- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 18, 2005

Broken promise

“The Senate is poised to sanction the creation of a racially exclusive government by and for Native Hawaiians who satisfy a blood test,” former senators Slade Gorton and Hank Brown write at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“The new race-based sovereign that would be summoned into being by the so-called Akaka Bill would operate outside the U.S. Constitution and the nation’s most cherished civil rights statutes. Indeed, the champions of the proposed legislation boast that the new Native Hawaiian entity could secede from the Union like the Confederacy, but without the necessity of shelling Fort Sumter,” the writers said.

“The Akaka Bill classifies citizens by race, defying the express provisions of the 14th Amendment. It also rests on a betrayal of express commitments made by its sponsors a decade ago.”

“The Akaka Bill’s justification rests substantially on a 1993 Apology Resolution passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton … The resolution is cited by the Akaka Bill in three places to establish the proposition that the U.S. perpetrated legal or moral wrongs against Native Hawaiians that justify the race-based government the legislation would erect. These citations are a betrayal of the word given to us — and to the Senate — in the debate over the Apology Resolution.

“We specifically inquired of its proponents whether the apology would be employed to seek ‘special status under which persons of Native Hawaiian descent will be given rights or privileges or reparations or land or money communally that are unavailable to other citizens of Hawaii.’ We were promised on the floor of the Senate by Daniel Inouye, the senior senator from Hawaii and a personage of impeccable integrity, that ‘as to the matter of the status of Native Hawaiians … this resolution has nothing to do with that. … I can assure my colleague of that.’ The Akaka Bill repudiates that promise of Sen. Inouye.”

W and FDR

“Critics have assailed President Bush for his strategy on terrorism, calling the war in Iraq a diversion from the main task of defeating al Qaeda. But just days after the 60th anniversary of victory in World War II, it is striking to note how Franklin D. Roosevelt faced very similar critics and how President Bush has adopted a grand strategy very much in the Roosevelt tradition,” Peter Schweizer writes in USA Today.

“With a logic that Bush would find familiar, FDR was lambasted by his critics for his WWII military strategy of defeating Germany first before focusing on Japan. They considered Germany a diversion. Wasn’t it Japan and not Germany that had attacked us at Pearl Harbor, asked Sens. Arthur Vandenberg and A.B. Chandler? One foreign minister called the idea ‘suicidal heresy.’

“By 1942, American generals were complaining that precious resources were being diverted to fight Germans in North Africa, hardly a direct strategic concern. All of this should sound familiar in the debate over Iraq and the war on terrorism,” said Mr. Schweizer, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Feingold’s deadline

Sen. Russell D. Feingold plans to call today for the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq by Dec. 31, 2006, U.S. News & World Report says.

The Wisconsin Democrat, who is exploring a run for the presidency in 2008, is now offering an alternative to President Bush’s policy of “staying the course.”

While Mr. Feingold has previously steered away from setting a timetable for getting U.S. troops out of Iraq, he told U.S. News reporter Roger Simon that the war in Iraq has made America less safe so a deadline needed to be set.

“The president’s policy in Iraq has played into the hands of the terrorists,” he said. “Iraq is now the principal training ground for terrorists.”

Letter to Leavitt

Six senators have fired off a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt about the agency’s “appalling” support for an upcoming methamphetamine conference in Utah that touts “harm reduction” drug policy.

Harm-reduction policy, according to conference organizers with the Harm Reduction Project in Salt Lake City, seeks to minimize the ill effects of drug use. Conservatives see harm reduction as a steppingstone to drug legalization.

“[W]e believe that the federal government should be doing everything possible to interrupt production, distribution and use and to care for those who are already affected” by meth, Republican Sens. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, Sam Brownback of Kansas, James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Mike DeWine of Ohio and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina wrote in their letter Tuesday.

They noted that scheduled speakers at the meth conference have been quoted as saying that for “a lot of people, meth use is a rite of passage” and telling HIV-positive men to adopt specific sexual positions “may be a better message” than current anti-meth campaigns.

Said the senators: “It is outrageous that the federal government would be supporting any efforts that convey ‘meth’ use as ‘a rite of passage’ and condomless sex as HIV prevention.”

They have asked HHS to explain its involvement in the conference. An HHS spokesman said this week the agency was incorrectly listed as a sponsor.

Lott tells all

Sen. Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican, blames his 2002 fall from the Senate majority leader post on “personal betrayal” by an ambitious Sen. Bill Frist, adding in a new book that President Bush, then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and other Republican associates played a role.

Mr. Frist, Tennessee Republican and now the majority leader, “didn’t even have the courtesy to call and tell me personally that he was going to run,” Mr. Lott wrote of his loss of his position.

“If Frist had not announced exactly when he did, as the fire was about to burn out, I would still be majority leader of the Senate today,” Mr. Lott wrote in “Herding Cats, A Life in Politics,” according to the Associated Press.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Frist, Amy Call, said the senator “hasn’t read the book, so he can’t comment directly, but he always appreciates Senator Lott’s advice.”

Mr. Lott’s fall came after he said at Sen. Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday that the country “wouldn’t have had all these problems over the years” if it had elected Mr. Thurmond president in 1948.

The uproar was slow to build. But, Mr. Lott wrote, by the time it was over, former Sen. Don Nickles of Oklahoma had helped bring him down, and he recalled a tense conversation with Sen. George Allen of Virginia, who told him to resign for the good of the party.

“‘I’m not going to do it,’ I yelled back at him. ‘I’m not going to do it and I’m very disappointed by your call,’” Mr. Lott wrote.

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

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