- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 22, 2005

DeLay rebuffed

A Texas appeals court yesterday rejected a bid by Rep. Tom DeLay to get a speedy trial on a money-laundering charge, a request the Republican lawmaker made in the hopes that an acquittal would let him return to his post as House majority leader next month.

He temporarily stepped down from the post in September after he was indicted in Travis County on charges of violating state campaign-finance laws.

DeLay attorney Dick DeGuerin said he would appeal the ruling from the three-judge panel and ask the state’s highest criminal appeals court to dismiss the case.

“This gives us the opportunity to go over their heads,” said Mr. DeGuerin, according to Reuters news agency.

In addition to the dismissal request, Mr. DeLay will ask that the case be sent back to the state district court so that a trial can begin soon. A spokesman for Mr. DeLay said the congressman expects the case to be resolved in the coming weeks.

The case will go to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

Get a grip

“As they attack George W. Bush on the surveillance issue, Democrats are proving themselves to be either really principled or really stupid, at least in terms of their electoral futures. I am having a hard time figuring out which it is — although I have a hunch,” syndicated columnist James P. Pinkerton writes.

“Many top Democrats seem convinced that ‘snoopgate’ is a big winner for them. E-mailing his million or so closest friends, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean asks, ‘Did George Bush break the law?’ The presumption is that Bush is guilty, of course, but Dean needs money now to launch his own investigation,” Mr. Pinkerton said.

“Other Democrats are climbing out even further on this particular Bush-bashing limb. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia and Sen. Barbara Boxer of California have both been throwing around the I-word, ‘impeachment,’ in recent days.

“And some in the liberal-leaning media are fanning the flames. Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter writes, ‘If the Democrats regain control of Congress, there may even be articles of impeachment introduced.’

“Let’s get a grip here. Based on what we’ve seen so far, Bush is in no danger of losing his job. In fact, if this controversy continues, W. will likely go up in the polls. Why? Because the American people want to be safe. And they will surrender some of their rights to be safer. That political reality may infuriate hard-core civil libertarians, but it’s true during all periods of wartime.”

No longer hidden

“We all criticize the mainstream media, regularly and with reason,” Peggy Noonan writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“More and more and day by day the MSM is showing us that its response to the popularity of conservative media and the rise of alternative news sources is to become less carefully liberal. What in the past had to be hidden is now announced,” Miss Noonan said.

“This is not necessarily bad: it makes things better by making them clearer. I didn’t enjoy their ideological smuggling. Now they’re more like free-market people: Here are my liberal wares, if you want to buy them buy them, if not the Fox News stall is down the street, buy their faulty product and curses on you!

“Fine with me, except that as a consumer of news I think they’re making a mistake. In a time of endless opinion, fact is king. Fact is rarer, harder to come by, more valuable. If only the MSM understood what money and power there are to be had from being famously nonideological, from being a famously reliable pursuer and presenter of fact. Wouldn’t it be great if that were the next new thing?”

Two explanations

“The White House regularly bemoans the fact that the economy is humming along impressively but the public doesn’t recognize it,” Fred Barnes writes at the Weekly Standard’s Web site (www.weeklystandard.com).

“Just last week, President Bush told NBC News anchor Brian Williams that he’s ‘a little bit’ frustrated by the public’s negative attitude. ‘I also think it’s important to understand why people don’t see or don’t feel the improved economy,’ Bush said. But he didn’t offer an explanation,” Mr. Barnes said.

“In truth, there are two explanations. One is the media, which dwells on bad economic news at the expense of good. As gasoline prices soared past $3 a gallon, the press couldn’t say enough about this ugly trend. More recently as prices plummeted, the media was far less interested in touting the dramatic reversal.

“The second explanation involves the Bush administration itself. Al Hubbard, the head of the White House’s national economic council, conceded in a session with reporters this week that the administration hadn’t spread the word effectively about the strong economy. He said it’s ‘so easy in the White House to get caught up’ in daily events and ‘forget about the importance of communications.’ Indeed, the administration has done an inadequate job of trumpeting dramatic economic gains in 2005 and earlier.

“How do we know the media has poisoned the public’s view of the economy? It’s really very simple. Opinion polls show basically that people believe overwhelmingly that they’re doing well financially but the country isn’t. And they know for sure their own economic condition. They experience it personally on a daily basis. On the other hand, what they know about the broader national economy comes largely from the media.”

Touting impeachment

“Substitute co-host Russ Mitchell of CBS’s ‘The Early Show’ interviewed legal scholar Jonathan Turley about the ‘spy scandal’ on Wednesday in the 7:00 half hour,” Michael Rule writes at NewsBusters.org.

“Mitchell used the interview to have Turley explain why those opposed to the president are legally accurate, and why impeachment proceedings against President Bush may be appropriate,” Mr. Rule said.

“From the very beginning, this segment took a negative tone against the president and his administration, and like many interviews and stories, was completely one sided. Mitchell framed the story, as many media outlets do, in a way to give the impression that the government is spying on everyone at all times, ‘As we said, Capitol Hill is buzzing about the president’s admission to spying on Americans without obtaining warrants,’ but he ignored the limited nature of the program in that it was limited to international communications and one of the parties must have known ties to terror.”

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

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