- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 4, 2003

Too close to call

“The quiet but crucial race for control of New Jersey’s evenly divided (20-20) Senate appears too close to call — much closer than the GOP blowout on tap in Virginia’s legislative races,” CNN political editor John Mercurio writes in the network’s daily e-mail newsletter, the Morning Grind.

“The parties in New Jersey are operating under a power-sharing agreement,” Mr. Mercurio noted.

According to www.politicsnj.com, the best Web site (actually, the best publication of any sort) devoted exclusively to New Jersey politics, Republicans hold 17 safe or likely GOP seats, while Democrats hold 18. The real battle is over five seats (three Republican, two Democratic) that are either tossups or lean narrowly toward one party. Democrats enjoy a narrow edge in the state Assembly, which they currently control by a three-seat margin. Only eight seats are being heavily contested in the lower chamber — five Republicans, two Democrats and a Green.

“The winners in Jersey will command the legislative agenda for the next two years, a critical period leading up to the next gubernatorial election in 2005.”

Pressure on CBS

BoycottCBS.com yesterday urged greeting-card company Hallmark to use its influence to persuade CBS to cancel the miniseries “The Reagans,” which some critics say is a liberal smear of the former president and his wife, Nancy.

The miniseries is scheduled to air later this month.

Media reports indicate that Hallmark’s entertainment division holds the international licensing rights to the CBS mini-series, which puts the company in the middle of the controversy, BoycottCBS.com said yesterday in a press release.

The group noted the show is scheduled to air as the holiday shopping season begins.

“How disappointing it would be for Hallmark to distribute the Reagan smear internationally at this challenging time for America abroad,” said Michael Paranzino, founder of BoycottCBS.com.

“Hallmark has a distinguished record of good taste and respect for family values. … Hallmark can, and should, save CBS from itself by urging the network to can this miserable project.”

BoycottCBS.com, a group formed Oct. 26, said its Web site has received hundreds of thousands of visitors seeking to receive information regarding the show’s sponsors, so they may boycott them for 30 days after the show airs in mid-November.

Race-baiting Dean

“Credit Howard Dean for running a shrewd campaign, but one reason he’s leading the Democratic presidential sweepstakes is because his opponents don’t seem to understand his appeal,” the Wall Street Journal says.

“Look no further than this weekend’s flap over Dr. Dean’s alleged embrace of the Confederate flag,” the newspaper said in an editorial.

“The former Vermont governor was quoted in Saturday’s Des Moines [Iowa] Register as saying that ‘I still want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags on their pickup trucks’ and appeal to ‘a broad cross-section of Democrats.’ His rivals immediately jumped on the remark as a sign that Dr. Dean was somehow soft on civil rights. ‘It is simply unconscionable for Howard Dean to embrace the most racially divisive symbol in America,’ said John Kerry.

“Democrats usually smear Republicans with this kind of race-baiting politics, but it isn’t any more justified when Democrats use it against one of their own. Dr. Dean is hardly sympathetic to the Confederacy, or Jim Crow, or apartheid or any other kind of racial discrimination. He was merely saying he’d like to win the support of Southerners who over the years have fled the Democratic Party represented by the Kerrys and the Dick Gephardts.

“One reason those and so many other voters have left is precisely because of the kind of litmus-test, interest-group gotcha! politics that this racial pandering represents. Yet Dr. Dean’s opponents continue to attack him for violating liberal taboos on guns, Medicare, trade and now civil rights. No wonder Democratic voters find him refreshing.”

Tax cuts work

“The economy’s sizzling 7.2 percent growth pace in the third quarter shows pretty conclusively what some hate to believe: President Bush’s tax cuts worked,” Investor’s Business Daily says.

“You can count on a few things in this world. The swallows will return to Capistrano. Salmon will spawn. Canada’s geese will fly south for the winter. And tax cuts will create growth,” the newspaper said in an editorial.

“Bush inherited a mess when he entered office in 2001 — an economy already suffering from shrinking job growth, a collapse in business investment, and one of the worst stock market crashes in history. The economy was already contracting. It was a recession not of Bush’s doing.

“But Bush did the right thing, the smart thing: He cut taxes.

“Not once. Not twice. But three times.

“We heard the screams and complaints. A giveaway to the rich, some said. Raise taxes if you want to grow, still others moaned.

“In one of the more bizarre twists of logic, some even claimed Bush’s tax cuts caused the recession — a metaphysical impossibility, since the recession began before taxes were cut.

“They were wrong — all of them. This growth is no fluke. This is the way tax cuts are supposed to work. And they do so reliably, with a lag of anywhere from one year to three. Yes, tax cuts work.”

Tripp wins

Linda Tripp will get more than $595,000 from the Defense Department to settle a lawsuit over the release of confidential personal information about her to a magazine, her attorneys told the Associated Press yesterday.

Based on information supplied by Pentagon officials in 1998, the New Yorker reported Mrs. Tripp did not admit a teenage larceny arrest on her security application for her job at the Defense Department.

Mrs. Tripp, whose secret tapes of conversations with Monica Lewinsky helped lead to President Clinton’s impeachment trial, sued the Defense Department two years ago, charging violations of the Privacy Act. She had worked for the department as a public-affairs specialist.

The 1974 Privacy Act prohibits the government from releasing unauthorized personal information about individual Americans to nonfederal organizations.

Mrs. Tripp said administration officials retaliated for her role in triggering the impeachment proceedings. Mrs. Tripp provided Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr with tapes in which Miss Lewinsky confided a sexual relationship with Mr. Clinton.

As part of the settlement, Mrs. Tripp gets a one-time payment of $595,000, a retroactive promotion and retroactive pay at a higher salary level for 1998, 1999 and 2000.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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