- The Washington Times - Monday, May 30, 2005

Even his son

Sen. Mike DeWine, Ohio Republican, has come under intense criticism for joining the gang of 14 senators that derailed a Republican attempt to end judicial filibusters once and for all.

How bad has it been? Well, more than 50 prominent social conservatives in the state held a conference call last week to discuss a primary challenge to Mr. DeWine next year, the New York Times reports. And even Mr. DeWine’s son is distancing himself from his father’s action.

“I wouldn’t have voted the way he did,” Pat DeWine, a candidate for Congress, told the Cincinnati Inquirer.

Brownback’s idea

Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican, yesterday called for restrictions on the number of embryos that could be created during fertility treatments, hoping to lessen the number of unwanted embryos left over when the procedures end.

“In a number of countries, they limit the number of these in vitro fertilizations from outside the womb,” Mr. Brownback said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“They say you can do this, but you have to do these one or two at a time, so that they’re implanted in that basis. And that might be the better way to look at this.

“That’s a way that you can look at that, instead of going on this massive scale of what we’ve done here,” Mr. Brownback said.

His remarks came after the House last week passed a bill to loosen federal funding restrictions on medical research using stem cells from the unwanted embryos.

A silly argument

“The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman wants to close down the Guantanamo Bay detention center because it is the subject of anti-American propaganda,” James Taranto notes in his Best of the Web Today column at www.Opinion Journal.com.

“This passage in particular got our attention: ‘If you want to appreciate how corrosive Guantanamo has become for America’s standing abroad, don’t read the Arab press. Don’t read the Pakistani press. Don’t read the Afghan press. Hop over here to London or go online and just read the British press! See what our closest allies are saying about Gitmo. And when you get done with that, read the Australian press and the Canadian press and the German press.’

Mr. Taranto commented: “Friedman apparently is unclear on the concept of a free press. Britain and Australia may be ‘our closest allies’ (Canada and Germany are considerably less close), but much of their press is virulently anti-American. Besides, why does Friedman have to go all the way to London to make this point? There’s plenty of anti-American propaganda right here in America.

“But we suppose if Friedman wrote, ‘Just see what Michael Moore is saying about Gitmo,’ the silliness of his argument would be obvious even to him.”

A foe for Chafee?

“If there was ever any doubt, Sen. Lincoln Chafee’s vote Wednesday against the nomination of Priscilla Owen has made it clear that, save for leadership numbers games, conservatives would not be any worse off with a Democrat than with Chafee in the Senate,” Timothy P. Carney and David Freddoso write at National Review Online, www.nationalreview.com.

“Rhode Island Republicans will have a chance next year to avert that painful choice only if a serious primary challenger emerges — and it could happen as soon as [this] week,” the writers said.

They added: “If he chooses to run (and our sources say he will), moderate Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey will be an easy choice for conservatives over Chafee in next year’s September primary. The popular two-term mayor of a thoroughly Democratic town, Laffey remains cagey about his intentions for next year. But his ambition is legendary to those who know him (smaller only than his ego) and he has to date resisted pleas from the White House, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman to swear off the race.

“As one wag told us of Laffey’s plans to enter the race, ‘I’m pretty sure he’s waiting until he can be the only thing in the newspaper.’

“In some ways, the conservative label does not fit Laffey well. Although he says he is pro-life, he recently described Sen. Hillary Clinton’s attempt to position herself on the middle ground on abortion as ‘reasonable.’ But even in this, Laffey is substantially more conservative than Chafee, and he may actually have a better chance in the general election to keep the seat in GOP hands.

“At the very least, the White House cannot afford to send the wrong message and reward Chafee’s serial disloyalty.”

Do-little Congress

“Americans have learned to expect little from Congress, and by that standard, the 109th version, controlled by Republicans, has met expectations,” the Wall Street Journal says.

“On the other hand, anyone who hoped that the GOP would make something of its historic governing opportunity is bound to be disappointed so far,” the newspaper said in an editorial.

“Five months in, Congress can point to the following achievements: a bankruptcy bill 10 years in the making, and a class-action reform watered down essentially to a jurisdictional change to federal from state courts. That’s about it.

“Among the 2004 campaign promises that aren’t close to being fulfilled are making the Bush tax cuts permanent, reforming Social Security and expanding the market for private health care. Instead of any of those big three, Congress next seems poised to pass a subsidy-laden energy bill and a highway bill with some 4,000 earmarks for individual members. For this we elected Republicans?

“The Democratic/media explanation for this performance is that Republicans are ‘overreaching’ and trying to ‘govern from the right.’ We should be so lucky. The fact is that they are governing from nowhere at all. Far from pushing their agenda, they seem cowed by their opposition into playing it safe and attempting too little.”

Looking for help

Coleen Rowley, who gained fame as an FBI whistleblower after the September 11 attacks, will meet this week with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to discuss how much money it can contribute to the $2 million war chest she expects she will need in an effort to unseat Rep. John Kline, Minnesota Republican, Time magazine reports.

Though Mrs. Rowley, 50, would start as a distinct underdog in the heavily Republican district (Mr. Kline won a second term last year with 56 percent of the vote), Steven Schier, political science professor at Carleton College, says she might surprise people.

“She’ll attract a lot of money because she’ll be seen as a credible candidate due to her FBI background,” he told the magazine. “She’s fairly conservative for a Democrat, and that makes sense in this district. But it will be a very tough race.”

Mrs. Rowley, who first toyed with the idea of running in 2004, objects to Mr. Kline’s support of the war in Iraq and his “lockstep” voting with President Bush and vows to bring “personal responsibility and authenticity” to Capitol Hill.

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

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