- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 12, 2004

Washington losers

As the Austin bureau of the Houston Chronicle describes it, Texas State DemocraticChairman Charles Soechting is so disgusted that his national party has written the state off as Republican that he is urging financial donors to cut off the Democratic National Committee in Washington.

“Is a line drawn in the sand between myself and the DNC? Yes it is,” says Mr. Soechting, explaining that DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe and his national team in Washington have taken the attitude that because Texas is President Bush’s home state it cannot be won.

“That is a loser, defeatist mentality,” he says.

Polarized populace

Indeed, the Democratic National Convention did not produce the expected “bounce” for Sen.John Kerry, but at least he’s ahead in the polls, reason party strategists James Carville and Stan Greenberg.

If nothing else, the recent Boston convention “fully consolidated” Democrats — 93 percent of whom say they will vote for Mr. Kerry, the party’s presidential nominee. But Republicans also began lining up behind President Bush in larger numbers.

“That [Democratic consolidation] was counter-balanced by the Republicans who, also predictably, consolidated in like numbers after hearing Kerry,” say the two strategists. “The partisans were both apparently just waiting for their cues.”

Still, they concede, “the small shift in the vote is disappointing. … We hoped the convention would have pushed up the Kerry vote at least to the proportion wanting change — and then some more, reflecting the usual ‘unreality’ of many voters momentarily taken with all the excitement and hope.

“It is possible that the country has become so polarized so early that such changes are not possible.”

Scary both ways

Capitol Hill’s top watchdog on illegal immigration, Rep. Tom Tancredo, is not a happy camper these days.

“I guess al Qaeda wants to fill a few jobs no American will take,” said the Colorado Republican, reacting to word that an al Qaeda suspect crossed the Mexican border into the United States as thousands of other illegal aliens do every month.

Farida Goolam Mohamed Ahmed, a woman reported to have close ties to al Qaeda, was arrested in McAllen, Texas. She’d flown from London to Mexico City, then entered the United States by crossing the Rio Grande. Reports said she was on a “watch list” and possibly entered the United States as many as 250 times in the past.

“Is it going to take another September 11th to get our leaders in Washington to wake up and start minding the store?” wondered Mr. Tancredo, chairman of the House Immigration Reform Caucus.

If illegal immigrants aren’t enough to worry about, the congressman has now sent a letter to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. In it he asks what safeguards exist to ensure that none of the 11,000 Muslims legally eligible for refugee status will turn out to be the next Yassin Aref, one of the two men recently detained after reportedly attempting to obtain shoulder-fired missiles as part of a terrorist plot.

“To hear reports about anyone being granted unconditional citizenship … is troubling to say the least,” writes Mr. Tancredo. “How can we sleep at night not knowing that our government isn’t doing everything possible to prevent another terrorist attack on our own soil?”

Now hear this

For the sake of American soldiers, a congressman is calling on news organizations to begin reporting the “other side of the story” in Iraq.

“It is one that demonstrates what can happen when people taste freedom,” says Rep. Steve King, Iowa Republican, who has twice traveled to Iraq.

“And I can tell you firsthand that what is being reported by the mainstream media does not accurately reflect the day-to-day acts of goodwill toward the Iraqi people,” he says. “I can tell you that what the troops told me did not sound remotely similar to the non-stop negative stories being promoted by the major media sources.”

With Saddam Hussein no longer in power, the congressman cites more than 170 newspapers that are now being published in Iraq without restrictions on free speech. More than 3,700 schools have been renovated, he says, and more than 9 million new math and science textbooks printed and distributed “with the pro-Saddam propaganda extracted.”

He calls attention to Iraq’s new $1 billion healthcare budget — 25 times greater than the $16 million annual budget under Saddam’s reign. Already, 85 percent of Iraqi children have been immunized.

“Why don’t we hear any of this in the media?” Mr. King asks.

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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