- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 8, 2003

Privacy pietiesSome have compared news reports of former Education Secretary William J. Bennett’s gambling habits with investigations of former President Bill Clinton. But one veteran Clinton foe isn’t buying the analogy.In an e-mail to pundit Andrew Sullivan (www.andrewsullivan.com), American Spectator editor R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. writes:”The American Spectator’s reportage on Boy Clinton in the 1990s is in no way comparable to the invasion of Bill Bennett’s privacy by the Washington Monthly and Newsweek. From our first Troopergate story through our revelations about technology transfer and other irregularities by the Clintons, I maintained that Clinton’s fundamental offense was not sex, but the abuse of power, first in the Governor’s office and later at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”As I said in your favorite gazette, the New York Times, Clinton’s abuse of power would be wrong whether he was using his power to engage women in scortatory pursuits or to increase his stamp collection. It is the press that made sex the issue and the Clintons cleverly stood behind its false pieties about privacy to divert critics from their real excess, the abuse of power.”Kerry, Dean tiedDemocratic presidential rivals John Kerry and Howard Dean are tied in the latest poll of likely New Hampshire primary voters, the Associated Press reports.The survey by Franklin Pierce College, conducted April 27-May 1, found the two candidates at 23 percent, with Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut far behind at 9 percent and Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri at 8 percent.Beyond the support numbers, Mr. Kerry had a favorable rating of 64 percent, the highest of the Democrats, and just 4 percent didn’t know of the Massachusetts senator. Mr. Dean had a favorable rating of 49 percent and 18 percent did not know of the former Vermont governor.The poll of 600 likely primary voters had an error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points.No Hart for raceGary Hart, the 1988 Democratic front-runner who was forced to abandon his presidential bid because of scandal, said yesterday he will not try to make another run for the White House.”I’ve concluded that I do not have sufficient enthusiasm for the mechanical side of campaigning, the money, the media and the polling and so forth to go forward with a campaign,” Mr. Hart told the Associated Press in a telephone interview.The 66-year-old former Colorado senator, who sought his party’s nomination in 1984 and 1988, had been weighing a bid for the Democratic nod since January. During the last four months, Mr. Hart has been meeting with Democratic activists, delivering policy speeches and traveling to key early states while nine other Democrats entered the race.Basking in victimhood“Last week at the Jefferson Jackson Baily Dinner in Connecticut, Senator Hillary Clinton appeared to have a near meltdown,” David Hogberg writes at www.spectator.org.” ‘I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration, somehow you’re not patriotic,’ she howled. ‘And we should stand up and say we are Americans and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration.‘“Perhaps more interesting than Hillary’s tone is the commonality of her sentiments among Democrats and liberals. About a year ago at Florida’s Democratic convention, Al Gore zinged Republicans who supposedly implied ‘that those who stand up to them are somehow unpatriotic.’ John Kerry griped that Republicans should be reminded ‘that the freedom they love to preach about includes the freedom to disagree and the right to dissent.’ Back in March both the New York Times’ editorialists and columnist Bob Herbert echoed similar concerns.”To listen to politicians and commentators one has to conclude they have faced a barrage of criticism questioning their patriotism in the wake of 9/11. But have they?”Mr. Hogberg did a search of three prominent conservative Web sites — the American Spectator, the Weekly Standard and National Review — as well as a Google search. There were a few commentaries that did, indeed, question the patriotism of some liberals — but pitifully few.”So why do Democrats and liberals keep portraying themselves as victims of such criticism?” Mr. Hogberg asked.”One answer is obvious after hearing the audience cheers following Hillary’s tirade. Democratic politicians find an effective rallying cry in lashing out at Republicans for supposedly questioning their patriotism. This is vitally important at a time when the Democratic rank-and-file is dispirited.”A slightly less obvious answer is liberals’ prejudice about conservatives. Many view conservatives as war-mongering jingoists who won’t hesitate to call their opponents’ patriotism into question, especially during a time of war. For liberals, it’s McCarthyism all over again.”Perhaps the least obvious explanation is psychological. Thinking of oneself as a victim is, in a perverse way, pleasurable. It enables Democrats and liberals to think of themselves as morally superior.”Waxman complainsDocuments show that an emergency contract the Bush administration gave to Halliburton Co. to extinguish Iraqi oil fires also gave the firm a more lucrative role in getting the country’s oil system up and running, the Associated Press reports.Rep. Henry A. Waxman, California Democrat, said the administration was hiding the expanded role of the Houston company, formerly run by Vice President Dick Cheney.A spokeswoman for Halliburton said the company’s initial announcement of the contract on March 24 disclosed the larger role for its KBR subsidiary.The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in a letter to Mr. Waxman on Friday, disclosed that the no-bid contract included not only extinguishing fires but “operation of facilities and distribution of products.”According to Agence France-Presse, documents released by Mr. Waxman also show that Halliburton has done business in Iran, Iraq and Libya for years despite U.S. embargoes, according to documents released by a Democratic lawmaker.In a letter to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Mr. Waxman said Halliburton’s dealings date from the 1980s but “appear to have continued during the period between 1995 and 2000, when Vice President Cheney headed the company; and they are apparently ongoing even today.”Halliburton spokesman Wendy Hall said the company has foreign subsidiaries that operate within U.S. law, a point Mr. Waxman did not dispute.Rudy and ReaganFormer New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani is now on the board of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.”We are privileged to have Rudy join the Ronald Reagan Library Foundation’s board of trustees,” former first lady Nancy Reagan said in a statement Monday announcing Mr. Giuliani was joining the board.”His leadership and character will be an asset to the board and will help continue to preserve my husband’s legacy,” she said.Foundation Chairman Frederick J. Ryan Jr. said he was delighted, adding, “Rudy has had a long association with President Reagan and the Reagan Library.”Unlikely defenderWilliam J. Bennett, the “Book of Virtues” author and Republican former Cabinet member, has come under fire from many liberals and some conservatives for being a heavy gambler. But at least one liberal has come to his defense.”It’s hard for me to see what he did wrong,” former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo told the New York Times.”Gambling is not a sin, it’s not illegal. He didn’t condemn it and then contradict himself. He didn’t hurt anyone. He didn’t lie about it, he didn’t try to hide it,” Mr. Cuomo said. “He doesn’t think he’s a saint and he doesn’t pretend to be. Now he has admitted it’s excessive and sets a bad example of indulgence and said his gambling days are over.”

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