- The Washington Times - Monday, June 23, 2003

Angry Democrats

“Now it’s MSNBC’s turn to get some Democratic scolding,” Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.

“We hear that Senate Democrats have called MSNBC execs to whine that, like Fox News Channel before it, the NBC spinoff is turning right and ignoring the nation’s minority party,” Mr. Bedard said.

“Which conservative hosts do they dislike the most? Michael Savage and former Rep. Joe Scarborough.”

Angry Democrats II

“Across the country Republicans and conservatives are asking each other the same basic question: Has the other side gone crazy? Have the Democrats totally flipped their lids? Because every day some Democrat seems to make a manic or totally over-the-top statement about George Bush, the Republican party, and the state of the nation today,” David Brooks writes in the latest issue of the Weekly Standard.

“‘This republic is at its greatest danger in its history because of this administration,’ says Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia.

“‘I think this is deliberate, intentional destruction of the United States of America,’ says liberal commentator Bill Moyers.

“George Bush’s economic policy is the ‘most radical and dangerous economic theory to hit our shores since socialism,’ says Sen. John Edwards, North Carolina Democrat.

“‘The Most Dangerous President Ever’ is the title of an essay in the American Prospect by Harold Meyerson, in which it is argued that the president Mr. Bush most closely resembles is Jefferson Davis.

“Tom Daschle condemns the ‘dictatorial approach’ of this administration. John Kerry says Bush ‘deliberately misled’ America into the Iraq war. Asked what Democrats can do about the Republicans, Janet Reno recalls her visit to the Dachau concentration camp, and points out that the Holocaust happened because many Germans just stood by. ‘And don’t you just stand by,’ she exhorts to her Democratic audience.

“When conservatives look at the newspapers, they see liberal columnists who pick out every tiny piece of evidence or pseudo-evidence of Republican vileness, and then dwell on it and obsess over it until they have lost all perspective and succumbed to fevers of incoherent rage,” Mr. Brooks said.

“They see Democratic primary voters who are so filled with hatred at George Bush and John Ashcroft and Dick Cheney that they are pulling their party far from the mainstream of American life. They see candidates who, instead of trying to quell the self-destructive fury, are playing to it. ‘I am furious at [Bush] and I am furious at the Republicans,’ says Dick Gephardt, trying to sound like John Kerry who is trying to sound like Howard Dean.”

Feinstein’s decision

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat., eliminated herself Saturday as a possible replacement for Gov. Gray Davis, who is facing a recall drive rapidly gaining momentum.

“I intend to remain a United States senator. I do not intend to run for governor,” Mrs. Feinstein said before flying to California for a weekend appearance, according to her spokesman, Howard Gantman.

Mrs. Feinstein, the Democratic nominee for governor in 1990, had been considered the strongest potential Democratic candidate. But party officials have long been urging prominent Democrats to stay off the ballot, insisting the governor should be allowed to stave off the recall without facing challengers from his own party, the Associated Press reports.

Other high-level California Democrats, including Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante and Attorney General Bill Lockyer, already had said they had no intention of running.

Recall supporters claim to have gathered about 800,000 signatures in favor of forcing an election to recall Mr. Davis, who won a second term in November.

Recall proponents have until Sept. 2 to collect nearly 900,000 signatures. They want to submit the needed signatures next month, which would force a special election this fall.

Potential Republican candidates include Rep. Darrell Issa, who is largely bankrolling the recall effort; Bill Simon, who lost to Mr. Davis in last year’s election, and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Mrs. Feinstein, a former mayor of San Francisco, was first elected to the Senate in 1992. Her current term expires in 2006.

Five-year plan

U.S. forces will likely have to remain in Iraq for an extended period of time to rebuild the country, create a democracy and ensure stability, three senators predicted yesterday.

“I don’t think the administration has planned this very well, nor have they come forward with a complete understanding of the kind of investment that the United States is going to have to put into Iraq,” Sen. Chuck Hagel said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“What I think this administration needs to do is come to the American people and lay it out, to some extent. And I know it’s imperfect, everybody does. But it is clearly in the interests of this country, and the American people would support,” the Nebraska Republican said.

Sen. Richard Lugar said the United States was involved in “nation-building” in Iraq and that “this is an opportunity for a democracy, for a vibrant economy, for a model that is different in the world and in the Middle East.”

“It’s important we all understand that, that the president say that, that we say that, that it’s a five-year plan of stability for a country that is bankrupt, that is dangerous,” said the Indiana Republican, who heads the Foreign Relations Committee.

Sen. Joe Biden, Delaware Democrat, also urged Mr. Bush to go “to the American people and tell them the facts.”

“We’re talking about tens of thousands of troops for an extended period of time. We knew that from the beginning,” he said.

Sharpton’s complaint

The Rev. Al Sharpton paused from his presidential campaign duties to chastise city leaders in Lorain, Ohio, for backing off of their decision to rename a street for Martin Luther King.

The City Council voted 9-2 last week to leave the name 21st Street on one of the city’s busiest arteries while adding an honorary name of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, effective in January.

Businesses and homeowners on the street had complained for more than a month about an earlier vote to change the name outright, saying it would be expensive and inconvenient, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Sharpton wrote to Mayor Craig Foltin on Thursday, saying the compromise “is precisely the kind of second-class treatment that Dr. King fought against his entire life.”

The New York political activist said he would “let the national community know of the cowardly decision.”

Looking ahead

A Wisconsin prosecutor who gained attention as a cast member on MTV’s “The Real World” is eyeing a new kind of real-world challenge — national politics.

Ashland County District Attorney Sean Duffy, 31, said he will decide by mid-August whether to seek the Republican nomination to challenge Rep. Dave Obey, a Democrat, in 2004.

“I am considering it,” he said.

Mr. Duffy was a cast member on MTV’s “The Real World Boston” in 1997 when the pop culture phenomenon of reality television was just getting started. His wife, Rachel Campos, 31, was a cast member in “The Real World San Francisco.” They have two children.

He said his television experience didn’t factor into his considering a run for Congress, the Associated Press reports.

“It is part of my past. I have moved beyond that,” Mr. Duffy said.

Mr. Duffy has won one election — for district attorney in Ashland County last November.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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