- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 30, 2003

A ‘cynical act’

Remarking at the irony of liberal Democrats holding up more federal spending for the District of Columbia, Sen. Judd Gregg, New Hampshire Republican, termed their tactical filibuster of a school voucher program “an incredibly cynical act.”

The new $13 million voucher program, requested by Mayor Anthony A. Williams and included in the District’s fiscal 2004 appropriations bill, would give $7,500 private-school scholarships to about 2,000 low-income D.C. families whose children attend the city’s worst public schools. But Democrats who oppose vouchers have stalled the bill for four days by refusing to bring amendments.

The problem for Democrats is they don’t know whether they have the 51 votes necessary for a motion to strike the voucher program from the bill, so they are stalling D.C. funding. Republicans don’t know whether they can garner 60 votes necessary to break off debate and move to final passage. So both sides continue to joust.

Asked yesterday by Mr. Gregg when he would offer his motion to strike the vouchers, Sen. Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, said, “It could be tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Charles Schumer, New York Democrat, sidetracked the D.C. funding bill for much of yesterday afternoon with an unrelated “sense of the Senate resolution” that Attorney General John Ashcroft should appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the recent leak of a CIA operative’s identity. The amendment was ultimately ruled out of order.

So as the new fiscal year begins today, D.C. federal education funding for public schools and financial aid for college students remains frozen at the fiscal 2003 level of $740.5 million — $41.7 million less than provided for in the bill being stalled by Democrats.

Regime change

Left-wing billionaire George Soros is urging Americans to oust George W. Bush in next year’s presidential election.

That is the only way to put an end to “extremist” policies by the United States, Mr. Soros told BBC radio.

“It is only possible if you have a regime change in the United States — in other words if President Bush is voted out of power,” Mr. Soros said on an interview program.

“I am very hopeful that people will wake up and realize that they have been led down the garden path, that actually 11 September has been hijacked by a bunch of extremists to put into effect policies that they were advocating before, such as the invasion of Iraq,” he said.

Campaign change

The Rev. Al Sharpton’s campaign manager has left the Democratic presidential candidate’s campaign.

Frank Watkins told the Associated Press yesterday that he and Mr. Sharpton’s South Carolina coordinator, Kevin Gray, had resigned. Both men had worked on Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaigns in the 1980s.

Mr. Watkins will remain an unpaid adviser to the campaign, Mr. Sharpton said in a statement yesterday. Mr. Watkins said he was stepping down for personal reasons and still will vote for Mr. Sharpton.

He will be replaced by political operative Charles Halloran, who is charged with reorganizing the campaign, including auditing the Sharpton team’s fund-raising.

Century of criticism

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, accused the Bush administration of attempting to “undo the 20th century” by rolling back federal environmental regulations.

Speaking at the League of Conservation Voters dinner in Washington, D.C., on Monday night, Mrs. Clinton told a crowd of about 550 environmental activists that the Bush administration is determined to reverse more than just environmental regulations, Marc Morano reports at www.CNSNews.com.

“When I first got to the Senate, I realized that on so many issues that I thought were important for our country and the world, that the [Bush] administration wanted to turn the clock back, and they certainly wanted to undo everything that the Clinton administration had done — which I admit I took a little personally,” Mrs. Clinton said.

“Then it became clear that [the Bush administration] didn’t want to just turn the clock back on the Clinton administration, they wanted to go all the way back and undo Franklin Roosevelt and were on their way to Teddy Roosevelt.”

Mrs. Clinton added: “This was an ideologically driven agenda to … try to undo the 20th century when it came to the frameworks of regulation and law.”

Lieberman’s plea

Sen. Joe Lieberman sent out e-mail asking past supporters of his presidential campaign to help boost his fund-raising totals for the third quarter, which ended yesterday.

“I need your help before midnight tonight to reach my goal of raising $300,000 online in two days,” the Connecticut Democrat said.

“Today is crucial in order for me to continue to run my campaign according to plan. We must show strength in the third-quarter financial report. I cannot do this alone, and that is why I have asked for your help time and time again. But this is by far the most important day of this campaign thus far, and we have to make it a success.

“Yesterday, in less than 24 hours, we raised just over $100,000 through Joe2004.com. By midnight tonight I’m asking you to help me complete my goal by raising the remaining $200,000 we need to achieve online.”

Stopping vote fraud

“The failed attempt by three federal judges to postpone California’s recall election prompted this quip from National Journal’s Hotline newsletter: ‘We’re waiting for the day that pols can just cut out the middleman and settle all elections in court,’” John Fund writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“Courts are playing an increasing role in elections. Soon after Oct. 7, if either the recall or the vote for a replacement governor in the Golden State is close, the lawyers will certainly be back in court. And that’s not the only race that may be litigated. This fall’s race for mayor of Philadelphia also promises to be close,” Mr. Fund said.

Condition normal

“The media’s new word for President Bush is ‘vulnerable,’” Fred Barnes writes in the Wall Street Journal.

“A Gallup Poll last week found he trails Democrats Wesley Clark (49 percent to 46 percent) and John Kerry (48 percent to 47 percent) in presidential race matchups. His job approval rating dipped to 49 percent in a Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey,” Mr. Barnes said.

“A more accurate word for President Bush’s political condition is ‘normal.’ Mr. Bush has slumped in his third year in office just as most recent presidents have. A slump is the rule, not the exception.

“Still, there’s far more reason than not to expect him to recover and win re-election, perhaps easily. His slump, assuming it’s hit bottom, has been milder than the slumps other presidents faced and his prospects are brighter. President Bush is lucky on the economy. His recession came early, giving the economy time to revive before his re-election campaign in 2004. And his foreign policy crisis is hardly as threatening as Vietnam was for Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. The economy is almost certain to look better in 2004 than today and chances are Iraq will, too.”

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

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide