- The Washington Times - Monday, March 3, 2003

Leading the debate
The Congressional Black Caucus will host four debates for the Democratic Party's presidential candidates this year, an effort that could bolster the role black voters will play in the 2004 election.
Debate sites will include Detroit, Los Angeles and Jackson, Miss. The fourth site is now being determined, but will be either Baltimore or Philadelphia.
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Maryland Democrat and caucus chairman, says the debates will focus on domestic issues rather than terrorism and war in Iraq.
He said the debates will give candidates a chance to discuss issues "important to not only African-Americans, but … that are at the center of people's lives. We also believe that these debates will help to educate African-Americans about who the candidates are, energize them to register to vote and in the end, go to the polls on Election Day in record numbers."
The debates are being organized by Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, mother of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
In a report in USA Today, Mr. Cummings called black voters "the most loyal constituency within the Democratic Party."
An angry senator
Sen. Pat Roberts, Kansas Republican, says he has his "dander up" about the Democratic filibuster of judicial nominee Miguel Estrada.
"That's a pretty sad commentary," Mr. Roberts said on "Fox News Sunday," referring to the Democrats' tactics.
"It's not only Estrada. You're getting my dander up now. It's not only Estrada; it is a new standard. If this sticks, if the filibuster sticks, it will mean that you will have to have 60 votes for any nominee. We are really changing the constitutional design of what it takes to basically nominate and approve any judge. That's the big issue, as well as Estrada. So, we're going to keep fighting," Mr. Roberts said.
However, Mr. Roberts would not say whether Republicans are prepared to make the Democrats conduct an old-fashioned, round-the-clock filibuster rather than what Brit Hume of Fox News called the "more genteel" filibuster now in use.
"I don't think the other side has been very genteel," Mr. Roberts said, adding: "I'm not normally a partisan person, but this, you know, this really, this really disturbs me in regards to changing the way that any future judge will be approved. This is a constitutional issue as well as Estrada. It's got my dander up."
Change of heart?
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, took to the floor of the Senate last week to reiterate her party's demand that the Justice Department turn over confidential memos written by judicial nominee Miguel Estrada when he worked in the Solicitor General's Office.
"This, of course, is giving Republicans on Capitol Hill who are veterans of the Clinton presidential era quite a chuckle," United Press International reports in its Capital Comment column.
"The Clinton White House repeatedly fought with the Congress over whether they would turn over requested documents. Some Republicans are also reminding anyone who will listen about Mrs. Clinton's Rose Law Firm billing records, which went missing until they mysteriously appeared inside the White House private quarters long after they were requested. Sen. Clinton's office did not respond to a request for comment on this apparent contradiction, or maybe it's just a change of heart," the wire service said.
Politics of appeasement
Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, yesterday accused the French and the Germans of indulging in "appeasement."
"The politics of diplomacy has turned into the politics of appeasement," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press," referring to the international argument about what to do about Iraq.
"Herr [Gerhard] Schroeder in Germany, a valued ally I served in Germany in 1982, '84 to '88, as a military officer, helping protect Germany and Western Europe against communism, helping to protect our way of life. Herr Schroeder is the chancellor of appeasement."
Host Tim Russert responded: "'Appeasement' is a big word. Would you suggest the French are appeasers, too?"
"Absolutely," Mr. Graham said. "I would suggest that the policy of the French, the Germans are out of snyc with the Europeans in general."
The senator added: "Yes, this is appeasement. Eighteen [United Nations] resolutions, 12 years. What would you call it? Thorough? I would call it appeasement."
A billionaire's blast
George Soros, who made billions as a currency trader, denounced the Bush administration Friday for what he called its "imperialist vision."
"President Bush is pushing the wrong buttons when he says, 'Those who are not with us are against us,'" Mr. Soros said in a speech at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. "This is an imperialist vision in which the U.S. leads and the rest of the world follows."
The Bush administration has a "visceral aversion to international cooperation," which is why it is willing to confront Iraq militarily even though much of the world opposes such action, he said.
Mr. Soros, who was born in Budapest but is a naturalized U.S. citizen, also characterized some members of the Bush administration, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Attorney General John Ashcroft, as having "an exaggerated view of their own righteousness," the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
'In Our Name'
A conservative journal on the Internet is sponsoring a petition drive to counter what it calls "anti-American" and "anti-war" petitions and ad campaigns organized by "Hollywood and academic leftists."
"Patriot Petitions invites you to stand and be counted in defense of our national sovereignty by supporting our commander-in-chief and our military forces in harm's way, defending imminent threats to our homeland," the Federalist Digest says in an introduction to the petition, which it posted this week at www.PatriotPetitions.com/petition.asp.
The Federalist Digest, which is not connected to the Federalist Society, says it supports the "conservative revolution inspired by Ronald Reagan" and describes itself as the "most widely read conservative e-journal on the Internet."
Federalist executive editor Mark Alexander calls the petition drive: "In Our Name: A Statement of Justice."
The title is a play on what the journal calls the "well-funded anti-war petition, 'Not in Our Name,'" whose supporters include actors Martin Sheen and Ed Asner and writer Kurt Vonnegut. It is posted at www.nion.us.
The Federalist says its petition is also a "counteroffensive" to the ad campaign of the group Win Without War, which it contends is "paid for by a coterie of celebrity and academic leftists and their front organizations."
Lott's lot
"It looks like you're adjusting pretty well to life after being the majority leader," CNN's Wolf Blitzer told Sen. Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican, yesterday on "Late Edition."
Said Mr. Lott: "Well, it's preferable to be majority leader, but life goes on and you try to find a niche where you can make a contribution to the people who elected you and to your country."
He added: "I'm enjoying the intelligence committee. Finally, I feel like I'm getting even more answers than I did when I was majority leader. I got occasional briefings, but usually it was to tell me, 'We're doing this.' At least [on] the intelligence committee you get a little input as you prepare to take an action."
O'Neill's revenge?
Former Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill and a journalist are shopping around a manuscript critical of the Bush administration's handling of the economy, Time magazine reports.


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