- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 8, 2005

The good news is that current newsmakers Eason Jordan, Howard Dean and Condoleezza Rice have virtually nothing in common.

Mr. Jordan, the CNN news executive who slandered the U.S. military without a shred of evidence to back his claims, should be out of a job. Mr. Dean, evidently next chairman of the Democratic National Committee, shouldn’t even be considered for that job. And Miss Rice, out barnstorming with the president’s foreign-policy message, should already be lauded for the brilliant job she is doing as our new secretary of state.

Let’s begin with worst of the lot and work our way to the best.

Jack Kelly, in his column in the Toledo Blade, outlines L’Affaire Jordan very neatly: “Mr. Jordan told a panel that the U.S. military had killed a dozen journalists in Iraq, and that they had been deliberately targeted. When challenged, Mr. Jordan could provide no evidence to support the charge, and subsequently lied about having made it, though the record shows he had made a similar charge a few months before, and also earlier had falsely accused the Israeli military of targeting journalists.”

If the story is correct, CNN should have fired Mr. Jordan. If it is untrue, Mr. Jordan or CNN must provide the counterevidence.

This episode is worse than Rathergate. Dan Rather, Mary Mapes and others at the CBS Evening News are biased liberal journalists. But I have no reason to believe Mr. Rather is unpatriotic. And yet, Rather & Co. were dismissed. That Mr. Jordan still has a job says very bad things about CNN.

Moving from worst to pretty bad, we have the probability Howard Dean will chair the DNC. Liberal columnist Jonathan Chait calls this “a suicidal selection,” writing Mr. Dean would be a disastrous manager. As leading antiwar candidate in the Democratic presidential horse race, Mr. Dean initially raised an impressive $50 million. After losing the Iowa caucuses to Sen. John Kerry, he went virtually broke as his campaign imploded.

But let me add a more simple reason Mr. Dean should never chair the DNC: He is not from the South and has no pull there.

In their White House bids, Al Gore and John Kerry were destroyed in the pro-military, antitax, culturally conservative South. Not merely the Deep South, but the Border States as well. Meanwhile, Democratic senators, House members and governors have been crushed in a series of Republican landslides in the Southern states.

The Democrats will not reclaim the White House until they start electoral recovery in the South. This has long been former Sen. Zell Miller’s message to his party.

At the very least, the next DNC chair should be a moderate from the Rocky Mountain West, someone with good communication skills who can reach out to Southern voters. But if Mr. Dean, another Northeast liberal, rises to the top, the headline becomes clear: “Dems to South: Drop dead.”

Thank goodness for Condi, who is brightening the news these days. Reports of Miss Rice’s recent trips to London, Europe, Turkey and Israel show clearly she is promoting President Bush’s vision of freedom, democratization and liberty. She has chided Russian backsliding; has cited Ukraine, Afghanistan, Georgia and Iraq as places where we are building the institutions of democracy; and has said America and Europe should work together in “the great cause of the spread of freedom and liberty.”

Colin Powell wasn’t much of a public diplomat. He didn’t travel often and seldom spoke the language of freedom and democracy. But now the nation’s chief diplomat appears to be in full support of presidential policy. Bravo, Miss Rice.

As we know, Mr. Bush singled out Syria as a world-class troublemaker and safe harbor of terrorists in his Inaugural speech. He said this is unacceptable and, if it if is not changed quickly, action will be taken to correct it. What kind of action?

The mainstream media focuses on Iran, where military action is not in the short-run cards, according to Miss Rice and others. But no one in officialdom has similarly ruled out retaliation for Syria’s bad behavior.

That brings us to our bonus newsmaker, Gen. Wayne Downing, U.S. Army (retired) and former commander in chief of U.S. Special Ops. Gen. Downing asserted last week on CNBC’s “Kudlow & Cramer” that Syria is clearly a base for insurgent operations. Consequently, the U.S. must maintain political pressure. But he also said before long we will see cross-border surgical air strikes against bases in Syria. He also believes U.S. troops will be part of the operations.

As far as I know, no other retired four-star has made this forecast. But Gen. Downing is a straight shooter. His views should be taken quite seriously. After all, isn’t this an idea whose time has come?

Lawrence Kudlow is co-host of CNBC’s nightly “Kudlow & Cramer” and is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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