- The Washington Times - Monday, March 17, 2003

Party time
Students on spring break in Key West, Fla., are drinking a powerful new cocktail, Anna Quindlen reports at www.msnbc.com.
The drink is called the Saddam: "You get bombed in about 15 minutes."
Missing in action
Paul Bedard writes in U.S. News & World Report's "Washington Whispers" column:
"Former President Clinton lost the codes to nuclear war the day the Monica Lewinsky affair broke, was MIA in the fall of 1998 when a decision was needed on the killing of Osama bin Laden, and was 'too busy watching a golf match' to OK a 1996 bombing mission in Iraq, says a blockbuster new book by Clinton's former military aide.
"Lt. Col. Robert Patterson, who carried the nuclear 'football' from May 1996 to May 1998, crosses a line no other 'mil aide' has before in condemning his commander in chief in 'Dereliction of Duty: The Eyewitness Account of How Bill Clinton Compromised America's National Security.'
"'This story had to be told,' but a Clinton national security aide, William Danvers, tells us Clinton was never 'unavailable for key' decisions and didn't jeopardize U.S. security. One story: The day the Lewinsky scandal broke, Clinton was to trade in his 'biscuit' with the nuclear launch codes. But they were missing. 'We never did get them back,' says Patterson. Then there's bin Laden: Clinton ducked calls from the Situation Room to OK a Tomahawk attack in 1998, then waffled until it was too late."
Pelosi's war on Bush
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, says she will not be joining Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's cease-fire on criticism of the commander in chief if the bombs and bullets fly in Iraq.
Mrs. Pelosi, speaking Thursday, said that on a recent trip to the Middle East she expressed her "appreciation" to the troops for their "courage, patriotism and the sacrifice they are willing to make." But support for the troops doesn't translate into support for their leader, she said.
"We know that we could have better leadership taking us into this fight," Mrs. Pelosi said. "Leadership that doesn't alienate our allies, antagonize the United Nations and inflame our enemy," which she identified as "terrorism" and not Saddam Hussein.
Mrs. Pelosi said she will continue to oppose war in Iraq and ask questions about how much it will cost in dollars and human life. And she will continue to assert that a conflict in Iraq would distract the country from winning the war on terrorism.
"I reserve the right during the course of the war to make judgments about how it's proceeding and what it means to the American people," Mrs. Pelosi said. "I certainly don't surrender my right to speak out on it, but I think we have to make sure we are with our troops."
Moran fallout
"Republicans who brought down Trent Lott for politically incorrect speech are asking why Democrats aren't responding with equal fervor now that one of their own has said something that goes over the line," Eleanor Clift writes at www.msnbc.com.
"Virginia Democrat Jim Moran's comments at an antiwar meeting last week implied that Jews are to blame for the Bush administration's drive for war against Iraq. Moran apologized, but the historical echoes that he awakened are so antithetical to what Democrats claim to stand for that he might as well bid goodbye to his political career," the columnist said.
Mr. Moran's punishment was "insignificant" and "a far cry from the humiliation heaped on Lott.
"Some in the party are wondering why Moran is still around at all. One political analyst said he counseled two Democratic presidential campaigns to call for Moran's resignation. 'It would be a cheap way to reassure Jewish voters,' he said. 'I don't understand why they haven't done it yet.'"
The columnist added: "The controversy over Moran adds to a growing problem for Democrats who depend on Jewish votes and campaign contributions. The Republicans have a significant outreach program in the Jewish community. Bush's solidarity with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has won him admiration from American Jews, even from those who disagree with Sharon's hard-line policies. The Biblical identification that evangelical Christians feel with the Jewish holy lands has opened the door to a promising political alliance for the GOP."
Alive and well
"Thirty years after the Supreme Court handed down a decision that was supposed to be a definitive resolution of the abortion debate, the political opposition to that decision is alive and well. Pro-lifers not only won Senate passage of the partial-birth-abortion ban; they also showed remarkable strength in another test," Ramesh Ponnuru writes in the National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).
"Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat, offered an amendment expressing the sense of the Senate that Roe v. Wade was rightly decided. He had done the same thing during the partial-birth-abortion debate in October 1999. The amendment passed, as it did last time, but it will be stripped from the bill before its final passage," Mr. Ponnuru said.
"The vote for the amendment was 52-46. It is reasonable to assume that the non-voters, Mitch McConnell and Joe Biden, would have voted with their parties. So the real division of opinion on Roe in the Senate is 53-47.
"In 1999, the vote was 51-47 counting the non-voters, 51-49.
"Since that time, Republicans have lost four seats in the Senate. But pro-lifers have lost only two votes. Opposition to abortion is sometimes held to be a losing issue for Republicans; but in the last few election cycles, pro-lifers have done better than Republicans.
"The number of pro-life Democrats in the Senate has increased. In 1999, only John Breaux of Louisiana and Harry Reid of Nevada voted against Roe. This time, they were joined by Zell Miller of Georgia, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Mark Pryor of Arkansas. …
"Moreover, the pro-lifers' two-vote slippage doesn't reflect an actual decline in their political strength. Their vote was inflated in 1999 because Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas, voted against Harkin's amendment. She said at the time that she did not want to overturn Roe, but did not think the amendment belonged in the bill. This time, she voted for the amendment. Pro-lifers also lost one vote because Frank Murkowski of Alaska, who had voted with them, became governor and appointed his pro-choice daughter to replace him. That's nothing that a primary can't fix."
No neglect
"State think tank leaders from Maine to Hawaii, and points in between, were in Washington Thursday and Friday for a series of high-level meetings with policymakers and administration insiders," United Press International reports in its Capital Comment column.
"Organized by Frontiers of Freedom's Kerri Houston, the 64-member assembly representing 36 separate, center-right think tanks from 28 states visited the White House Thursday afternoon for a series of briefings by senior officials on foreign and domestic issues," the wire service said.
"'It is very reassuring to see that the administration is not neglecting domestic policy concerns and issues at the state level because of everything else that is going on right now,' Houston said. 'There are a number of important economic issues, like the need for tax cuts to further revive the economy, that needs to be addressed even as the prospect of war increases. The White House's effort to bring these state leaders into the loop is a positive sign that the domestic agenda remains a priority.'"
Freedom from fries
"Do you prefer french fries or freedom fries?" Tim Russert, host of NBC's "Meet the Press," asked Vice President Richard B. Cheney yesterday.
"I don't eat them, whatever they're called," Mr. Cheney replied, laughing. "I used to love them, but now I stay away from french fries. They're not on my diet."

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