- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Springer breaks record
Talk-show host Jerry Springer, who has said he might run for the U.S. Senate, scored the highest unfavorable rating in the 14 years that the Ohio Poll has been taking the state's political pulse.
Mr. Springer, a Democrat and former Cincinnati mayor, drew an unfavorable response from 71 percent of those surveyed in the Ohio Poll. Thirteen percent had a favorable opinion, while 14 percent knew little about Mr. Springer and 2 percent had not heard of him, the Associated Press reports.
Mr. Springer's unfavorable rating surpassed the 65 percent logged in 2000 by real estate magnate Donald Trump, poll director Eric Rademacher said yesterday. The Ohio Poll began tracking such numbers in 1989.
The poll also found that Republican Sen. George V. Voinovich was favored over Mr. Springer 77 percent to 16 percent in a head-to-head matchup.
Mr. Springer, whose nationally syndicated show is known for racy subjects, raunchy language and on-air brawling, has said he might run against Mr. Voinovich next year.
Biden's surgery
Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. left a Florida hospital yesterday, one day after having his gallbladder removed during emergency surgery, aides said.
Mr. Biden, 60, on a weekend vacation in Fort Myers with his wife and daughter, began experiencing abdominal pain Saturday, spokesman Norm Kurz said. He checked himself into a hospital and underwent surgery Sunday.
Mr. Biden, a potential Democratic presidential candidate, was discharged yesterday, but is expected to spend a few more days in Florida while recuperating, said spokesman Chip Unruh.
"He's doing great. He's feeling fine," Mr. Unruh said.
In 1988, Mr. Biden twice underwent surgery for aneurysms in arteries supplying blood to his brain. That same year, after discovering a blood clot in one of his lungs, doctors inserted a filter into a blood vessel to prevent other clots from reaching the lungs.
Suspect timing
"President Bush's words and somber tone show that he believes America could soon be at war. So it is worth more than passing partisan interest that now is the time that the Democratic Party has decided to mount a coordinated assault against Mr. Bush's Iraq policy," the Wall Street Journal says.
"There have been a couple of exceptions, notably Texas Rep. Martin Frost last week, but the strategy of Democratic leaders is unmistakable. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi made Iraq the subject of her first major foreign-policy address on Friday, a critique that could have been written in Paris. Tom Daschle is in full anti-war mode, and Ted Kennedy is assailing the president on every TV show that will have him.
"These Democrats have every constitutional right to do this, but Americans have a right in turn to ask: Why now?" the newspaper said in an editorial, adding: "It's hard to find any answer beyond naked partisanship and opportunism.
"… We are not, let us stress, questioning the patriotism of any of these Democrats. But what should be questioned is their judgment. So close to war, and often in stark contrast to their previous votes and positions, the leaders of the party of JFK and FDR now see fit to side with France and Russia against an American president. No wonder voters are reluctant to trust Democrats with the responsibility for ensuring American safety and liberty."
Estrada's foes
"Among the slew of lies Democrats use to justify their unprecedented filibuster of judicial nominee Miguel Estrada is the claim that prominent groups representing Hispanics oppose the D.C. lawyer's appointment to the federal appellate bench," Christopher Morris and Timothy P. Carney write on National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).
"To be sure, some well-heeled Latino groups have joined the fight to keep him off the court, but these lobbyists do not speak for Hispanics. Rather than grass-roots, member-supported organizations, Estrada's opponents are liberal interest groups who fill their coffers with huge grants from the Ford Foundation, AT&T;, and a handful of other fat-cat organizations," the writers said.
"The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) has led the charge against the Honduran-born Estrada. Joining MALDEF are the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project (SVREP), and the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF).
"It is important to know, however, whom these groups speak for.
"The aforementioned groups have no members. They do not represent any portion of the population. They are activists who take huge checks from liberal foundations and gigantic corporations. This is in contrast to the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), an outspoken advocate of Estrada, which has over 100,000 members.
"MALDEF's money comes primarily from the Ford Foundation; the left-wing cash cow has given at least $12 million to MALDEF since 1998. The Fannie Mae Foundation apparently believes that bankrolling a filibuster of the first Hispanic nominee to the federal appeals court is part of the 'American Dream Business': They've given nearly a quarter-million dollars to MALDEF in the past five years.
"Estrada's opponents also get help from the Carnegie Corporation to the tune of a million to MALDEF and $750,000 to PRLDEF since 1998. British Petroleum, Shell Oil, and Verizon also bankroll these attack groups.
"SVREP has taken $400,000 in large grants in the past five years, mostly from phone companies.
"In essence, then, Estrada's opponents are a handful of liberal lawyers who rely on a few left-wing deep pockets and have bamboozled big companies out of millions."
'Day of advocacy'
A number of Arab-American groups and others plan to deluge Congress with phone calls, faxes and e-mails tomorrow, urging rejection of a new U.S. aid package to Israel.
Israel is asking for $4 billion in military aid and $8 billion in U.S.-backed loan guarantees.
"The March 12 national day of advocacy, dubbed 'Washington Wednesday,' is American taxpayers' response to Israel's request for substantial new funding," the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation said in a press release.
The group cited a poll commissioned by another foe of U.S. funding for Israel, the Council for the National Interest, that shows strong opposition to the new Israeli aid request. The February 2003 survey by Zogby International found that by 57 percent to 29 percent Americans oppose what the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation referred to as "this additional $12 billion aid package."
The other participating organizations are Partners for Peace, Arab American Institute, American Muslims for Jerusalem, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Muslim American Society, Muslim Public Affairs Council, and NAAA-ADC, the government-affairs affiliate of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
The buzz
"Democratic pollsters are buzzing about the possibility that the Rev. Al Sharpton, generally dismissed as a party gadfly, could actually score big in, of all places, the South," Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.
"They reason that the Big Al will be attractive to blacks, who make up a large chunk of Dixie Dems. Which leads to another topic hot in Democratic circles: If a favorite other than Sharpton doesn't become obvious by late fall, look for a strong effort to draft Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton," Mr. Bedard said.
"The Iowa Democratic Party is already thinking that. We hear it wants Clinton as the featured speaker at an annual fall event an invite that's irked Sen. John Kerry."

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