- The Washington Times - Monday, September 29, 2003

Consolation prize

“So does retired Gen. Wesley Clark really want to be president or not?” Roger Simon asks in U.S. News & World Report.

“We thought he did. We went all the way to Little Rock, Ark., not long ago to hear him say so,” Mr. Simon said in his “Notes From the Campaign Trail.”

“But in New York last week, at a big Democratic fund-raiser following his first debate, Clark said he would prefer a different job. ‘I didn’t go willingly from the armed services,’ Clark said, referring to his being booted out as NATO commander in 1999. ‘If I had my druthers, I’d still be in uniform.’

“But if he were still in uniform, he wouldn’t be running for president. In fact, he made it clear that using the military to pursue political goals was repugnant to him. ‘It is deeply offensive to men and women in uniform that a political leader comes out and a political party comes out and uses them as props for political activity,’ he told the Democratic bigwigs. (We don’t want to be one of those negative thinkers, but we suspect he was referring to President Bush’s landing on that aircraft carrier.)

“In any case, most people who run seriously for president want the job really badly. Wes Clark, apparently, considers the Oval Office a consolation prize for not getting a chance to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs.”

Colorado courtship

The top Democratic leaders who were trying to woo former presidential candidate Gary Hart into the race against Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Colorado Republican, have now trained their sights on Rep. Mark Udall, the Denver Post reports.

Mr. Udall met last week with Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, Assistant Minority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman John Corzine, said Udall spokesman Lawrence Pacheco.

The three urged Mr. Udall to run, and he is taking their request seriously, Mr. Pacheco said.

The changing political climate in the nation and in Colorado may be boosting Democratic chances next year, and Mr. Udall said in an interview before the meeting he plans to take a final “hard look at the race.”

“I’m taking a look over the next several weeks,” Mr. Udall said. “Stay tuned.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Hart, a former Democratic senator from Colorado, is declining all requests for comment about the Senate race, said a spokeswoman in Mr. Hart’s Denver law office.

A Republican survey in mid-September showed Mr. Campbell beating either Mr. Udall or Mr. Hart by 55 percent to 36 percent, said Daniel Allen, communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

A ‘dangerous turn’

“Howard Dean recently told The Washington Post that former Democratic Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin had advised him he couldn’t ‘sell’ Dr. Dean to Wall Street if he didn’t become more of a free-trader. Dr. Dean declared this almost as a badge of honor, which illustrates a dangerous economic turn in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination,” the Wall Street Journal says.

“We had our differences with Bill Clinton, but there’s no doubt one of his achievements was leading his party away from protectionism. Open trade was a pillar of his New Democrat philosophy. He and Al Gore routed the AFL-CIO and Ross Perot to pass NAFTA in 1993, followed by bills to create the World Trade Organization and allow most-favored-nation trading status for China. A decade later all three have contributed to American prosperity,” the newspaper said in an editorial.

“But without a Democrat looking out for the national interest from the Oval Office, the party is now slipping back toward trade parochialism. On Capitol Hill, the party’s regional and union interests have become dominant; most Democrats opposed giving President Bush new trade negotiating authority last year. More ominous still is the rhetoric coming from the presidential candidates.

“In demanding that NAFTA be renegotiated, Dr. Dean is hardly alone. With the exception of Sen. Joe Lieberman, we can’t find any of the other candidates who still supports it.”

The new ‘ism’

“At the time when the Soviet empire collapsed in ignominy and the totalitarian system in Russia itself disintegrated, people asked: What will take its place in the minds of intellectuals and all those who believed in utopia on earth? What ‘ism’ would become paramount among the discontented of the West? We now know that answer: pessimism,” Paul Johnson writes in National Review.

“The pessimists, from their redoubts in the media and the universities and the various world organizations and charities they have captured, wage propaganda wars against scientific advances and experiments of almost every kind, and prophesy plague and famine,” Mr. Johnson said.

“‘Global warming’ has been their most successful exercise in Jeremiah strategy so far, persuading large numbers of nations — not, happily, including the United States — to reduce ‘emissions,’ that is, to put the brakes on their economies. Indeed, all the activities of the pessimists appear to have the common objective of slowing down the progress of the free-enterprise system in improving productivity and applying science to increase living standards throughout the world.

“Yet while doing all in their power to decelerate the wealth-producing process, the pessimists complain loudly that the poor are getting poorer.”

>’Preposterous’ slogan

“The hard left is always complaining about having their feelings hurt, I mean their views allegedly ‘censored,’” Andrew Sullivan writes at his Web site, www.andrewsullivan.com.

“Among the more preposterous aspects of Wesley Clark’s campaign slogan of a ‘new patriotism’ is his pledge to create America where people are not afraid to voice dissent,” Mr. Sullivan said.

“Give me a break. This spring, I was almost deafened by the chants of the pro-Saddam or anti-war left. Walking the beagle tonight in my neighborhood in D.C. I saw three posters portraying vicious hatred of the United States. And that’s fine by me. Furthermore, I have yet to see a single example of government censorship in this country since 9/11.”

Mr. Sullivan added: “So where are the real blacklists, the real attempts to police thought, censor opposing views and ruthlessly promote people on the basis of ideology, not merit? On campus, of course, one of the few places in America where the hard left still exercises as much control as it can.”

Dean’s papers

Judicial Watch, noting that Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean has called on Vice President Dick Cheney to release the records from his Energy Task Force, is asking Mr. Dean to release his Vermont gubernatorial records to the public.

Judicial Watch, a legal group that has brought suit against Mr. Cheney over release of the Energy Task Force records, pointed out that Mr. Dean has said the reason for sealing his gubernatorial papers for 10 years was to avoid “anything embarrassing appearing in the papers at a critical time in any future endeavor.”

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

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