- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 17, 2004

No ‘Superheroes’

The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste announced yesterday that for the first time since 1994, it could find no “Taxpayer Superheroes” in Congress.

The group, in announcing its 2003 Congressional Ratings, said not a single member of Congress scored 100 percent on 38 key votes in the House and 25 key votes in the Senate — the council’s criterion for Taxpayer Superhero.

The House had only 68 Taxpayer Heroes with scores of 80 percent or above and the Senate had only 11.

Since 1989, CCAGW has examined congressional votes to determine which members protect tax dollars and which spend wastefully by voting for legislation that grows government.

“Our 2003 Congressional Ratings are proof that Congress was on a massive spending spree last year,” CCAGW President Tom Schatz said. “Vote tallies show that Congress was more interested in spending money than in fiscal sanity.”

The highest score in the House was 95 percent, shared by nine members: Todd Akin, Missouri Republican; J.Gresham Barrett, South Carolina Republican; Steve Chabot, Ohio Republican; Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican; Mark Green, Wisconsin Republican; Jeff Miller, Florida Republican; Paul D. Ryan, Wisconsin Republican; John Shadegg, Arizona Republican; and Patrick J. Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican. On the other end of the spectrum, the lowest score was 5 percent, by Rep. Chaka Fattah, Pennsylvania Democrat.

In the Senate, the highest score was 88 percent, shared by five senators: John Ensign, Nevada Republican; Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican; Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican; Don Nickles, Oklahoma Republican; and John E. Sununu, New Hampshire Republican. The lowest score was 4 percent, shared by Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, and Sen. Byron L. Dorgan, North Dakota Democrat.

The complete 2003 Congressional Ratings can be found at www.ccagw.org.

Bush and Reagan

The conservative Club for Growth on Tuesday released a campaign ad that compares President Bush to Ronald Reagan and criticizes Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.

The ad, which was scheduled to begin airing yesterday, portrays both Republican presidents as leaders — Mr. Reagan on communism and Mr. Bush on terrorism, while charging that Mr. Kerry was “wrong then, wrong now” on national security.

The ad shows Mr. Kerry, a Vietnam veteran, testifying to Congress in 1971 that “we cannot fight communism all over the world and I think we should have learned that lesson by now.”

President Reagan is then seen at the Berlin Wall in 1987, saying, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” That’s followed by Mr. Bush telling rescue workers at the World Trade Center after the September 11 terrorist attacks: “I can hear you, the rest of the world hears you, and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.”

The Reagan family’s spokeswoman said Tuesday that permission is needed for anyone to use Mr. Reagan’s likeness in an ad because doing so implies that he endorsed one candidate over another.

“No one has requested the permission to use his image in an ad, nor would we feel it appropriate to give such permission at this juncture,” Joanne Drake said. “We protect his image very carefully, particularly as it relates to politics.”

The Club for Growth will spend $500,000 over a week to run the ad on national cable networks and in media markets in the contested states of Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, the Associated Press reports.

NRA radio

The National Rifle Association, refusing to bow to a federal law that seeks to squelch political advertising by advocacy groups before an election, puts its daily news and commentary program on satellite radio today.

The campaign finance law, ratified by the Supreme Court, places no restrictions on the media. The NRA says its “NRANews” program, which debuted in April from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Internet (www.nranews.com), makes it a legitimate media outlet that cannot be regulated by the government.

The program will be broadcast live from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sirius satellite radio Channel 26 and repeated the next morning from 6 until 9 on Right Channel 142. Sirius has about 400,000 subscribers.

“What we’re doing is no different from what Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern or Air America with Al Franken do,” NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre told the New York Times.

Early endorsement

The Philadelphia Daily News yesterday backed Democrat John Kerry for president, saying it was endorsing a candidate early because Pennsylvania is a swing state and residents who didn’t vote in 2000 must be pressed to action to defeat President Bush.

“For Kerry supporters to prevail they must do more than just vote, they must bring a ringer into this contest: the more than a million people in the region who did not vote in the last presidential election,” the newspaper said in a 1,800-word editorial.

“We believe these nonvoters — who will have to be mobilized over the next few months — are the key to victory.”

The newspaper said Mr. Kerry, “who fought in the swamps of Vietnam, can lead us out of the quagmire of the Bush administration” and urged readers to register to vote and get others to do the same.

Honoring Reagan

A postage stamp honoring Ronald Reagan will be issued next year, the Postal Service announced yesterday.

Postal policy is to honor prominent Americans with a stamp no sooner than 10 years after their death, except for former presidents, who the agency said can be honored on their first birth anniversary after death. Mr. Reagan was born Feb. 6, 1911, and died June 5.

In announcing the Reagan stamp, Postmaster General John E. Potter said, “The Postal Service will be proud to add a commemorative postage stamp to recognize the many honors that President Reagan, a man of diverse talents, accumulated throughout his life and beyond.”

The design of the stamp hasn’t been completed, the agency said.

Teresa’s ‘reason’

“Honk if you think Teresa Heinz Kerry really became a Democrat because she was outraged at the GOP treatment of Max Cleland. … I’m not hearing anything!” Mickey Kaus writes in his Kausfiles column at slate.msn.com.

“As if Mrs. Heinz Kerry (until recently Mrs. Heinz) wasn’t going to switch her registration at some point before her Democratic husband ran for president? Did she change her name because of Cleland too?”

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

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