- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 9, 2005

‘Dislodged’ Democrats

Despite Democrats losing a “significant” portion of Hispanic support to George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, a report from James Carville and Stanley Greenberg’s Democracy Corps finds that Hispanics are in the “dead center” of the Democratic world.

“These voters were disappointed and dislodged; they did not defect,” the report concludes, saying, “Hispanic voters remain instinctively very Democratic.”

It predicts that Democrats in 2008 “will stem the erosion of the Hispanic vote, not by chasing the defectors or waving the partisan banner, but by rediscovering their own values and beliefs.”

It says Sen. John Kerry and his fellow Democrats were “inarticulate on their values and priorities” in the months leading up to last year’s presidential election.

As a result, the report states, Mr. Bush in 2004 raised his vote among Hispanics to 40 percent (not 44 percent, as initially estimated through Florida exit polls), up from his 35 percent in 2000, and former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole’s 21 percent in 1996.

The “dislodged” Hispanics who voted for Mr. Bush “raised doubts about Kerry on lacking strong convictions, permissiveness on abortion and gay marriage and lack of support for the military,” according to the report.

Also drawing in the Hispanic vote “was Bush’s attentiveness, seeming racial tolerance, openness on immigration and support for the family, as well as the Republicans’ success in making social issues, like abortion and gay marriage, and security matter more in people’s presidential preference.”

Hot ticket

You can’t say everyday Americans aren’t concerned about losing their hard-earned Social Security contributions.

Rep. Timothy V. Johnson, Illinois Republican, who happens to oppose President Bush’s partial privatization plan for Social Security, held an overflow town-hall meeting last week in Urbana, what one local reporter described as the “hottest ticket in town.”

Paul Wood of the News-Gazette observed “more than 200 sometimes-testy citizens, most of them seniors, grilling … Johnson on privatizing Social Security. The Urbana Republican turned out to disagree with the president on the private accounts.”

The reporter said there were only 120 or so chairs in the Urbana Civic Center, “and well over 200 people showed up, prompting the fire marshal to come by.”

Turns out the occupancy rate was 150, and the fire marshal said the temperature in the room was high enough that he wanted to make sure no one was having health problems.

It was the largest town-hall meeting Mr. Johnson remembers, spokesman Phil Bloomer said.

Not impressed

As part of their bid to prevent President Bush from privatizing any portion of Social Security, House Democratic leaders announced that Democrats have just concluded their 1,000th town-hall meeting.

Not impressed with the opposition’s milestone is the vice chairman of the House Republican Conference, Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia. He counters that Republicans already have surpassed 1,150 town-hall meetings on Social Security matters.

As for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, who made the announcement, Mr. Kingston says her “muddy” record on Social Security is “as credible as Howard Dean’s apologies.”

Take Stockman

Former Rep. Steve Stockman, Texas Republican, is giving back to the Arlington-based leadership program that helped propel him into Congress.

The Leadership Institute says Mr. Stockman will become the director of its rapidly expanding Campus Leadership Program, which organizes independent conservative student groups on campuses throughout the country.

The one-term congressman credits the institute’s training for helping him defeat Democrat Jack Brooks, a 42-year veteran of Congress, in 1994.

Although serving on Capitol Hill for only two years — he lost his bid for re-election — Mr. Stockman co-authored Megan’s Law, which protects children from pedophiles, and authored a bill that eliminated three full committees and 26 subcommittees, saving taxpayers millions of dollars each year.

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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