- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 8, 2004

Daschle and Moore

“What does South Dakota think of Michael Moore and his slanders on American troops and lies about American motives? We will find out in November, because South Dakota’s Sen. Tom Daschle has embraced Moore — literally,” Hugh Hewitt writes at the Weekly Standard’s Web site (www.weeklystandard.com).

“That’s what Time magazine reported this week. ‘Two weeks ago, at the Washington premier, Moore sat a few rows behind Daschle,’ the magazine’s cover story recounted about the D.C. opening of ‘Fahrenheit 9/11.’ Afterward, says Moore, ‘he gave me a hug and said he felt bad and that we were all gonna fight from now on.’

“There are three great blogs covering the Tom Daschle-John Thune Senate race — coverage that is necessary because the state’s leading paper, the Argus Leader, is in the tank for Daschle and hasn’t even bothered to report the Daschle-Moore love-fest. The paper’s lead political reporter is a long-time Daschle booster whose column on Moore, his movie, and Daschle omits any reference to the Moore-Daschle huggy moment,” said Mr. Hewitt, a nationally syndicated radio talk show host.

“But the South Dakota blogs are all over the Daschle endorsement of Moore’s assault on America. Daschle v. Thune, South Dakota Politics, and Sibby Online present real reporting, not incumbent boosterism, and their readerships are growing as the race between Daschle and John Thune heats up.

“The influence of blogging on politics is nowhere more obvious than in South Dakota. Tom Daschle has long sold himself as a moderate to South Dakota voters, and has done so with the assistance of a very friendly local press. But now the locals get the news via a stream of serious reporters trawling the national press and internet sites for the real news on the hyper-partisan Daschle. The result is that, for the first time in Daschle’s political life, he will have to run on his record, not on what he presents as his record.”

Double standard

John Kerry explained his views on abortion last weekend to the Telegraph Herald of Dubuque, Iowa,” the Wall Street Journal said.

” ‘I oppose abortion, personally,’ he said. ‘I don’t like abortion. I believe life does begin at conception. But I can’t take my Catholic belief, my article of faith, and legislate it on a Protestant or a Jew or an atheist … who doesn’t share it.’

“Mr. Kerry seems to be trying to reassure voters that his personal religious beliefs on abortion will not influence his policy-making (an assertion borne out by his 100 percent rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America). And that’s fair enough. We only wish that he and many of his fellow Senate Democrats would give the same benefit of the doubt to President Bush’s judicial nominees who are privately opposed to abortion but say they will uphold Roe v. Wade as the law of the land,” the Journal said in an editorial.

“Consider Tuesday’s Senate debate on Leon Holmes, nominee for the federal district court in Arkansas. Mr. Holmes — who was narrowly confirmed 51-46 after a wait of more than a year — is an anti-abortion, conservative Catholic. He was attacked by Democrats who argued in effect that his orthodox religious views made him unfit for the federal bench. Mr. Kerry was absent for the Holmes vote, but he has voted against other allegedly anti-abortion nominees, including joining last year’s filibusters of Miguel Estrada and Priscilla Owen.

“The message here seems to be: Liberals will keep their private views private, but conservatives cannot be trusted to do so. If Mr. Kerry’s Catholic beliefs don’t disqualify him from becoming president, and they shouldn’t, then the same religious beliefs of conservative judicial nominees shouldn’t disqualify them from serving as federal judges.”

‘Stupid dirty girl’

California Education Secretary Richard Riordan jokingly told a child that her name, Isis, meant “stupid dirty girl,” prompting the head of the state NAACP yesterday to call for his resignation.

Mr. Riordan, a Republican and former Los Angeles mayor, made the comment at a promotional event for summer reading at the Santa Barbara library, Associated Press reports.

In the July 1 conversation, videotaped by KEYT-TV, 6-year-old Isis D’Luciano asked Mr. Riordan whether he knew that her name meant “Egyptian goddess.”

Mr. Riordan replied, “It means stupid dirty girl.”

After nervous laughter in the room, the girl again told Mr. Riordan the meaning of her name. “Hey, that’s nifty,” he said.

A day later, Mr. Riordan issued a statement saying he had “teased” the girl. “I immediately apologized to her, and I want to do so again for the misunderstanding,” he said.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, his longtime friend, called Mr. Riordan’s comment to the girl “unacceptable in any context.”

But Alice Huffman, president of the California chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said yesterday that Mr. Riordan “is not suitable to lead education in our state” and should be removed.

Chambliss ailment

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, Georgia Republican, said yesterday that he has prostate cancer, but is expected to make a full recovery. The cancer was discovered during a routine physical exam.

“My diagnosis only underscores the importance of having an annual physical checkup,” Mr. Chambliss said in a statement released by his office. “Early detection is critical to finding prostate cancer during the initial stages when treatment is most likely to be effective.”

Mr. Chambliss, 60, is a lawyer from Moultrie, Ga., who was elected to the House in 1994. In 2002, he defeated Democratic Sen. Max Cleland.

Mr. Chambliss is the second member of Georgia’s congressional delegation to be diagnosed with prostate cancer in the past year. Rep. Jim

Marshall, a Democrat from Macon, underwent successful surgery for prostate cancer in October.

The statement said Mr. Chambliss has no immediate plans to take time off for treatment, the Associated Press reports.

Dean vs. Nader

Howard Dean, a former Vermont governor and Democratic presidential candidate, and Ralph Nader, the self-proclaimed consumer advocate and independent presidential candidate, will square off today on the role of third parties in national elections.

The debate at the National Press Club, moderated by National Public Radio’s Margot Adler, will be broadcast from 2 to 3 p.m. on the network’s “Justice Talking” program.

The invitation-only event is open to press who RSVP. NPR also will broadcast the debate online.

c Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpiercewashingtontimes.com.

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