- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 4, 2004

Filthy party

Max Pulsinelli, an account executive with Shirley & Banister Public Affairs in Washington, has received an eye-opening response to what he thought was a “simple press release” he distributed yesterday on behalf of a client.

“Who’s more liberal than Ted Kennedy?” the Internet release was headlined, announcing a new awareness campaign by the advocacy organization Grassfire.org that compares the Senate voting record of likely 2004 Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry with that of liberal Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

“On issues including abortion, tax cuts, military spending, and the federal marriage amendment, John Kerry and Teddy Kennedy are legislative clones,” the release states. “In fact, these two Massachusetts liberals have voted together 94 percent of the time.”

Shortly after distributing the release, Mr. Pulsinelli received a surprising response from Karen Cord Taylor, editor and publisher of the Beacon Hill Times, a suburban Boston newspaper.

“Good for Kerry,” she wrote. “It’s good to be a liberal. It means compassion for other people and justice for all. Take me off your filthy list. I am appalled that Americans can behave like your clients. They aren’t what I was taught by my Christian, Midwestern farmer parents that Americans should be like. I am embarrassed and disgusted by these people. They’re filth.”

Mr. Pulsinelli, who admits being stunned, immediately fired back a response to the newspaper publisher.

“As a member of the media, I’m glad to hear you are able to report from an unbiased perspective,” he wrote. “Don’t shoot the messenger.”

To which Ms. Taylor then wrote back: “Members of the media must have more responsibility to call this stuff what it is. Scurrilous. I’m an editor, not a reporter. I know you’re the messenger — that’s why you carefully said ‘your client’ — since you are in public affairs. It probably turns your stomach, too.

“It’s so ironic,” she continued. “In another decade I probably would have been a Republican. Married 39 years, perfect children, plenty of money, well-educated, desirous of good government, WASP, ancestors here 400 years, with a husband whose ancestor was Abraham Lincoln’s grandmother.

“But the right wing has destroyed what was once a proud party. Now the upper class — except for a few unsophisticated nouveau riche — have all become Democrats. Who knew?

“Ted Kennedy, by the way, has been a fabulous senator,” added Ms. Taylor. “Loyal to his constituents, effective. His personal life may have been sketchy, but he has done his job very well. Give me someone like him or even more than he is any day.”

Declaring war

Hoping to take back the White House, Democrats have made it known in no uncertain terms that the 2004 campaign for president will be fought beneath the dome of the U.S. Capitol.

“I want the [Republican] majority to know as the election proceeds toward November, we [Democrats] in the Senate are going to do everything within our power to protect our nominee,” Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, says of his party’s likely nominee Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.

“By that I mean anything that is said outside this Capitol or inside this Capitol that reflects upon our nominee we are going to be on this floor defending him.”

Mr. Reid warns Republicans: “There will be nothing said that is negative toward our candidate that will not be responded to.”

Daisy chain

Opium, not the Taliban, is the biggest problem that faces Afghanistan today.

“Opium production in Afghanistan has resumed over the past two years,” says Rep. Mark Souder, Indiana Republican and member of the Homeland Security Committee who in recent days chaired a hearing on Afghanistan.

“With the fall of the Taliban, Afghan growers resumed cultivation despite the renewal of the ban on poppy growth by the Karzai government,” he says.

Afghanistan has historically produced significant quantities of opium, which is refined into heroin. Afghanistan’s opium crops accounted for over 70 percent of the world’s supply in the year 2000.

Mr. Souder’s worry is that renewed drug proceeds are sustaining terrorism by playing a large part in funding “radical anti-democratic elements.”

“I am convinced that drug money and terrorist organizations in Afghanistan and throughout that region are locked together like a daisy chain,” he says.

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]

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