- The Washington Times - Monday, March 24, 2003

Elder Bush annoyed
Former President George Bush, who led a worldwide coalition to victory over Saddam Hussein in 1991, defended his son's handling of Iraq while taking a swipe at France and Germany in an interview with Newsweek.
"What burns me up are these statements that are critical of the president and of [Secretary of State] Colin Powell [referring to] 'failed diplomacy,'" Mr. Bush said.
It is unfair to compare the coalition he assembled for the 1991 Persian Gulf war with the one his son has managed to build for the current conflict, Mr. Bush said.
"It's a very different problem he faces, and my coalition building was far easier because you could see the troops from Iraq in Kuwait," he said, recalling that even then it had been tough to get the French on board.
"There's always been some friction," he said, adding that history would reveal some "very interesting things" about the French refusal to back the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
"And I'm annoyed at the German position," he told the magazine.
"I don't talk about it publicly, but I know a lot of German people not in the government of [Chancellor Gerhard] Schroeder who are very, very upset about the position of their government," he said.
The 41st president had a message for those who claim his son, the 43rd, cares little for what the rest of the world thinks of U.S. policy toward Iraq.
"You'd like everybody to love you; you'd like everything to be smooth with your longtime friends and allies.
"But in the final analysis, you've got to do what's right and that's why I have … great respect for the president because he can make those tough decisions," he said.
Perdue's plea
Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue fought back tears Saturday as he pushed his plan to raise tobacco taxes to balance the budget, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Speaking at a high school in Newnan, Mr. Perdue told the audience about a "favorite uncle," Bo, a smoker who died of lung disease. The governor had to pause to regain his composure after saying his son planned to name his child after Bo.
At town hall meetings there and in Dalton on Saturday, the Republican governor issued a strong call for legislators to get behind his plan to boost taxes from 12 to 58 cents on a pack of cigarettes.
"The time for diplomacy is over," Mr. Perdue said, borrowing a line from President Bush. "I want to know if folks are going to go with me or stay in the foxhole with the French."
Heavy thinkers
"At 12:30 p.m. Thursday, over 1,000 students and faculty of Harvard University walked out of classes and assembled in Harvard Yard to protest the war of Iraqi liberation. Unconvinced by the usual antics of peacenik protesters, I made my way to the rally in search of intelligent reasons to oppose war. Surely 1,000 Harvard minds could produce such reasons," writes Jason Steorts, a student at the university.
"I encountered a motley assemblage of worthies. Aside from the students, there was the Spartacus Youth League, gracing us with a poster: 'For Class Struggle Against U.S. Capitalist Rulers.' The Socialist Workers party distributed its weekly newsletter. Rita Hamad, a Harvard senior, reminded us of the evils of Zionism in a speech ('the Israeli government will use the Iraqi war as a cover for committing future atrocities [in Palestine]'). In a touching display of multiculturalism, one sign proclaimed 'Finland Against This War' while another bore the Chinese characters for 'Fandui Shiyou Zhanzheng': Oppose the Oil War," Mr. Steorts said at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).
"Searching harder, I found this trenchant injunction: 'Healthcare Not Bombs.' I asked the woman holding the sign to explain exactly how health-care will stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. 'If we use our wealth to provide health-care and solve problems like AIDS,' she answered, 'we will have better relations with other countries, who will help us solve problems like weapons of mass destruction.' Q.E.D.
"At this point, I had an epiphany: Maybe I was listening to the wrong people. Not all of these peaceniks were affiliated with Harvard, and those who were, were mostly students. Perhaps their powers of reasoning were as yet unrefined. If so, then surely it was to their refiners that I should turn. So I listened to a speech by Brian Palmer, lecturer on the study of religion, whom I expected to be a paragon of rationality. …
"Here, at last, was the immorality of the war made manifest. Let's summarize: George W. Bush, aided by a handful of ghouls, is removing Saddam Hussein from power so that he can put an SUV in every garage, oppress the poor, and commit election fraud. This was precisely the sort of serious thought I had hoped for."
A bishop's blather
"Not long ago, on his fifth anniversary as presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, Frank Griswold III had a few thoughts to get off his chest," Fred Barnes writes in the Wall Street Journal.
"The United States is 'hated and loathed' around the world, and for good reason, he said. 'They see us as greedy, self-interested and almost totally unconcerned about poverty, disease and suffering.' Not only that, but President Bush speaks in 'language so unwisely, so intemperately, so thoughtlessly' that the world can't help being alienated. The phrase Bishop Griswold cited was Bush's reference to Iraq, Iran and North Korea as the 'axis of evil,'" Mr. Barnes said.
"Then came the kicker. 'I'd like to be able to go somewhere in the world and not have to apologize for being from the United States,' he said.
"The bishop's comment wasn't widely reported, but if you're an Episcopalian, as I am, you probably heard about it and weren't surprised. Sanctimonious left-wing musings by the top bishop are a punishment we're forced to suffer as Episcopalians. The same is true for members of all the mainline Protestant churches, whose national leaders routinely inflict their left-of-center views on the captive audience in the pews.
"My reaction to Bishop Griswold is pretty simple. I'd like to be able to go somewhere in the world and not have to apologize for belonging to a church whose leader says such embarrassing things. I'd like to hear the bishop speak about saving souls through faith in Jesus Christ instead of presenting his political views as if they grow out of Christian teaching. I'd like the bishop to sound more like Billy Graham than Democratic Sen. Bob Graham, more like Fulton Sheen than Martin Sheen."
Bush vs. Edwards
Sen. John Edwards, a Democratic presidential candidate, trails President Bush badly in Mr. Edwards' home state of North Carolina, according to a poll commissioned by the Raleigh News & Observer.
A statewide survey conducted March 16-19 by Research 2000 found Mr. Bush ahead of Mr. Edwards, 55 percent to 41 percent, in a hypothetical general election matchup.
The survey, which is being ballyhooed by the state Republican Party, also shows that 49 percent of North Carolinians disapprove of Mr. Edwards' bid for the presidency, while 43 approve and 8 percent were not sure.
Dramatic swing
The latest Ipsos Public Affairs/Cook Political Report Poll shows what the firm called "a dramatic swing in favor of President George W. Bush and the whole Republican Party."
A majority (53 percent) of the 804 registered voters interviewed March 18-20 say the country is on the right track, while 40 percent said it is on the wrong track. That is a reversal from 37 percent right track, 54 percent wrong track in interviews conducted Feb. 18 to March 6.
In the most recent poll, 46 percent said they would definitely vote to re-elect Mr. Bush, the highest re-elect number he has seen since the second quarter (April-May-June) of 2002.
Forty-four percent said they would like to see Republicans win control of Congress as compared with 41 percent who favor the Democrats.

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