- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Ethics anyone?

It’s time for our annual look at those prominent Washington journalists who arguably are crossing the ethics line by lending their names in support of the Women’s Campaign Fund (WCF), which raises money to elect “pro-choice” women to Capitol Hill.

This year’s celebrity guests for eight individual dinner parties, to be held in the homes of prominent Washingtonians on June 15, include Time editor and CNN analyst Margaret Carlson, Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift, political commentator Bill Press, syndicated columnist Helen Thomas, PBS host Bonnie Erbe, People magazine’s Jane Podesta, NPR radio host Diane Rehm and Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report.

When we drew attention to last year’s list of “journalist celebrities” attending the dinners, only Washington radio station WTOP demanded that its popular political commentator, Mark Plotkin, not break bread with the WCF.

Among those hosting dinners in their homes next week are Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, Louisiana Democrat; Rep. Judy Biggert, Illinois Republican; and Rep. Susan A. Davis, California Democrat.

And when the WCF claims it’s nonpartisan, it’s not kidding. Numerous Republicans are attending the fundraisers, which are sponsored in part this year by Republicans for Choice.

More or less?

While we’re on the subject of abortion, Rep. Christopher H. Smith, New Jersey Republican, is calling attention to a “myth” that’s been circulating about abortions increasing since President Bush was elected in 2000.

The myth, the congressman says, got legs when Glen Stassen, an ethics professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, and journalist Gary Krane co-authored an article last October headlined, “Why abortion rate is up in Bush years.”

It “attempted to make the case that President Bush’s pro-life policies have not been effective in decreasing abortion,” Mr. Smith states. “This mantra was picked up and repeated by many public figures and organizations who do not hold pro-life positions, but the facts simply do not support their claims.

“In fact, abortion has continued to decrease while President Bush has been in office, as demonstrated by an Annenberg Political Fact Check.”

Posted in recent days, the Annenberg report is titled, “Abortions rising under Bush? Not true. How that false claim came to be and lives on.”

In summary, it states that Democratic politicians, including New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Democratic National Committee chairman and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, all now contend that abortions have increased since Mr. Bush took office.

Rather, the report cites a study of 43 states by the Alan Guttmacher Institute showing that abortions “have actually decreased” across America.

Winning and losing

The Democratic leadership has vowed to delay John R. Bolton’s confirmation as the next ambassador to the United Nations because President Bush refuses to release “relevant documents that could raise serious questions” about his past service with the State Department.

And in doing so, wouldn’t you know, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has inserted into its party’s credo on Mr. Bolton the reflections of two leading Republicans: Ohio Sen. George V. Voinovich and former Wyoming Sen. Alan K. Simpson.

As we’ve all read, Mr. Voinovich remarked of Mr. Bolton: “[W]hat message are we sending to the world community when in the same breath we have sought to appoint an ambassador to the United Nations who himself has been accused of being arrogant, of not listening to his friends, of acting unilaterally, of bullying those who do not have the ability to properly defend themselves?”

He then added: “I believe that John Bolton would have been fired if he’d worked for a major corporation.”

As for Mr. Simpson, we should make it clear that he wasn’t referring to Mr. Bolton, but rather the more-conservative wing of his party when he observed: “I’ve been a Republican all my life. They’ll never throw me out. But they have an amazing ability to eat their young. They give each other the saliva test of purity every once in a while, and then they lose. And then they just sit around and bitch for four years. It’s a fairly fascinating party.”

The only problem — for Democrats, that is, as the GOP is quick to point out — is that the Republicans haven’t been losing of late.

Pierced lips

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is planning to confront members of Congress on Capitol Hill this afternoon, holding huge posters showing a dog with a fishhook impaled in its lip and the tagline: “If You Wouldn’t Do This to a Dog, Why Do It to a Fish?”

Part of PETA’s national “Fish Empathy Project,” the group aims to “let anglers know that there’s nothing sporting about fishing, that fish feel pain, and that fish are individuals who deserve respect.”

PETA’s people will approach legislators outside the Dirksen Senate Office Building, where the American Sportfishing Association is holding an awards ceremony for politicians who did the most to support and promote fishing.

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]

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