- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 15, 2004

Saving Democrats

“The journalistic establishment has become an anti-Dean mover,” Peggy Noonan writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“Tuesday’s New York Times piece on the absent Mrs. Dean, for instance — that was a piece with a sting. They decided to front-page it six days before the caucuses. The morning network news shows and the cable news shows are full of Mr. Dean’s gaffes, Mr. Gephardt’s rise and Mr. Edwards’s potential,” said Mrs. Noonan, an author and former speech writer for President Reagan.

“Why? It is true the press wants a race. They don’t want to spend the next three months filing ‘Dean Wins Again’ and ‘Why Kerry Failed to Ignite.’ But it’s more than that. Reading between the lines and listening between the lines, it’s hard to avoid the thought that reporters don’t really like Mr. Dean. The last time a viable Democrat rose, in 1992, the columnists for the newsmagazines and profile writers for the newspapers loved Bill Clinton with a throbbing love. None of those columns are being written now. They don’t love Mr. Dean.

“This is not a shock. He seems as unlovable (unless you’re a Deaniac) as he is improbable. But I suspect there’s something else at work. I wonder if mainstream media aren’t trying to save the Democratic Party from Mr. Dean. They know he’s not a likely winner down the road. Boomer reporters who’ve been through the Clinton experience have sharp eyes. I suspect they’re put off by Mr. Dean’s Clintonian aspects, such as his tendency to dissemble. They’re pushing Gephardt and Edwards and even Kerry. They may push Wesley Clark. But they’re not pushing Dean.”

‘An empty suit’

Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Republican, delivered a blistering attack Wednesday against Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards, describing North Carolina’s junior senator as an “empty suit” who lacks understanding of how government works, the Manchester Union Leader reports.

Mr. Santorum made his remarks in an interview with senior editors of the Union Leader. His lengthy attack against Mr. Edwards came in response to a question asking about Mr. Santorum’s impression of the Democratic primary field and particularly his three Senate colleagues in the race. Aside from Mr. Edwards, those are Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.

“As far as the three are concerned, all three of those candidates have their strengths and have their weaknesses. Of the three, candidly, I’m the least impressed with John Edwards,” Mr. Santorum said. “In his time in the United States Senate, he distinguished himself by arguing for things I would have thought he would have been an expert on — things like the Patients’ Bill of Rights and medical liability — but was as remarkably uninformed as any general member of the United States Senate on these issues.”

Mr. Santorum added: “The basic perception in the Republican caucus was that this guy is just an empty suit, that he just simply doesn’t understand.”

Mr. Santorum is the first of several national Republican leaders scheduled to visit New Hampshire before the state’s first-in-the-nation primary on Jan 27. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee was scheduled to visit yesterday and today, while New York Gov. George E. Pataki will visit Jan. 25.

Rush to arms

Landmark Legal Foundation yesterday filed a freedom of information request with the State’s Attorney’s Office in Palm Beach County, Fla., seeking all information concerning communications to or from that office or any of its employees and outside individuals or groups relating to radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh.

Mark R. Levin, president of Landmark, said in a prepared statement: “We want to know why Palm Beach County State Attorney Barry Krischer waited 10 months before investigating allegations against Rush Limbaugh — only after stories appeared in the National Enquirer. We’re concerned that once the story became public, Mr. Krischer, an elected prosecutor, may have been pressured to use extraordinary tactics and resources to punish Rush for his viewpoints.”

Mr. Levin cited “false news stories” that claimed Mr. Limbaugh was being investigated for money laundering and for a role in a drug ring. He also noted that Mr. Krischer is looking into potential “doctor shopping” charges against Mr. Limbaugh, who recently underwent rehabilitation for a prescription-drug addiction.

Mr. Levin added: “There also are numerous leaks coming from ‘sources close to the probe’ which are obviously intended to smear Rush. It is a felony in Florida to leak investigative information. Michael Edmondson, Mr. Krischer’s spokesman, has been accused in open court and on television of being the source of some of these stories. Despite this ‘journalist shopping,’ Mr. Krischer has taken no steps to investigate and prevent these leaks.”

Landmark said it will file suit against the State’s Attorney’s Office if it fails to produce the requested information.

Parting ways

A major Islamic organization has dropped out of a pro-family group after accusations of ties to extremists.

The Islamic Society of North America “has chosen to withdraw” from the Alliance for Marriage, said Matt Daniels, the alliance’s president and founder. A broad-based coalition of conservatives that includes several religious leaders, the alliance is promoting the Federal Marriage Amendment, a proposed constitutional measure that would effectively ban same-sex “marriage” in the United States.

The Islamic group’s secretary-general, Sayyid M. Syeed, had been a member of the alliance’s advisory board. But last month, Evan Gahr, at the Jewish World Review Web site (www.jewishworldreview.com), reported that the author of a book on terrorism said the Islamic Society of North America had ties to Islamic terrorist organizations, including Hamas.

That report prompted prominent Rabbi Marc Gellman to resign from the alliance. Leading conservatives were also critical of the alliance’s association with the Islamic group.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the Islamic Society of North America is one of dozens of nonprofit groups whose tax records have been requested by the Senate Finance Committee as part of an investigation of potential terrorist ties.

Yesterday, Mr. Daniel said the Islamic group left the alliance “out of desire to avoid any distraction from our common goal of rebuilding a culture of intact families in the United States.”

Backing Jones

California’s Republican establishment is lining up behind former Secretary of State Bill Jones as a candidate for the U.S. Senate.

Mr. Jones and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger scheduled a news conference for today at which Mr. Schwarzenegger is expected to endorse Mr. Jones for the seat held by Democrat Barbara Boxer, United Press International reports.

Mr. Jones already has been endorsed by former Govs. Pete Wilson and George Deukmejian.

Mr. Jones is one of 10 Republicans vying for the chance to oust Mrs. Boxer, long considered one of the nation’s most liberal senators.

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

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