- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Before and after

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean went full tilt before a group of Mississippi Democrats assembled in Jackson Tuesday night, saying the party needs to embrace pro-life Democrats.

“I want to reach out to people who are worried about values. We are going to embrace pro-life Democrats because pro-life Democrats care about kids after they’re born, not just before they’re born,” he told the crowd, which included former Govs. Ronnie Musgrove, Ray Mabus, Bill Allain and William Winter.

The Rev. Frank Pavone of the District-based Priests for Life has some thoughts on that.

“If pro-life Democrats care about kids after they’re born as well as before, it’s because they’re pro-life, not because they’re Democrats,” he pointed out yesterday.

“I certainly hope the outreach of the Democratic Party to its pro-life members will not continue to echo this highly unfair implication that the rest of the pro-life movement does not care about born children.”

He added, “The real question is how long the Democratic Party will continue to pretend that it can champion any human rights while undermining the most basic one: life itself.”

The Mississippi state Republican Party issued the following statement in honor of Mr. Dean’s visit: “AIEEEHHHH!!! The incredible shrinking party: The great Dean exodus from the Mississippi Democratic Party begins,” noting that a local county sheriff was switching from Democrat to Republican.

The Byrd brain

Sen. Robert C. Byrd invoked the dreaded H-word during an endless speech before the Senate on Tuesday, criticizing Republican proposals to limit Senate debate on judicial nominees.

“Hitler never abandoned the cloak of legality. He recognized the enormous psychological value of having the law on his side. Instead, he turned the law inside out and made illegality legal,” the West Virginia Democrat said.

“That is what the nuclear option seeks to do to rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate,” he said.

“Senator Byrd should be ashamed,” said Rep. Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican and chief deputy majority whip.

“Comparing our democratic institutions to Hitler’s Germany is a terrible offense to the American people,” said Mr. Cantor, who is Jewish.

Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman called the remarks “reprehensible beyond the pale,” and said they showed “the desperation and weakness of Senator Byrd’s position.”

The Anti-Defamation League also denounced the remarks as “hideous, outrageous and offensive.”

Not everyone was displeased, though. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, described Mr. Byrd’s comments as “Excellent — well-thought-out, reasoned, compelling, legitimate and persuasive.”

Asking and telling

Rep. Martin T. Meehan is leading his own brigade these days.

Yesterday, the Massachusetts Democrat introduced the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, which would repeal don’t ask, don’t tell, the military’s 12-year-old policy of dismissing known homosexual personnel.

The policy “is as senseless and counterproductive militarily as it is un-American,” Mr. Meehan said.

He claimed the support of 55 co-sponsors, along with some brass: Maj. Gen. Vance Coleman, U.S. Army, retired; Rear Adm. John Hutson, U.S. Navy, retired; Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy, U.S. Army, retired; Brig. Gen. Keith H. Kerr, Army, retired; Brig. Gen. Evelyn Foote, U.S. Army, retired; Brig. Gen. Virgil A. Richard, U.S. Army, retired; Maj. Gen. Charles Staff, U.S. Army Reserve, retired; Rear Adm. Alan M. Steinman, U.S. Coast Guard, retired.

In December 2003, Gens. Kerr and Richard and Adm. Steinman acknowledged in the New York Times that they were homosexuals.

The District-based Servicemembers Legal Defense Network thinks America should emulate policies elsewhere.

“The U.S. continues to be one of the last original NATO countries to ban gays from the military. Since don’t ask, don’t tell was implemented, Great Britain and Canada have lifted their bans, joining Israel and other nations around the world,” the group stated yesterday.

Chasing Asa

Asa Hutchinson, former undersecretary of homeland security, congressman from Arkansas and drug agency czar, has joined the District-based law firm Venable LLP, where he’ll head what the firm calls a “multidisciplinary” homeland security practice.

The firm is chaired by Benjamin Civiletti, U.S. attorney general during the Carter administration, who yesterday described Mr. Hutchinson as “one of the chief architects and implementers” of domestic security.

Mr. Hutchinson will split his time between the law office and Little Rock, Ark., where he’ll “pursue additional personal and business interests.”

Birkenstock-free zone

America’s freedoms arise from one source, Rep. Jim Gibbons told a group in Elko, Nev., recently.

“We are all here tonight because men and women of the United States military have given their lives for our freedom,” the Nevada Republican said. “We are here tonight not because of Rosie O’Donnell, Martin Sheen, George Clooney, Jane Fonda or Phil Donahue. They never sacrificed their lives for us or for liberty.

“I say we tell those liberal, tree-hugging, Birkenstock-wearing, hippie, tie-dyed liberals to go make their movies and their music and whine somewhere else,” Mr. Gibbons said.

Them thar is fightin’ words to the Democrats, though.

State Sen. Dina Titus said Mr. Gibbons was “out of touch with most Nevadans. … I guess he thinks that’s cute to play to his base.”

“He is so far to the right of where this state is and where most of the country is,” said Democratic adviser Sean Sinclair, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported yesterday.

Mr. Gibbons — who was a combat pilot in the Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars — did not back off from his remarks.

“I support our troops, and I don’t apologize for that,” he said.

Remembering Bloom

Sens. Byron L. Dorgan, North Dakota Democrat, and Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican, will introduce a bipartisan resolution today proclaiming March “Deep-Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Awareness Month” in honor of NBC correspondent David Bloom.

Mr. Bloom died suddenly at 39 of a pulmonary embolism — a complication of DVT — after spending long hours in an armored vehicle while covering the war in Iraq for his network.

He left behind three small children and his wife, Melanie Bloom, who will join the lawmakers on Capitol Hill. The condition kills more than 200,000 each year — “more than breast cancer and AIDS combined,” said the Coalition to Prevent DVT.

Contact Jennifer Harper at [email protected] or 202/636-3085.


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