- The Washington Times - Monday, October 11, 2004

Election violence

“We may be about to experience an election unlike any we’ve seen in a while,” John Fund writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“The Florida recount in 2000 raised passions and blood pressure and featured some demonstrations on both sides, but there was no violence. This year, lots of groups are jostling with each other to monitor the elections in battleground states. For its part, the AFL-CIO has promised to dispatch thousands of election monitors to battleground states to watch for any hint of trouble at polling places. From the initial reports, they may be the ones who have to be watched as potential troublemakers,” Mr. Fund said.

“Last week, in Orlando, Fla., approximately 60 union protesters stormed and ransacked the local Bush-Cheney headquarters causing considerable damage and injuring one campaign staffer, who suffered a broken wrist. …

“Orlando’s fracas was mirrored in Miami, where police reported that more than 100 union protesters stormed the Bush-Cheney office and shoved volunteers aside. No one was charged because most of the protesters left before the police arrived. In Tampa, about 35 protesters filled the local GOP office and intimidated the elderly volunteers working there.

“The AFL-CIO took credit on its Web site for similar demonstrations — apparently all coordinated — in Independence, Mo.; Kansas City, Mo.; Dearborn, Mich.; St. Paul, Minn.; and West Allis, Wis. In what could be a related incident, the Bush-Cheney office in Knoxville, Tenn., had its plate-glass windows shattered by gunfire [Oct. 5] before volunteers showed up for work. Another Republican office, in Seattle, was broken into and had computer files stolen.”

Democratic loyalists

“The top anchors from all three of the nation’s broadcast television networks appeared together on Oct. 2 at the New York Public Library for a panel discussion moderated by New Yorker media columnist Ken Auletta,” the Weekly Standard’s Scrapbook column notes.

“CBS’s Dan Rather was twice asked for comment on his recent participation in an anti-Bush smear involving forged documents. He twice declined to respond, citing CBS’s ongoing ‘internal investigation.’ The only Bush-related news-judgment error by CBS that Mr. Rather was prepared to concede was … he hadn’t been tough enough on the president about Iraq back when the whole thing might have been prevented. ‘I should have … had more courage,’ Rather said. ‘It takes tremendous strength — strength I didn’t always have.’

“Here, ABC’s Peter Jennings reluctantly agreed. ‘I know we weren’t as on the ball as we should have been’ about the war, Jennings offered by way of apology. Warming up to this theme, Jennings also admitted that ‘we were not quick enough to say [the Swift Boat ads] are demonstrably false.’ In other words, the regular network news divisions are, if anything, too favorably disposed towards George W. Bush. And anybody who tells you different is a crazy, right-wing liar. Lay off my friend Dan Rather, Jennings demanded; ‘I don’t think you ever judge a man by only one event in his career.’

“Whereupon Dan Rather, ‘as his eyes visibly moistened, could be seen whispering, “Thank you, Peter,” ‘ and the audience of 500 burst into loud, sustained applause.

“‘Now we know that this is a “Blue” room,’ Jennings observed into his microphone once the cheering had subsided, thereby inadvertently acknowledging that at this point, any support for Rather and CBS — including his own — is a de facto expression of loyalty to the Democratic Party.”

Attacking Feingold

Tim Michels, the Republican candidate for a U.S. Senate seat from Wisconsin, released a new TV ad yesterday that accuses incumbent Democratic Sen. Russell D. Feingold of being soft on terrorism.

The 30-second ad, which the Michels campaign said will run statewide, is titled “Keeping Us Safe.” Here is the text:

Female announcer: “The world’s become more dangerous since 9/11.” (Image of one tower burning.) “Thankfully, our leaders passed new laws to help keep us safe. (Image of burning Pentagon.) “But Russ Feingold voted against these laws, and he says he is independent?” (Picture of ground zero with “Russ Feingold voted against the Patriot Act and the Department of Homeland Security.”)

Tim Michels: “There is nothing independent about voting against things that keep our families safe.” (Mr. Michels in yard surrounded by trees.) “I’m Tim Michels, and I served 12 years on active duty as an Airborne Ranger infantryman.” (Mr. Michels picks up his 3-year-old daughter, Sophie.) “And I approved this message because there are some risks we just can’t take.” (Mr. Michels, with daughter Sophie in his arms, walks toward the camera.) “I’ll vote to renew the Patriot Act, and I’ll give our troops the support they deserve.”

The ad can be viewed at www.michelsforsenate.com, along with all the Michels TV ads.

Kerry’s taxes

“Remember the classic 1970s comic routine from Steve Martin?” Stephen Moore asks in the Wall Street Journal.

“You can make a million dollars and pay no taxes. First, find a million dollars. Then when the IRS comes knocking on your door demanding to know why you didn’t pay your taxes, you just simply tell them you forgot. And then you say: ‘Well, excuse me.’

“Well, John Kerry has his own version. It goes like this. You can make a billion dollars and pay almost no taxes. First, marry a billionaire. Second, hire a gaggle of tax accountants and lawyers to bring your tax rate down to about half what many middle-income families pay,” said Mr. Moore, president of the anti-tax Club for Growth.

“Except for John Kerry, this is no gag; it’s reality. According to the Kerrys’ own tax records, and they have not released all of them, the couple had a combined income of $6.8 million last year and paid $725,000 in income taxes. That means their effective tax rate was a whopping 12.8 percent. And it was all (presumably) done legally.

“Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not against people paying a 12.8 percent tax rate. Far from it. I just believe that all Americans — even those who can’t afford to hire tax attorneys to set up complicated trusts and find legal ways to stash income in other tax-sheltered investments like municipal bonds — should have a shot at that kind of non-confiscatory tax rate.”

The clear winner

“When pro-Kerry commentators solemnly pronounce Debate Round 2 to have been ‘a draw’ — you know George Bush won that round,” New York Times columnist William Safire writes.

“The president won because he went in with a theme spoken by the heavyweight champion Joe Louis just before his 1948 rematch victory over the lighter, faster Billy Conn: ‘He can run, but he can’t hide.’ (The Brown Bomber caught up with Conn in the eighth round of that first TV spectacular.)”

Mr. Safire said the president repeatedly scored against John Kerry, exposing the Democrat’s flip-flops on the war in Iraq and his long liberal record on taxes and abortion.

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

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