- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 14, 2005

McCain bails out

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, delivered some bad news to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist last night when he announced on MSNBC’s “Hardball” that he would vote against the so-called “nuclear option” to end Democratic filibusters against President Bush’s judicial nominees.

“Look, we won’t always be in the majority,” Mr. McCain told host Chris Matthews. “I say to my conservative friends, some day there will be a liberal Democrat president and a liberal Democrat Congress. Why? Because history shows it goes back and forth. I don’t know if it’s a hundred years from now, but it will happen. And do we want a bunch of liberal judges approved by the Senate of the United States with 51 votes if the Democrats are in the majority?”

But it wasn’t all bad news for the Tennessee Republican yesterday. Sen. Thad Cochran, Mississippi Republican, announced his support for the majority leader’s proposal, which also is known as the “constitutional option.”

Naming names

The two architects of judicial filibusters say they would urge Senate Democrats to filibuster some of the most frequently mentioned possibilities for the Supreme Court, Hugh Hewitt writes at the Weekly Standard Web site (www.weeklystandard.com).

“In recent days I interviewed Nan Aron, president of the Alliance for Justice, and Ralph Neas, executive director of People for the American Way. Together these two are the architects of the policy of unyielding obstruction by Democrats of George Bush’s judicial nominees. It is difficult to overstate their influence on the Democratic caucus: They are widely considered to be the hands steering Democratic policy on judges,” Mr. Hewitt said.

Miss Aron said she would urge a filibuster of U.S. Appellate Judges Mike Luttig, Mike McConnell and John Roberts if nominated for the high court. Mr. Neas said he would urge a filibuster of Judges Luttig and McConnell, but was waiting on a study of Judge Roberts. However, Mr. Neas said he had a “gut” feeling that Judge Roberts would end up in the same category as the other two.

Their remarks provide “a clear warning to the GOP that the stakes in the coming showdown over the filibuster include the Supreme Court,” Mr. Hewitt said.

Naming names II

Eric Pfeiffer, writing at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com), identifies a number of Democrats who, like House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, put relatives on the campaign payroll.

However, unlike Mr. DeLay, none of their names showed up in a front-page story in the New York Times suggesting some sort of ethical lapse even though such practices are allowed by House and Senate rules, as long as the relatives are actually doing the work.

“If paying families for campaign work is illegal, [then] prominent Democrats including Howard Dean, Barbara Boxer, Joe Lieberman, Jon Corzine, and Jesse Jackson Jr. should all be doing a Joe Wilson inspired ‘frog-march’ from the halls of Congress,” Mr. Pfeiffer said.

“[Democratic National Committee] Chair Howard Dean’s younger brother runs the Web site Democracy for America (DFA), which was created by Dean last year to help manage his presidential campaign. Dean’s younger brother Jim also worked for DFA in its earlier incarnation, Dean for America, during the 2004 presidential primaries. However, in a letter to supporters this week, DFA attacked Tom DeLay for having family members on his payroll.

“In 2003, Barbara Boxer directed $15,000 from her political-action committee, ‘PAC For a Change,’ to a consulting firm run by her son. The year before, she funneled $115,000 to the same firm.

“Last year, Joe Lieberman paid his son Matthew $34,000 and daughter Rebecca $36,000 to work on his presidential campaign.

“Also last year, Jon Corzine paid his daughter about $15,000 to work on his upcoming 2006 re-election campaign.

“In fact, in 2001 it was Jesse Jackson Jr. who sought clarification from the Federal Election Commission to ensure Jackson was in good legal graces before hiring his wife to provide fundraising and organizational support to his campaign.

“Other Democrats with family members on the payroll include Pete Stark, Bart Stupak, Jim Costa, Lincoln Davis, and Tim Bishop, amongst others. …

“Democrat Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is well known for supporting his family with high-paid congressional pork projects. Firms associated with Reid’s son have taken in millions from bills authored and sponsored by Reid.”

Reich’s ‘testimony’

“The Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on the nomination of John Bolton to be U.S. ambassador to the U.N. publicly unmasked the campaign which has been underway to discredit him and derail his nomination,” Otto Reich writes at OpinionJournal.com.

“They also demonstrated once again the need to reform the Senate confirmation process, which has become so politicized that it is not serving its constitutional purpose. I have strong opinions on the Bolton hearings in particular — and Senate hearings in general — since in the past two decades I have been confirmed twice by the Senate and smeared once,” said Mr. Reich, who served as President Bush’s special envoy for the Western Hemisphere and is a consultant in Washington.

“It was stated repeatedly at the hearings that Mr. Bolton and I tried to get an intelligence analyst — referred to as ‘Mr. Smith’ — fired, or tried to block his promotion or to get him transferred. I cannot speak for Mr. Bolton (though having known him since 1981, I can attest to his integrity). But I can speak for myself: In 2002, after consulting with many of my interagency colleagues about how to handle the loss of confidence in Smith’s judgment, I most certainly did complain to Smith’s supervisor about the consistently unacceptable quality of his work. My actions are now being distorted and attributed to Mr. Bolton in order to harm his nomination.”

Carter knocks U.S.

Former President Jimmy Carter yesterday harshly criticized his own country and other wealthy states for being stingy with foreign aid.

In a speech to a human rights conference in Atlanta, Mr. Carter said increasing financial assistance was critical to battling malaria, AIDS and other common diseases that disproportionately affect the poorest parts of the world.

“Unfortunately, in the rich countries like ours, we really don’t give a damn,” Mr. Carter said.

He especially criticized the United States for failing to follow other Western nations that are increasing spending, Reuters news agency reports.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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