- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 8, 2005

Europe preens

“It has been quite the spectacle this week, with Condoleezza Rice touring Europe amid mock dismay over the fact that the CIA may have detained terrorists in European jails. If the secretary of state weren’t so diplomatic, she’d cancel her tour and say she won’t come back until the Continent’s politicians decide to grow up,” the Wall Street Journal said yesterday in an editorial.

“One of Europe’s moral conceits is to fret constantly about the looming outbreak of fascism in America, even though it is on the Continent itself where the dictators seem to pop up every couple of decades. Then Europe dials 911, and Washington dutifully rides to the rescue. The last time was just a few years ago, as U.S. firepower stopped Slobodan Milosevic, who had bedeviled Europe for years,” the newspaper said.

“In return, it would be nice if once in a while Europe decided to help America with its security problem, especially since Islamic terrorism is also Europe’s security problem. But instead the U.S. secretary of state has to put up with lectures about the phony issue of ‘secret’ prisons housing terrorists who killed 3,000 Americans.”

Embracing defeat

“The good news for the Democrats is that their leadership has settled on an electoral strategy for 2006. The bad news is that they have cribbed their game plan from one of the most disastrous campaigns in their history,” Edward Morrissey writes at the Weekly Standard’s Web site, www.weeklystandard.com.

“When was the last time that an entire political party stood for backpedaling the way the Democrats have in the past two weeks? Since Rep. John [P.] Murtha made his supposedly stunning announcement that he wanted an immediate withdrawal of all troops from Iraq, the Democrats have embraced surrender.

“Not even during the Vietnam War did a major American party position itself to support abject retreat as a wartime political platform. For that, one has to go back to the Civil War, when the Democrats demanded a negotiated peace with the Confederate States of America and a withdrawal from the South.

“Celebrating the popularity of former General George McClellan, who had come from the battlefield to represent a party whose platform demanded a negotiated settlement (which McClellan later disavowed), the Confederates assumed that the war could be over within days of McClellan’s presumed victory over the controversial and hated Abraham Lincoln. Even some Republicans began to question whether Lincoln should stand for re-election — until Sherman took Atlanta and exposed McClellan as a defeatist and an incompetent of the first order.

“Murtha’s demand for a pullout gave the party’s leadership a chance to openly embrace defeatism, much as McClellan did for Northern Democrats in 1864, using McClellan’s field experience for the credibility to argue that the American Army could not hope to defeat the enemy it faced.”

Schiavo’s PAC

Michael Schiavo, whose effort to quit feeding his brain-damaged wife divided a nation, is launching a political action committee.

More than eight months after a fierce political and legal fight over Terri Schiavo, Mr. Schiavo said his experience with political leaders “has opened my eyes to just how easily the private wishes of normal Americans like me and Terri can be cast aside in a destructive game of political pandering.”

Mr. Schiavo said he was a lifelong Republican “before Republicans pushed the power of government into my private family decisions.” He did not mention that his wife’s parents and siblings were adamantly opposed to forcing her to die.

The political action committee, TerriPAC, will raise and spend money on Florida candidates as well as those running for Congress, the Associated Press reports.

A dog’s life

How do you say “Merry Christmas” in Scottish terrier? Just ask presidential pups Barney and Miss Beazley.

First lady Laura Bush showed a home video of White House holiday life — from the first dogs’ point of view — to a group of patients, their families and staff at Children’s National Medical Center yesterday.

The video, “A Very Beazley Christmas,” tells the story of a very jealous Barney, who hides presents meant for his more popular sister, Miss Beazley.

The president’s chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, as well as television hosts Nancy O’Dell and George Stephanopoulos, raise Barney’s ire by heaping praise on the charming, photogenic and younger Miss Beazley.

After scolding Barney for playing hide-and-seek with Miss Beazley’s gifts, President Bush chides a contrite Miss Beazley, saying, “I understand you’ve been a media hound.”

He patches up the dogs’ differences by telling them, “You have to remember the true meaning of the holiday season,” the Associated Press reports.

Five-year-old Diamond Moseley, in the hospital with chronic asthma, said the video was her favorite part of the day.

The video is available on the White House Web site.

Arnold’s heart

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was back at work yesterday after being taken to the hospital the night before with what a spokeswoman said was a rapid heartbeat.

He was released from the University of California Davis Medical Center after several hours when doctors determined his heart was functionally normally, his office said.

“He’s feeling fine and working,” spokeswoman Margita Thompson said.

Mr. Schwarzenegger, 58, had heart surgery in 1997 to repair a congenital valve problem, the Associated Press reports. An occasional rapid heartbeat is common after that sort of operation, his office said.

Democrats vs. Alito

The all-Democrat Congressional Black Caucus, which includes 42 House members, plans to announce its opposition to Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. today.

The group also opposed the nomination of John G. Roberts Jr. as chief justice, but waited until his confirmation hearings to announce that position.

The one black member of Congress who does have a vote, Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, says he hasn’t made up his mind. The Alito hearings begin Jan. 9.

A group of female Democratic House members also planned to announce its opposition to Judge Alito today, the Associated Press reports.

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

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