Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Kerry resurfaces

Sen. John Kerry met yesterday afternoon with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat who will be the new Senate minority leader, to discuss the future of the Democratic Party.

“We have a lot to talk about, a lot of things to do,” Mr. Kerry told reporters, declining to give further details.

Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, thanked Mr. Kerry for his run for the White House, saying that it “energized America.”

“We just want to express our gratitude to him,” she said.

Although Republicans won the White House and gained seats in both the House and Senate, Mr. Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, said that more than 54 million Americans voted with Democrats for things like health care, energy independence, stem-cell research and protecting Social Security.

“We have a very clear agenda, and I’m going to be fighting for that agenda with all of the energy I have,” he said.

When asked about his brother Cameron Kerry‘s remarks to the Boston Globe recently that it’s “conceivable” Mr. Kerry could try again for the White House in 2008, Mr. Kerry laughed and said it’s “inconceivable” that people are talking about that now.

Party of Lincoln

Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee, who flirted with changing political parties in the wake of President Bush‘s re-election victory, says he will stay in the Republican Party.

“My Republican colleagues have let me know that they want me in their caucus,” the Rhode Island senator said Monday. “They value the voice I bring, and they have made it very clear to me that they respect and want that voice to be heard.”

Mr. Chafee had said last week he would consider switching party affiliation if Mr. Bush won because he felt the president was taking the party too far to the right. He said he got a flurry of phone calls from Republican leaders during the weekend, including Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and a key White House staff member, urging him to stick with the party, the Associated Press reports.

Oui, oui

France may not be happy that President Bush won re-election last week, but its president, Jacques Chirac, knows the wisdom of mending fences.

Mr. Chirac, who led a coalition in the United Nations against U.S. military action in Iraq, called Mr. Bush yesterday morning to congratulate him on defeating France-friendly Democrat Sen. John Kerry.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the president chatted with Mr. Chirac about the importance of working together on common global challenges and “about how he’d continue to reach out to European friends and allies.”

Mr. McClellan offered no details beyond those general outlines.

A word of thanks

“Dear Justice Marshall: On behalf of the American Conservative Union, its Board of Directors and ACU’s 1 million members, permit me to offer our heartiest congratulations and thanks for almost single-handedly making possible President George W. Bush‘s historic election victory,” ACU Chairman David Keene writes in a letter to Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

It was the Massachusetts high court which, by mandating same-sex “marriage” in that state, thrust the issue into national prominence during the election year.

“Had it not been for your courageous decision to ignore the will of the people of the Bay State, turn your back on 4,000 years of Judeo-Christian moral teaching, and unilaterally impose your own progressive personal opinions on the law, marriage might never have become the defining issue of the 2004 presidential election,” Mr. Keene wrote in a letter sent this week to the chief justice.

‘Reign of witches’

Apparently, Election Day stunned Barbra Streisand into nearly a week of silence. At last, however, the queen of Hollywood liberalism has found her voice.

“In response to the results of the presidential election last week, I would like to share with you a quote from Thomas Jefferson,” Miss Streisand writes at her Web site, “Although written in 1798, I feel his words speak perfectly to the strong sentiments of frustration and disappointment 48 percent of the country feel.”

She then quotes Jefferson: “A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt. … If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake.”

Jefferson was vice president in the administration of John Adams when he wrote those words in reaction to the Alien and Sedition Acts.

Voice of paranoia

“With ‘Did Your Vote Count? The Plot Thickens’ as his on-screen header, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann on Monday night led his ‘Countdown’ program with more than 15 straight minutes of paranoid and meaningless claims about voting irregularities in states won by President Bush,” the Media Research Center reports at

“Olbermann contended: ‘There is a small but blood-curdling group of reports of voting irregularities and possible fraud — principally in Ohio and Florida.’ He began with how, citing ‘homeland security,’ one of Ohio’s 88 counties blocked media observers from watching the vote-counting, a county whose importance he elevated: ‘Warren County’s polls were among the last in Ohio to close, thus among the last to report and thus among the votes that clinched the state and the election for President Bush.’

“Moving on to Florida, Olbermann recited the results in five small counties ‘with decided Democratic margins’ which used optical scan devices and ‘suddenly voted overwhelmingly for Mr. Bush.’ In fact, all the counties Olbermann listed voted for Bush in 2000. Olbermann asked left-wing Democratic Congressman John Conyers: ‘Do you think that what happened … altered the outcome of the presidential election?’”

Read my lips

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush reiterated yesterday that he is not going to run for the Senate when Florida has a seat up in 2006, and said he has no designs on the presidency four years from now.

And he is getting awfully tired of the question, the Associated Press reports.

“Might you change your mind?” asked a reporter.

“No!” the governor said. “Why am I not believable on this subject? This is driving me nuts.”

But he dodged a question on whether he might “eventually” run for president.

“Eventually, what’s that?” Mr. Bush asked after a sigh.

The governor’s second and final four-year term ends in January 2007.

• Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or

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