- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 3, 2003

Grassley’s offer

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican, wants to see if Democrats are serious when they criticize Republicans for a late change in the $350 billion tax-cut package that makes several million families that pay little or no income taxes ineligible for the new child tax credit.

“Some Democratic senators who said they wanted extra family-tax relief would have voted against the bill regardless because they didn’t like some of the provisions,” Mr. Grassley said. “However, now these Democratic senators are saying we didn’t cut taxes enough. I invite them to work with me to pass my new legislation.”

Under the 2001 tax cut, the child tax credit would have been $600 per child this year, and even low-income families with little or no income tax liability would receive the credit through a refund. The tax cut President Bush signed last week advances the credit to $1,000 for 2003 through 2005, but not for many low-income families, who will continue to receive only $600 per child.

Democrats have praised the child tax credit even as they voted against the overall bill.

Now Mr. Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, says he will introduce a bill to make even those low-income families eligible. But as part of the same legislation he wants to make the entire tax credit permanent — because of budget rules, the $1,000 tax cut is now scheduled to revert to $600 after several years, although legislators might have a hard time letting that happen.

Honor at stake

Not far from the Northeast Washington offices of The Washington Times is the site of the old Maryland dueling grounds in Bladensburg, where gentlemen once settled affairs of honor. Will conservatives David Frum and Taki Theodoracopulos soon face each other there?

Mr. Frum, ex-White House speechwriter and National Review contributing editor, calls Taki (as the wealthy Greek is known) a drunk and an anti-Semite. Taki, co-editor with Patrick Buchanan of the American Conservative magazine, calls Mr. Frum a liar.

Like so many affairs of honor, this one involves a woman, in this case Mr. Frum’s wife, author Danielle Crittenden. Mr. Frum says a drunken Taki “cornered Danielle” at a dinner party in the late 1990s.

“From across the room, I caught her marital distress signal and came over to intercede,” Mr. Frum wrote last month in National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com). “Taki retreated immediately and in a slurred voice offered what I suppose was intended as an apology. ‘This is why I am an anti-Semite — the Jews take all the most beautiful women.’”

A “cheap-shot lie,” says Taki.

He says that it was Mrs. Crittenden who approached him, to thank him for an article he had written for a magazine where she was then the editor.

“If memory serves — and it does — I said something to the effect that had I known she was attractive, I would have written better, and left it at that,” he writes in the latest issue of the American Conservative. “She then introduced me to ‘my husband.’ I shook hands and exchanged pleasantries. …

“The idea that I would say what [Mr. Frum] claims I said to a perfect stranger is preposterous. I have been brought up to act like a gentleman of the old school, and although I am a heavy drinker and an incorrigible womanizer, I would no more dream of ‘hitting’ on a woman I just met than I would betray my country for profit. …

“At the time I had never heard of Frum and took him for Mr. Crittenden. Is it credible that I would say I was anti-Semitic to a man I did not know and had no idea what religion he was? Was he wearing a yarmulke?

Tag team

Madeleine K. Albright, secretary of state under President Clinton, and Michael Moore, the left-wing author and filmmaker, teamed up Sunday to criticize President Bush.

“What a blast it is to be here with Michael Moore,” Mrs. Albright said at BookExpo America in Los Angeles. Mrs. Albright, whose memoirs come out this fall, and Mr. Moore received standing ovations and got big laughs criticizing Mr. Bush, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Moore spoke first, noting the success of his book “Stupid White Men” and mocking Mr. Bush for backing a tax cut that he said primarily helps the wealthy — namely Michael Moore.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I don’t know what I’m going to do with all this money,” said Mr. Moore, who quickly added: “I’m going to spend my entire tax cut to help defeat you next year.”

Mrs. Albright declared that war should be a “last resort,” a belief she found lacking in the current administration.

“I’m very concerned about what is going on now and I am speaking out about it more and more,” Mrs. Albright said. “And I think Michael and I ought to go out there and be a tag team.”

Hopeless in New York

National Republicans have given up hope of defeating Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, in 2004 because state Republicans can’t find a strong candidate, the New York Post’s Fredric U. Dicker writes.

“‘The national party has looked at New York and concluded the state party is not getting it done, that they won’t have a strong and credible candidate,’ confided a powerful Republican with strong New York and Washington ties.

“‘I’ve been told it directly,’ continued the official, who has regular contact with national Republican leaders.

“‘There’s not going to be national money to run a Republican campaign against Schumer because the [partys] Senate campaign committee sees it as a sure loser. They’ve given up,’ the official said.

“Other senior New York Republicans said they had received similar information, contending their party will have only what one called a ‘throwaway’ candidate to run against Schumer, a proven vote-getter and prodigious fund-raiser who has already amassed a $15 million war chest.”

A correction, at last

James Taranto, who writes the Best of the Web Today column at the Wall Street Journal’s OpinionJournal.com, notes that a correction has finally appeared concerning columnist Maureen Dowd’s dishonest rendition of a quote from President Bush.

“The quotation was taken from the president’s May 5 remarks in Little Rock,” the correction says. “The full text of his remarks follows: ‘That group of terrorists who attacked our country is slowly, but surely, being decimated. Right now, about half of all the top al Qaeda operatives are either jailed or dead. In either case, they’re not a problem anymore.’

“The use of the partial quotation created the false impression that the president was dismissing the threat posed by al Qaeda as a whole rather than its members who had been killed or apprehended.”

Said Mr. Taranto: “This did not run, however, in the paper that printed Dowd’s falsified quote, the New York Times. It appeared instead in the Sacramento Bee on Friday, and it referred to an editorial the paper ran May 15 — the day after the Times published the dowdified Bush quote, which the Bee presumably lifted from Dowd’s column. Oh well, at least somebody’s got standards.”

In the mold of Clinton

Sen. Joe Lieberman sought to answer criticism that he is too Republican to win the Democratic presidential nomination, saying yesterday that his politics are consistent with Bill Clinton’s and only a Democrat like himself can oust President Bush in 2004.

During a weekend conference in Lake Placid, N.Y., the Connecticut senator’s rival, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, said: “The one thing this country doesn’t need is a second Republican Party.”

A spokesman for Mr. Kerry said the comments were not directed at Mr. Lieberman, but questions inevitably arose as Mr. Lieberman was interviewed yesterday on WROW-AM radio in Albany, N.Y., the Associated Press reports.

“Democrats like me are the kinds of Democrats who can get elected. … I am a center-out Democrat in the tradition of Bill Clinton,” Mr. Lieberman said.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected].

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