- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 30, 2005

‘The sweet spot’

“The president should know he hit the sweet spot during his Fort Bragg speech because all the right people are angry,” Andrew C. McCarthy writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“The New York Times, with predictable disingenuousness, is railing [Wednesday] morning that the 9/11 references in the speech are out of bounds because Iraq had ‘nothing whatsoever to do with the terrorist attacks.’ Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and the tedious David Gergen, among others, are in Gergen’s words ‘offended’ about use of the 9/11 ‘trump card.’

“If the president is guilty of anything, it’s not that he’s dwelling on 9/11 enough. It’s that the administration has not done a good enough job of probing and underscoring the nexus between the Saddam [Hussein] regime and al Qaeda.

“It is absolutely appropriate, it is vital, for him to stress that connection. This is still the war on terror, and Iraq, where the terrorists are still arrayed against us, remains a big part of that equation,” said Mr. McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor and a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

“And not just because every jihadist with an AK-47 and a prayer rug has made his way there since we invaded. No, it’s because Saddammade Iraq their cozy place to land long before that. They are fighting effectively there because they’ve been invited to dig in for years.”

Arnold’s numbers

A majority of California voters don’t want to see Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger re-elected, according to the latest poll showing the Republican’s political appeal sliding.

The nonpartisan Field Poll of registered voters found that just 39 percent said they were inclined to give Mr. Schwarzenegger a second term, while 57 percent were not. As recently as February, the numbers were almost reversed, with 56 percent saying they were inclined to re-elect Mr. Schwarzenegger and just 42 percent were not.

The drop in the governor’s popularity has coincided with his push for a fall special election for voters to consider several ballot measures aimed at curbing the power of Democrats and public employee unions in state government, the Associated Press reports.

The governor still enjoys considerable support among Republican voters, with 71 percent saying they were inclined to re-elect him.

But the poll found that 83 percent of Democrats, who form the majority of the state’s registered voters, would oppose a second term, as would 61 percent of independent voters.

Todd Harris, a Schwarzenegger political adviser who is working on the special election campaign, said the poll results on a distant would-be election didn’t concern him.

“It’s June of ‘05 and they’re talking about November ‘06,” Mr. Harris said. “I’m not exactly losing sleep over a poll that asks voters about a hypothetical ballot matchup that is 17 months away.”

Exemption sought

Cuban-American Carlos Lazo won a Bronze Star for caring for his wounded comrades in Iraq, but he can’t get to Cuba to care for a sick son.

A group of lawmakers is urging the Bush administration to give Mr. Lazo, a sergeant in the Washington state National Guard, an exemption from the strict sanctions imposed on the Castro government limiting family visits to once every three years, the Associated Press reports.

“Surely a hero of the Iraq war who wants to visit his ill teenage son in Cuba is deserving of special consideration,” Sen. Byron L. Dorgan, North Dakota Democrat, wrote in a letter to White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr.

“We trust him in Iraq, but we do not trust him to visit his own family in Cuba?” Rep. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican, said in a floor speech last week.

Mr. Dorgan’s office said Mr. Lazo’s case was being considered this week by senior officials at the State Department.

Washington egotism

“What’s wrong with them? That’s what I’m thinking more and more as I watch the news from Washington,” Peggy Noonan writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“A few weeks ago it was the senators who announced the judicial compromise. There is nothing wrong with compromise and nothing wrong with announcements, but the senators who spoke referred to themselves with such flights of vanity and conceit — we’re so brave, so farsighted, so high-minded — that it was embarrassing. They patted themselves on the back so hard they looked like a bevy of big breasted pigeons in a mass wing-flap. …

“This week comes the previously careful Sen. Barack Obama, flapping his wings in Time magazine and explaining that he’s a lot like Abraham Lincoln, only sort of better. ‘In Lincoln’s rise from poverty, his ultimate mastery of language and law, his capacity to overcome personal loss and remain determined in the face of repeated defeat — in all this he reminded me not just of my own struggles.’

“Oh. So that’s what Lincoln’s for. Actually Lincoln’s life is a lot like Mr. Obama’s. Lincoln came from a lean-to in the backwoods. His mother died when he was 9. The Lincolns had no money, no standing. Lincoln educated himself, reading law on his own, working as a field hand, a store clerk and a raft hand on the Mississippi. He also split some rails. He entered politics, knew more defeat than victory, and went on to lead the nation through its greatest trauma, the Civil War, and past its greatest sin, slavery.

“Barack Obama, the son of two University of Hawaii students, went to Columbia and Harvard Law after attending a private academy that taught the children of the Hawaiian royal family. He made his name in politics as an aggressive Chicago vote hustler in Bill Clinton’s first campaign for the presidency.

“You see the similarities.

“There is nothing wrong with Barack Obama’s resume, but it is a log-cabin-free zone. So far it also is a greatness-free zone. If he keeps talking about himself like this, it always will be.

“Mr. Obama said he keeps a photographic portrait of Lincoln on the wall of his office, and that ‘it asks me questions.’

“I’m sure it does. I’m sure it says, ‘Barack, why are you such an egomaniac?’”

A flag burner

“The top editor at a newspaper owned by Gannett, which publishes USA Today, promised in a Sunday column to burn an American flag if the Senate passes an anti-flag burning amendment,” the conservative Media Research Center’s Brent Baker reports at www.mediaresearch.org.

Linda Grist Cunningham, executive editor of the Rockford Register Star in Illinois, pledged: ‘If the U.S. Senate follows its silly siblings in the House of Representatives and votes for a ban on burning the American flag, I’m going to burn one. It never occurred to me to burn a flag — except in some flag-retiring ceremony — but just the idea that Congress has nothing better to do than spend time on this nutty issue makes me want to burn one.’

“She also displayed her disgust with critics of Sen. Dick Durbin, complaining that people ‘with an ax to grind’ took ‘a couple of lines out of context.’”

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


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