- The Washington Times - Friday, November 12, 2004

Frist’s warning

With the pressure now on to break filibusters, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist last night told the Federalist Society that Democrats face a choice — either stop, or face a rules change that will make judicial filibusters a thing of the past.

“The Senate now faces a choice — either we accept a new and destructive practice, or we act to restore constitutional balance,” Mr. Frist said in prepared remarks he was set to deliver to the group of conservative legal minds in Washington last night.

“One way or another, the filibuster of judicial nominees must end,” he said. “The Senate must do what is good, what is right, what is reasonable and what is honorable. The Senate must do its duty.”

Mr. Frist last year introduced a rules change for judicial nominations in which each successive vote would reduce the number necessary to defeat a filibuster. The first time a filibuster was voted on, 60 votes would still be required, but the second time would take 57 votes, the third time 54, the fourth time 51, and the fifth time a simple majority.

Before the election Mr. Frist, Tennessee Republican, had predicted that a pickup of three or four seats, though still leaving Republicans shy of the 60 votes needed to guarantee an end to filibusters, probably would persuade Democrats to stop filibustering anyway.

A warm glow

“Well, I just can’t stop being happy,” Peggy Noonan writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“I don’t mean elated — it’s hard to get elated by big history, as opposed to by the birth of a baby, say, or a child’s being elected president of the debating club — but I continue to feel relief (the exit poll hives have gone down) and satisfaction (my countrymen, such good sense they have). So let’s just let the mood continue and have fun,” Miss Noonan said.

“This week I went to a symposium thrown together at the last minute by the Club for Growth, the Washington-based political action committee that gives crucial financial help to candidates who espouse economic policies that will help the American job machine, and opposing those who do not. Almost every Senate and House candidate they backed this year won. …

“Members of the club gathered in a New York hotel room, and president Stephen Moore said we ought to take a moment for a full and uninhibited gloat. So we applauded, stomped and cheered. It’s good to see Republicans show their joy.”

Tick-tick-tick

CBS News is still awaiting the conclusion of the independent investigation into its discredited “60 Minutes Wednesday” report on President Bush’s Texas Air National Guard service, a network spokeswoman said yesterday.

The network asked former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and Louis Boccardi, who retired last year as president and chief executive officer of the Associated Press, to examine how the network aired a story it later said it could not vouch for.

“The panel is hard at work, and the report will be ready when the panel tells us it’s ready,” said Sandy Genelius, CBS News spokeswoman.

The panel has insisted that its report be made public after it is submitted to CBS, AP reports.

Mehlman’s next gig

Ken Mehlman, Bush-Cheney ‘04 campaign manager, will be named head of the Republican National Committee, a source close to the White House told United Press International yesterday.

A former White House political director, Mr. Mehlman has strong ties to senior presidential counselor Karl Rove, the man President Bush has called “the architect” of his Nov. 2 victory, and is given high marks in Republican circles for his abilities as a political strategist and as a communicator.

Mr. Mehlman must be approved for the post by an RNC vote, which is considered a mere formality once the president officially taps him for the post. He will replace Ed Gillespie, who is said to be eager to return to his lobbying firm.

Good news

A biopsy has shown that a lump in Elizabeth Edwards’ breast has not spread, a family spokesman said, as the wife of Sen. John Edwards, the former Democratic vice-presidential candidate, commenced chemotherapy.

After a 16-week chemotherapy course, Mrs. Edwards will take a four- to six-week break. Georgetown University Hospital doctors who are treating Mrs. Edwards will then surgically remove the lump, the Associated Press reports.

A needle biopsy of Mrs. Edwards’ lymph nodes Tuesday found “no indication of cancer,” spokesman David Ginsberg said. “From what we know now, it has not spread.”

As a precaution, however, doctors will remove some of her healthy lymph node tissue. Mrs. Edwards will then undergo radiation.

NPR for DNC

For years, conservatives have complained about the leftward bias of National Public Radio. Now it appears that NPR has gone beyond promoting liberal causes on the airwaves to funding liberal political candidates.

Six NPR employees gave a total of $4,383 in contributions to Democratic candidates and committees in the 2003-2004 election season, according to Federal Election Commission records discovered by San Francisco activist Michael Petrelis.

The most generous Democratic donors at NPR were engineer Jan Andrews ($1,000 to Sen. John Kerry’s presidential campaign), producer Rod Abid ($500 to the Kerry campaign and $250 to a Democratic National Committee fund) and reporter Michelle Trudeau ($500 last year to former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean’s presidential campaign and $500 this year to the Kerry campaign).

Mr. Petrelis found no NPR donations to Republicans. In a letter to the nonprofit’s executives, Mr. Petrelis noted that “guidelines seem quite clear about barring political donations from NPR journalists.”

By the numbers

“This was a devastating defeat for the Democrats; one of the genuinely prominent senior figures in the party notes the most important numbers for his generation are 28 and 12: For the 40 years starting in 1968, Republicans will control the White House for 28 years; in the 40 years before that, Democrats were in control for 28 years,” Wall Street Journal columnist Albert R. Hunt writes.

“In a deeply divided country, the Democrats are on the minority side of that division. It can be reversed, but it will take a party and a candidate less centered in Washington and more comfortable and conversant with the everyday values of most Americans,” Mr. Hunt said.

Bush wins again

The results are in from the 2004 National Student/Parent Mock Election, and the winner is George W. Bush.

More than 4 million votes were cast in the 50 states, the District, and American schools around the world. The Republican did even better among the students and parents than in the real election, topping Democratic Sen. John Kerry 52 percent to 44 percent.

• Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected]

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