- The Washington Times - Monday, March 1, 2004

Blunt being blunt

The Democratic image? It’s a tough sell for even Hollywood and Madison Avenue, according to House Majority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri.

“With no positive record to run on and no accomplishments for the American people, the Democrats appear to be desperate,” he said yesterday, noting that the Democrats may end up crafting “New Coke.”

Republican policies, Mr. Blunt says, “reach out and touch someone. It will take more than a catchy slogan to make voters say, ‘Mmm, mmm good’ in November.”

Could Mr. Blunt have a new career as ad man? Perhaps.

“Flashy slogans may taste great — but they’re less filling,” he continued. “While the Democrats’ hunt for a message keeps going, and going, and going, Republicans will just do it.”

Mr. Blunt concluded: “And on November 2 when the other party has to ask the voters, ‘Can you hear me now?’ we will plug ahead with our business of working for the American people. And victory will be good to the last drop.”

Doctors only

New Hampshire’s House Judiciary Committee will decide this week if it will change a law so only physicians may perform abortions in the state. Currently, nurse practitioners and physician assistants also perform the procedure.

The provision was included in HB 1177, which requires the Department of Health and Human Services to keep statistics on abortions performed in New Hampshire, the Manchester Union Leader reported yesterday.

According to sponsor Rep. Fran Wendelboe, a Republican, allowing non-physicians to perform even “nonsurgical” abortions amounts to “practicing medicine without a license. … Abortion is surgery.”

“This is going to be a battle royal,” she added, saying that the Roe v. Wade decision was based on the idea that only qualified professionals perform abortions.

A Planned Parenthood spokeswoman said such a restriction would eliminate key parts of their “delivery network” and limit the number of providers available, and that the measure “has more to do with antiabortion beliefs.”

Grinning GOP

Republicans are happier in some respects these days. According to a Gallup poll released yesterday, 72 percent of Republicans “are satisfied with the position of the United States in the world.”

Democrats are dissatisfied by virtually the same number. Independents are evenly divided, the poll found.

On the role of the United States in global affairs, majorities of all three groups say the country should play a “major” role, but 32 percent of Republicans say it should take “the leading” role, compared with 22 percent of independents and 11 percent of Democrats.

The poll of 1,002 adults was conducted Feb. 9-12.

Super Tuesday blues

While pondering the relationship between Democratic presidential contenders Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts and John Edwards of South Carolina, the American Spectator’s Prowler noted yesterday, “The Edwards conundrum pales next to the one caused by the other man who has not been returning many of Kerry’s calls: Bill Clinton.

“The ex-president has been strangely silent on the primary playout over the past few weeks, leading some Democratic National Committee insiders to fear there is a bombshell Clinton is about to drop, and it is blonde and ambitious. …

“‘If Edwards has enough delegates to deny Kerry the necessary votes for the nomination, because Kerry fails to line up the superdelegates he needs, things could get interesting,’ says a DNC staffer,” leading some to reason that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, could declare herself a presidential nominee or a vice-presidential candidate by summer “if she can muster superdelegate votes.”

But a Kerry adviser told the Prowler, “We know Clinton has told reporters that he has provided advice to us, but that simply isn’t true. We have not sought much input from him, if only because of the 800-pound gorilla in the room — his wife.”

Snow forecast

Fox News stalwart Tony Snow takes the microphone this week on Fox News Radio, as host of the new “Tony Snow Show,” heard from 9 a.m. to noon daily on 40 stations around the country.

“I’m going to start with a bold and startling idea: that life as we know it is not about to come to an abrupt and fiery end. Look, we live in the greatest country ever, in exciting times, and I’m going to plunge right in,” Mr. Snow said yesterday.

“No ranting, no raving no self-importance. I just want to be faster, smarter, funnier, friendlier and more well-rounded than the competition,” he said.

His topics will include politics, religion, culture, sports, world affairs, business and music. Regular guests will include Mo Rocca of Comedy Central, Neil Cavuto of Fox, and Elle magazine’s E. Jean Carroll.

Mr. Snow said he was out to “celebrate American heroes, jeer at stupid criminals, find bizarre but telling stories, and produce comedy bits about celebrities in all walks of life. I’ll take plenty of calls, interview guests people actually want to hear, and tell listeners things they didn’t know, in ways they didn’t expect.”

Diverse interests

Ah, diversity. Where would the academic world be without it?

Campus police at Michigan State University were called to a meeting of the College Republicans there last week after two dozen student protesters rumbled into the student union and shouted down speaker Barbara Grutter.

According to the State News campus newspaper, “Grutter, a plaintiff in the Supreme Court case against the University of Michigan Law School’s racial-preference practices, is a supporter of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, an organization seeking to ban racial preferences by means of a state constitutional amendment. Protesters booed and hissed Grutter effectively enough that an informative public address was impossible, and the meeting was cut short.”

The protesters included “campus groups, other Michigan universities and the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action and Integration and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary.”

Boss’d over

Some people are tortured by rock singer Bruce Springsteen’s repeated criticism of the Bush administration and his ardent support of liberal comedian Al Franken.

And some are just plain tortured by Mr. Springsteen’s music.

A terror suspect recently freed from Guantanamo Bay has told of cruel and unusual punishment, Australia’s Herald Sun newspaper reported yesterday.

Hamed Abderrahman Ahmad, a Spaniard who denies any links with terrorism, said he went to considerable trouble to muffle Mr. Springsteen’s music. The suspect said he was confined to a small cell where the lights were always on and he was forced to listen endlessly to the singer.

Jail officials blared the music all day, the suspect said. “It was ‘Born in the USA.’ We had to put wet towels on our heads to be able to bear the heat and not hear the music.”

Contact Jennifer Harper at [email protected] or 202/636-3085.

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