- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Young Republicans

The Young Republican National Federation Inc., which some members complain has spent more time partying than party building, held its national convention last weekend in swinging Las Vegas, but pledged to reform the organization’s image — and get serious about working with the Republican National Committee (RNC) to win elections.

“We’re going to rebuild the credibility of this organization,” Nicolee Ambrose, the new chairwoman of the federation, told Ralph Z. Hallow of The Washington Times. “That was the whole point of this election.”

Jessica Benkovic Colon, the chairwoman of the Houston Young Republicans who does marketing for a global real estate firm, says the federation “wasn’t communicating very well” with its local chapters about coordinating with the RNC on national elections.

The federation seemed to be in the dark about a lot of things, including membership.

Mrs. Ambrose, who is also chairwoman of the Maryland Young Republicans, said she thinks the group has “tens of thousands” of young, activist professionals as members, in cities and counties nationwide.

But she says she can’t be sure.

“We’re lawyers, real estate people, ranchers, soldiers, but we don’t know our real numbers because we don’t have a way to tally them at the national level,” said Mrs. Ambrose, who was unanimously elected national chairwoman.

“That will change, and we’ll be able to give you the exact numbers,” she promised.

The group is open to Republicans age 40 or younger.

Recruiting Mitchell

“The battle on Capitol Hill over filling one, possibly two, U.S. Supreme Court vacancies is heating up fast. Faced with a high-powered lineup of GOP tacticians and advisers, Senate Democrats are now working to assemble their own team,” Eamon Javers writes in a news analysis for BusinessWeek Online (www.businessweek.com).

“One key person under consideration to lead the effort, several Democratic sources tell BusinessWeek Online, is former Democratic Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell of Maine, chairman of the board at Walt Disney and chairman of law firm DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary. He has offices in New York and Washington, D.C. Mitchell also serves on Staples’ board of directors,” Mr. Javers said.

“Mitchell is traveling and was unavailable for comment for this story, a spokesperson said. Through an aide, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who is coordinating Democratic efforts, declined to comment.”

Unreported story

“Why is it that the dreaded federal budget deficit only commands screaming headlines when it’s rising, not falling? And why is it that the deficit is portrayed as a fire-breathing, hydra-headed monster only when the press can portray the villain as ‘irresponsible tax cuts,’ not runaway federal spending?” the Wall Street Journal asks in an editorial.

“We ask these questions in the wake of the great unreported fiscal story of 2005: the shrinking federal deficit. It’s down by at least $100 billion because federal tax receipts have skyrocketed this year by 14.6 percent (or $204 billion) through June,” the newspaper said.

“Private economic forecasters now believe the budget deficit may come in at about 2.5 percent of GDP, which is in line with the historical average for the past 40 years. Given that we’re fighting an expensive, must-win war on terror, these deficit numbers aren’t too shabby.”

The Journal added: “Alas, what hasn’t happened in Washington this year is federal spending restraint. Despite pious pledges from Mr. Bush and Republicans in Congress to trim spending growth to 4 percent this year, so far total nonmilitary spending is up 7.3 percent.”

Supporting the troops

“Liberals, Democrats and others on the left frequently state that they ‘support the troops,’” syndicated columnist Dennis Prager writes.

“For most of them, whether they realize it or not, this is not true. They feel they must say this because the majority of Americans would find any other position unacceptable. Indeed, for most liberals, the thought that they really do not support the troops is unacceptable even to them,” Mr. Prager said.

“Lest this argument be dismissed as an attack on leftist Americans’ patriotism, let it be clear that leftists’ patriotism is not the issue here. Their honesty is.

“In order to understand this, we need to first have a working definition of the term ‘support the troops.’ Presumably it means that one supports what the troops are doing and rooting for them to succeed. What else could ‘support the troops’ mean? If you say, for example, that you support the Yankees or the Dodgers, we assume it means you want them to win.

“But most of the left does not want the troops to win in Iraq. The left’s message is this: ‘You troops may think you are winning; you may think you are doing good and moral things in Iraq; you may believe you are fighting the worst human beings of our age and protecting us against the scourge of Islamic terror. But we on the left believe none of that. We believe this war is being fought for oil and for Halliburton and other corporations; we believe you are waging a war that is both illegal and immoral; we believe you have invaded a country for no good reason and have killed a hundred thousand Iraqis [the left’s generally mentioned number] for no good reason; but, hey, we sure do support you.’”

Big numbers

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s campaign raised nearly $800,000 in the past three months, while his Democratic challenger added $500,000, putting both on pace for an expensive election next year.

Mr. DeLay has never raised so much during one quarter in 22 years. Analysts say both his campaign and that of former Rep. Nick Lampson are on pace to raise $5 million in the race for the Houston area district, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Lampson announced his candidacy eight weeks ago. He represented an adjacent district until redistricting that Mr. DeLay engineered cost him enough Democratic voters that he lost to Republican Ted Poe in 2004.

Bill’s trip

Bill Clinton will embark on a weeklong, six-nation African tour this weekend aimed at boosting the work of his foundation in combating the scourge of AIDS in the continent.

Ira Magaziner, who heads up the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative, said yesterday that the visit to Mozambique, Lesotho, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda would seek to “reinvigorate political will” in those countries for scaling up AIDS treatment programs, Agence France-Presse reports.

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

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