- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Cover boy

Wesley Clark wants to overturn the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and allow open homosexuals to serve in the armed forces, the Democratic presidential candidate says in an exclusive interview with the Advocate.

“The armed forces are the last institution in America that discriminates against people. It ought to be the first that doesn’t. They ought to have the right to be who they are. They shouldn’t have to conceal their identities,” Mr. Clark, a retired Army general, told the magazine.

A smiling Mr. Clark is featured on the cover of the Feb. 3 issue of the Advocate, which bills itself “the award-winning national gay and lesbian newsmagazine.”

Mr. Clark told the magazine that he “absolutely” supports a recent Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision authorizing same-sex “marriage” in that state.

Mr. Clark said Republicans are using the issue for political advantage.

“Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay and all those guys are looking for a real hand grenade to throw into the Democratic Party. It’s an absurd issue, and it’s one of the reasons I’m running.”

The New New Deal

“The Iowa caucus results show that Democrats — enough of them, anyway — are thinking hard about who can actually win a general election,” James Pinkerton writes at www.TechCentralStation.com.

“And so while Howard Dean had been the ‘buzz’ candidate for most of the last year, reality caught up with him [Monday] night. He was, after all, the ex-governor from a small left-wing state, another George McGovern — and what chance did he really have in November? So Dean lost to two sitting senators from big states, John Kerry of Massachusetts and John Edwards of North Carolina,” Mr. Pinkerton said.

“But for Democrats, here’s the rub: Kerry and Edwards might be more attractive candidates in a general election than Dean, but that might not be saying much. The big fear that all thinking Democrats have is that the Republican, George W. Bush, has assembled his own updated version of the New Deal Coalition, the electoral alliance that dominated American politics for much of the 20th century. And if that’s the case, then whomever the Democrats nominate this summer, it won’t make much of a difference.”

Mr. Pinkerton argues that Democrats “don’t have to worry just about nominating Dean and getting whacked in November.”

“They have to worry about nominating anybody — and still seeing the Republicans cement what might be called the New New Deal Coalition (NNDC). What’s that? The NNDC is the 21st-century alliance of white Southern Protestants and Northern Catholics forged by Bush and Karl Rove, an alliance that echoes the New Deal alignment put together by Franklin D. Roosevelt, starting in 1932. That partisan alliance brought Democrats victories in seven of the nine presidential elections from the ‘30s into the ‘60s.”

War of attrition

“Once again the mainstream media miss the big picture,” Robert Moran writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“Instead of seeing the forest that is the Democratic primary system, they’re analyzing bark. Big mistake,” said Mr. Moran, a vice president at Republican polling firm Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates Inc.

“It’s always easier for talking heads to focus on the micro-level engagements that a camera can easily capture. But, when actual thought and knowledge of the Democratic primary system comes in, the picture quality starts to blur.

“The big picture that the mainstream media is missing is that (a) the Democrats are in for a protracted battle for the nomination in which (b) no candidate may be able to garner a majority of the 3,500 pledged delegates. And (c) even if one candidate is able to get the delegates he needs before the process concludes, he will be bloodied and broke.

“Republicans should be smiling.

“Newsflash for mainstream journalists: Democratic presidential hopefuls do not actually win states. They win delegates proportionate to their support within that state (Article 2, Section 4b of their charter). The Democratic Party’s primary system is not winner-take-all, like the GOP’s.”

An interception

President Bush apparently has stolen Super Bowl-bound New England Patriot quarterback Tom Brady away from Democrat John Kerry’s presidential campaign, Matt Drudge reports at www.drudgereport.com.

Mr. Brady agreed to be a guest of Mr. Bush and first lady Laura Bush in her VIP box during the State of the Union speech on Tuesday night.

“TV images of 25-year-old Brady giving Bush repeated standing ovations — and cheering during several of the speech’s passages — thrilled White House operatives,” Mr. Drudge said.

“Not to be outdone, senior Kerry campaign staffers are now attempting to somehow arrange their own photo-op between Kerry and Brady,” the columnist added.

“Until recently, Kerry had every reason to believe Brady was solidly on his team. Last summer Brady even agreed to host a fund-raiser for Kerry in Boston. He later canceled, claiming a scheduling conflict.”

Telling moment

“The most telling moment in [Tuesday] night’s speech came after the president noted that ‘key provisions of the Patriot Act are set to expire next year,’” James Taranto writes in his Best of the Web Today column at www.OpinonJournal.com.

“In response, notes the New York Times, ‘some critics in Congress applauded enthusiastically.’ If Osama bin Laden watched the speech, one imagines him applauding too,” Mr. Taranto said.

“Perhaps the applauders were hoping to embarrass President Bush by provoking a Howard Dean-like outburst (‘You sit down!’). Instead, the president let them clap, then turned toward the Democratic side of the chamber and addressed them directly when he read the next line of his speech: ‘The terrorist threat will not expire on that schedule.’

“The president also had what appears to be an answer to John Kerry, the haughty, French-looking Democratic front-runner who by the way served in Vietnam. In an October debate, Kerry declared: ‘This war on terror is far less of a military operation and far more of an intelligence-gathering, law-enforcement operation’ — in other words, that he wishes to go back to the Sept. 10 approach to terror.

“The president disagrees: ‘After the chaos and carnage of September the 11th, it is not enough to serve our enemies with legal papers. The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States, and war is what they got.’ Once the Dems have settled on a nominee, we look forward to the debate over this point.”

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

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