- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 20, 2003

Patriotic pause
Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean said yesterday he planned to rein in his blunt critiques of President Bush while U.S. troops are fighting in Iraq.
Mr. Dean, whose outspoken opposition to war with Iraq has become a centerpiece of his campaign, said he would try to soften his approach and refrain from attacking Mr. Bush directly while the president is directing troops at war.
"I don't agree with what the president is doing, but it calls for a change in how you campaign," Mr. Dean told Reuters.
"I'm going to continue to say what I think, which is that I don't think this is the right thing to do," he said. "But I certainly want to make it clear that I am going to support the troops and then I'm going to campaign without criticizing the president by name."
Mr. Dean said he realized at a campaign event in New Hampshire on Tuesday he was not comfortable with his usual approach.
Liberal crackup
"Scoop Jackson is dead. So is the hawkish wing of the Democratic party that the late senator once led. Its absence could make the Democrats unelectable for years," Ramesh Ponnuru writes in National Review.
"It's true, of course, that many Democrats in Congress voted for the resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq. Democrats who want to be president remember 1992, when opponents of the first Gulf War were considered ineligible for the national ticket. It's also true that a few liberal intellectuals, notably the editors of The New Republic, support regime change. But these intellectuals are men without a country. They don't appear to have any influence with liberal voters," Mr. Ponnuru said in the article, which is also posted at the magazine's Web site (www.nationalreview.com).
"A January Washington Post poll found 57 percent of the public supporting military action but also found 57 percent of Democrats opposing it. Republican pollster Scott Rasmussen found that 49 percent of self-identified 'liberal Democrats' thought President Bush would be to blame if a war started, while only 34 percent would blame Saddam Hussein. The Left's greatest passions today appear to be, first, hatred of Bush and, second, opposition to what it regards as Bush's war. Hostility to Bush on the left is at least as intense as hostility to Clinton was on the right.
"Many Democrats, in Washington and elsewhere, seem convinced that 'General Rove' is calling the shots on the Mideast. Even pro-war Democrats think that the Bush administration orchestrated the Iraq debate in time for the 2002 elections. (Never mind that it was the Democrats themselves who had been calling for a debate during the summer of 2002.)
"Antiwar liberals have gone much deeper into conspiracy theory. Unable to credit Bush's stated justifications for military action, they assume that he must really be acting at the behest of oil companies, or of Israel. Chris Matthews describes the war as a conspiracy of 'neoconservatives.' Maureen Dowd claims that the administration has all along sought to destroy America's traditional alliances; its diplomacy 'was never meant to succeed.' Dowd is a reliable conduit of conventional liberal wisdom. Sometimes she is incoherent, often she is frivolous, but until now she has not been a crackpot.
"It should be no surprise that in some cases most notoriously that of Democratic Congressman Jim Moran this penchant for conspiracy theory has led where it always seems to lead: to anti-Semitism."
Hollywood hot air
"On Sunday night, the Academy Awards will allow all winners to make a political speech if they choose to do so of between 45 seconds and one minute in length," the anonymous Prowler reports at www.americanprowler.org.
"'As long as it's in good taste, we're happy to let these citizens speak their minds. Obviously our government doesn't care about what they say, or else we wouldn't be going to war,' says a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in New York.
"Over the past several months, other awards shows have attempted to clamp down on the overtly political speechifying of recipients. But producers for the Academy Awards, as well as executives of the ABC television network (owned by Disney), which will carry the show, have made the decision to let Oscar winners and presenters speak their mind before a world audience that will be watching.
"'I'm sure the Bush people and right-wingers like Limbaugh will make a big deal about this, and will probably try to make money off of this, but we're citizens too,' says the screenwriter. 'We have a right to say what we believe and we have a forum to make a difference. Other Americans aren't so lucky, so we won't waste it.'
"Similar comments about conservatives making money off of left-wing proselytizing were made by former President Bill Clinton two weeks ago, when he claimed broadcaster Rush Limbaugh would fund-raise off of Clinton's appearances on '60 Minutes.' Limbaugh does not participate in political fund-raising."
Monsieur Daschle
"On the eve of war, the long American tradition is for politicians to set aside partisanship for at least a few days," the Wall Street Journal notes in an editorial.
"Joe Lieberman, Dick Gephardt, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton are among the Democrats who've lived by that standard this week. Then there's Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle.
"In comments to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, delivered only hours before President Bush's address to the nation, Mr. Daschle said the following: 'I'm saddened, saddened that this president failed so miserably at diplomacy that we're now forced to war. Saddened that we have to give up one life because this president couldn't create the kind of diplomatic effort that was so critical for our country.'
"He wasn't speaking French, at least not the language. But in placing the blame for war and for American deaths not on Saddam Hussein but directly on an American president, Mr. Daschle sounded like Jacques Chirac without the savoir faire." …
"Criticized by Republicans yesterday, Mr. Daschle declared that 'I stand by my statement.' The next time Mr. Daschle says he wants to 'work with the president,' at least we'll know which country's president he's referring to."
Cronkite's rant
Criticizing what he called the "arrogance" of President Bush and his administration, retired CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite said war with Iraq could have unintended, dire consequences for the United States.
Speaking Tuesday at a Drew University forum in Madison, N.J., Mr. Cronkite issued what the Associated Press called "a stinging rebuke of Mr. Bush and those who believe the war will be a quick, smooth operation that ends with Saddam Hussein's ouster." Mr. Cronkite said the refusal of France and other traditional U.S. allies to support the administration's plans signaled something deeper, and more ominous, than a mere foreign policy disagreement.
"I look at our future as, I'm sorry, being very, very dark. Let's see our cards as we rise to meet the difficulties that lie ahead," Mr. Cronkite, 86, told a crowd of about 2,000 that included students, university officials, faculty and nearby residents.
A warning
Stephen Moore, president of the conservative Club for Growth, sent a letter to every Republican member of the House yesterday, urging them to support the budget resolution reported out of the Budget Committee by Chairman Jim Nussle, Iowa Republican, or the Republican Study Committee alternative drafted by Rep. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Moore said the Nussle budget resolution is acceptable because it makes room for President Bush's tax cuts, although the Club for Growth is "far more enthusiastic" about the Toomey budget because it would cut taxes and spending even more.
"We will be watching." said Mr. Moore, whose group has helped a number of conservatives to challenge liberals in Republican primaries.

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