- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Moore hate

“The presidential campaign is already so nasty that the Democratic establishment is taking its cues from filmmaker Michael Moore,” Orlando Sentinel columnist Peter A. Brown writes.

“It shows, sadly, that the Democrats believe their core supporters hate President Bush so much they don’t care about the truth of accusations that impugn his character,” Mr. Brown said in a piece that ran yesterday in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“A few weeks ago, Moore called the president a ‘deserter,’ making the unsupported charge that Bush did not complete his military service requirement in the Texas Air National Guard in 1972-73.

“The allegation is an article of faith among those who still wrongly believe Bush didn’t fairly win the 2000 election. They don’t seem to care that there’s no proof of the charge.

“Bush has said he completed the meeting and flying requirements, and his honorable discharge proves the point. The loony left raised this issue during the 2000 campaign, but it didn’t get any political traction. …

“The lack of any new evidence to give their smear campaign legitimacy doesn’t seem to have made a difference to the Democratic hierarchy this time. Perhaps that’s because the economy and the situation in Iraq are improving and the Democrats are desperate for an issue.”

Kerry’s flip-flop

“Democratic front-runner John Kerry’s response to President Bush’s ‘Meet the Press’ interview Sunday was as predictable as it was disingenuous,” the New York Post says in an editorial.

“‘It appears that he was telling the American people stories in 2002,’ said the junior senator from Massachusetts.

“‘Back then, President Bush repeatedly told the American people that Saddam Hussein “has got chemical weapons.” … And it was on that basis that he sent American sons and daughters off to war.’

“Yes, that’s what George W. Bush was telling the American people.

“Then again, so was John Kerry,” the newspaper said, quoting from an Oct. 9, 2002, speech on the floor of the Senate in which Mr. Kerry said in no uncertain terms that Saddam Hussein “has chemical and biological weapons” that are “a grave threat to our security and that of our allies in the Persian Gulf region.”

Bartlett’s bill

Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, Maryland Republican, will introduce legislation tomorrow to undo the pre-election political-speech restrictions imposed by the McCain-Feingold law.

Mr. Bartlett’s campaign-reform legislation would repeal those sections of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, commonly known as McCain-Feingold, that ban non-PAC-funded issue advocacy for a specific period of time prior to a primary or general election, United Press International reports.

“Federal government control of Americans’ access to information about political candidates would be anathema to our nation’s founders and eviscerates the central purpose of the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech,” Mr. Bartlett said.

His legislation also would eliminate the new prohibition on references to federal candidates in broadcast advertisements during 30 days before primaries and 60 days before general elections.

Radio waves

The problem with attempts by liberals to develop an alternative to conservative talk radio, says one liberal analyst, is that political hacks are in charge of the efforts.

“While Republicans in the early ‘90s tapped into a talk radio phenomenon that had developed organically,” Jason Zengerle writes in the latest issue of the New Republic, “Democratic politicians are trying to jump-start the process on their own. Both of the groups currently working on liberal talk radio ventures deny any formal affiliation with the Democratic Party. But Progress Media’s CEO [Mark] Walsh recently served as the DNC’s technology adviser; and Democracy Radio’s [Tom] Athans is a longtime Democratic activist who’s married to Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

“Moreover, the desire to create viable liberal talk radio programs goes all the way up to the top of the Democratic Party. ‘If we’re going to try to break through as Democrats, we have to have the same edge that Republicans do,’ Tom Daschle said of the need for liberal talk radio shows shortly after the 2002 midterm elections.”

Smoke in his eyes?

New York City’s stridently antismoking mayor says he never saw any of an estimated 50 persons who illegally fired up cigars during a party of wealthy Wall Street titans.

Smoking at the Jan. 15 black-tie event for the exclusive Kappa Beta Phi society at the St. Regis Hotel would have violated the city’s ban on smoking in bars, restaurants and other public places, which the mayor pushed through last year. The state has a similar prohibition.

“I didn’t see anybody smoking when I was there,” said Mr. Bloomberg, a billionaire member of the society.

One partygoer told the New York Post as many as 50 of the 130 guests were smoking cigars.

Bereuter’s new gig

The Asia Foundation announced yesterday that Rep. Doug Bereuter, Nebraska Republican, will leave Congress to serve as the organization’s new president.

Mr. Bereuter’s appointment is effective Sept. 1, the organization said at a news conference at the National Press Club. Mr. Bereuter will resign from Congress on that date.

Mr. Bereuter is a 25-year veteran of Congress with more than two decades of service on the House International Relations Committee.

The Asia Foundation describes itself as a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization committed to the development of a peaceful, prosperous and open Asia-Pacific region.

Governors in Iraq

Six governors arrived in Baghdad yesterday morning to pay a surprise visit to U.S. troops.

The trip, undertaken in strict secrecy for security reasons, will last two days and include meetings with the men and women serving with U.S. forces in Iraq, consultations with Iraqi leaders and a visit to a women’s center to “discuss women’s rights in a democratic society,” a spokesman for Gov. Kathleen Blanco, Louisiana Democrat, told the Associated Press.

The governors accompanying Mrs. Blanco are Theodore R. Kulongoski, Oregon Democrat; George E. Pataki, New York Republican; Dirk Kempthorne, Idaho Republican; Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota Republican; and Linda Lingle, Hawaii Republican.

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

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