- The Washington Times - Monday, July 5, 2004

Hatch’s prediction

Sen. Orrin Hatch, Utah Republican and a supporter of embryonic stem-cell research, said yesterday there is wide support in the Senate to ease the Bush administration’s restrictions.

Mr. Hatch said supporters have more than the 60 votes needed to end a filibuster, but he’s unsure whether Congress would act “in this hot political atmosphere.”

The senator predicted on CNN’s “Late Edition” that the administration and supporters of the research would reach a compromise that includes ethical standards set by the National Institutes of Health.

“That has to be done, or we’re going to have a mess on our hands all over the world,” Mr. Hatch said.

Mr. Hatch was among 58 senators earlier this month who signed a letter to the president asking him to relax restrictions on federal financing of embryonic stem-cell research.

President Bush signed an executive order in August 2001 that limited federal help to financing stem-cell research on 78 existing embryonic stem-cell lines. Because embryos are killed when stem cells are extracted, the president’s pro-life backers condemn the process.

Happy Bush

Vice President Dick Cheney, winding down a campaign trip through Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, yesterday painted the November election as a choice between the administration’s rosy outlook and what he termed Democratic presidential hopeful Sen.John Kerry’s pessimism.

“On issue after issue, the choice on November 2 is very important,” the Associated Press reported Mr. Cheney as saying. “It’s a choice between President Bush‘shope and optimism and Senator Kerry’s pessimism.”

The vice president hit that theme often in the two-day sprint through the three swing states with a combined 46 electoral votes. Mr. Bush has made 29 trips to Pennsylvania since taking office — he plans the 30th on Friday — and Mr. Cheney said that pace will continue.

“The president and I have spent a lot of time in this state working hard to earn your support,” Mr. Cheney said at the Soldiers and Sailors National Military Museum and Memorial in Pittsburgh.

Hollywood connectiont

A number of Hollywood actors, writers and directors, including Woody Harrelson, Scarlet Johansson and “West Wing” creator Aaron Sorkin, are working with the liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org to defeat President Bush in November.

Actors including Danny Glover, Kevin Bacon and Alicia Silverstone are due to appear on the small screen in a series of advertisements opposing Mr. Bush, according to Time magazine and the Los Angeles Times.

Musician Moby has also been recruited in the effort to drive Mr. Bush from office.

MoveOn.org, which has already run ads criticizing Mr. Bush, is expected soon to announce its list of all-star support, Agence France-Presse reports.

One spot is directed by Rob Reiner, the director of “When Harry met Sally” and “A Few Good Men,” and written by Mr. Sorkin while a separate animated spot features the voices of Miss Johansson, the star of “Lost In Translation,” Mr. Bacon and Ed Asner.

The political ads will be tested on focus groups before MoveOn.org decides where and when to run them on television.

Joys of hatred

“The ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ triumph proves yet again that you can’t manufacture a cultural trend or simply create an institution by willing it into existence,” New York Post columnist John Podhoretz writes.

Michael Moore has been building a career as a demagogue for more than 15 years now, with books and TV shows and documentaries. He’s the real thing, an American original — as opposed to Air America Radio, which was created by elitists trying to imitate somebody else’s populist invention,” Mr. Podhoretz said.

“The Bush hatred that has given such explosive life to ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ is real, it’s being harnessed brilliantly by Moore and others for fun and profit, and it’s given the Left a renewed sense of excitement.

“Excitement and enthusiasm are vital qualities for a resurgent political movement. Its followers need to believe they are catching a wave, not swimming upstream against a tide.

“That’s how the Bush-haters feel right now. They’re full of vim and vigor. They can taste victory in November, and they’re practically bubbling over,” the columnist said.

“And they’re in danger of burning out big-time,” just like Howard Dean when he “had to face actual vote-casting people and not merely angry Leftists like himself.”

Mainstream Al

“We have written in these pages that the mainstreaming of Al Sharpton is complete. Well, now it’s really complete,” National Review says in an editorial.

“Sharpton is stumping with John Kerry and he is ‘going to campaign with me from now until Election Day’ — that’s what Kerry said. Kerry also said, ‘During the primaries, there was one person who consistently was always there, keeping the peace and the compass going in the right direction. And that was Rev. Al Sharpton.’

“Forgotten is the Tawana Brawley hoax, in which Sharpton accused an assistant district attorney named Steven Pagones of raping and mutilating that girl. (No one had.) Sharpton proudly refuses to apologize for his defamation. Forgotten is Freddy’s Fashion Mart, the incident in which Sharpton merely incited a mob to murder. (Seven people died; Sharpton had denounced ‘white interlopers’ in Harlem.) Forgotten is all the other race-baiting, all the poison that Sharpton has emitted in the course of his glorious career. The press turns away; the Democratic Party turns away, and embraces.

“It says something unpleasant about America that one of our major presidential nominees could link arms with such a man — and suffer no penalty whatsoever. No, the Democrats have decided that Sharpton is an asset. And the horrible truth is that they’re probably right.”

Squelching speech

“Does it strike anyone else as odd that the Supreme Court seems to be providing more First Amendment protection to pornography than to political speech?” the Wall Street Journal asks.

“This seems to be a fair question following the court’s decision this [past] week to frown upon, for the third time in eight years, a Congressional law attempting to protect minors from sexually explicit material on the Internet.

“In contrast,” the newspaper noted in an editorial, “the same court was only too happy last year to endorse the substantial limits on political speech that were part of the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance reform. Somehow we doubt this is what the Founders had in mind in passing the Bill of Rights.”

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

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