- The Washington Times - Monday, December 20, 2004

Arnold’s suggestion

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger suggested in a German newspaper interview published Saturday that the Republican Party should move “a little to the left,” a shift that he said would allow it to pick up new voters.

Mr. Schwarzenegger, a Republican, has taken an unorthodox approach since winning office last year — standing by a promise to toe a conservative line on fiscal matters, while veering left on social issues, such as homosexual rights and the environment.

In an interview with Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily, Mr. Schwarzenegger said that “the Republican Party currently covers only the spectrum from the right wing to the middle, and the Democratic Party covers the spectrum from the left to the middle.”

“I would like the Republican Party to cross this line, move a little further left and place more weight on the center,” he was quoted as saying. “This would immediately give the party 5 percent more votes without it losing anything elsewhere.”

Mr. Schwarzenegger was guarded on suggestions that he harbors presidential ambitions, saying only that a debate on whether the Constitution should be amended to allow foreign-born citizens to run was “overdue,” the Associated Press reports.

ABC’s slant

“In a Sunday night ABC story, the brother and mother of soldiers killed in Iraq denounced Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld for having an auto-pen machine sign his letters of condolence,” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker notes at www.mediaresearch.org.

“But while ‘World News Tonight/Sunday’ anchor Terry Moran portrayed the two as representative of how ‘some military families’ are ‘upset’ with Rumsfeld, the two are dedicated Bush and Rumsfeld haters with a political axe to grind,” Mr. Baker said.

“Ivan Medina spoke in June at a pro-‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ publicity event and in May took part in an anti-Rumsfeld protest where he charged: ‘This government lied to the military soldiers. Bush went to war to settle a family vendetta.’ Sue Niederer sported a ‘President Bush: You Killed My Son’ T-shirt when she was arrested for disrupting a September speech by first lady Laura Bush. In an interview with the far-left Counterpunch Web site, she urged harm to President Bush: ‘I wanted to rip the president’s head off.’ ”

Rest of the story

“The reporter who managed to get a National Guardsman serving in Iraq to question Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld about why his unit’s vehicles lacked sufficient armor coached the soldier using false information,” NewsMax.com reports.

“In fact, by the time Chattanooga Times Free Press reporter Edward Lee Pitts rehearsed Spc. Thomas ‘Jerry’ Wilson on what to say to Rumsfeld, the Pentagon had already up-armored 97 percent of the vehicles in Thomas’ 278th Regimental Combat Team, senior members of the Army’s combat systems development and acquisition team said Thursday.

“Further undermining the premise of Pitts’ question, orders to up-armor the last 20 of the 278th’s 830 vehicles were already in the pipeline when he engineered the bogus inquiry,” NewsMax said.

“According to the Maryville, Tenn., Daily Times — a rival to Pitts’ paper — Army Maj. Gen. Stephen Speakes and Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson said during last week’s Pentagon briefing that routine pre-deployment preparations before proceeding to Iraq included adding protective armor plates to the last 20 vehicles of the Tennessee-based 278th Regimental Combat Team’s 830 vehicles.

” ‘When the question was asked, 20 vehicles remained to be up-armored at that point,’ Gen. Speakes said, in comments completely ignored by the major media.

” ‘We completed those 20 vehicles in the next day,’ he said. ‘In other words, we completed all the armoring within 24 hours of the time the question was asked,’ Gen. Speakes added.

“The eye-opening revelations by Gen. Speakes and Gen. Sorenson first gained national exposure on FreeRepublic.com late Friday.”

Preserving a coalition

“The Republican Party is really a coalition of interests,” Free Congress Foundation chief Paul M. Weyrich writes at www.freecongress.org.

“There are those who support the GOP because they are perceived to be the party that will keep the nation safe from terrorists. There are those who give their support because, historically (although not now), Republicans were more responsible fiscally. These same people probably support Republicans as the party that keeps taxes relatively low. Also there are those who associate the GOP with a strong national defense. Finally, there are the values voters, who mostly supported the Republicans,” Mr. Weyrich said.

“The margin of victory in the Electoral College was rather close. And the popular vote victory was less than three-and-a-half million for the president in 2004. That is good enough for a mandate, but the GOP leadership had better understand that the defection of any one of the elements of this coalition would be fatal to the party.

“That is why a missile-defense system must be launched. That is why the Federal Marriage Amendment must be revived. That is why United States Appeals Court judges and Supreme Court justices must be confirmed. That is why spending must be controlled. That is why Republicans had better understand what is happening with the war in Iraq and how to depart after the elections. I could go on, but you get the picture.”

Loy to leave

James Loy, the No. 2 official at the Homeland Security Department and former head of the Transportation Security Administration, is retiring, the agency announced yesterday.

Adm. Loy will remain on the job until March 1 or until a successor is confirmed by the Senate for the retired Coast Guard commandant. His resignation, coupled with Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge’s planned Feb. 1 departure, means the 180,000-person agency is losing its two top officials.

Mr. Ridge thanked Adm. Loy for his service, saying “his presence, leadership and counsel have been invaluable to the country.”

Rep. Christopher Cox, California Republican and chairman of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security, said he was concerned by the dual resignations.

“The loss of two key leaders in rapid succession has to be worrisome and replacements of their caliber will be hard to find,” he said.

President Bush’s original choice to replace Mr. Ridge, former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, withdrew his name after acknowledging he had employed an illegal alien as a nanny and failed to make required Social Security payments. Mr. Bush has yet to make another choice.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected].

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