to help the rich.
Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina and Vermont Gov. Howard Dean said Mr. Bush's plan would benefit the wealthiest Americans and corporations, instead of creating jobs and helping the typical American.
Administration officials said Mr. Bush's plan, which will be made public tomorrow, is likely to include an extension of unemployment benefits, an acceleration of tax cuts Congress approved in 2001, a cut in dividend taxes by 50 percent or more, and tax incentives to prompt more spending by businesses.
The president is "trying to use the Bush recession to put money in the pockets of the richest Americans over a long period of time while providing very little help for regular people," Mr. Edwards said on ABC's "This Week."
Mr. Bush's proposal "just shows how out of touch he is," Mr. Edwards said. "All the things that he's proposing acceleration of tax cuts, elimination of taxes on dividends these are things that are greatly slanted to help the richest Americans."
Meanwhile, Mr. Dean said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that it was Mr. Bush who was practicing class warfare. "The tax cuts are aimed at the class of people who don't need that help," he said.
Mr. Dean said he is upset at Mr. Bush's proposal to cut taxes on dividend income. "The people who live on the dividends are those in the higher brackets," he said, and the best way to get the economy going is to provide health care insurance for all Americans. "That affects 40 million people directly plus all of America's small businesses."
Sharpton's message
If the turnout at a Boston rally the day after he announced a presidential run is any measure, the Rev. Al Sharpton has got his work cut out for him.
At Prince Hall Grand Lodge in a predominantly black neighborhood, 75 people showed up Saturday, and they had plenty of time to get there Mr. Sharpton was 90 minutes late, the Associated Press reports.
But the black-activist preacher says it's his duty to run; the Democratic Party has shifted too far to the right, he says, leaving blacks and other minorities behind.
Mr. Sharpton was a guest preacher at two Boston churches yesterday, and today he's scheduled to meet political and business leaders, including Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. He concludes his trip tonight with a speech sponsored by Harvard Law School.
President Bush wants to invade Iraq to get control of its oil reserves, Mr. Sharpton charged Saturday, and the Democratic Party treats black voters like mistresses: "They want to have fun with us on Election Day, but they can't bring us home to introduce us to their mommies and daddies. We are not going to continue to be the concubines of the national Democratic Party."
Another apology
The heir to the leadership of California's Republican Party apologized over the weekend for distributing an e-mail newsletter in 1999 that contained an opinion piece that asserted the country would have been better off if the South had won the Civil War.
State party Vice Chairman Bill Back, who needs party approval through a vote usually considered a formality, sent the article written by Bill Lind, director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism, an arm of the Free Congress Foundation.
"Given how bad things have gotten in the old U.S.A., it's not hard to believe that history might have taken a better turn," Mr. Lind wrote. "The real damage to race relations in the South came not from slavery, but from Reconstruction, which would not have occurred if the South had won."
Shannon Reeves of Oakland, the state party's black secretary, told the Contra Costa Times that "there's no room for bigotry in the Republican Party, and I don't think there's a lot of room in the Republican Party for people who distribute bigoted information."
Mr. Lind said the article was distributed to generate discussion.
Nevada's boast
"Seven blacks in the Nevada state legislature may not sound like a big deal except that they give the Silver State the unexpected honor of having elected the most racially progressive legislature in the country, compared to its population," John J. Miller writes at National Review Online, www.nationalreview.com.
"Nevada is less than 7 percent black, but its legislature is 11 percent black" (seven of 63 members), Mr Miller said.
"What's especially interesting is that none of these seven lawmakers comes from a majority black district," according to a recent article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
"The political success of black Nevadans is a compelling rebuttal to the claims of liberal civil rights activists, who say that black candidates face enormous racial hurdles if they can't run for office in majority-black voting districts. For years, groups such as the Congressional Black Caucus and the NAACP have done everything in their power to bring racial preferences to the voting booth, in the form of gerrymandered political districts drawn with the intent of guaranteeing the election of minority candidates. The Supreme Court has frowned on this practice, but has not totally overturned it and the number of majority-minority districts has steadily increased over the last couple of decades.
"In Nevada, however, black pols have flourished in the absence of these peculiar arrangements. Nevada's record even puts to shame liberal states that probably like to regard themselves as bastions of racial tolerance. California has 120 members in its state legislature, but only six of them are black; Massachusetts has 200 legislators, but only seven of them are black."
Kooky Krugman
"Paul Krugman just gave an interview to Der Spiegel. It's a festival of German-pleasing anti-Americanism and Bush-bashing," Andrew Sullivan writes at his Web site, www.andrewsullivan.com.
"Here are a couple of choice quotes, worthy of Michael Moore: 'No one expects the President to be a saint. But it is pretty amazing the distance that this administration will go in trying to fool the public. Sometimes I have the feeling that I no longer live in one of the world's oldest democracies, but in the Philippines under a new Marcos.'
"Useful to know that a columnist at the New York Times believes that President Bush is indistinguishable from an unelected tyrant," Mr. Sullivan said. "Then there's this piece of naked pandering to European prejudice against America: 'Instead [of writing a column about the New Economy], I now find myself once again as the lonely voice of truth in a sea of corruption. Sometimes I think that one of these days I'll end up in one of those cages on Guantanamo Bay (laughs). But I can still seek asylum in Germany. I hope you'd accept me in an emergency.'
"The poor beleaguered martyr for truth. So persecuted by the government he gets to write twice weekly for the New York Times and have the media establishment gush constantly about him. So pure you'd never know he once served on Enron's Advisory Board and still hasn't returned his $50,000 sinecure. Asylum? Lonely voice of truth? The vanity is almost as gob-smacking as the self-righteousness."
Tilted surveys
Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to participate in online surveys, according to a poll that found a modest growth in the number of people using the Internet to get campaign news.
Among those who go online to catch up on politics, almost half of Republicans, 46 percent, said they like to register their opinions in online surveys.
Fewer than three in 10 Democrats, 28 percent, said they like to participate in the online surveys, according to the poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, in cooperation with the Pew Internet and American Life Project.
Half of those who said they like to take online polls were Republicans while one in five were Democrats and one in four were independents.

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