- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 23, 2005

Outraged Democrats

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean and Sen. Richard J. Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, have been under fire lately for their over-the-top rhetoric — and not just from Republicans. Much of the criticism has come from state Democratic officials.

One of their harshest critics is Joe Erwin, the South Carolina Democratic state chairman who this week told Donald Lambro of The Washington Times that he thought Mr. Durbin’s Senate floor speech likening U.S. treatment of terror-war detainees at the U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the Nazi concentration camps, among other things, “was just way over the top.”

“Those comparisons to Hitler and Soviet gulags are just absurd,” Mr. Erwin said. “You’ve got a lot of Democrats that are upset over it. We think a lot of the policy of this administration is flawed, but we need to speak out in a thoughtful way to reach out to people.”

Mr. Erwin added: “When you are trying to reach out to people to join your team, then you need a message that is thoughtful and not spiteful. Let’s avoid the venom in the dialogue. People are just turned off by it.”

Best-hits collection

The Republican National Committee yesterday unveiled a new Web ad titled “Wild Thing,” highlighting recent inflammatory comments by Democratic Party leaders.

The video will be e-mailed out today to 15 million Republicans, the RNC said.

Here is the transcript of the 1-minute-and-45-second video:

(Text on Screen): A long, long time ago …

(Montage of past presidents)

Franklin D. Roosevelt: “The only thing we have to fear …”

Harry S. Truman: “… and are determined to work for peace on earth.”

John F. Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

(Text on Screen): Today …

(Video) Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean: “I hate what the Republicans are doing to this country. I really do.”

(Video) Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton: “It is very hard to stop people who have never been acquainted with the truth.”

(Video) Mr. Dean: “A lot of them have never made an honest living in their lives.”

(Print) Mr. Dean 6/6/2005: (Republican Party) “It’s pretty much a white, Christian party.”

(Video) House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: “Our plan is to stop him … stop him … he must be stopped.”

(Video) Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin: “You would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime — Pol Pot or others — that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans.”

(Print) Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid 5/6/2005: “I think this guy (President Bush) is a loser.”

(Video) Mr. Reid: “I apologized for the ‘loser’; I haven’t for the ‘liar.’”

(Video) Jon Stewart: “We turn our attention now to Washington, and the Democrats. Political party founded in 1792 that enjoyed an active role in American politics through much of the 20th century. Perhaps you’ve heard of them. No? Ask your parents.”

(Text on screen): The Democrats Today. No Vision. No Plan. Not your Parents’ Democrat Party.

The video can be seen at https://www.gop.com.

Taxing problems

The Florida Democratic Party, out of cash and out of power, has been slapped with a federal tax lien for failing to pay nearly $200,000 in Social Security and payroll taxes, the Miami Herald reports.

The latest hit — coming just as the party’s most recent former chief revs up a campaign for governor — stands to further marginalize a party that has struggled in recent years to compete financially and politically with organized and well-financed Republicans, the newspaper said.

And it could give ammunition to the Democratic and Republican rivals of Scott Maddox, who left the party’s leadership post last month to run for governor, touting his time as chairman.

Demand rejected

The White House yesterday rejected Democratic calls to fire the head of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, who has criticized public television for liberal bias.

Asked about a letter from Democratic senators seeking the ouster of corporation Chairman Kenneth Tomlinson, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said, “We continue to support him.”

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is a federally funded nonprofit and the largest single source of funding for public television and radio programming. It is governed by a presidentially appointed board.

The letter said Mr. Tomlinson had brought a “political agenda” to his job. It accused him of “actively undermining,” underfunding and trying to undo the mission of public broadcasting.

The letter was dated Tuesday and signed by 16 Democratic senators, led by Sens. Charles E. Schumer of New York and Dianne Feinstein of California, Reuters news agency reports.

Mr. Tomlinson has faulted PBS, which receives funds from the corporation, for “liberal advocacy journalism,” and has sought to bring balance to federally funded public television and radio.

Terry to run

Randall Terry, who founded the pro-life group Operation Rescue and helped lead the effort to reinsert Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube, announced yesterday he is running for the Florida Senate, setting the stage for a Republican primary in which Mrs. Schiavo could be the central issue.

Mr. Terry will face state Sen. Jim King, one of nine Republicans who sided with the Democrats to block a bill aimed at keeping Mrs. Schiavo alive. The primary will be in 2006.

Mr. Terry said Mr. King no longer represents the Republican base.

“The Terri Schiavo matter was unforgivable to many of the Republican loyalists,” said Mr. Terry, 46.

In a telephone interview, Mr. King countered: “I’ve been a real Republican all my adult life. I was not a convert. I’m a fiscal conservative and moderate on social issues.”

Mr. King has served in the Legislature since 1986 and was Senate president in 2003 and 2004. The district stretches from Jacksonville to northern Volusia County.

Bloomberg’s lead

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg extended his poll margin over the leading Democratic challenger and boosted his approval rating to a three-year high, despite suffering a major setback in his bid to bring the Olympics to the city, according to a new poll.

The Quinnipiac University Poll released yesterday showed Mr. Bloomberg leading former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer 50 percent to 37 percent. In the previous poll, released May 11, the mayor was leading Mr. Ferrer by 47 percent to 38 percent.

Mr. Bloomberg’s approval rating hit a three-year high of 55 percent, well above the 47 percent he received in the May 11 poll.

Quinnipiac surveyed 1,780 registered voters from June 12 to June 19, a week after Mr. Bloomberg’s effort to bring the 2012 Summer Games to New York suffered a serious setback when state leaders refused to approve funds for a proposed $2.2 billion stadium.

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

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