- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Losing the middle

‘You wouldn’t know it from reading the mainstream media, but Democrats are plagued by middle-class blues,’ Gary Andres writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

‘Despite John Kerry and others courting them with populist rhetoric and targeted get-out-the-vote efforts, large majorities of middle-class voters chose President Bush and congressional Republicans in last fall’s elections,’ said Mr. Andres, vice chairman of research and policy for the Dutko Group Companies.

‘So says a recent study by a group called ‘Third Way,’ based on 2004 exit-poll data from the Roper Center at the University of Connecticut.

‘Despite all the time, energy, and rhetoric Democrats spend trying to curry favor with ‘middle-class’ voters, their efforts are falling flat. … The report concludes that ?George W. Bush defeated John Kerry by 22-points among middle-class whites with incomes between $30,000 and $75,000.’ House Republicans won the same income group by 19 points.

‘Republican support among lower-middle-class white voters continued down the income scale more than suggested by conventional wisdom. The report says, ‘The economic tipping point — the household income level at which whites were more likely to vote for Republicans than Democrats — was $23,700.’ ‘

‘Two other conclusions in the report could send Democrats into a catatonic state. First, Third Way finds, ‘A rapidly growing Hispanic middle class is leaving the Democratic Party.’ And, ‘The entrance of married women into the middle class led to a dramatic increase in Republican support.’ ‘

Dean’s true colors

‘Christians in Vermont aren’t surprised Howard Dean wields the word ‘Christian’ as a curse not a compliment,’ George Neumayr writes in the American Spectator Online (www.spectator.org).

‘They have long chuckled over the mainstream media’s lazy acceptance of Dean’s self-description as a moderate willing to make overtures to the religious. That’s not the Howard Dean they recall,’ Mr. Neumayr says.

‘On a Vermont radio talk show, Dean once referred to pro-lifers in the state as common criminals whom he didn’t care to meet, and would demonize conservative Christians as ‘haters’ while choking on his own hate.’

Steve Cable, president of Vermont’s Center for American Cultural Renewal, says Mr. Dean called him ‘an asinine, despicable coward and an embarrassment to Vermont,’ Mr. Neumayr reports.

‘We ran an ad [against his same-sex civil unions bill] in all the papers in Vermont and he went nuts and wouldn’t answer our questions,’ Mr. Cable told Mr. Neumayr.


Liberal radio talker Al Franken couldn’t stop talking Friday night after receiving the Freedom of Speech Award from Talkers magazine.

Michael Harrison, publisher of the magazine and host of the talk-radio convention in New York City, practically begged Mr. Franken to relax his jaw after the lefty launched an almost half-hour rant against TV commentator Bill O’Reilly and the war in Iraq, the New York Post reports.

‘Al, hurry up,’ Mr. Harrison said.

‘It’s freedom of speech,’ Mr. Franken replied.

‘It’s not freedom to kill everybody’s evening,’ Mr. Harrison said.

‘I have about two pages left,’ Mr. Franken announced.

‘There are people walking out,’ Mr. Harrison despaired.

‘Everybody who wants to leave can leave,’ Mr. Franken said.

‘Now, don’t leave,? Mr. Harrison pleaded to the crowd. He then turned to Mr. Franken and said: ‘We honored you; now honor us. Don’t kill our party.’

At that, Mr. Franken finally cut short his speech.

Kim’s sanity

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday she did not know whether North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il was sane, a remark that could anger the North’s unpredictable ruler.

Miss Rice was asked whether she thought Mr. Kim was sane during an interview with MSNBC’s ‘Hardball’ with Chris Matthews for airing today.

‘I don’t know. I’ve never met the man,’ she said.

North Korea is acutely sensitive to U.S. officials’ words, Reuters news agency reports. On June 3, a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman praised President Bush for referring to the North’s leader as ‘Mr.’ Kim Jong-il and suggested the comment would affect talks on Pyongyang’s nuclear program.

North Korea’s propaganda machine has said Mr. Kim shot 11 holes-in-one on the first golf round he ever played and that he can remember the name, age and birthday of everyone he meets.

Arnold calls vote

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger yesterday called a special election for November to try to change the way the state spends money, picks its politicians and hires its teachers, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Schwarzenegger called the measures critical to breaking the grip that public employee unions hold and fixing budget problems, adding that he was elected in 2003 to put ‘California’s financial house in order and reform a government that no longer listened to the people.’

‘I did not come to Sacramento, and you did not send me here, to repeat the mistakes of the past,’ he said in a brief broadcast address from his Capitol office.

The three proposals include a spending cap that would impose automatic cuts if revenues fall below projected income. It would do away with a voter-approved 2000 measure that sets a minimum funding requirement for public schools. He also wants legislative and congressional districts to be drawn by a panel of retired judges, and to extend from two years to five the amount of time teachers would have to work to get tenure.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected]

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