- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 30, 2005

Not so inclusive

Former Rep. Timothy J. Roemer, an opponent of abortion, showed up in New York over the weekend to try to sell Democratic National Committee members on his candidacy for party chairman.

“I don’t think this party has ever litmus-tested a candidate,” he said. “We’re not the intolerant party. We’re the inclusive party. We’re the party that doesn’t let Karl Rove define our stand on choice. But we shouldn’t also let a special-interest group define our stand on choice.”

The New York Times, citing Mr. Roemer’s words, reports that the Indiana Democrat “heatedly tried to counter growing resistance to his candidacy because of his opposition to abortion rights and was rewarded with hisses from the crowd for his effort.”

Soros vs. Kerry

Left-wing billionaire George Soros, the largest contributor to the failed effort to defeat President Bush in November, blames Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry.

Mr. Soros spent $26 million in last year’s campaign that he said was undermined by the candidate he supported, Bloomberg news service reports.

“Kerry did not, actually, offer a credible and coherent alternative,” Mr. Soros, 74, said Saturday in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “That had a lot to do with Bush being re-elected.”

The comments by the Hungarian-born Mr. Soros, an American citizen, marked his sharpest criticism of Mr. Kerry, a Vietnam War veteran who later spoke against the war and focused his campaign against Mr. Bush on the war in Iraq. Republicans had a net gain of four seats in the Senate, including the defeat of the Senate’s highest-ranking Democrat, Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota.

The Kerry campaign “tried to emphasize his role as a Vietnam War hero and downplay his role as an anti-Vietnam War hero, which he was,” Mr. Soros said. “Had he admitted, owned up to it, I think actually the outcome could have been different.”

Mr. Soros said he also questions “what the Democratic Party stands for.” Democrats need to counter “a very effective conservative message machine,” he said. “There really needs to be an alternative.”

Still, Mr. Soros said the money he spent was worthwhile, and that he will remain active in American politics.

“I don’t feel it’s an investment that’s gone bad, because when you stand up for principles, you have to do it whether you win or lose,” Mr. Soros said. “I’m distressed that Bush was re-elected, but I don’t feel that I wasted my money.”

At long last

Democratic Sen. John Kerry yesterday agreed to sign Form 180 to release all of his military records — nearly three months after his presidential bid failed because, some critics say, of his questionable military record.

Mr. Kerry told NBC’s “Meet the Press” he would now sign the release form and challenged his critics, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, to release their military records.

“And I’d call on those who have challenged me, let’s see their records. I want to see the records of each of those people who have put up a challenge, because some of them have some serious questions in them,” Mr. Kerry said.

Kerry campaign officials released numerous military documents to answer questions about his service, including claims he crossed into Cambodia. Yesterday, however, he suggested some documents were not released.

“We put all the records out that I had been sent by the military. Then, at the last moment, they sent some more stuff, which had some things that weren’t even relevant to the record,” Mr. Kerry said.

Asked what effect the Swift Boat group’s book “Unfit for Command” had on the campaign, Mr. Kerry said, “That’s for others to judge. I don’t know.”

Wisconsin scandal

“For now, at least, the official tabulations still show John Kerry having edged out President Bush in Wisconsin last November — by a squeaker-small 11,384-vote statewide margin. But local, state and federal law enforcement officials last week made two significant announcements indicating that Republican complaints about the fairness of that count are being taken seriously,” the Weekly Standard reports in its Scrapbook column.

“First off, on Monday, January 24, came formal felony charges against five former Kerry staffers alleged to have vandalized — and rendered unusable — a 25-vehicle fleet of rented vans the Wisconsin Republican Party had intended to drive voters to the polls with on Election Day. …

“Meanwhile, a multiagency voter-fraud probe was announced last Wednesday byDistrict Attorney Michael McCann, U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic, the FBI and the Milwaukee police. Government investigators are responding to mounting evidence — an extensive analysis of the November balloting recently published by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, most notably — that many thousands of unlawful votes were likely cast in Wisconsin’s largest (and heavily Democratic) city.

“Specifically, the Journal-Sentinel has established that pre-election Republican warnings about sham Democratic registrants were well-founded: At least 1,200 presidential ballots were cast last fall from plainly bogus Milwaukee addresses — public parks and baseball fields, for example. And another 8,000-plus ballots appear to have been cast by (or on behalf of) people for whom election authorities have no record whatsoever.

“The total number of suspicious Milwaukee votes has been growing larger with every passing week, and seems likely, sooner rather than later, to exceed John Kerry’s statewide margin.”

Teddy’s advice

“The previous Senate Democratic leader, Tom Daschle, is pursuing life in the private sector after, well, let’s call it an involuntary retirement. His successor, Harry Reid of Nevada, now has to decide if he wants to lead his party with the same strategy,” the Wall Street Journal says in an editorial.

“Mr. Reid is getting lots of advice from his peers, notably Ted Kennedy. The old liberal chieftain has been giving speeches trying to rally his party’s remnants for one more attempt at total, unrelenting opposition to President Bush. …

“As the new Senate leader, Mr. Reid is going to have to decide whose side he’s on. From his days as minority whip, he knows that the Daschle strategy of fighting everything cost Democrats two seats in 2002 and four more last year.

“Democrats could even try to work with the White House to solve some problems, and get some credit for doing so. Certainly that strategy might help some individual senators running for re-election to keep their seats. …

“Tom Daschle lost his majority and then his own career taking Ted Kennedy’s advice. Democrats who want their party to succeed had better hope Harry Reid doesn’t make the same mistake.”

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

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