- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Uphill battle

The growing strength of the Republican Party in the 29 states carried by President Bush in the last two presidential elections will make it difficult for Democrats to regain control of the Senate in 2006 — or anytime soon, the Los Angeles Times reports.

“Democrats are optimistic about their chances of ousting GOP senators in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, states that voted for Democratic presidential candidates John F. Kerry in 2004 and Al Gore in 2000. But the Democrats are unlikely to regain a Senate majority — in 2006 or soon thereafter — unless they can reverse the GOP consolidation of Senate seats in states that have supported Bush,” reporter Ronald Brownstein writes.

“Since 2000, both parties have gained Senate seats in the states they typically carry in presidential campaigns. But this political partitioning provides a clear advantage for Republicans because so many more states backed Bush in his bids for the presidency.”

Republicans hold 44 of the 58 Senate seats in the 29 “red states.”

“Democrats are just as strong in the states that voted for Kerry and Gore. But there are only 18 of those so-called blue states; Democrats hold 28 of those 36 Senate seats.”

Romney overridden

The Massachusetts legislature yesterday overrode Gov. Mitt Romney’s veto and approved a bill designed to propel Massachusetts to the forefront of embryonic stem-cell research.

The bill immediately became law over Mr. Romney’s objections, after both chambers exceeded the two-thirds vote needed to override a veto. The vote was 112-42 in the House and 35-2 in the Senate, the Associated Press reports.

Under previous state law, scientists who wanted to conduct embryonic stem-cell research in Massachusetts needed the approval of the local district attorney. The new law seeks to expand stem-cell research by removing that requirement but giving the state Health Department some regulatory controls.

The Republican governor vetoed the bill last week because it allows the cloning of human embryos for use in stem-cell experiments — a practice Mr. Romney said amounts to creating life in order to destroy it.

Mr. Romney has said he supports research using either adult stem cells or cells extracted from leftover frozen embryos from fertility clinics.

The new Massachusetts law bans cloning that results in a baby, but that practice is already prohibited under federal law.

Mayor fights back

Spokane, Wash., Mayor James E. West said yesterday he believes he will survive investigations into reports he committed criminal acts by trolling homosexual chat rooms and offering city jobs to men he met there.

Mr. West told NBC’s “Today” show that he expects to be exonerated by FBI and city investigations.

“The e-mails that are coming to me are in my favor not to resign. Stand your ground,” Mr. West said. “They say, ‘If the allegations are true, you ought to go.’ Well, they are not true.”

The Spokesman-Review has reported accusations that Mr. West molested two boys in the late 1970s and early 1980s when he was a Boy Scout leader, and that he offered gifts, favors and jobs at City Hall to young men he met online.

The mayor has denied those reports, but acknowledged having relations with adult men.

Nailing Krugman

“Ring up a win for the Krugman Truth Squad!” writes Donald Luskin, who produces a column by that name at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“It’s official: According to the New York Times itself, what we’ve been carefully documenting for more than two years is true: ‘Op-Ed columnist Paul Krugman has the disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assaults. … Some of Krugman’s enemies are every bit as ideological (and consequently unfair) as he is. But that doesn’t mean that their boss, publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., shouldn’t hold his columnists to higher standards.’

“Thus wrote New York Times ‘public editor’ Daniel Okrent in his column last week, his final one before resigning his post. There it is, right in the newspaper of record,” Mr. Luskin said.

“To be sure, Okrent could have gone much, much further in blowing the whistle on America’s most dangerous liberal pundit. He could have cited the dozens upon dozens of partisan distortions, uncorrected errors, deliberate misquotations, and flat-out lies that we’ve caught Krugman making over the years. For that matter he could have echoed what N. Gregory Mankiw, the universally respected former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, told Fortune in a recent interview — that Krugman ‘just make stuff up.’”

Moral equivalence

“Recalling how John McCain’s ‘code of honor’ is what ‘separated him from his captors’ in communist North Vietnam, on Sunday’s ‘Face the Nation’ host Bob Schieffer casually referred to how he ‘thought about that as yet another tale of torture and abuse came out about the POW camp we are running at Guantanamo Bay,’” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker writes at www.mediaresearch.org.

“Schieffer then proceeded to endorse New York Times columnist Tom Friedman’s recommendation that ‘the prison ought to be shut down because the stories about it are so inflaming the Arab world.’ Schieffer presumed the worst about the uncorroborated charges related to detainee treatment, most of which fall far short of qualifying as ‘torture,’” Mr. Baker said.

“Schieffer asked: ‘I wondered if the greater danger is the impact Guantanamo is having on us. Do we want our children to believe this is how we are?’ Characterizing the U.S. as no better than our enemies, Schieffer concluded: ‘As we reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day, let us remember first what it is that separates us from those who would take away our freedom,’ the code ‘John McCain’s dad taught his kid.’”

Dowd’s help

The National Basketball Association wants Matthew Dowd to do for the league what he did for George W. Bush, the Bloomberg News service reports.

The NBA hired the 44-year-old Mr. Dowd, who assisted in shaping the president’s message and strategy in his successful re-election campaign last year, to help the league burnish its image and reach new customers, reporter Scott Soshnick said.

“I’ve given the NBA some strategic advice,” Mr. Dowd, one of four founding partners in Austin, Texas-based ViaNovo, a firm that develops strategies for businesses, said in a telephone interview on May 25. “I told them what they needed to do.”

The NBA is looking for Mr. Dowd’s expertise in research to help repair its reputation among both fans and partners. The league was tarnished by the November brawl between Indiana Pacers players and fans in Detroit. TV ratings are down, as are sales of licensed apparel.

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

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