- The Washington Times - Monday, July 28, 2003

Litmus tests

“Alabama Attorney General William Pryor, the most recent Daniel to face the hungry lions, has made the ‘mistake’ of not distancing himself from his faith,” Kay Daly writes in the Wall Street Journal.

“In a recent confirmation hearing for Mr. Pryor, a nominee to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Sen. Charles Schumer, New York Democrat, said plainly that Mr. Pryor’s deeply held personal convictions as a pro-life Catholic simply would not be left at the courthouse door. In other words, being a Catholic is just fine if you are Sen. Leahy or Sen. Kennedy and selectively follow the doctrines of the faith. But if you actually practice Catholic teaching, you need not apply for a federal judgeship,” said the writer, who is president of the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary.

“Senate Democrats, however, are not the only ones to express ‘concern’ over judicial nominees who have written or spoken out on their faith. According to my sources in the Senate, Republican female senators have voiced strong reservations over the nomination of Leon Holmes, President Bush’s federal judicial nominee to the eastern district of Arkansas.

“Although Mr. Holmes has the support of his two home state Democratic senators, and a stellar legal career with high marks from the American Bar Association, qualifications do not seem to matter to the Republican women. Instead they have swallowed Sen. Schumer’s bait — that litmus tests on religious belief should determine whether one is qualified on the federal bench.

“The heartburn in the Senate sorority over Mr. Holmes seems to stem from the fact that, as a practicing Catholic, he has written that he and his wife subscribe to the Old and New Testament teaching on marriage. In short, he said he believes that a husband and wife in a Christian marriage have unique roles in the family, both equally important, but with the husband serving as its spiritual head. Mr. Holmes apparently subscribes to the book of Ephesians by loving his wife ‘as Christ does the Church.’

“Shocking! From this belief Republican women in the Senate have reportedly concluded that Mr. Holmes is tiptoeing down Misogynist Lane, even though he stated his views in an article co-authored with his well-educated and accomplished wife.”

Party of the elite

“The Democratic Party is a wishbone of proletarian sloganeering and plutocratic direction that, when snapped, always leaves one side disillusioned,” Christopher Caldwell writes in the Weekly Standard.

“Racial and lifestyle minorities provide the electoral ballast for the party, true. But outside of those categories, the Democrats are the party of America’s creme de la creme — not just the ‘cultural elite,’ as Dan Quayle put it, but the elite, period,” Mr. Caldwell said.

“Overwhelming evidence for this came in the form of a June study by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. It found that Republicans out raise Democrats by 63 percent to 37 percent among penny-ante donors — those who give under $200. The GOP retains that advantage at all levels up to $100,000, although it steadily narrows as the dollar amount rises.

“Once you hit $100,000, the Democrats really begin to clean up. They hold a fund-raising advantage that widens rapidly as the numbers gets more stratospheric. In contributions of over $1 million, they out raise Republicans by 92 percent to 8 percent.”

Richardson’s role

Democratic officials will nominate Bill Richardson, the Hispanic governor of New Mexico, to be chairman of the party’s 2004 national convention, several Democrats said yesterday.

Alice Huffman, California president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, will be nominated to lead the convention committee, the Associated Press reports.

The plan to nominate Mr. Richardson as convention chairman was mentioned in reports published yesterday. Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe planned to announce the decision today in Boston.

“Governor Richardson is honored to have been chosen,” Richardson spokesman Billy Sparks said yesterday. “It’s a positive sign for the future of the Democratic Party and a strong symbol of commitment to the West and to Hispanics.”

The choice of Mr. Richardson, the highest-ranking elected Hispanic official in the country, responds to demands from the Hispanic caucus of the Democratic National Committee, the AP said.

Traditionally, the convention chairman would be named in the weeks before the convention, set for Boston in late July next year. And the party’s nominee would have input on that decision.

Kemp stays out

Jack Kemp, the Republican vice presidential nominee in 1996, says he has retired from politics and will not be a candidate on the Oct. 7 ballot to recall California Democratic Gov. Gray Davis.

Mr. Kemp, who lives in Maryland but was born and reared in Los Angeles and graduated from Occidental College in that city, said in a statement Saturday that “running for governor might have been tempting to contemplate at another time, when I was younger, but I’ve truly retired from politics.”

He added, “There comes a point in one’s life when he cannot, should not, attempt to go back.”

Mr. Kemp’s name surfaced Thursday, hours after California officials certified that the Republican-led drive to oust Mr. Davis had collected enough signatures and set Oct. 7 as the date for the recall election, the Associated Press reports. Voters will decide whether to recall the governor and simultaneously choose from a list of candidates to replace him should the recall be approved.

‘Deranged moderate’

“Florida senator Bob Graham seems to be carving out a new niche for himself: that of the deranged moderate,” National Review says in an editorial.

“Graham is supposed to be a great asset to the Democrats. He has a moderate record, foreign policy experience, and popularity in a state rich with electoral votes. He has often been discussed as a vice presidential nominee. But he hasn’t been getting much attention in the presidential primaries, and so he keeps turning up the volume,” the magazine said.

“In his latest eruption, he suggested that Bush’s alleged deceptions in the run-up to the Iraq war warrant impeachment. (Graham, of course, voted against impeaching Clinton for breaking laws.) Graham’s strategy does not appear to be working: The fire-breathers have settled on Howard Dean. What Graham may be doing is talking himself out of the number-two slot.”

Durbin and Graham

Sen. Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, yesterday distanced himself from Florida Sen. Bob Graham’s suggestion that President Bush’s statement in the State of the Union Address in January — on British intelligence reports that Iraq had attempted to procure uranium from Africa — might warrant impeachment.

“Well, I respect Bob Graham a lot, but I don’t share that sentiment,” Mr. Durbin said on CNN’s “Late Edition.”

“I believe that what we need to do is to follow the evidence, bring in the White House staff, and find out how this process worked. And let’s take it to its logical conclusion, whatever that happens to be.

“But I’m not prepared to take Bob Graham’s position at this point. The evidence doesn’t support it.”

Kennedy and Arnold

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, interviewed for the latest issue of Time magazine, says he has not seen “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,” the latest flick from Kennedy in-law Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Massachusetts Democrat went on to express doubts that Mr. Schwarzenegger has a future in politics, even though he is being touted as a gubernatorial possibility in the upcoming California recall election.

“I haven’t seen Arnold’s latest,” Mr. Kennedy said. “He’s a brilliant actor, but what makes Republicans think he could do well in politics? Of course, it’s hard to argue with Arnold when you’re hanging upside down by the ankles.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/66-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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